10/01/2017

The Devil's Biggest Lie - Part II


Click HERE for Part I


As we approached the church, I got a sense of something of which I had never felt before.  The feeling I had the previous day was not of this nature.  It was now a sense of impending doom, of something so evil I could not imagine it in my mind.  In the 50 years after this event in my life, and until my retirement at age 73, I have never felt the same evil and hate as I did that day as we approached the church.  The church itself seemed sinister and menacing.  That is the not the way a church of Jesus Christ is supposed to be.  Deacon Somerby hesitated as we approached the door to the church.  "Pastor, I urge you to take your handkerchief and hold it over your nose.  You'll see why as we enter," said the deacon.  I ignored his advice and entered the church.  I immediately gagged.  It was the smell of sulfur.  That's the smell of rotten eggs to the less informed.  Except this seemed much stronger.  "Where is the smell coming from, Deacon Somerby?  How can we expect our congregation to show up with our church smelling like this?" I asked.  "Pastor, the women of the church have used every known cleaning solution known to man to try and get that smell out.  I mean we have used cleaning solutions on the ceiling, the walls and the floors.  We cleaned the pews with ammonia thinking that would kill the smell.  Nothing had any effect to this smell.  In my opinion, this is not something of this natural earth that is causing this smell and the problems we are currently having in the church as I have already related to you," the deacon quietly said.  He seemed very ill at ease as we spoke in the church.  "Regardless, we have to find out the cause and find a way to get rid of it.  That is my first order of business," I replied. Pastor, I know you may think I'm old and senile.  But, it is my opinion, this is of the devil.  There can be no other reason for this.  I know the devil does not have dominion over the church of Jesus Christ.  But, there is a reason why this has happened.  I'm not smart enough to understand why or how this happened.  But, we have to start seeking answers from the Holy Bible.  It is our only hope, our only way out of this evil taking over our church," the deacon said.  I was very pleased that Deacon Somerby was now reaching out to the Bible for answers.  That was quite a change from the previous day.

I assured Deacon Somerby we would find the answers to this in the Bible if indeed it is a supernatural entity that was causing this.  I was feeling this whole problem could be of the Devil also.  But, before I got to that point, I wanted to make sure we eliminated all possibilities of the smell by natural means.  We could then concentrate on the supernatural possibility.  For all I knew, the smell is what was causing the congregation to rebel against the Gospel.  The deacon took me to the area where the church secretary was working.  She had some sort of petroleum jelly under her nose to mask the smell.  It was overpowering where the church pews were located.  But, at least in the pastor's office, it was not as bad.  I asked if there was a janitorial service nearby that we could employ.  I was informed they had hired two different janitorial services with mixed results.  The smell always came back.  Based on this, I had to entertain the idea this was of an evil entity.  But, since my early days in Sunday School to my graduation in Seminary, the Devil had no dominion over the House of God.  None.  I contacted two school pastors about this by phone.  Both said it was impossible that any evil entity could have made itself home in the church of Jesus Christ.  One pastor did tell me that if an evil entity was invited to the church, it could make itself known under false pretenses for a short time. In other words, heed what is in 2 Corinthians 11:14....And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

 In other words, the entity could be a wolf in sheep's clothing or a possessed human under the influence of evil.  Even that is unheard of by anyone currently teaching the Word of God. I asked Deacon Somerby had anyone from the church been there in an official capacity before the problems had begun. He said there had been none.  I decided the only way to get this whole thing in the open was have an official meeting of the congregation on a Wednesday night meeting.  There I would commence a new blessing of the church and pray for the souls of everyone in the church.  If such evil does exist in the church, then the evil will make itself known at that time.  Deacon Somerby stated, "This will not go over well with the congregation, pastor.  We already have people who are openly ridiculing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who question the virgin birth.  This will only invite more discord among the congregation."  "Then discord it shall be.  I intend to root out any evil that may have taken hold in this congregation, one way or another," I said.  The deacon continued to be troubled by this.  "I ask you to reconsider, Pastor Turner.  If indeed there is a demon or demons within the membership, then it will leave shortly with your arrival," Deacon Somerby stated.  Nonetheless, I insisted upon the meeting.  The deacon reluctantly agreed.  I was a bit puzzled by his reluctance.

