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Nonviolence is inspiring and possesses an indomitable spirit. Few things are more unsettling, unpredictable and unstable as the mob spirit in the atmosphere of riot. And nothing neutralises a violent atmosphere more effectively than nonviolent gestures.
The world got to see this in full-color yesterday in the intensification of tensions at the Standing Rock No Dakota Access Pipeline standoff in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Riot police showed up to this peaceful event in Bismark as Native communities gathered to discuss recent court rulings and updates on the Dakota Access Pipeline. Tension was high at first and then this happened that changed the tone.
Note the language in this eyewitness report; tension was high at first, then this happened that changed the tone. Discernible hostility in the atmosphere is a reality. Some would say it is a sociological phenomenon. Others, me included, know it to be spiritual. There are demonic spirits behind violence, hatred and war. Those are only fed by responses of violence, hatred and war. When will we learn?
Demonic spirits are happy when both sides kill each other. Gestures of love and peace break their hold and neutralise them. Instantly there are discernible shifts in the atmosphere.
Black Lives Matter, please take note.
Chip in here to support their bail money fund: https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/d19fAf
Good theology is essential when bad things go down. So, to start with some theological preciseness, the question in the title would be better phrased: Is Scott Westerhuis hell-bound? The reason for that clarification is because it isn’t until after the Great White Throne Judgment that the books are opened and each one judged. It is then both Death and Hades are gathered up and together thrown into the Eternal Lake of Fire (aka Hell). The temporary abode for the unredeemed dead is Hades, not Hell. So no, no one is presently burning in hell.
The question was posed yesterday on Facebook by a seasoned journalist friend in South Dakota who, since last September, has been covering the horrible unfoldings in Platte, South Dakota. He took some criticism for even posting the question. Understandably this is still a very tender topic in our small home state.
Scott Westerhuis was husband and father of four, an active member of First Reformed Church and an involved member of a close knit small town community. Made aware he was soon to be in serious trouble for plundering a million dollars from a fund set up to help young Native Americans, late that night he took his shotgun and killed his wife and their four children all in their beds, and then set fire to their house and taking his own life.
For the benefit of others in our state, here were my contributions in the midst of a most interesting string of comments to the question.
Me: One doesn’t spend eternity separated from God for anything they did or didn’t do. The way you end up there is rejecting what Jesus did to make possible eternity with God.
A reply to me: Can someone profess Jesus is their Lord and Savior and then commit multiple murders? Were they lying when they made the profession or did they change their mind? Or did they not even think about it? (a subconscious decision)
Me: People profess Jesus as Lord and then commit adultery or break any of the other Ten Commandments. Our various traditions differ a bit on whether some sin is worse than other sin. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said if we are angry it’s the same as murder. A lawyer friend in Sioux Falls who has/is defended some of those facing the death penalty in South Dakota told me once that every murderer he’s ever met felt justified from their vantage point at that time to do what they did, and he and I agree that includes the State when we kill killers. We do what they do and then have our rationalisations for it. Psychologically suicide and killing occur in when we aren’t thinking clearly and rationally. Killing is irrational. Unless a person decidedly rejects Christ and then kills, I’m not sure we can say they go to hell– at least not for killing. I’m grateful I’m not judged according to the worse thing I’ve done. The Gospel is about what Jesus did, not about what we’ve done. Did he do enough on the Cross to pay the price for all our sin or do we need to add to his finished work by doing more right and less wrong? Reject him and we are on our own to stand before God on our own good merit.
This is pure speculation: perhaps this guy dearly loved his family and couldn’t imagine life without them or imagine ruining their lives and shaming them all so horribly with his crimes and to spare them that greater pain, in a colossal act of misguided mercy, and moment of irrational panic- hardly thinking clearly about anything – believing in Christ and heaven- reasoned to himself that they could all go together and be together and that God would understand.
Good people in society concoct all sorts of justifications for killing to save themselves and others.
