(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares. -Romans 2:14-16
Monday, December 31, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
We are accustomed to seeing Evangelicals and Roman Catholics praying together outside abortion clinics and working together for pro-life legislation. But we don't think about a less pleasant ecumenism: Catholics and Evangelicals waiting together in the lobby of an abortion facility.
A front-page article in the New York Times last September featured an inside look at the daily workings of an abortion clinic in Little Rock. The piece communicated the calloused yet tortured consciences of the women involved. They don't wish to be seen, or to make contact with others in the waiting room. Even more striking, though, are their religious commitments.
One Baptist college student, having her third abortion, is quoted in the article saying: "My religion is against it. In a way I feel I'm doing wrong, but you can be forgiven. I blame myself. I feel I shouldn't have sex at all."
"I've done this once and swore I wouldn't do it again," said a woman named Regina. "Every woman has second thoughts, especially because I'm Catholic." Regina noted that she went to confession. "The priest didn't hound me," she reported. "He said, 'People make mistakes.'"
The facility's operating room supervisor, Ebony, whom the article chillingly describes as rinsing "the blood off aborted tissues," could understand Regina's story. Ebony, too, has had an abortion. "As a Baptist, she still considered abortion a sin, but so are a lot of things we all do, she said." The article closes with the Baptist's words to the Catholic undergoing the abortion: "No problem sweetie. We've all been there."
As we talk through the "ecumenism of the trenches" between Catholics and Evangelicals, we should remember the sad truth that there is also an "ecumenism of the waiting room." The women ushered into the death clinics are not usually secularist feminists, proudly wearing their NOW Tshirts. More often, they are girls from St. Joseph's parish or First Baptist's youth group.
They would be counted as "prolife" on the telephone survey. They know all the right answers to the sanctity of life questions, and they can be counted on, when they reach voting age, to cast ballots for pro-life candidates. But when pregnant, they wait together for the abortionist's solution.
Whatever very real soteriological debates exist between Catholics and Evangelicals, they share, at least in the waiting room, the same doctrine of grace: "Let us sin that grace may abound" (Rom. 6:1).
The challenge for our churches is not to be more condemnatory. The message of God's grace is, after all, the heart of the gospel. The atonement of Jesus forgives every sin, including that of the shedding of innocent blood. We must comfort repentant post-abortion women with the truth that "there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ" (Rom. 8:1).
At the same time, like the Apostle Paul, we must remember that grace that is license to sin is no grace at all. The problem is not that "we all make mistakes." The issue is instead that judgment has fallen, in all of its fury, on a crucified Messiah who became sin that we might become the righteousness of God in him (2 Cor. 5:21). As we proclaim God the justifier, we must not forget that this means the proclamation of God the just (Rom. 3:26).
The challenge for our churches is to reclaim the Christian emphasis on repentance. American culture is far too familiar with nominal Catholics who prepare for Lent with a hedonistic Mardi Gras and with nominal Evangelicals who plan to "rededicate their lives" at the altar call after a weekend of decadence.
Those who claim that though I am doing this thing I deem best for me, God will forgive me later, are not only presuming upon the grace of God, they are recapitulating the sin of the first man and woman: to seek autonomy and the self as god while still wishing to remain in the presence of the Holy One. This is not a repentant disposition, but instead a deeply arrogant and satanic one.
If I follow the course of my own desires, even while looking forward to forgiveness, I am worshipping another god: the creature rather than the Creator (Rom. 1:25). Indeed, in this moment, the felt need for forgiveness itself is just another self-focused passion. The sinner seeks to be his own authority for what is best at the moment and to be his own authority for what is best in the future, reconciliation with God--but all on my terms and at my timing.
Repentance, however, is about more than a formal appeal for the nullification of consequences, as though it were the equivalent of having a parking ticket expunged. Instead, repentance is a conviction that God is right in his holiness to judge this transgression with everlasting wrath. The sinner appeals to God to be merciful, not because the sin is justifiable, but precisely because it is not justifiable at all.
Repentance, then, justifies not the sin, but the holiness and justice of the Creator.
Jesus sent away a wealthy politician because he loved his financial assets more than he sought to follow the Messiah (Matt. 19:16–22). In the same way, we must fear that generations of self-professing Christians value their "reproductive freedom" or their "personal authenticity" more than they treasure Christ. And all the while they, like the rich young ruler, approach the throne of Christ talking about eternal life, perhaps even singing "Amazing Grace."
