How can you say ‘Jesus won’ after a tragedy?

(Photo: Boulder police arrest Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 21, of Arvada. He is charged with 10 counts of murder in the first degree / Courtesy: Boulder, Colorado Police Department)

FLOYD ROGERS

A reporter talked to a man who survived the March 22, 2021 mass shooting at a Colorado grocery store. The witness, Neven Sloan, told the journalist something that may be hard for non-Christians to understand.

“Satan hasn’t won today,” he said.

“…Even though this evil thing has happened, Satan hasn’t won… Jesus has won,” he told the reporter.

How can someone say Jesus won when ten people died?

Well, if this life is temporary; if this life is our time of sorrow; if all pain is over and an eternity with God begins when this life ends, then death doesn’t mean that Satan has won. It only means our time here is done.

Scoffers see this as Satan’s win because they assume it’s the end, not the beginning.

Crimes against the church this week

These are some of the crimes against the church reported this week in North America. This is not intended to be an exhaustive report. It is only a sample of crimes reported by news agencies in Canada and the US over the past seven days.

Two off-duty officers in Manitoba were able to subdue a man who used profanities and flashed a gun to threaten worshipers at the Westside Community Church of Morden this past weekend. Witnesses said the man lifted his sweater, displayed a gun.  The off-duty were attending the service. They took the man into custody without any injuries.  Officers determined the man’s weapon was a fake. Dustin Warkentin, 32, is accused of weapon, assault and disturbance charges.

Investigators with the Powell County, Kentucky sheriff’s office are investigating thousands of dollars in damage caused by criminals who ransacked a church building. A sheriff’s office spokesperson said someone overturned pews, smashed holes in the walls and caused extensive damage to the sanctuary of the South Fork Church of God.  The vandal or vandals’ motive is not known.

The Knights of Columbus spent last weekend removing satanic graffiti from outside the church of St. Joseph in Washington, D.C. A vandal, or vandals, left an image of a pentagram, the word Lucifer, and some indistinguishable writing. Patrick Abbot, an officer in the Knights of Columbus, said the vandalism was like Satan’s empty promises in that they were easily washed away.

A man accused of setting a Florida church on fire last year is facing a federal hate crime’s charge.  A federal grand jury indictment was handed up Wednesday against Steven Shields, 24, of Dunnellon, Florida. A press release from the U.S. Justice Department says the indictment alleges that he was motivated to set the fire due to the religious character of the church.

Boston police are looking for a man who’s wanted in connection with two incidents of vandalism at Catholic churches in Dorchester and South Boston. Around 6:30 a.m. Monday an unknown substance was found on several doors at St. Teresa of Calcutta Church and St. John Paul II Catholic Academy in Dorchester. Two hours later officers were called to St. Augustine Church in South Boston where a similar substance was found on doors and a statue was toppled.

Fake accounts pretend to be Southern Gospel artists

STAFF REPORTS

Ivan Parker is the latest Southern Gospel singer to find that someone has set up a fake Facebook account in his name.  His real Facebook page shared a reminder on Thursday that one should always use caution on the social media site because imposters are so prevalent.

The Hoppers found similar accounts set up in their name back in December.

Editor’s note: The text below is from a previous story on fraudulent accounts. We are re-posting it here as a reminder.

It’s important to know the real addresses of your favorite group’s social media sites so you don’t fall prey to hucksters who hijack someone else’s good name for nefarious use.  Some imposters ask for cash. Some ask personal questions to get information they can use for identity fraud.  There are many reasons why you should be on guard against scammers who stoop to this.

Look to see if a page is verified. A blue checkmark should appear next to the name of the individual (or Gospel group) if Facebook has confirmed they are who they say they are.  Look at the screen shot of the real Hoppers Facebook page at the top of this article. Notice the blue check? Examine the name of any Facebook page closely; it’s not uncommon for a fake profile to have a wrong spelling or a name that is close but not exactly that of the page they are impersonating. Lastly, and probably most importantly, there’s nothing wrong with asking your kids or grandkids if they can tell if the page is legitimate. The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security reports seniors are often targeted. The younger generations live on the internet and can often spot the hucksters faster than we.  There’s no shame in asking your son or daughter to look at a page especially if you are planning on buying a CD or make a donation.

It’s important to know that an artist or Gospel Group is a victim too when their name is used by a scammer who is trying to dupe you.   The Gospel Group probably isn’t even aware the fraud is happening in their name.  Do some googling and find an artist’s website if you suspect a fake Facebook has set up in their name. Most websites have links to their actual social media pages where you can check for the blue verification checkmark. If a Facebook page turns out to be fake, let the real artist know so they can take appropriate action. Facebook also has instructions on how to report a fake page.  Here is the link.

Boston police seek man on video seen vandalizing Catholic churches

DAVID INGRAM

Boston police are looking for a man who’s wanted in connection with two incidents of vandalism at Catholic churches in Dorchester and South Boston.

Around 6:30 a.m. Monday an unknown substance was found on several doors at St. Teresa of Calcutta Church and St. John Paul II Catholic Academy in Dorchester. Two hours later officers were called to St. Augustine Church in South Boston where a similar substance was found on doors and a statue was toppled.

The Boston Police Department continues to review the facts and circumstances surrounding these incidents.

Texas Gospel Canada publishes reported acts of aggression against congregations in North America. An on-air weekly report is broadcast every Monday on our Southern Gospel stream.

Criminals trash Kentucky church building

DAVID INGRAM

Investigators with the Powell County, Kentucky sheriff’s office are investigating thousands of dollars in damage caused by criminals who ransacked a church building.

A sheriff’s office spokesperson said someone overturned pews, smashed holes in the walls and caused extensive damage to the South Fork Church of God building. The spokesperson described walking into the damaged sanctuary as, “devastating.” 

The vandal or vandals’ motive is not known.

Texas Gospel Canada publishes reported acts of aggression against congregations in North America. An on-air weekly report is broadcast every Monday on our Southern Gospel stream.

(Powell County Sheriff’s Office)