During my lifetime, I have heard of only a few incidents involving the beheadings of people. They have always taken place in foreign countries, and they have usually been executed by radical Muslims. That has changed drastically in recent months as the beheadings of Americans by the terrorist group ISIS has become well known.
On Sept. 21, the head of ISIS called on Muslims around the world to randomly behead innocent people. Tragically only a week later, a 54-year-old woman was beheaded at Vaughan Foods in Moore, Oklahoma. This horrible tragedy shows us that the genuine threat of radical Muslims in this country is imminent. It is not something that only people in Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan need to be concerned with. If it can happen in quiet Moore, Oklahoma, it can happen anywhere.
It's incredible to me that some in the politically correct crowd refer to this as workplace violence. The man charged with this horrific crime, Alton Nolen, 30—a recent convert to Islam who had been yelling Islamic slogans and posting tirades on his website—evoked the idea of more than a simple scene of workplace violence.
On a recent business trip to Oklahoma City, I visited my friend Steven Earp, a pastor in Moore, Oklahoma, and asked if it would be possible to drive by Vaughan Foods. It was quiet that day, and everything looked like a normal workday. But to think that the beheading of the woman took place only eight days prior—a incident that caused a firestorm among the national media—made it seem very surreal. The secondary photo accompanying this story shows me posing with Steven by the street where a small memorial had been placed by well wishers. You can click on the video above to hear Steven's thoughts on the tragic incident.
In the next issue of Charisma, we focus on spiritual warfare. An article by John Eckhardt talks about the "behemoth spirit." Eckhardt, overseer of Crusaders Ministries in Chicago, explains that behemoths are spiritual strongholds that must be broken in order to see millions of people released from darkness and come into the glorious light of the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
A behemoth is any system large enough in size or power to oppress multitudes of people," Eckhardt explains. "It can be a religious, political, cultural or economic system—and even a blend of those, as in the case with communism. Behemoths are erected by the enemy to keep the gospel out and multitudes of people in darkness."
As Jennifer LeClaire, our news editor, wrote in a recent column, it's abundantly clear that the behemoth of Islam is rising.
"Iraqi Christians are facing extinction as leaders of this demonic movement gain momentum in a holy war that aims to establish a caliphate (an Islamic-ruled state) led by a religious and political leader (caliph) who is a successor to the Islamic prophet Muhammad," she writes. "Whether you call it ISIS, ISIL or the Islamic State, the behemoth of Islam and its radical jihadist adherents are releasing heart-gripping fear through propaganda and beheadings of men, women and children in a quest to dominate the nations of the Earth."
Examples of this are the spiritual forces of evil—in the form of radical Islam—that have been unleashed mainly in the Middle East but also have invaded our country.
We need believers everywhere to pray that God will overcome this spirit before there are similar tragedies.
Steve Strang is the founding editor and publisher of Charisma. Follow him on Twitter @sstrang or Facebook (stephenestrang).