Welcome back to Defender’s Voice. This is Paul Kattupalli. This week we started with the horrible news from Texas. A gunman dressed in all black, tactical gear opened fire at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. This happened during Sunday worship service.
Sunday….the Lord’s Day….the Sabbath..a sacred day in a sacred place, when we put away all our secular activities and focus on our Creator, our Redeemer and Lord, Jesus Christ. Once upon a time, certain places were considered sacred. You don’t go to a school and kill teachers and children, you don’t go to a hospital and kill doctors, nurses and patients, you don’t go to church and kill pastors and people. Half of the 26 people Devin Kelly killed at First Baptist Church were children. We are living in a generation for which nothing is sacred, no place is sacred, no life is sacred.
The youngest victim was only 18 months old. A 26 year-old man shooting an 18 month-old baby. From point blank distance, he was shooting at little babies crying for their mothers: If this is not evil, what is? We are raising generation of young people that has no fear of God, no respect for the sanctity of human life, no respect for the house of God, no respect for the elderly people, no concern even for a little baby’s life.
Devin Patrick Kelly who committed this hellish evil on the children of God now entered into an eternity without God, completely lost, destined to hell. I was reading through his profile last night, and four words came into my mind: Apostasy, Atheism, Anger, and Atrocity
Apostasy: Devin started his life like a good Christian kid. He was going to church; He was worshiping in the church. He was even teaching Sunday school. Then he abandoned his faith. He became an apostate. He was mocking Christians. Daily Mail, a newspaper from England wrote a story about his apostasy. After leaving his Christian faith, he filled his heart with hatred towards Christians. One of the girls who went to school with him wrote on Facebook: “He (Devin) was always talking about how people who believe in God we’re stupid and trying to preach his atheism”. So, Devin left his Christian faith, but he did not stay neutral. He developed contempt for Christians. He was calling them stupid. In the olden days, people born in Christian homes, when they became atheists, they were still nice towards practitioners of their former faith. But New Atheism is different. After they leave Christian faith, they are filling their hearts with vengeance.
For example, Take Dan Barker of Freedom From Religion Foundation. He was a Christian preacher for 19 years, then left Christianity and now going around mocking Christians and fomenting hatred towards Christian institutions. If a little girl prays in a Public school, he goes to the school with his thuggish friends, and terrorize the girl and her parents. Bill Maher of HBO, he was born in a Catholic family, rejected his faith, on his Television show, hardly a week goes by without his mockery of Christians. In his documentary Religulous, he mocked Lord Jesus Christ. I doubt he would make such a documentary on Muhammad. Ron Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He became an apostate when he was twelve years old. Now he is going around ridiculing Christians and mocking the Bible. He says, ‘I am not afraid of burning in hell’. I love Ronald Reagan, I hope and pray Ron Reagan will know the Lord before it is too late. Richard Dawkins was a Christian till his teen years, then he embraced Darwinism and atheism. Now, he is traveling around world, scoffing and disparaging God and Christians.
Devin Kelley went further than all of them. He abandoned his Christian faith, took AR-15 rifles and unleashed pure evil on Christians who were peacefully worshiping the Lord in a Baptist Church.
Once they leave God and Christ, apostates don’t stay empty. Satan will enter into their souls. Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. He loved money more than God. After he betrayed Jesus, Satan entered into his soul (Luke 22:3-6). How terrible, after physically walking with Jesus for years, he opened his heart to Satan. Jesus said, ‘it would have been better had he never been born’. The parents of Devin Kelly are probably thinking like that as we speak. 1 Timothy chapter 1, Apostle Paul talked about Hymenaeus and Alexander. He said, these two men rejected their faith, suffered a shipwreck in regard to their faith. Paul says, ‘whom I have handed over to Satan’ (1 Timothy 1:19-20). In Chapter 4, the Apostle said that in the later times some men will fall away from the Faith, they will be seduced by deceitful spirits and embrace doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1).
As he entered into the church to kill people. Devin Kelley was possessed by Satan. He dressed all in black, wore a black mask with a white skull over his face. That black dress with a skull he wore symbolizes death and destruction of Satan. Our Lord called Satan, ‘a murderer from the beginning’. Devin was shooting at little children. That is pure evil springing from Satan.
