DENTON, Texas (Christian Examiner)—Two Denton, Texas, churches refuse to back down to threats from earlier this week of potential bombs at their Christmas Eve worship services, according to NBCDFW.com.
Senior Pastor Tommy Nelson expects about 5,000 people to attend Denton Bible Church, one of the two churches being threatened, during Christmas Eve services. Although Nelson considered cancelling the service, he'll continue to proclaim the Gospel on Christmas Eve.
"You don't back down in the face of evil," Nelson said. "So, yeah, it crossed my mind, but then I said there's no way we're going to do that. You can't as a society – you can't as a man – have evil dictate what you're going to do."
Both Denton Bible Church and nearby Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church received threats saying there would be a bombing if Christmas Eve services weren't cancelled. Both churches plan on continuing with their Christmas Eve plans.
The city will have a large police presence, and both churches plan to increase their own security efforts.
"We will have policemen there. We will have people in our congregation. We have a number of men in our congregation that are trained, and they'll simply have eyes and they know what they're looking for during services," Nelson said.
According to NBCDFW, there will be a security sweep of the entire building before the church opens its doors at 4:30 p.m. The Dallas Morning News reports that Nelson has discouraged attendees from bringing backpacks and large bags to the service.
St. Andrews sent a letter to their church members and the local community describing their increased security efforts. They will have extra security on campus during the day and an off-duty officer will sweep the grounds before the service, according to the Morning News. The church's interim pastor, Alan Baroody, has said he knows some families will not feel comfortable attending because of the concerns, yet he remains firm in his commitment to hold services.
"As Christ came to dwell with us, so we dwell with each other, witnessing to a love far greater than fear, prejudice or hate," Baroody wrote in the letter, according to NBCDFW.com.
The Morning News adds that the U.S. Postal Service is looking into the letters. Officials from the FBI have contacted the Denton police "with an interest in the investigation."
The police have fielded many requests from other churches looking for ways to safeguard their churches during the Christmas season.
"We're also sending messages to our contacts in town of our faith-based leaders, giving safety tips and crime prevention measures they can take," Denton police officer Shane Kizer told The Dallas Morning News.
- Franklin Graham on Muslim immigration: Not until they can be properly vetted or the 'war with Islam' is over
- Christian politician: Increasing secularism driving growth of ISIS
- President: Terror threat has evolved into 'new phase'
- 'Clock Boy' demands million in lawsuit
- SMU religion prof calls Baptist pastor ignorant, fear monger for comments on Islam