The implications for the Church are stark. If we don't preach a biblical understanding of sin and grace, the local abortionist is ready to take our place in the pulpit.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
I appeared Friday evening on CNN to discuss "the war against Christmas," a strange and demented war if there ever was one. We've heard about stores that refuse to allow employees to say "Merry Christmas" and communities legally compelled to take down nativity scenes. The specific case under discussion involved a Seattle volunteer policeman--a former Christian pastor turned militant atheist--who has convinced the department to remove the crosses from police chaplains' badges. His argument? Chaplains have to minister to non-Christians as well as Christians. Some people might object to the crosses. Therefore all Christian symbolism is inappropriate.
Yet the very fact that the police and military have chaplains shows that there are times of bereavement when secular counseling is inadequate. When people lose a loved one they don't want a therapist, they want a chaplain! So the religious need is apparent here. And yet chaplains don't come in the generic theist variety; they are Catholic or Lutheran or whatever. Now there is no evidence whatsoever that a Christian chaplain cannot console a non-Christian parent or widow. The sole reason for getting rid of the Christian symbol is the premise that someone may object to it, and not everyone subscribes to the Christian worldview.
But apply this logic to another holiday and its absurdity becomes manifest. Imagine if the ACLU filed lawsuits nationwide to remove all references to Martin Luther King on Martin Luther King day. The reason is that not everyone agrees that King's legacy was a positive one, and that the main beneficiaries of King's activism have been African Americans and other minorities.
Southern segregationists, in particular, feel excluded from King's "beloved community." So in the name of diversity and tolerance all monuments and symbols and references to King should be erased. Instead Martin Luther King day becomes another "happy holiday."
This would be crazy. The answer to the ACLU would go something like this: "We are honoring King because we believe he has changed our civilization and our world vastly for the better. If you don't agree, by all means write a letter to the editor. But it is intolerance bordering on bigotry for institutions to get rid of all references to King simply because some people don't like him or feel excluded by his vision."
The same argument applies to Christ and Christmas. We are celebrating Christmas because, in the words of historian J.M. Roberts: "We could none of us today be what we are if a handful of Jews nearly two thousand years ago had not believed that they had known a great teacher, seen him crucified, dead and buried, and then rise again." Notice that this is an understanding of Christmas that even secular people can embrace: whether or not you think Christ is the messiah, he has done more to shape our world, and for the better, than any other single figure. So what's wrong with celebrating Christmas in the spirit of Christ? Why on earth should the symbolism of "Merry Christmas" and carols and crosses on police chaplains' uniforms be removed just because of the presence of one or a few malcontents? Why is it racism to erase all references to Martin Luther King but socially acceptable to object on the same grounds to Christ?
We've reached a sad state in the West when we acquiesce in a hate-filled campaign to deny our Christian roots and heritage. Athens and Jerusalem are both foundation pillars of Western civilization, and the presence of a few people who object to Socrates or Christ doesn't change this fact one bit. The malcontents are suffering from historical amnesia: they don't seem tor recognize that most of our secular values from compassion to the preciousness of human life are the distinctive legacy of Christianity. That's why even atheists should, for once, set aside their deep-seated resentments and hatreds and say, even if in a lower voice so that no one else can hear, "Thank God for Christianity."
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
For anyone that keeps up with the culture, this has been a breakthrough year for atheist. It all started with Richard Dawkins release of "The God Delusion," and since then, fellow atheist such as Samuel Harris, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, and others have written similar books claiming that God is a myth.
D'Souza responded by writing his own book as a refutation of the claims made by the authors mentioned above. And he succeeds. But after each debate, many have argued, consistently, that D'Souza has won. After watching the recent debate between D'Souza and Christopher Hitchens (author of "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything"), I believe that it is clear that D'Souza won. Everything Hitchens threw at D'Souza was answered with logic and even common sense. D'Souza is a master of one liners, but they are one liners that drive home the message.
In short, atheism makes no rational sense, and D'Souza shows us why. Christianity has stood the sands of time, and it will continue to persevere no matter what nonsense atheism or any other worldview may throw at it.
