He is wanting to go to a seminary.....

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Average Joey

Puritan Board Junior
http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1547686,00.html

Boy who started 'Columbine syndrome' freed at 21

Jamie Wilson in Washington
Friday August 12, 2005
The Guardian

Dressed in camouflage fatigues, the two boys waited in the woods behind the school until the lunch hour, when one of them ran into the hallway and triggered a fire alarm. As classmates and teachers filed out of the buildings Mitchell Johnson, 13, and Andrew Golden, 11, opened fire with high-powered rifles stolen from Golden's grandfather. By the time the last shot was fired four girls and an English teacher, who had attempted to shield the children from the barrage, were dead.

What happened in Jonesboro that day in 1998 awakened America to the terror of school shootings and left an indelible mark on the northeast Arkansas town that was yesterday trying to come to terms with the fact that one of the convicted murderers, Johnson, is due to walk free from prison. Golden is scheduled to be freed in 2007.
A now-closed legal loophole means the killers can only be held until their 21st birthdays, and with Johnson's birthday falling yesterday his expected release from a federal penitentiary in Memphis has re-opened old wounds in the town, with many residents questioning whether justice has been served in the case.

It has also drawn a sharp reaction from gun control campaigners, who criticised the fact that because Johnson was convicted as a minor his criminal record will be wiped clean and he will be allowed to buy a gun.

Whitney Irving, a student at Westside Middle School, was shot in the back but survived the attack. Although she has since graduated from high school, married and had a child, the attack remains a part of her everyday life.

"A lot of people are really scared to this very day and we have not forgotten anything," she told the Associated Press.

Mitchell Wright, whose wife Shannon was the teacher who was killed, said he has tried to explain Johnson's release to his son, who was two at the time of his mother's death.

"He's told me, 'I don't think it's right he gets to go home to his momma and I only get to see my momma on videos'," Mr Wright said.

The Jonesboro shooting was the first major schoolyard assault in which teenagers attacked their classmates.

Less than a year later 13 died, along with two young gunmen, at Columbine High School, Colorado, while in March this year 10 people were killed when a student opened fire at a school on a native American reservation in northern Minnesota before turning the gun on himself.

Dale Haas, the sheriff at the time of the shootings and now a judge in the town, believes Johnson and his accomplice are getting off too lightly. "We forget what they had done," he told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. "They killed somebody with malice ... Would you really want them as your neighbours?"

Kenneth Heard, a reporter who covered the shooting and the trial, said: "This town is hurting. It is bringing back a whole load of bad memories for a lot of people."

Johnson's mother, Gretchen Woodard, said her son would not be moving back to Arkansas; instead he would enroll in college - possibly a seminary - at least a day's drive away.

Jonesboro's sheriff, Jack McCann, told CNN yesterday that if Johnson returned to the town "we cannot guarantee his safety".


It was mentioned on Fox News earlier that he is wanting to go into the ministry.

[Edited on 8-12-2005 by Average Joey]
 

alwaysreforming

Puritan Board Sophomore
If he wants to "serve the Lord" he can do it by being a humble servant and perform lowly tasks anonymously for those in need.

For him to aspire to a position of prominance, persuation, and authority is nothing short of an outrage.
 

Authorised

Puritan Board Freshman
This is a strange situation. Had we lived in a better society, he would have been executed (as should have been done). I'm wondering how he assimilates himself back into society, if that is possible.

Do you think that perhaps he could claim that he is as Paul, who was a murderer called to apostleship?
 

Average Joey

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Authorised
This is a strange situation. Had we lived in a better society, he would have been executed (as should have been done). I'm wondering how he assimilates himself back into society, if that is possible.

Do you think that perhaps he could claim that he is as Paul, who was a murderer called to apostleship?

He certainly better!Maybe he should go into the missionary work.

Of course only if he is called.

[Edited on 8-12-2005 by Average Joey]
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
It is possible. As warped as it sounds...we honestly can't say where this guy's heart is. Hopefully with a humbled heart, seminary might be good for him.
 

Anton Bruckner

Puritan Board Professor
Originally posted by alwaysreforming
If he wants to "serve the Lord" he can do it by being a humble servant and perform lowly tasks anonymously for those in need.

For him to aspire to a position of prominance, persuation, and authority is nothing short of an outrage.
While my sympathy goes out for the victims, if God choose this young man to be a vessel of honor according to His mercies, so be it. No one should put any preconceive constraints on the grace and mercy of God. Paul is the prime example.

I can see nothing better for this young man than for God to use him in His service.

[Edited on 8-12-2005 by Slippery]
 

Average Joey

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by turmeric
Maybe prison ministry...

