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TO HONOR AND BEHOLD

A Commentary on Two Teachers of the Gospel


        The witness of martydom for one's spiritual faith, while being prevalent among the millions of our saints throughout global history, is fairly rare in today's America. It happened on April 20, 1999, in Littleton, Colorado. Unfortunately, this person has not yet made the front page of any newspaper as far as I know, despite the rare demonstration of faith and courage. But she remains on the front page of many hearts.

        The following was emailed to me: Our pastor spoke on the Colorado tragedy on Sunday. He described one of the victims, Cassie Bernall. She was the 17 year old born-again Christian who was active in Bible study and church. The pastor called a church that is located near Columbine High School . They are usually closed on Saturdays, but all the secretaries just felt like they had to go in and be at church. Our pastor was told how the death of Cassie Bernall has brought many, many teens to Christ all over the Littleton area. The killer asked her if she believed in God, and she said,"yes", then she was shot to death. Her death has brought life to many.

        It would have been easier to lay low and say nothing, or, just mispresent the spiritual reality within herself. Indeed her physical death, like those of her millions of predecessors who both lived and died in the Name of God, inspires renewed life and encourages many to seek out and examine what Cassie Bernall had (and still has) within her.

        Another email from a different person reported: The patients in my hospice ministry all have a "death sentence." But a recent Bible study at this residence was so amazing. One young woman, "K," had just learned BAD NEWS, that if she doesn't go on medication she will die much faster than she will without it, but she doesn't want to take the medication. As "K" was saying she was sorry to hear BAD NEWS today, "B" started to quietly say under her breath, "no more bad news." She kept repeating it, getting louder and louder, and started rocking and weeping, loudly repeating "NO MORE BAD NEWS." She was quite a sight and we all jumped up to lay hands on her and pray for her. The group leader, "T," thought "B" meant that she had just heard bad news of her own and that she couldn't handle any more. "T" prayed in earnest for several minutes, while we all laid hands on "B," that she knew that whatever bad news "B" had heard was all in God's hands and that He loved her so much.

        When we were done, "B" was laughing like crazy! "B" said she truly didn't mind the prayer and the laying on of hands...but she exclaimed that what she REALLY meant by "no more bad news" is that it was impossible for her to ever hear bad news again since she is saved and knows the Good News! She had been moaning and rocking and weeping with joy!
"B" has been sentenced to death by a disease, but she rests assured in her salvation that she will live forever with our Lord! What an inspiration this brave young dying woman can be for the rest of us.

        The "Good News" (i.e. Gospel) transcends all else and is worthy of exploration and embracing. I honor these two teachers of the Gospel. And I honor the teachings and their gift of renewed life.

John S. Hilkevich, Ph.D.

April 27, 1999
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