Atheism: Then we have to talk about his atheism. After abandoning his faith, apostates become atheists. Devin Kelley became an atheist. A militant atheist. Look at this Facebook page (now deleted). He was fond of many atheist groups. Daily Mail interviewed many of his school mates. Patrick Boyce, who attended New Braunfels High School with the killer, told DailyMail.com: ‘He had a kid or two, fairly normal, but kinda quiet and lately seemed depressed. Nina Rose Nava, who went to school with the gunman, wrote on Facebook: ‘In (sic) in complete shock! I legit just deleted him off my fb cause I couldn’t stand his post.
‘He was always talking about how people who believe in God we’re stupid and trying to preach his atheism’ ‘He was the first atheist I met. He went Air Force after high school, got discharged but I don’t know why. Michael Goff added: ‘He was weird but never that damn weird, always posting his atheist sh** like Nina wrote, but damn he always posted pics of him and his baby – crazy.’
Baby means his gun. He was posting atheism and the photos of his gun online. Who said atheism does not breed violence? Why is American media silent about Devin’s atheism? Because the media in America is controlled by godless, secular people. For them, atheism means science, logic, and philosophy, not violence.
New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Washington Post they all see Christianity as the bigger problem for America than other religions and atheism. They are talking more about gun control than the horror unleashed on Christians.
If this happened at a mosque, they would be talking about rising Islamophobia in America.
If this happened at a synagogue, they would be talking about rising Antisemitism in America.
If this happened at an immigration center, they would be talking about rising racism in America.
This happened at a church, they would not talk about rising Christophobia in America.
For the last few decades atheists are going around America terrorizing Christian communities.
Remove your cross, it offends me.
Remove your Ten Commandments, or I will call ACLU
Don’t say ‘Merry Christmas’, just say Happy Holidays
Don’t pray in the name of Jesus, I can’t stand it.
Don’t bring your Bible to public schools, it irritates me
Don’t say ‘so help me God’, it’s an affront to my sensibilities.
Remove the cross on the Texas flag, it upsets me.
Devin Kelley was calling Christians and their faith ‘stupid’. He became lawless. He assaulted his wife and child. He did not carry a license to carry a gun. That’s lawlessness. Lord Jesus told us in Matthew chapter 24, in the famous Olivet Discourse, that in the last days lawlessness will increase in the world. In 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, Apostle Paul wrote, ‘first comes apostasy, then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, the son of destruction’ Antichrist will be the man of complete lawlessness because he will defy God completely. Few days ago, Senator Rand Paul was attacked in his own home. Going to a senator’s home and assaulting him? The senator got rib fractures. Romans 13 tells us to be the subjects of the government, we should honor our government and its leaders. But lawlessness is increasing in our society so is the disrespect towards the government and the law makers. The secular left is already mocking Christians, ‘Don’t pray, prayer is not going to help. We need more legislation, not more prayer’. The Air Force did not even enter the assault charges on Devin Kelley into the database, which would have prevented him from carrying a gun!! We are not even implementing existing laws, we are asking for more legislation. What we need is more prayer and less legislation. Not less prayer and more legislation.
Anger: Then, we have to see the anger of the killer. Devin purchased four firearms since 2014. From 2014 to 2017, he was purchasing a gun every year. Inside the church, he killed the grandmother of his wife.
The police said, ‘this is a domestic issue, not related to race or religion’. President Trump said, ‘this is a mental disorder’. They missed the bigger picture.
We all have domestic problems. We all have anxieties and stresses in our lives. How we deal with them depends on our worldview. In Genesis chapter four, we read about Cain, the first murderer in the history of humanity. He became angry when God rejected his offering but accepted his brother Abel’s offering. God asked Cain directly, ‘Why are you angry Cain? I can see wrath on your face’ Cain did not get it. All he had to do was to change his carnal method of worshiping God. Like his brother he could have taken the Lamb as an offering to God. But he did not want to. He wanted to satisfy his anger rather than asking God for forgiveness. Then God gave him a warning, ‘Sin is waiting at the door. It will dominate and ruin your life’.
Atrocity: Finally atrocity. Alas, Cain did not heed God’s warning. He went out and killed his brother. He chose to carry on his atrocity rather than heeding the advice of God. Devin Kelley did the same thing. He did not have any respect for the Word of God or the presence of God inside a church. He wanted to satisfy his anger and committed horrible atrocities. Half of his victims were children. The 14 year-old daughter of the church’s pastor was killed. Apostasy leads to atrocity: persecuting the body of Christ. The writer of the Epistle to Hebrews told us the consequences of apostasy.
