The pulpits shook with thunder Sunday morning, and that earth tremor in Euless came from Metroplex Chapel.
“Revelation is not a book over which we may divide and conquer one another!” TV preacher James Robison stormed, joining both liberal and conservative pastors to denounce the murderous doomsday Christian sect of David Koresh.
“ … How is anybody mean enough to do what was done in Waco?” Robison demanded, stalking the Metroplex pulpit like Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson pacing a football sideline.
Seven mornings and 70 news bulletins after a bloody Sunday near Waco, Christian churchgoers came yesterday hoping for answers.
At three churches in Irving, Fort Worth and Euless, the answer was the same: There is nothing righteous about killing four federal officers and shooting another 16.
The words from Robison, Calvary Temple's L. Don George and First United Methodist's Barry Bailey were a relief, after a week of noisy call-in show blabber about the “satanic government” and police “invading a house of God.”
Only two days after a Metroplex Chapel guest sermon last weekend, anarchist pastor Randall Terry of Operation Rescue even told his radio audience: “It is time for Christians to rise up against the ATF (the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms).”
By week's end, renegades like the Rev. W.N. Otwell and the Libertarian Party had taken Koresh's side. Newspaper letters still read like Jim Rich's from Hurst: “The ATF needs to be charged with murder. . . . The cult was merely acting in self-defense.”
At Calvary Temple, a giant Irving church next door to a new Trinity Broadcasting Network studio, George said in yesterday's sermon: “Jesus Christ laid down his life for his followers. David Koresh laid down the lives of his followers for his own diabolical schemes.”
On KTVT/Channel 11 from Fort Worth's First United Methodist Church, Bailey went ballistic.
“There are sick pockets of religion all over — the fundamentalists, the sillier their beliefs, the more religious we think they are,” he told his congregation of 11,000, the largest Methodist church in the South.
“. . . We need to worship God and use the Bible rather than worship the Bible and use God. . . . Jesus was very down-to-earth, real, practical, loving. He held truth. We twist it into religion and corrupt it and make it sick.”
He discarded the doomsday prophecies Koresh reads in Revelation: “How will you feel if there is `blood up to the horses' necks' and Jesus comes back on a cloud and everybody dies but you? Could you love that God, a God like [German dictator Adolf] Hitler? I would go to hell defying a God who would abuse that power!”
He closed: “I have never enjoyed preaching more in my life than the chance to be with you here this morning.”
An hour later in Euless, Robison preached a vaguely similar loving message, telling of Christian atrocities in Bosnia and criticizing “ 'born-again' Christians who are mean as a snake . . . who gladly call you a liberal and a heretic, and would gladly exterminate you from the face of the earth.
“. . . Don't go preach to people, go love them,” Robison said.
“They don't need a sermon. They need to see somebody's love.”
Pick your sermon: evangelical, ecumenical, charismatic.
They all beat David Koresh's.