It would have been best that he stayed then.But then again,his release was not his doing.Maybe he can break the law again and go back.:D

[Edited on 8-13-2005 by Average Joey]
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
I heard an interview tonight on Fox news. They interviewed the husband of the teacher that was killed. Its hard to believe that, had the federal government not stepped in, the shooter may have been let out when he turned 18 instead of 21. 21's bad enough, but can you imagine if he had gotten out at 18?
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
Originally posted by LadyFlynt
Let's have a little grace, please. His actions will be with him the rest of his life.
...and, unfortunately, the lives of the families and friends of the victims.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
I do ministry at a prison. I know one of the inmates who is going to go to seminary when he gets out in a couple of years. If God leads him to that, then so be it. We are all sinners, many of us serve in ministerial positions, if God can change us, he can change others too (obviously, we are reformed). Grace!
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
I wasn't making light of what he did and I also believe that his sentence didn't fit his crime...however, I found the quote below uncalled for.

Maybe he can break the law again and go back.:D

And there are excons that DO go back and work with both troubled teens and those in prison. How many of us have had major or minor issues and used that to help someone else in our former spot?
 

alwaysreforming

Puritan Board Sophomore
The thing is, Colleen, that when a person like this wants to "go into the ministry", there are certain steps to be taken first.

Numero uno: become a Christian and make every amend/restitution possible to his poor victims

Number two: begin to serve Christ in low levels under the authority and guidance of a local church

Number three: be recognized by those responsible for his soul as being a man truly repentent of his past life (as evidenced by his humble service and devotion to Christ), and having a gifting uncommon to the rest of his brothers so that he should above all have further training to enhance those gifts

THEN: he may decide that his own personal "call" coincides with the call of his church and get recommended to pursue education at a seminary.

While the above are not hard and fast rules, it is a far cry from:

"Hmmmm....I feel a bit confused in life... what shall I do? Maybe God... well, I guess that could be cool. Maybe I should go to seminary or something, then I can be a pastor. That sounds pretty good I guess."

I may have exaggerated for contrast sake, but the principle stands: one should be "called" into the ministry, not take such a role on by themselves. The fact that he is a notorious, grievious murderer only raises the burden of proof that much higher that his call is a true one.

I have done things in my past which prevents me from being "blameless" as a pastor is called to be. Because of that, I've had to forsake the privilege of going into ministry because I don't meet the qualifications for an elder/pastor. Neither does this guy, and he PROBABLY never will. But if he does, let it be proven, and that over a good course of time.

I'm all for grace, even the vilest of sinners can become Christians. But to become a "pastor", that's a role he should never take upon himself, unless he is absolutely COMPELLED by the Holy Spirit (through his local church's leadership). He is simply too ripe for self-deception and delusion for it not to be this way.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
I don't think it matters whether or not the serice of time (punishment) fit the crime or not. Especially for the thenomists here, the government handles those kind of punishments. Here, our government handed out such and such a punishment. It was ordained by God. If you got a problem with someone's punishment, and them being able to serve God or not, then I'd say you have a problem.
 

BrianBowman

Posting Priviledges Revoked
I have done things in my past which prevents me from being "blameless" as a pastor is called to be. Because of that, I've had to forsake the privilege of going into ministry because I don't meet the qualifications for an elder/pastor.

By this logic would not the Apostle Paul (and probably Peter too) be disqualified from office?

Numero uno: become a Christian and make every amend/restitution possible to his poor victims

Number two: begin to serve Christ in low levels under the authority and guidance of a local church

Number three: be recognized by those responsible for his soul as being a man truly repentent of his past life (as evidenced by his humble service and devotion to Christ), and having a gifting uncommon to the rest of his brothers so that he should above all have further training to enhance those gifts

AMEN, AMEN to all of these!!

[Edited on 8-13-2005 by BrianBowman]
 

alwaysreforming

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by Romans922
I don't think it matters whether or not the serice of time (punishment) fit the crime or not. Especially for the thenomists here, the government handles those kind of punishments. Here, our government handed out such and such a punishment. It was ordained by God. If you got a problem with someone's punishment, and them being able to serve God or not, then I'd say you have a problem.

You may be right about that, brother. I'm willing to consider that possiblilty. Thank you for your input.


Also, I think we need to be careful about the Apostle Paul analogy and here's why:
Paul was doing what he was doing out of a zeal for God. After all, all this stuff about "Jesus" was outlandish, and an outrage to his sensibilities. He was a "righteous", religious man who followed God with every ounce of energy and zeal he had. He was, according to the Law, blameless. Didn't he also say that God had mercy on him because what he did was out of ignorance? He was at his conversion, not only given a responsible position, but one perhaps unparalled by any other earthly man. This unusual experience, I don't think, should in any way be used as our model today; and should it be, let us also remember all that Paul had to suffer as a result of his ministry. He did not simply get held up on a platform as a celebrity and retire to a life of ease and comfort as a "speaker".

