Throwing the Spirit of Murder Out of the Church

by | Feb 17, 2017 | Spirit-Led Living

Note: Jamie Buckingham was a prolific writer with a quick wit and a passion for sharing biblical truth. In honor of the 25th anniversary of his death, we offer you this timely 1989 Charisma column.

One early morning in January, the lights in the Florida State Penitentiary flickered and dimmed as the executioner pulled a switch in the death chamber. More than 4,000 volts of electricity surged through the body of Ted Bundy, who was strapped in the three-legged oak electric chair known as Old Sparky. Bundy, who may have murdered more than 50 people, jerked against the restraining straps—then slumped to one side. Whiffs of smoke came from under his hood, his wrists and his leg where the electrodes were attached. Justice was done.

Yet the scene outside the death chamber was evidence that while one murderer was dead, the spirit of murder lives on. It was alive and active in the more than 200 people who had gathered in the early morning darkness to celebrate Bundy’s execution.

As the funeral hearse pulled away from the prison, people hooted, jeered and held up obscene signs reading, “Burn, Bundy, Burn” and “Roast in Peace.”

The fact that Ted Bundy may have deserved to die did not justify the wild glee his execution stirred up. What scares me even more is that I sometimes see that same spirit in the faces of church people.

That same month, I published an article in Ministries Today titled “The Manipulative Strategy of a Child Molester.” It was written by a former pastor who had spent more than 10 years in prison for fondling little girls. It was an articulate but frightening warning to church leaders, telling them how to spot the kind of person he used to be.

I say used to be, for he’s no longer a child molester. He’s one of the few men I know who was genuinely rehabilitated in prison. A college and seminary graduate with a loving wife and children, he had pastored one of the larger churches in his state before his sin was discovered. Arrested, shamed and convicted, he was sentenced to 40 years in prison. During that time, he went through extensive treatment. He came to grips not only with his sin and crimes, but with himself. He genuinely repented. He sought and received deliverance. After the parole board had turned him down several times, some of us went to bat for him. He was finally released. The day he walked out of prison, his wife, who had stuck with him through the entire horrible ordeal, served him with divorce papers. She was too afraid, too wounded, to risk it again. If he was to start over, he would do it alone.

A Pentecostal family took him in, gave him a job and introduced him to the life in the Spirit. It’s tough going. Although he’ll never pastor another church, he’s making it–as a man and as a victorious Christian.

The article, which I asked him to submit, was his first, hesitant step in trying to help others. “If leaders can be warned how to spot people like I was,” he told me through tears, “maybe innocent children can be spared the agony of molestation.”

For obvious reasons, we did not use his name with the story.

Reaction was radical. Some wrote to commend us. In others, strange spirits reacted. One pastor wrote the angriest letter I’ve ever gotten in response to an article.

“The author needs to be shot—executed,” he wrote. “He is not worthy to live and menace other little girls. … You printed a deviant’s operations with not a word of where he is. He does not deserve to live, and society is quickly tiring of his ilk. If judges don’t carry through with executions, the public will take it into their own hands. Count on it!”

I wrote back, telling him the reason we did not identify the author was to protect him from men like this pastor.

It doesn’t take a psychologist to realize that anyone who reacts with such violence is possessed with not only with the same spirit that caused the author to molest children, but a spirit of murder.

I’ve seen that same spirit sweep across the faces in an audience when I’m preaching and attack some social evil. At a recent conference, I preached against abortion. The reaction frightened me as I sensed a lynch mob spirit just beneath the surface of Christian veneer. The people not only hated abortion, they hated the abortionists.

Sitting in the back of a crusade meeting several years ago, I listened as a preacher whipped the crowd into a fury as he attacked everything from the Catholic Church to pornography. As each new verbal attack was launched against one of these groups, the crowd would rise to its feet, and the people would shout their support. I could hear the hate in their loud “Amen!”

These people were being transformed. They could feel the power of the spirit of murder—and they liked it.

The truth is we’ve made sin and sinner synonymous and, incredibly, exempted ourselves from both categories.

It’s bad enough to live in a world where people jeer at hearses, blast their horns at traffic lights and fire guns into automobiles on the freeway. But when this same syndrome infects the church, it’s time to grow fearful.

I wanted to hate Ted Bundy. But I couldn’t. One reason is I have a friend, a Spirit-filled brother, who is one of those next in line to be roasted in Old Sparky. I love him dearly, and I’m grieved. Next month, I’ll tell you about him—and why I’m now struggling with capital punishment.

Love, I’ve discovered, leaves no room for vengeance. {eoa}

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

This Coach Can Help You Destroy Your Addiction to Pornography

This Coach Can Help You Destroy Your Addiction to Pornography

Let’s talk about a subject most people want to avoid. Let’s talk about pornography. According to Covenant Eyes, statistics show that 28,258 users are watching pornography every second, and 20% of mobile online searches are for porn. Among Christians, 20% of youth...

The Real Truth About the Marriage of Politics and Faith

The Real Truth About the Marriage of Politics and Faith

As I look back, I realize that God has given me a career path with some rather unique experiences. I have built bridges at the intersection of faith and government my whole life, and I have learned that serving people through a role in government can be just as...

Joyce Meyer: Winning the Battle Against Satan in Your Mind

Joyce Meyer: Winning the Battle Against Satan in Your Mind

If you have received Christ as your Savior, then you have an enemy. Did you know that? I know some people feel uncomfortable talking about the devil, but he is real and it’s important for us to face the truth about him so we can have a victorious life in Christ. Now,...

It’s Time to Rebuild Love and Unity in the Church—Part 2

It’s Time to Rebuild Love and Unity in the Church—Part 2

Note: As we move towards Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement, Grant Berry, a Messianic believer, speaks about the deeper repentance needed in the Messianic part of the family. As you have read part one of this article during the month of Av and are now reading part two in the...

Will Many of the Elect Really Be Deceived by the Antichrist?

Will Many of the Elect Really Be Deceived by the Antichrist?

The most sobering and troubling statement in the Olivet Discourse is where Jesus says, “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matt. 24:24). This statement cries out for an...

RECENT ARTICLES

Prophetic Lessons in the Hurricane-Force Storms of Life

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qe34pxhddd4 With Hurricane Ian slamming Florida, it's a time to reflect on the storms of life. As I was preparing for the hurricane, I documented some thoughts about...
Why God Cares About Your Physical Health

Why God Cares About Your Physical Health

God doesn’t care if I am fat. He wants me to enjoy my life. He wants me to live, love and be happy. Food makes me happy so I’m just doing what He wants me to do. That was just an excuse and at its core it is untrue. God really doesn’t care about our outward...

An Unborn Baby’s Heart Is Beating—Stop Denying It

An Unborn Baby’s Heart Is Beating—Stop Denying It

Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams turned heads last week in Atlanta when she defiantly announced during a political event that an unborn baby doesn’t have a heartbeat at six weeks gestation. “There is no such thing as a heartbeat at six weeks,” said...

Prophecy: We Are in a Season of Blessings

Prophecy: We Are in a Season of Blessings

We are kingdom citizens, and not of this world. We don’t abide by this world’s economy and the natural things that happen. Repeatedly, over the last four weeks, I’ve been hearing not to look at the circumstances of this world. We are not of this world. Get your eyes...

Pin It on Pinterest