Jenna Ellis, a former Trump attorney and current media firebrand, is a founding member of the Let ‘Er Rip and Let It Fly Academy. The latest shooting of her occurred on her video podcast, during which she, while arguing with a conservative black pastor Juan Amanchukwumade the following comment about November 20the shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, that left five clubgoers dead.
.@JennaEllisEsq in the Club Q shooting. The “people killed in the disco that night, there is no evidence/that they were Christians. Assuming they have not accepted the truth/affirmed Christ as the lord of his life, they are now reaping the consequences of eternal damnation.” pic.twitter.com/dQH7uAbnKJ
— Andrew Kimmel (@andrewkimmel) November 23, 2022
Talk about going there.
Multiple angles here, none of them too angelic. First, when it comes to matters related to God, pay no attention to the taunts of the wicked. Continuing, if one believes that the Bible is the infallible Word of God, there is nothing inaccurate at least in the last part of Ellis’s statement. If there is no separation between perfect God and imperfect man, such separation being a sin, then Christ’s coming to earth and his death on the cross was an exercise in meaninglessness since his death and subsequent resurrection were not they were of no use. There is a penalty for sin. There needs to be repentance to accompany forgiveness. Repentance, unless your sin nature is one and done (*snortyeahright*), is an ongoing process. We are humans. Humans fail. Humans need ever greater contact with the living God like us, to quote pablowork out our salvation with fear and trembling. As the hymn sayswe need it every hour.
Where things get shaky is Ellis’s claim that there was no evidence of faith in Christ in the lives of the victims. On the surface, it’s easy to assume that people who hang out at an LGBQT+ club on Saturday night probably won’t be at church the next morning. On the other hand, not everyone in the church is a Christian either, or if in the church (again quoting paul), is behaving in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ. Many talk just to talk, but do not walk on the road. Others have strayed, but their hearts remain in Christ while their head pushes them into sin. Even in the face of solid evidence, if we have a genuine love for people and care about their eternal destiny, we should preach God’s Word and live out its dictates to the best of our ability. Strengthened by the Holy Spirit who lives in us, we must remember that we do not know the work of God or the place it occupies in the life of another person.
Only God knows the heart. The fact that he knows our hearts and yet he died for us proves his love. Even in the literal Old Testament days of fire and brimstone, hey said, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It is not that God blows sin. His Word is clear about what is and is not permissible in his sight. Having said this, he demands that it be affirmed that only He is our arbitrator, and only Christ is our mediator Who died so that in Him we may be declared worthy of eternal life in His presence.
Being a (ahem) slightly older, the subject reminds me of musician and Christian minister Oden Fong’s 1979 album “come for the children.” The late Rick Griffin’s striking album cover shows the hooded head of Jesus as he gazes into a valley of blood. It was Griffin’s depiction of the Battle of Armageddon. It’s not exactly your average worship album stuff, but “Come For The Children” isn’t your warm, fuzzy, all-feeling stuff.
It should be noted that Fong was and is a product of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa in the 1970s, where the late chucksmith he shepherded a flock of young Jesus completely separate from the traditional parishioners, with hippie hair, clothes and music. Smith firmly believed that the second coming of Christ was imminent. Therefore, he placed tremendous emphasis on evangelism so that as many people as possible would come to know Christ as Lord and Savior before his return. This was evidenced with the Maranatha! Church-created record label, home to artists like Fong and his band Mustard Seed Faith, with its then-impactful embrace of today’s music bringing an evangelical lyrical message. Smith also believed in an intensely literal interpretation of the prophetic Scriptures, most notably the Book of Revelation. Its terrifying depiction of the coming of the Antichrist and God’s apocalyptic judgment on the earth and its inhabitants who rejected him tied to the fuel that fed Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. The fruit of the church and the record labels came from being bold, direct and, if necessary, brutal in telling others what they believed would soon happen.
Ellis’s comments aside for the moment, we focus on the aforementioned album before heading back. Musically, “Come For The Children” defies easy categorization. It contains elements of the first generation of arena rock (Boston, Foreigner, leaning toward the latter), but has an anthemic style that its contemporaries never quite caught up with. Part of this is due to producer Jonathan David Brown’s lush, no-nonsense style. The main contributor is that Fong was clearly uninterested in creating something that would fit in with the overwhelming majority of contemporary Christian music at the time, a landscape dominated by overly soft pop. “Come For The Children” is unabashedly purposeful art, a work in which the music is of the highest quality and serves as a vehicle for Fong’s message. And oh, what a message.
It should come as no surprise that the title song to “Come For The Children” does not hide the fact that at the Second Coming, not everyone will go to heaven. There is hell and judgment, and those who will proclaim ‘only God can judge me’ will, no doubt to his surprise, discover that he has not only reserved the right to do so but will do the same.
The album isn’t all fire and brimstone. Fong addresses the loneliness of life without Christ, as well as the joys and struggles of following him. A thread of tenderness is woven throughout “Come For The Children,” a fervent appeal to both the saved and the unsaved. Fong is not using his Bible to bash people over the head, but is speaking of it as the Word of life, the model of a genuine desire for all to be saved. Nobody makes music like this nowadays. Few, even from the most ardent pulpits, preach with such unflappable honesty. “Come For The Children” was and is a true masterpiece; a vital part of Christian rock history that remains vibrant after all these years.
Going back to Ellis’s comments. Those who cling to her couches to swoon over what she said are Biblically ignorant. With that said, she could have said, “I pray that God will have mercy on them,” and left it at that. Sometimes a blackjack is needed. However, she is advised above all to preach Christ crucified and risen, reconciling the living with Him. He is the only one who judges the dead. It will be our turn for that very soon. Call ourselves and others to repentance? Definitely. But not at the expense of calling ourselves and others to rejoice in Jesus.