We need to be careful when unstable, sociopathic, violent men rush into positions of being responsible for the souls of others. Again, this is not a blanket policy, just the norms. And we should expect this kid to follow the norms.
 

BrianBowman

Posting Priviledges Revoked
I don't remember all of the details of the Jonesboro case, but I seem to recollect that Mitchell Johnson was not from the best family situation and I don't think he had the nuture of a strong, Godly father in his home. Of course this does not excuse his violent, godless behavior, for the vast majority of adolescents from similar difficult family backgrounds do not commit such violent crimes. However, it could also be argued that Mitchell may have never committed these atrocities had he been subjected to the nurture, love, and discipline of mature, Godly parents, who possess Covenantal Christian values.

Let us all pray for God's mercy on Mitchell Johnson and that he would embrace the humility of Christ's cross to serve, in whatever way possible, the surviving victims of his crime and the families of those whom he murdered.

Perhaps God's in His infinite mercy would enlist Mitchell to evenually lead a revival of Godliness and respect for authority amoung America's youth!

[Edited on 8-13-2005 by BrianBowman]
 

alwaysreforming

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by BrianBowman
I don't remember all of the details of the Jonesboro case, but I seem to recollect that Mitchell Johnson was not from the best family situation and I don't think he had the nuture of a strong, Godly father in his home. Of course this does not excuse his violent, godless behavior, for the vast majority of adolescents from similar difficult family backgrounds do not commit such violent crimes. However, it could also be argued that Mitchell may have never committed these atrocities had he been subjected to the nurture, love, and discipline of mature, Godly parents, who possess Covenantal Christian values.

Let us all pray for God's mercy on Mitchell Johnson and that he would embrace the humility of Christ's cross to serve, in whatever way possible, the surviving victims of his crime and the families of those whom he murdered.

Perhaps God's in His infinite mercy would enlist Mitchell to evenually lead a revival of Godliness and respect for authority amoung America's youth!

[Edited on 8-13-2005 by BrianBowman]

I agree wholeheartedly, Brian! The evil that I've commited in my life is probably deserving of a more severe judgment than this kid's, simply because I had many advantages in life which I squandered and used for ill purposes. I can't imagine what I would have been like (or still be) if I would have had the lot that was dealt to this young man.

May God have mercy upon him!
 

Average Joey

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by LadyFlynt
I wasn't making light of what he did and I also believe that his sentence didn't fit his crime...however, I found the quote below uncalled for.

Maybe he can break the law again and go back.:D

And there are excons that DO go back and work with both troubled teens and those in prison. How many of us have had major or minor issues and used that to help someone else in our former spot?

This totally shocked me.It was just a joke.
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
I've not followed the story since the sentencing - has anybody read anything about the boy's conversion?

I got to thinking about the broad range of Christian churches/seminaries in America and the mom's comment about the boy perhaps wanting to go to seminary. On the PB, when we hear the word seminary, we might think he's considering going to Whitefield or RTS or something along those lines. A catholic would think differently when they hear the word - a few miles from my house is the Pope John XXIII National Seminary.
 

BrianBowman

Posting Priviledges Revoked
Originally posted by blhowes
Interesting

Yes, this is VERY interesting. In no way do I wish to disparage Christians of Pentecostal stripe. However, in my own experience, both growing up in a small mid-western town (not dissimilar from Jonesboro) and as an adult in Pentecostal/Charismatic churches, the outward expressions/heartcrys desribed in this article are not that same as consistent, Godly parenting within a Christian Community rooted in the CoG.

Cearly Mitchell was not delivered from the evils in his soul by the ministry he sought just prior to his murderous spree. If I recollect correctly, accounts from neighbors, etc. of Mitchell's life from ages 12-13 described a deeply disturbed young lad who was cruel to animals, knowlegeable with firearms, and "real demented" in behavior.

As one who spent time in "Bus Ministry" to kids with backgrounds similar to Mitchell's, I can attest that behaviors can be dramatically different between the Bus/Church door and "the hood".
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
Joe: Sorry, but I didn't see the humor in it...could be just me, but I thought it was it was terrible whether or not it was meant as a joke.

Christopher: Can this young man EVER make restitution and how? Would the families even allow for it? He is not even capable of entering the town that he once lived in.
I know many that go into seminary and never become a pastor/elder. There are many other areas of ministry he could be used in. There are even those that go simply for their own personal benefit. I don't believe he should be banned from seminary.
We also don't know if he is or isn't under church authority. Hopefully he is. I think it would be safer to presume that he is given his circumstance. Something put it in his mind.
Also, you can't prove that there wasn't a conversion.

It's actually nice to see these points brought up, Christopher...thanks. These are questions that beg to be asked and we can't say that he hasn't attempted to follow through with them.
 
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