I’ll wrap up here with some Gospel basics: Salvation is not genetic or hereditary any more than marriage is– your grandparents being married doesn’t mean you are– your parents being Christians doesn’t automatically make you one– a individual choice to receive what Jesus did for you appropriates salvation to an individual. Salvation is not by ritual or ceremony. Salvation is not by addition– doing more right. It is not by subtraction– doing less wrong. It is not second hand– not mediated by anyone other than Jesus. Salvation is not by comparison– we are less bad than those people down the street – those gays or Muslims or compared to that guy on death-row. It is not universal– you can decidedly reject what Jesus did for you and many do. He doesn’t force people to spend eternity with him when they make it clear they don’t want him part of their lives here. Salvation is not by showing up to church. It can’t be bought or sold. Salvation is not by sincerity. The 9/11 hi-jackers were sincere, sincerely wrong. You get the idea. And, by the way, our loving God doesn’t send anyone to hell. Hell-bound people chose that course themselves by rejecting the only way God set forth for salvation. If all religious paths were viable options, he wouldn’t have sent his only Son to die on a Cross to atone for our sin. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
As hard as it is to accept, I’m doubtful Westerhuis is hell-bound. The reason is because salvation isn’t based on what he did. It is based on what Jesus did. From what I can tell, he was a believing Christian. And yes we aren’t to judge or try to read hearts, but people in my line of work get asked these hard questions– and usually people like me have 2-3 days max to think of something to say at a funeral. It’s not a time to give false assurances. It’s a time to be clear about how it is that Jesus defeats death for us all. God has an amazing way to bring life from death and draw out good from bad. The possibility of salvation for Scott Westerhuis will hopefully result in the assurance of salvation of many others.
I keep feeling the need (or guilt) to post here or at least keep reminding you that I am regularly posting on my other blog. Limited time and energy right now has restricted me to only post at my Voices Carry pro-life blog. I’m not giving up here, I promise, I won’t let too many days go by without something interesting here.
Of course we are all praying about Hurricane Gustav hitting New Orleans today. I have posted a substantial article on where God may be in all of this. I welcome feedback on that. If you want to send money to help, send it to my friend Pastor Dino Rizzo at Healing Place Church. You may recall he and Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge were major players after Katrina. We’ll see how it goes, we may send a work team too.
Lifelight was this past weekend here in Sioux Falls – billed as the nation’s largest Christian music festival. I only went for a couple hours Saturday. I did post last night on a couple of the extremist abortion supporters who crashed the Lifelight Festival. Pardon the title but the article is even more shocking… eat a queer fetus for Jesus.
These are a just few of the headlines that caught my attention today and my discussion starters.
One heart, one widow connect suicides of 2 men (I don’t think the woman is the common denominator. I’ve seen suicides flow generationally, in siblings, etc. I would love to hear from our deliverance ministry people/friends on this one… the spirit of death staying with a transplanted heart???)
Bible Courses Allowed, Not Mandatory for Schools (Some of you know that I have been on this for a couple of years and have said this may be the next matter I take up in our city and state. I welcome your involvement.
Vladimir Putin saves TV crew from tiger (I’m looking at Putin and the Tiger through a prophetic, symbolic lens. Interesting.)
‘Founders’ prayer violated Constitution as they wrote it’?? (Thank God for my friends at the Alliance Defense Fund.)
CNN poll shows no post convention bump for Obama (No comment.)
08/03/2008 – KELOLAND NEWS
Early Morning Heat Burst Hits Sioux Falls
What meteorologists call a “convective heat burst” sent temperatures skyrocketing early this morning in Sioux Falls. Temperatures rose rapidly from the lower 70’s to 101-degrees between 4:15 and 4:45 am. A heat burst occurs when warm air from 10-thousand to 20-thousand feet above the surface is forced to the ground. The heat burst also brought strong winds that knocked down some power lines and trees in the Sioux Falls area.