On the Wednesday night meeting, regular church was canceled.  It was made known to everyone of what the subject would be that night.  I instructed the church secretary to make note of everyone who was a member that was not present.  It had begun to snow that night, of all nights.  Temperatures were in the mid-twenties. I was fearful if the majority would even show up.  At 7 PM, we had a full house.  The church secretary, Mrs. Lancaster, strangely enough, was nowhere to be found.  I started my sermon by introducing myself to the membership.  After introductions, I got down to business. "I've been told, quite to my amazement, we have members who question the very foundation of Christian principals.  The very idea we have members who question whether Jesus Christ was resurrected or...."  "It's all hogwash, pastor!  Jesus is as dead as Adolf Hitler.  Of course, Hitler actually existed at one time.  Can we say the same for Biblical Jesus?"  said one menacing looking member.  That started the uproar at that point.  People were taking their bibles and actually throwing them at the pulpit, cursing me and mocking me.  I won't go into all that was said as the years have blurred everything said that awful night.  I was in a state of shock.  My first talk with my congregation and I'm having bibles thrown at me from the pews!  Amazingly, Deacon Somerby, who should have been trying to calm everyone down, was smiling.  I was completely dumbfounded now.  What was going on?  Were all these people, including the deacon, possessed by an evil spirit?  It appears at least one-third of the church was screaming and threatening me and the other two-thirds were either crying, trying to leave or threatening the other one-third.

With the one-third reaching a crescendo with their blasphemous ridicule and threats, I began to read the Bible.  I read from Psalm 23"The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not want...." "YOU WANT NOTHING BECAUSE YOU HAVE NOTHING, YOU FOOL!" shouted one voice of evil.  "He Maketh me lie down in green pastures, he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake...."  "STOP THIS NONSENSE, CROSS WORSHIPPER OR WE WILL CRUCIFY YOU TO THE FRONT DOOR OF THIS CHURCH," said a voice that I remotely recognized.  It was the frail, elderly church secretary, Mrs. Lancaster.  She was directly behind me and she suddenly didn't seem so frail to me any longer.  The vulgarities, cursing, and threats were now making their way toward the pulpit where I stood.  Deacon Somerby was leading the charge of clearly one-third of the congregation.  At this time, I quickly read the crucial part of Psalm 23, the one line that I wore as my protection throughout my life. I shouted this as loudly as I could.   "YEA, THOUGH I WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH, I WILL FEAR NO EVIL, FOR THOU ART WITH ME!!!!!" I screamed at the evil before me and behind me.  At this time, the evil contingent stopped in their tracks.  Deacon Somerby shouted something to me I later figured out was Latin.  "Juxta condictum revertar Nos autem crucis cultorque sum. Nos non prohibere!" "IN JESUS NAME, I COMMAND YOU TO RETURN TO YOUR DOMAIN OF HELL AND BRIMSTONE, NEVER TO RETURN! IN JESUS NAME!!"  I screamed to the menacing horde less than 10 feet from me at the pulpit.  With that, the roaring and screaming evil part of our congregation, suddenly and with amazing speed, knocked down our two-inch thick oak door and ran off into the cold, snowy darkness of the night.   The members that were possessed (or perhaps silent soldiers waiting for the word from their evil master) never returned.  They are still listed as missing from the local authorities.  Make of that what you will. The crying, screaming of the remaining two-thirds of the church was left in stunned disbelief.  They were not alone in feeling shocked.  The two people I had grown to trust most, Deacon Somerby and Church Secretary Mrs. Lancaster were among the group who raced out of the church.  We all remained in the church for approximately another hour before we all silently walked out what was once our front door.  Two elders, including Mr. Hurley,  helped me put up a curtain backed with church pews to keep out snow and the cold.

Despite what the evil demon of Deacon Somerby stated in Latin, they never did come back as they threatened.  I never felt any evil in this church for the remainder of the time I was the pastor.  Nor did I feel any evil presence at any other church of which I was appointed pastor.  But, I did have questions for School Proctor, Pastor Morely.  Surely, he had knowledge of the problems of this church, knowledge that could have helped me prepare for what I faced that night so long ago.  As soon as I could the next morning, I made a phone call to Pastor Morely.  His secretary stated he had told the school administrator he had to leave suddenly for a sick relative.  To this day, some fifty years later, Pastor Morely has not been heard from again.  I'm pretty sure I know why.  And, I am pretty sure I know who his "sick relative" was now.

As I stated, I never felt any type of evil presence in church since that incredible cold night in November of 1959.  But, I will repeat what Deacon Somerby stated in Latin, "We will not stop."  Evil never stops, never relents.  Outside of church, I see a sudden, brief evil in my rear view mirror of my car, a brief instant of evil at the checkout counter at a department store.  The Devil has time.  He has the biggest lie on his side. of him not existing.  He has patience.  He is doomed with the one-third of angels kicked out of Heaven to live forever in fiery depths of Hell.  I thank God for His protection all these years.

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