On December 7, 1941, our nation was violently and maliciously attacked by another country. Nearly sixty years later—September 11, 2001—our nation was attacked again. This time, however, it was not by another country. The attack was from a group of independent terrorists. Interestingly, at least for those of us with a more religious perspective, the aggressors were not just trying to be destructive for the sake of destruction. They honestly believed that by attacking, they were doing the will of God.
Have you ever encountered terrorists in your church? No, I’m not talking about guys walking around with AK47s, ready to blast people to smithereens. Church terrorists don’t highjack jets or use explosives. They don’t wear camouflage clothing or look through night vision goggles for clandestine attacks. These church terrorists, however, are just as destructive.
Would you like to know what’s really alarming about most church terrorists? They don’t even realize that they are involved in terrorism. Most of the time they glibly go about destroying churches while thinking they are doing the right thing. They have no clue as to the horrendously destructive consequences of their actions. The truth is, though, that their words are actually more injurious than any gun or hand grenade. The seeds they plant in the minds of their hearers will ultimately prove to be every bit as fatal as a 747 loaded with jet fuel.
Who are these terrorists? Well, I don’t want to alarm you, but they may be all around you. In fact, you could be one of them. No, this is not a new version of a B-grade alien body snatchers movie. This is serious business. Very serious business. The Body of Christ is under attack. Sadly, the foremost attack is coming from within.
I have encountered terrorists in Bible-believing churches of nearly every background all across North America. They might be Baptist or Mennonite. They could be Pentecostal, Nazarene, Methodist, Vineyard or Lutheran. Now don’t get smug if the name of your group isn’t listed. I just don’t have time or space to list them all. They all, however, have experienced attacks from terrorists.
Nearly every pastor to whom I have posed the question, “Are there terrorists in your church?” has responded, “Yes.” Interestingly, not all church terrorists are obvious or blatant. Most you would never, ever suspect. One pastor told about the mild-mannered, elderly widow who sits in the back pew. She didn’t like the way her church was changing and set out to stop the changes at any cost. Another shared about a recent college graduate who, with such a great education under his belt, now knew pretty much all there was to know. Consequently he decided to “fix” the church in which he grew up. It wasn’t a pretty situation. Of course there are lots of other stories, far too many to mention. Some are so bizarre that they are almost unbelievable.
In fact, there was a time when I nearly became a church terrorist. I was convinced the leadership of our church wasn’t handling a particular situation well. So, in a not-too-delicate manner, I confronted. Heated words were spoken. Pushy emails were sent. Long-time relationships were on the verge of crumbling. It had the potential of becoming an ugly scenario. Fortunately, the Lord’s mercy intervened. In retrospect, I am aghast at how close I came to severely damaging the work of God.
The tragic lesson is that we all have the ability–and, in our sinful nature, the inclination–to be church terrorists. Sometimes it is intentional. Other times we can unwittingly become involved in terrorist activities in the church. Regardless, those activities can be horrendously destructive.
This book is an attempt to expose the attack, and, more importantly, to show how to stop it. If you have ever wanted to see the Church truly fulfill the plans and purposes of God, this book will offer a giant step toward making that reality.
By the way, the first three chapters are a fictional story that lay a foundation for the remainder of the book. After that I’ll make application about what you read in the story. I hope you enjoy it, but more importantly, I pray that you find practical answers for your life and your church.