This has got to mean something. Those in watch and pray mode – I welcome your theories. I was reminded of this prophetic word which recently appeared on the Elijah List;
“For even as you have felt the degrees, the heat throughout the summer – as you have felt the heat throughout the summer, even up to now – there shall be records broken. It shall be a sign: the earth shall boil. For,” God said, “they shall say, ‘What is happening in the soil? Shall we talk about global warming?’ What do those that live on My earth know about what I have structured for the universe? Do not mock Me, do not mock Me,” says the Lord, “with global warming.” For the Spirit of God said, “Things will be shown and will be revealed in these next two years that shall come from the earth, that will prove the creation of man, that shall prove some of the Biblical things that have happened,” says the Lord. “Watch through the summer as the degrees go high and then suddenly low, low.” For God said, “Do you know what it is? It is a sign that I am sending to you…” says the Lord.
I thank God for air conditioning because I slept right through it.
This is my third post discussing those discussing Todd Bentley and the Florida Outpouring. If you have yet to read the earlier posts you can do so here, and here. Two weeks ago I ventured down to Lakeland for a few days with some folks from our church. This past Sunday I decided to devote my message to what is unfolding there. Those of you who are used to a 25 minute sermonette each week will need to take this in two parts because it’s 58 minutes long. It’s probably easier to grab it off itunes and plop in on your ipod, or you can get it off the podcast link below which is on our church website. Feedback is welcome though I prefer you read the earlier posts first before commenting as I’m not interested in giving scoffers a greater platform.
The Global School of Supernatural Ministry got underway here at Church at the Gate this afternoon. Things are off to a very strong start. Several had personal prayer appointments with the team prior to the first meetings. The first session covered some of the basics of prophetic ministry and the protocol there. Session two focused on the Kingdom of God in the marketplace – meaning… teams of three or four were equipped and sent out into the community (Mall, Walmart, where-ever God led) to pray for people. I’ve heard some great stories already from that time.
Tonight, worship was powerful which opened a great door for a great word on the life of David. The message was that God took one whose identity was a lowly shepherd boy and gave him a new identity and a new name. And, that God is taking us out of the miry clay and saying we are royalty – appointed and annointed to do Kingdom works. Our identity isn’t sickness, defeat, etc. Satan is trying to kill our identity in God. But, we must walk out into our new identity as stewards of the Kingdom and everything around us is affected by the Kingdom in us. We ended with prophetic ministry and praying for healing.
If you are in the area and can make it to the session tomorrow night (7 P.M.) I promise you’ll be blessed. If you attended today and God spoke to you, challenged you, or touched your life in any way, USE THE COMMENT LINK TO SHARE YOUR TESTIMONY WITH THE REST OF US.
Note the location of this newly discovered massive 200 billion barrel oil field that will increase our nation’s domestic oil resources by a factor of ten. Experts expect this will be one of the greatest booms in Oil discovery since Oil was discovered in Saudi Arabia in 1938. Am I alone in believing God in preparing to release us from dependance on Babylonian nations? Check it out here!
North Dakota rancher John Warberg said, “It seems like God flew over this country, and a dart landed on Granddad’s homestead.” Warberg is being paid royalties for the new oil well on the land where his grandfather’s crumbling, nearly century-old homestead shack stands. There is a interesting audio of him talking about this on the NY Times website.
Chuck Pierce prophesied in 2004 that this day would come – that riches and resources would come forth from this land – land the rest of the world writes off as “wasteland.” The Bible says “you will be called Sought After.” Somebody just preached a message by that title (South Dakota: Sought After)… hmm…. Maybe God is preparing to bless those who bless babies.
Last summer I went to Ghana with a team from Church at the Gate. Ghana was celebrating the fact that they just discovered oil. Actually, the discovery of oil came within six months of the President of Ghana dedicating the nation of Ghana to the Lord. I have pictures of banners that hung all over the nation calling the nation to “a national day of prayer and thanksgiving for the discovery of oil within six months of dedicating our nation to God.” That’s what the banners say!
I believe God is willing and wanting to bless us, and is readying to do so. The blessing however is continugent on us dealing with the shedding of innocent blood and the nation turning back to Him. Just like in Scripture, when the people of God don’t do this, he enslaves them to pagan nations who hold them captive.