Here is the debate between D'Souza and Hitchens. I was stunned at how articulate D'Souza was and how inept Hitchens was. Though it is over 90 minutes long, I believe that it is well worth it. Anyone who is serious about understanding the culture, atheism, theism, morality, history, philosophy, etc., should watch this debate:
Monday, December 17, 2007
As Catherine Bruton of The Times explains:
The T-shirt is offered by a company called Family Evolutions, founded by a lesbian couple whose son modelled the shirt. The co-founder, Stacey Harris, says that the T-shirt is empowering. "We want to lift the taboo surrounding donor conception so that kids don't feel that their coming into the world is a shameful secret," she says. "Kids who are empowered will grow up well-adjusted."
Bruton's article considers the controversy over the t-shirt and the response of Elizabeth Marquardt of the Institute for American Values. Marquardt insisted that her concern was not that the boy was being raised by lesbians, suggesting that the lesbian aspect of the situation was "fine with me." Rather, her concern is about the redefinition of parenthood by technology.
As she explained, "What troubles me is that children today are being raised in an era of increasingly flexible definitions of parenthood, definitions that often serve the interests of adults without regard for children."
Her concern about children conceived with donor sperm is echoed by Narelle Grech, a "donor-conceived activist" in Melbourne, Australia:
"The poor kid wearing the shirt is basically being told that his dad is not important and is just a donor. I am sure he is one of many donor-conceived people, like myself, who are made to feel like they cannot be sad about the loss of their birth fathers."
The controversy has arisen with particular force in Great Britain, where a new policy removed donor anonymity. As Bruton explains, "Since April 2005, anyone registering to be a donor has done so knowing that a child can seek identifying information once he or she reaches 18."
All this certainly complicates the picture for potential donors (who now know that they cannot remain anonymous to any child produced by the sperm), donor-conceived children (who now must decide whether to obtain donor information and attempt contact), and prospective parents (who now cannot keep children from obtaining the identifying information once the child turns 18).
The controversy in The Times raises a host of related issues. Unlike Marquardt, a large number of persons will be concerned about the idea of lesbian couples having children by simply obtaining donor sperm -- the only male contribution to the entire relationship being the donation of gametes. The context is significant. Most persons would likely express far less moral concern about a married couple using the same technology in the event of the husband's infertility.
Still, the change in relational context does not alter the moral status of the technology itself. The abstraction of procreation from the act of sexual intercourse shared by the husband and wife -- the conjugal act -- opens the door for all manner of moral problems. The technologies of assisted reproduction by donor sperm [AID] and In Vitro Fertilization [IVF] bring moral risk, whatever the context or use. The more the procreation is abstracted from marriage and the marital act, the greater the risk and responsibility.
This becomes all too clear when reports now indicate that a majority of those requesting and using Artificial Insemination by Donor [AID] are now single women and lesbian couples. A quick look survey of the situation in major metropolitan areas will make that pretty clear. Sperm banks are now big business.
These realities are signs of what is let loose when sexuality is decoupled from marriage. Before long, it may not be controversial at all to see a toddler wearing a t-shirt that reads, "My daddy's name is Donor."
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Many of you who have my albums,( that's right...ALBUMS , I'm old school baby) may have noticed I took time in 2 of them to rant about Christmas. Not the holiday so much as the word. I don't need to beat that dead horse about the removal of the word from stores , schools, and even our own mouths , as that truth is self evident.
What I did want to comment on was the irony that in the desire to be inclusive, our social community became the opposite. First we must explore which Holidays were being left out of the December celebration? There seems to be only 3 that are observed. I suppose there are some Wiccans celebrating the harvest, or the new moon or the tree gods or something but I don't count them. Those wacky Wiccans look for any excuse to get naked and dance around at night.
First we have Hannakuh. This is the celebration of the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. This is a noble celebration and as I am Christian I have nothing but respect for the religion and people that birthed mine. But respect or not isn't the point. Hannakuh is a specific JEWISH holiday ,celebrated BY Jews. No one else is invited simply because it isn't FOR anyone else AND SHOULDN'T BE! Nothing wrong with that.
Consequently there are no Nat King Cole Hannakuh albums out there , though I'm sure if anyone could have nailed the dradle song it would have been Nat. The next holiday is Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa by the way has only been around since the mid 60's. Its purpose is to celebrate black Africans and their culture. Notice I said BLACK,AFRICAN and culture.
