The Church of God's Own Party

Inside the crazed gunman's target: Colorado megachurch Faith Bible Chapel, an outpost of fanatical support of Israel

Terrible tragedy over the weekend at the suburban Denver church Faith Bible Chapel, where two young missionaries-in-training were gunned down.

A very strange event at a very strange church, one of whose main missions is fanatical support of Israel. Pastor George Morrison is a self-confessed former dope dealer who claims that God personally saved him from a drug bust.

Read "God's Own Party," my May 1997 story in Westword, for deep background on the church — keep in mind that I wrote it a decade ago and that it also contains Colorado political stuff about powerful religious-right Republican pols who belonged to the church that you can feel free to skip over.

You won't find this background, which is not out of date, on the church anywhere else, so check it out. And listen to Morrison — a friendly, voluble huckster without the hard edge of more well-known pro-Israeli preacher John Hagee — tell his own story of salvation from drugs. Morrison's fun to listen to.

Israeli government envoys travel to Arvada to pay homage to these several thousand Christians who fly the Israeli flag behind the pulpit and even incorporate a bowdlerized version of Hebrew into their devotion to Jesus.

Their vocal support of Israel — the church has sent numerous groups there to celebrate the Jewish state — comes with a price for Jews that Israel's right-wing regime refuses to deal with in its desperate search for supporters. Faith Bible Chapel knows that Israel's continued existence is necessary for Biblical prophecy, that in the end a limited number of Jews will be converted to Jesus and the rest will perish during the Rapture.

So strong is the church on missionary work and conversion that I personally witnessed the pastor's wife, Cheryl Morrison, and other church members talking among themselves with glee before a Sunday service about how they were converting a young Jew to Christ and hiding him from his family.

Publicly, of course, the church denies that it proselytizes Jews, and it has gotten strong support even from influential Orthodox Jews in the Denver area. Go the church's website to see how much these Christians fawn over Jews. As the church points out, one of its missions is: "Love the Jewish people and the nation of Israel." Yeah, love us to death.

In any case, if you spent this past weekend in a cave, here's what happened yesterday, according to the Denver Post:

A man arrived at the door of Youth With a Mission, a missionary training facility across the road from the church in Arvada, and asked to spend the night in the dormitory. When Tiffany Johnson, a member of the staff, told him that wouldn't be possible, he opened fire with a handgun, shooting Johnson and three other staff members. Johnson and Philip Crouse died during surgery.

This came in the wake of a shooting in July at a nearby Burger King. And now this. The story added:

"There is no way to provide security against people like that. You can't live in an armed camp," said Betty Crosslen, 70.

If that's the case, why does the church so fervently support the armed camp that is today's Israel? To bring everyone in the world to Christ, obviously.


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