Worshippers mourn after the shooting of nine at the Charleston A.M.E. church.

 “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people.” (II Timothy 3:1-5)

The above words were written by the apostle Paul 2000 years ago. How appropriate for our day! There was something so awful about the slaughter of nine people in a church Bible study setting in the Metropolitan AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Our nation was stunned and shocked by this wickedness. How could a crime like that happen? How is it that Dylann Roof was attracted to and bought into the ideas of hatred and enmity of blacks? Whatever knowledge he had of God or the Bible was slight or non-existent. Whether he was conscious of it or not, Dylann Roof was rebelling against God. The response of the friends and relatives of those who were killed was heart-wrenching and amazing! In them, we see the spirit of Christ, which Dylann knew nothing of.

By the way, his behavior does not prove that prejudice against blacks is endemic in the USA. A Gallup Pole published today asked Americans whom they would be willing to vote for, and whom they would not be willing to vote for. 92% said that they would be willing to vote for a black; 7% said they would not. 81% said they would vote for a Mormon; 47% said they would consider voting for a socialist. It is unfortunate that some use incidents like this to exhibit their own misunderstandings and prejudices.

The training of children in the home has always been vital to the larger society. We have too many broken marriages; too many households without a father. In the end, what we are seeing is the manifestation of the powers of evil. But we should avoid making things easy for the devil. Thirty-five years ago we began removing the Ten Commandments from schools and public buildings. What have we put in place of those commandments? Do your own thing. You are not accountable to anyone but yourself. Seek pleasure. Live life the way that you want to.

We need to reckon with the fact that we are sinful people. We need guidelines. We need the right kind of rules for us to obey. It is not enough for us to ‘wing it’. Either our governments have to keep making more and more and more laws, to contain our inclinations for wrong. Or we believe the Bible; study the Bible and seek to obey it. Remember the words of Jesus:

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28,29)

It is better to follow Jesus, than not to. We have a choice.

Foster H. Shannon
More about Foster…
Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth. The Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA until recently, he is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. As the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, established in 1981, he publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences.
The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com.
He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.