Since black Americans ancestors arrived here as slaves and over time many of them lost their cutural roots, to have a celebration to reclaim them while finding unity amongst their own certainly makes sense and is a perfectly logical way to do so. The point though is it is purposely exclusionary. It isn't for all Americans and was designed on purpose not to be.
What am I getting at? IF the concept of the term "Happy Holidays" is to prove equal respect for those who don't celebrate Christmas, does no one find it odd that the 2 other holidays we honor doesn't include us? You see folks the truth is even though Christmas is a Christian holiday it has morphed over the years for non-christians as a celebration of GIVING. Atheists don't believe in Christ as God but most give Christmas gifts. Deists, secular-humanists and political correct junkies give Christmas gifts.
Every commercial that doesn't use the term Christmas still uses Christmas symbolism to get you in the holiday spirit.You always get red and green colors, snow fall while jingling bells are heard in the backgound. Santa and elves, pine trees and large wrapped presents. ALL of these symbols, anyone who hasn't been recently lobotomized are aware, refer to Christmas and Christmas only.
That...is why Christmas celebrators get bent out of shape. If your going to use our symbols to hawk your wares , have the decency to use our word. If you truly believe in inclusiveness, in your next commercial include Jewish and Kwanzaa paraphenelia. Show Jewish Americans coming out of Temple and heading to their respective family homes or black Americans wearing traditional west African garb......but you don't.
Because you know what we all do.The reason there are lights on the homes across America, the reason there is even the contemplation of the "season of giving" and the reason there is a multi billion dollar buying spree in December and December alone is because of ONE holiday....Christmas. Please don't use our symbols to pretend your including everyone as it is a lie. Use ALL symbols OR NONE.
Lastly, anyone out there who celebrates Christmas but doesn't say Merry Christmas at work, while shoppng or in school...is a wuss! Merry Christmas everyone.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Pam Tebow and her husband were Christian missionaries in the Philippines in 1985 and they prayed for "Timmy" before she became pregnant.
Unfortunately, as the Gainesville Sun reports, Pam entered into a coma after she contracted amoebic dysentery, an infection of the intestine caused by a parasite found in a contaminated food or drink.
The treatment for the medical condition would require strong medications that doctors told Pam had caused irreversible damage to Tim -- so they advised her to have an abortion.
As the Sun reported, Pam Tebow refused the abortion and cited her Christian faith as the reason for her hope that her son would be born without the devastating disabilities physicians predicted.
Pam ultimately spent the last two months of her pregnancy in bed and, eventually, gave birth to a health baby boy in August 1987.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Here you go:
Just before Thanksgiving, researchers in Wisconsin and Japan announced a breakthrough in stem-cell research. This time, it was good news for those of us who believe in the sanctity of human life.
The researchers announced that they had “successfully reprogrammed human skin cells into cells indistinguishable from embryonic stem cells.”
The announcement at the University of Wisconsin was accompanied by the usual hype: The research “has tremendous implications” for medicine, drugs, and “transplantation therapies.”
The unusual part was that the leader of the research team, James Thomson, told reporters that these cells would, over time, replace embryonic stem cells in research—and he is glad of it, because he had moral qualms.
Not surprisingly, it was the possible resolution to this controversy that captured the headlines. The Philadelphia Inquirer spoke for many when it said that the findings have the potential to end the “dreary wrangle” over embryonic stem-cell research.
The news from Wisconsin and Japan is good news, and it is a vindication of those who argued that the sacrifice of human embryos was unnecessary. But this struggle is far from over.
To understand why, you need to understand what motivated many supporters of embryonic stem-cell research.
The first was political. As one liberal pundit put it, “embryonic stem cells, of course, were supposed to cure America of its affection for the religious right.” For many politicians, embryonic stem-cell research was a “wedge issue.” Its goal was not to conquer disease but, instead, to put pro-life Americans on the defensive, depicting them as uncaring fanatics. There is no reason to think that our opponents are going to stop trying to use the stem-cell issue against us even after this announcement.
The second motivation is worldview: specifically, “scientism,” the belief that scientific investigation is the only means of knowledge—that scientists can get answers to everything, including philosophy and morality.
So embryonic stem-cell research, scientism insists, must be free from any “restraints” or “interference.” Scientists—not political leaders and certainly not morally concerned citizens—should determine what it is or is not permissible in the lab.
