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Pastor calmly talks down Islamic terrorist threatening his church in Texas

A soft voice turns away anger

A soft voice turns away wrath.

Dressed in camouflage pants, a tactical vest, black t-shirt and camo boots, Rasheed Abdul Aziz, 40, showed up at Corinth Missionary Baptist Church in Lake Palestine, Texas the afternoon of Sunday September 13, 2015 asking to see the pastor.

The Tyler Morning Telegraph reported that though the morning service was over there were still several people in the building for an appreciation reception for the church’s worship team.

When Aziz came to the church asking for prayer, a deacon took him to meet Rev John D. Johnson III, 45, who was in a room with his son.

Johnson, a former parole officer, said the hair stood up on the back of his neck as soon as he saw Aziz. He knew there was trouble.

Almost immediately Aziz, who was armed with a gun but hadn’t pulled it, became aggressive.

He began yelling that he was a “man of Islam” and that God had sent him to kill any Christian and Jewish “infidels” who opposed Islam. Aziz also said he was being chased by demons.

Johnson said his previous training “kicked in.” He got between Aziz and the door in case he tried to move back into the main church area.

The pastor began calmly talking to Aziz asking him if he wanted a cool drink and invited him to sit down so they could talk. He offered to pray for Aziz.

Johnson said:

“I never gave him the power of feeling that he was in control, that I was frightened. I just continued to engage, but I was very cautious not to raise my voice or make any quick moves.”

The pastor then used an excuse to briefly leave the room and told his wife who was in the hall to evacuate the building. When everyone was safely out, Johnson decided to leave as well.

Soon after, Aziz left, but apparently came back later leaving a note at the church thanking everyone for their kindness.

Johnson said:

“I just think it’s by the grace and mercy of God, that we are not on the other side of history, the other side of tragedy.”

Aziz was later taken into custody by police and charges are pending.

It is so easy to gloss over verses in the Bible that give some very practical advice.

Take Proverbs 15:1, that speaks directly to this situation.

A gentle answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1 NASV)

It can apply not only to a deranged man threatening to kill people at a church, but even your children or spouse.

The Hebrew word “rak’ translated “gentle” means “soft or tender” and answering in such a way turns anger away.

Do conversations with your daughter turn into shouting matches? Then Proverbs says speak softly to her when she becomes aggressive.

If you respond the same way, your harsh words will instead “stir up anger” and cause the conversation to spiral out of control.

The Bible provides very practical advice, apparently the same advice given to professionals dealing with explosive situations.


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