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. (Hebrews 6:4-6)
Note those words: they crucify to themselves the Son of God. Devin Kelly when he attacked the church he was attacking Lord Jesus himself because church is the body of Christ. He put Jesus to an open shame. A person who was once worshiping in a church could go out and destroy lives. Apostates put Jesus to shame.
In reality, we all get angry and upset. The best antidote to anger is to have fear of God in our lives. You may reject God’s advice, but you cannot escape God’s justice. Cain rejected God’s advice and killed his brother. Then God came back to him asking for his brother. ‘Cain, where is your brother? the voice of your brother’s blood crying to me from the ground’. Jesus will not ask Devin, ‘Devin, what did you do to my children inside the church who were worshiping me?’ ‘Where are my children?’ Jesus would not ask that question. Because every child who was murdered inside this Baptist Church is now with Jesus, enjoying His love and fellowship. Because every saved man, every saved woman who was murdered in this church is now with Jesus, enjoying His love and fellowship.
Out of all the stories of the victims I heard, the most distressful account is about one elderly man and and his wife who lost all 9 family members. Joe Holcombe, 86 years old man lost three generations of his kids to the bullets of this evil man.
His son Bryan Holcombe, the guest preacher is gone, his wife Karla is gone.
His grand son Marc is gone, Marc’s pregnant wife, Crystal is gone.
The unborn child Crystal was carrying, is gone. New York Times reported he lost 8 family members, but I say 9 because, unlike New York Times, I also count the unborn child Crystal was carrying among the victims.
Marc’s four children Noah, Emily, Megan and Greg – are also gone. Noah was only 18 months old. This is pure evil directly from Satan to whom Devin sold his soul.
Joe Holcombe, 86 year old elderly man, he lost 9 family members – children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and a great great grandchild. In an interview, Joe said, ‘We know where they are now. All of our family members, they’re all Christian. And it won’t be long until we’re with them” Please pray for Joe. I can’t even imagine the distress he is going through right now. In the midst of even hellish evil, God gives us the hope through His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Devin Kelley committed suicide. Everyone who betrays Jesus, will betray their own soul. Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus, and later committed suicide. Saul betrayed God, and later committed suicide. Devin Kelley betrayed Jesus, and committed suicide. But that is not the end of the story. Justice will be served when He stands before the Great White Throne on the Final Day of Judgement (Revelation 20). The books will be opened and he will be judged according to his works.
On his Facebook page (now deleted), Devin Kelley posted his favorite quotation. It comes from Mark Twain: “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it”. Nothing could be further from the truth. You have not been dead for billions and billions of years before you were born. Hebrews 9:27 explicitly states, ‘And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment’. This is the only one life you would ever get. Among others, one falsehood apostates developed in our time is karma and rebirth adopted from Hinduism. You are not coming back. Don’t be deceived by the belief in rebirth and reincarnation. You will be sorely disappointed.
Apostates abandon the truth of God and embrace doctrines of demons. Mark Twain did the same. I know you love The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain was a great writer but that does not absolve him of his hopeless apostasy. Countless atheists from grey haired professors to teenage boys and girls are quoting Mark Twain to support their unbelief.
Many biographers of Mark Twain wrote about his core beliefs. One biographer wrote, ‘he was an eloquent and outraged atheist’. Another wrote, ‘he never became a Christian’. Another wrote, ‘a man who entirely lacked religion’. Another wrote, ‘a blustering agnostic’. Another referred to him as ‘the great infidel’. Another described him, ‘He did not have even a grain of religious faith’. Another wrote, ‘He had a strong contempt for religion’.
Mark Twain was born in a Christian family. He went to church, went to sunday school, understood the central claims of Jesus and of the Bible. Around 1858, he read Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason voraciously. Later he read, Andrew White’s A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom (1896). This book gave rise to the big lie of our generation that God is against science. Mark Twain also fed this lie to himself when this book fell in his hands. Later he disbelieved in the divine inspiration of the Bible. More than any other teachings of the Bible, he detested the doctrine of hell and eternal punishment. Twain went through many personal tragedies like loss of his wife, children and financial disasters.