In addition, scientism, given its materialistic grounding, rejects any appeal to the sanctity of human life. The Christian worldview teaches that humans are made in the image of God. From conception to natural death, life is sacred. The worldview of scientism teaches something entirely different. In that view, we humans are merely an interesting and potentially useful collection of cells and genetic material.
Nothing that has happened in the past couple of weeks has reduced the influence of scientism. On the contrary, “Science” is being credited with finding a resolution to the issue—and they will be back.
The only reason this breakthrough happened is that Christians stood firm for the sanctity of human life. And remember that we have had a president on our side. I remember when I congratulated President Bush for his courage in vetoing an embryonic stem-cell research bill. His answer to me was, “I didn’t have any choice: It was a moral issue.” I was never prouder of the president. But we may not have pro-life leaders in office in the future. So we dare not let our guard down.
Monday, December 10, 2007
To put it bluntly, it is a silly debate. There is no "war" over this issue, only a group of liberals and other wackos who don't have the spine to take a stand. It the English language and our cultural holidays offend you, that's your problem, not mine. I am not going to bend over backwards to make sure that everyone in America isn't offended by the words I choose to describe a national holiday.
If I all of a sudden have to stop saying Merry Christmas because it offends you, then you should be forced to stop saying Happy Holidays because it offends me!
Notice the hypocrital aspect of this debate. What our secular culture wants is for Christians to be silenced and to change, while at the same time, arroganty assuming that their way is the right way. That sounds like the same bigotry that Christians are accused of having.
So, if you want to say Merry Christmas, then by all means say it and don't be ashamed of it. For everytime we fall silent due to policital correctness and pressure from spineless wackos, then we rob ourseles from enjoying the freedoms that our founding fathers laid out and members of our military have died for.
Likewise, author Dinesh D'Souza defends saying "Merry Christmas," and he does so bluntly and eloquently. I encourage you to read his words. Afterward, I want you to read some of the comments that have been made by some of his readers. And then ask yourself, who are the real bigots of our culture? It certainly isn't the Christians!
Here is his article on the subject of the war on Christmas:
Grinches, that's who. And ACLU attorneys. And several corporate executives. With the ACLU, the motivation comes down to anti-Christian bigotry pure and simple. But why would corporations like Nordstrom, K-Mart, Best Buy and Home Depot ban the word Christmas? Why would they insist that "Merry Christmas" be replaced by "Happy Holidays"? Why would they rename "Christmas trees" as "friendship trees"? What's so scary about playing "Silent Night" and "O Come All Ye Faithful" and other religious carols?
Short answer: many corporate executives are invertebrates. Not all of them: leading companies like J.C. Penney, Macys, Amazon, and Wal Mart continue to speak unabashedly of Christmas. But other corporate executives are ever-so-worried about giving offense. Over the years they have been convinced, by the usual villains at the ACLU, that any religious references are objectionable to some litigious atheist or some hypothetical Hindu. To appease the feigned outrage of these minorities, the religious sentiments of everyone else must apparently be overridden.
To see how absurd this is, imagine if leading corporations started refusing to celebrate Martin Luther King day. When asked, corporate executives would say, "Well, King was a sort of controversial figure. There are people in America who are offended by what he stood for. In deference to them, we have decided to rename the holiday." You can imagine how the media would react to this!
Somehow it's okay to give Christians the finger. Christians are expected to be tolerant of others but others are not expected to be tolerant of Christians. I grew up in India where Christians are in the minority. Hindus and Muslims greatly outnumber Christians, and the main holidays are the Hindu festival Divali and the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. As a Christian I wouldn't dream of demanding that stores in India remove their Divali lanterns because they don't reflect my religious customs. How ridiculous would that be? Yet precisely such narrow-minded, prejudicial sentiments are responsible for the movements to ban Christian symbols in America on the occasion of Christ's birthday.
Christians bear some responsibility of letting this nonsense get so out of hand. The solution: Christians need to stop believing the atheist con. There is nothing in the Constitution or in the founding that mandates a public square monopolized by atheists and secularists. It's time to tell the ACLU to go to hell. Stop patronizing stores that outlaw Christmas, and to make your purchases at stores that aren't afraid to say "Merry Christmas."
Sunday, December 9, 2007
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - A gunman killed two staff members at a missionary training center near Denver early Sunday after being told he couldn't spend the night. About 12 hours later, a gunman fatally shot a person at a megachurch in Colorado Springs before a guard killed him, police said.
