It may challenge the theology of some. But Stephen Willeford, 55, said the Holy Spirit came upon him to help stop Devin Kelley the man responsible for killing 28 people at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas on Sunday, Nov 5, 2017
In an interview with Steven Crowder the day after the shooting, Willeford, a Christian, explained what happened.
After hearing shots being fired, Willeford who lives a block away, grabbed his AR-15 rifle and ran barefoot to find out what was going on.
When he arrived Kelley was leaving the church and Willeford ducked behind a truck parked in a neighbor’s driveway and the two began exchanging fire.
Willeford told Crowder:
“I’m a Christian, and I believe at that point, and maybe this sounds a little off to some of your viewers that aren’t Christians, [but] I believe the Holy Spirit was on me because I had the presence of mind to look at what was going on.”
During the shooting, Crowder noticed that Kelley was prepared for a fight and was wearing a tactical helmet and Kevlar bullet-proof body armor with plates front and back. He saw an opening along the side of Kelley’s body where the back and front sheets met and knew that is where he had to aim if he was going to take Kelley down.
In the midst of this gunfight, Willeford said:
“I can’t explain the clarity of mind that I had. I can’t explain it.”
Though 20 yards away, Crowder hit Kelley forcing the killer into his vehicle that he had left running for a fast escape. When Kelley took off, Crowder waived down the driver of a truck that was passing by and had witnessed the shootout. He explained to the driver Johnnie Langendorff what was happening and the two roared off in pursuit of Kelley.
During the high-speed chase, Kelley lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a ditch.
Langendorff phone in their location to the police and Crowder got out with gun in hand, crouched behind the truck, and waited for the police to arrive. Crowder had hit Kelley a couple of times, but in the end Kelley seems to have shot himself.
Police found other guns and ammunition in Kelley’s car indicating he may have had other plans. It is hard to say how many more people would have died, if Crowder hadn’t stepped in.
He said at the end:
“I was there when nobody else was there.”
Crowder admitted the confrontation has affected him and admits he will probably need counseling.
So would the Holy Spirit come upon someone enabling them to purposefully wound or even kill another person?
First let’s deal with the Ten Commandments. The King James reads:
13 Thou shalt not kill. (Exodus 10: 13 KJV)
Many of a more Liberal persuasion use this version that seems to suggest we are not to kill anyone as the basis for their argument opposing any kind of killing including capital punishment.
Like our English, the Hebrew language has two different words to describe killing, It had “harag” that refers to killing or taking a life and can include killing both humans and animals and “ratzach” that refers more specifically to murder, the illegal taking of a human life.
The King James Bible, that is still one of the more widely used versions today, didn’t get the translation wrong. When it was written in 1611, the word ‘kill’ at that time referred to murder. The word has changed over the last 500 years and today refers to simply taking a life of any kind and murder refers to the illegal taking of a human life.
The Hebrew word used in the Ten Commandments is “ratzah” that refers to murder, which is how the modernized New King James Bible now translates the verse:
13 “You shall not murder. (Exodus 10:13 NKV)
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We also have Old Testament examples of how the Holy Spirit fell upon people enabling them to fight their enemies. In Judges 14:19, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson allowing him to fight and kill Philistines.
Though not common, there were times the Holy Spirit fell upon people to enable victory in battle an unfortunate need in a fallen world.