The Devil in Pew Number Seven
a true story by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo
I’m still processing…
Is it wisdom for a father to take his family out of harm’s way or rather is it radical faith to serve the lost, even “the enemy,” by laying down your life so another might live? If God protects, covering us with His wings, why must we be wounded by the fiery darts of the evil one? If no weapon formed against us will prosper, why can Satan’s attacks still cause physical, mental, and emotional harm?
Almost every chapter in the true story The Devil In Pew Number Seven presents these issues. Mr. Watts, the man sitting at the back of their church, hates Pastor Nichols and his ministry. He hates that the love and power of God is changing his community, usurping the control he once had over the church and small town of Sellerstown, North Carolina. He systematically attacks the Nichols family: the parents, the children, even their dog, sometimes personally with threatening phone calls after midnight, many times a night, many nights in a row. Other times he forces others to assist; he would make the plans and they would carry out the dynamiting, the shooting, the burning.
In the face of relentless evil, Pastor Nichols and his wife live each moment modeling these verses for their congregation and children: “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil” (Psalm 23); “Bless those who curse you; bless and do not curse” (Luke 6:28); “’…Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive Him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy time seven’” (Matt. 18:21-22).
And their children learned the lessons of their parents and their God well as evidenced by the last few chapters when, as guests on the Dr. Phil Show, they speak about the power of forgiveness. The challenge of living a life of forgiveness has produced a powerful testimony of God’s radical grace, radical parenting, and radical Kingdom-living.
If you think you can handle the rawness of the persecution depicted in this memoir, then read the book.
Let the process begin.