‘I have long ago lost my belief in immortality – also my interest in it…I have sampled this life and it is sufficient …Annihilation has no terrors for me, because I have already tried it before I was born…There was peace, a serenity, an absence of all sense of responsibility, an absence of worry, an absence of care, grief, perplexity; and the presence of deep content and unbroken satisfaction in that hundred million years of holiday which I look back upon with a tender longing and with a grateful desire to resume, when the opportunity comes’.
No one who believes in Lord Jesus Christ would say such things. Joe Holcombe who lost all 9 family members in less than 9 seconds is still talking about the hope, peace and security that comes only through Jesus. In the midst of that tragedy, he spoke about Jesus and heaven, not about tender longings about hundred million years of holidays in death.
Mark Twain was also one of the first Americans to accept Darwin’s theory of evolution and higher criticism, that is rejection of the divine inspiration of the Bible. Through his books,letters and articles, Twain left no doubt where he stood in matters of faith. In 1885, Mark Twain wrote to his former secretary Charles, “I have found….perfect peace…in absolute unbelief”.
We don’t have to pull Mark Twain into our believers group just because he was a great writer and public intellectual. S.T.Joshi in his book, The Unbelievers: The Evolution of Modern Atheism wrote, ‘With friends like Twain, religion doesn’t need any enemies’.
Mark Twain was particularly upset about the doctrine of hell. But remember, Christianity is not about smoke from hell, it is about a Savior from heaven. Gospel means evangelion, the good news. A good physician will tell you both bad news and good news. Let us say someone got hyperglycemic attack, fell down the stairs, taken to the hospital, the doctor comes to him and says, ‘You got a hyperglycemic attack this morning, your blood sugar is 900 mg/dl. If you reject our treatment you will go into coma and die. The good news is I can put an IV line, give you some insulin and IV fluids and save your life. You can go back to home in a couple of hours’.
Like a good physician who came from heaven, Jesus told us bad news about hell and also good news about heaven when we put our faith in Him.
It’s a tragedy that our generation adopting its beliefs about afterlife from quotations of Mark Twain like the killer of our story, Devin Kelly did. Devin bragged, ‘I don’t fear death’. That is the problem with our generation. They don’t believe in God, they don’t believe in hell, they don’t believe in heaven, they don’t believe in Satan. They will realize one day how wrong they were because reality does not depend on your pet beliefs. If you don’t fear death, you should fear at least God who has power to confine you in hell for an eternity. Jesus said, ‘Don’t fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell’
Let me conclude with six practical guidelines:
- Get saved: Don’t postpone your salvation. Tomorrow may never come. Many people say to themselves, ‘I will go to church, listen to the gospel, then when the preacher gives the invitation, I will go forward and receive Jesus as my personal Savior.’ The days are evil. No space is sacred in our generation, including the pews of a church. You should kneel down right now, wherever you are, and ask Jesus to come into your life as your Savior, Redeemer and Lord.
- Get up from Slumber: Many saved Christians are going through life like sleepwalking. The Enemy declared war long time ago and he has not stopped. We should get up from sleep and train ourselves as good soldiers of Christ.
- Get back to fundamentals: We should go back to the Bible, the inerrant and infallible Word of God. Many Christians exchanged human opinions for the Word of God. We should leave fallible human opinions and get back to the fundamentals of the Bible.
- Guard your Faith: The Enemy attacks your faith on a daily basis. Hebrews 3:12 warns us, ‘Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.’ So, always guard your faith.
- Gain strength from Christ: In American history a prominent word is frontier. The taming of the wild west was called subduing the frontier. John F Kennedy called his government a new frontier. For the Christians in our time, we have a daunting frontier : a wild west before us filled with the weeds of paganism, atheism and secularism. We need strength from Christ, otherwise we become like Dover Party, attacking each other rather than going after Satan.
- Go out and preach the gospel: Finally, don’t just play defense. Go on offense. Preach the gospel of Lord Jesus Christ.
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, our hearts are grieving as our brothers and sisters were horribly murdered at First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas. We pray that you comfort the grieving families in a way only you can do. Give us forgiveness, love and compassion to reach the lost souls of our generation with your precious saving gospel of the cross. You are the Way, the Truth and the Life. In your precious and comforting name we pray, Amen.
The Holy Bible
Mark Twain’s Religion, by William E. Phipps
The Portable Atheist, Essential Readings for the Non Believer, by Christopher Hitchens
The Unbelievers: The Evolution of Modern Atheism, by S.T.Joshi