The gunman at the New Life Church was shot and killed by a church security guard after entering the church's main foyer with high- powered rifle shortly before 1 p.m. and opening fire, Colorado Springs Police Chief Richard Myers said.
It was not immediately known whether the Colorado Springs shooting was related to the crime in Arvada, a Denver suburb about 65 miles to the north. Authorities in Arvada said no one had been captured in the shootings there.
A church member died of wounds inflicted by the gunman, Senior Pastor Brady Boyd said. Two others were shot and wounded at the church, where hundreds of people were milling about and parents were picking up their children from the nursery.
It was not immediately known whether the shootings were related, but Arvada authorities said they were sharing information with Colorado Springs investigators. The mission training program has a small office at the church's World Prayer Center on the New Life campus.
The church's 11 a.m. service had recently ended, and hundreds of people were milling about when the gunman opened fire. Nearby were parents picking up their children from the nursery.
Police arrived to find that the gunman had been killed by a member of the church's armed security staff, Myers said.
"There was a courageous staff member who probably saved many lives here today," Myers said.
Gov. Bill Ritter ordered state authorities to help investigate. The FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were assisting, and officers combed the church campus looking for suspicious devices.
The three people injured by the church gunman were taken to Penrose Community Hospital in Colorado Springs, where they were listed in critical, fair and good condition, said hospital spokeswoman Amy Sufak.
New Life was founded by the Rev. Ted Haggard, who was fired last year after a former male prostitute alleged he had a three-year cash-for- sex relationship with him. Haggard, then the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, admitted committing undisclosed "sexual immorality."
The New Life church is one of Colorado's largest with about 10,000 members.
About 7,000 people were on the campus at the time of the shooting, Boyd said. Security at the church had been beefed up after the early morning shootings in Arvada, he said.
The first shooting happened at about 12:30 a.m. at the Youth With a Mission center in Arvada, a Denver suburb, police spokeswoman Susan Medina said.
A man and a woman were killed and two men were wounded, Medina said. All four were staff members of the center, said Paul Filidis, a Colorado Springs-based spokesman with Youth With a Mission.
Arvada Police Chief Don Wick said the suspect spent several minutes speaking with people inside the dorm. Peter Warren, director of Youth With a Mission Denver, said the man asked whether he could spend the night. Several youths called on Tiffany Johnson, the center's director of hospitality.
"The director of hospitality was called. That's when he opened fire," Warren said. Johnson, 26, was killed.
Warren said he didn't know whether any of the students or staff knew the gunman. "We don't know why" he came to the dormitory, Warren said.
Witnesses told police that the gunman was a 20-year-old white male, wearing a dark jacket and skull cap, who left on foot. He may have glasses or a beard.
Police with dogs searched the area through the night, and residents of nearby homes were notified by reverse 911 to be on the lookout. Medina said residents were asked to look out their windows for any tracks left in the snow during the night. About 4 inches of snow had fallen in the area in the past day.
In addition to Johnson, killed in Arvada was Philip Crouse, 23. Youth With a Mission said Johnson was from Minnesota and Crouse was from Alaska.
The missionary center identified the wounded as Dan Griebenow, 24, of South Dakota, and Charlie Branch, 22, whose hometown wasn't immediately known. One of the men was in critical condition, and the other was stable, police said.
About 45 people were evacuated from the Youth with a Mission dormitory and moved to an undisclosed location.
The missionary center is on the grounds of the Faith Bible Chapel. Cheril Morrison, wife of chapel pastor George Morrison, said Crouse had just hung up Christmas lights at her home and that Johnson was "an amazingly beautiful person."
Mimi Martin, who lives near the center, said she received the warning call at about 9 a.m. warning neighbors to keep their doors and windows locked.
"Why would anybody want to hurt those kids?" Martin said.
Darv Smith, director of a Youth With a Mission center in Boulder, said people ranging from their late teens to their 70s undergo a 12-week course that prepares them to be missionaries. He said the center trains about 300 people a year.
Filidis said staffers are usually former missionaries themselves and that the "mercy ministries" performed by trainees include orphanage work. He said he didn't know where the group being trained in Arvada was going to be sent.
Youth With a Mission was started in 1960 and now has 1,100 locations with 16,000 full-time staff, Smith said. The Arvada center was founded in 1984.