Feb 252015
 

41MPZtTM2gLCharles Bowden wasn’t a believer as far as I know.

Despite this, he may have made one of the best evangelistic films I’ve ever seen.

You can’t play it in your youth group, however…you probably can’t show it in any group.

The film is called “El Sicario Room 164” and for the first hour it is nothing but a hooded, professional cartel killer describing his work in graphic detail…from one of the hotel rooms he did his work in.

It is not for delicate in sensibilities, nor for the faint in heart.

The sicarios killings and torture methods are laid out in all their horror with the pride of a craftsman.

I had to take a break from watching it twice…it was more than I could handle.

The last twenty five minutes or so are devoted to how Jesus came and saved the monster we’d been watching.

The killer drops his calm, calculating, exterior when describing his conversion… he weeps with joy as he describes being born again.

The power of the Gospel strangles the forces of hate as easily and as finally as the sicario had strangled his victims.

The movie ends with that testimony.

If you believe the mans story (and I do) you must conclude that no one is outside the power and grace of God.

That includes cartel killers and radical Muslim ones.

The weapons of our warfare are not carnal…

We really don’t believe that…we believe the weapons of our warfare were not carnal until we developed really powerful carnal weapons.

Questions abound if we’re honest…but we’re not.

I wonder why God didn’t choose to save this man before he dispatched 400 or 500 people to unmarked graves.

I wonder why God didn’t choose to save the man who made the movie… who I still grieve for every day as one grieves for a father unmet.

I wonder if the families of his victims would celebrate his adoption by the Father when he took the father of their family.

I wonder why the thought of bombing radical Islam with the Gospel is not nearly as appealing as blowing them to hell.

I confess that I still think myself and others deserve grace that should be denied to others.

I will comfort myself with Deut 29:29 and proclaim such things as “mystery”.

It’s easier than asking those questions…

  176 Responses to “El Sicario, ISIS, and the Grace of God”

  1. Good post Michael! Questions also abounded when Focus On The Family interviewed, I believe, Ted Bundy, who I believed professed finding Christ. Why glorify someone who murdered so many people? Was he REALLY now a Christian? Questions will always abound when monsters are saved. The Apostle Paul was suspect at one time also. God’s timing and His mercy are a mystery and we are foolish to try to claim otherwise.

  2. Dan,

    The hardest part is acknowledging that I was once a monster as well in the eyes of God.
    It makes the fact that I’d rather kill monsters than see them saved even more of a shame…

  3. Having read the book I DEFINITELY have to see this…

    Then I am going to hire his ex buddies to go to Syria

    Who’s with me?

  4. BD,

    I found it streaming on Amazon.
    Sounds like he was saved in a Pentecostal gathering…

  5. I’ll take a stab at this one Michael.

    We have trouble with this because we can’t see eternity. We deal most of our lives with the physical realm and this lifetime, so when our dad is taken by this kind of monster, we want retribution and revenge.

    HOWEVER, when I walk down the street with my wife and see that “hottie” and take the second quick glance I think that while it is a sin, it is covered by Jesus. Just repent. It is, but what if my wife knew, my children knew, my friends, and co-workers knew?

    Also, keep in mind the consequences of sin in this world may differ, BUT in God’s eyes my adulterous heart is no worse an offense to a Holy and Perfect God than what this man did. Sure, he affected many more lives in a very serious way, but what about my thought, esp. if everyone I mentioned above, knew? What would they think, how would they treat me, my wife? What about what God thinks?

    You see, again our sin is never as bad as we think when we compare. I am not Manson. Well maybe not, but I AM A SINNER SAVED BY HIS GRACE ONLY! Before I was saved I was as hell bound as the next unsaved murderer.

    Bottom line is we never want to look at our sin as bad as the next guy and we really don’t want God to save the truly evil in our society.

    W/O sounding to blasphemous, I think if in some alternate history God saved Lucifer and the demons, there would be Christians up in arms against God. Our fleshly fallen nature just has a hard time with it.

    Real quick on this tangent, last week I hear a lecture by R.C. Sproul where he had 2 groups of three people. He mentioned that one group was saved and the other wasn’t and yet God was not unjust or unfair. Why? Because the unsaved group got justice, they are punished for their sins. The other group got grace and mercy, which they didn’t deserve. Either way, God is still just and righteous. I know I am paraphrasing, but this is where many of us struggle. We want salvation for our self, family, and friends and no one else.

    Oh to be like Jesus and ask the Father to forgive them for they know not what they do.

  6. OCDan,

    Well said.
    This is why on some previous threads I kept pounding away on the fact that we are never completely free from sin in this life…not for more than a few minutes at best.

  7. Wow. Heart / gut wrenching stuff. I’m angry / overjoyed all at the same time. Thanks for sharing these gems.

  8. There is NO WAY I would/could watch this.

    Agree with Dan from Georgia:
    God’s timing and His mercy are a mystery and we are foolish to try to claim otherwise.

    The longer I live, the more mysterious God is to me, yet, somehow I know He is good.

  9. Thank you, JoelG.
    Paige, it’s a tough thing to watch…and harder to understand.

  10. Christ came to save sinners. God is in the business of saving sinners. We should not be surprised when He saves sinners.

  11. I love being reminded how good God is, so thank you Paige. I know every believer and even non believer can make the claim about them self, but God has been so good to me. When I look back He has been more gracious than I have ever been with anyone I have dealt with.

    Among some of the sins I struggle with is worry. I just do, especially making the monthly income last 30 days.

    However, what is funny, sad, sorry, is that God has never left or forsaken me. I realize that He probably doesn’t laugh about it, but to an outsider it would seem funny because in looking back, God has soooooooo taken care of me and my family and yet I still worry, even though Jesus commands not to. Why worry. It is okay to plan ahead, as Jesus said count the cost, but don’t worry. Even before salvation, some of things I did should have landed me in jail or the mortuary hell bound. However, He took care of me before I repented and believed and does so every second of my life.

  12. The justice of God, on a murderer of hundreds who seems proud enough of his ‘work’ to both author a book and sit for a filmed ‘interview’ about it, thwarted by a single prayer of ‘repentance’ … the families and loved ones of those he slaughtered be damned… Christians need a good show and something to enjoy watching more real than the latest Reality TV show.
    Sickening and disgraceful. You should have your head examined as well as your heart.
    -mike

  13. Mike,

    The justice of God was met by the death of Christ.
    That’s the Gospel.
    This was not a “Christian” book or film by any stretch of the imagination…it was an honest look at a killer in his own words.
    You nailed one point I’ve tried to make…some “Christians” feel like they deserve that which can only given.

  14. We are so used to the sanitized version of our stories, like our farts don’t stink. We sing Amazing Grace, aware of the composer’s sinful life as a slave trader, but have little or no comprehension of the depth of depravity that life involved…but he did, and He did. “…that saved a wretch like me…” isn’t hyperbole, but accurate.

    And it goes for me, too.

  15. If he’s so repentant why is he in black? Why not open ? Did he turn himself in for trial and possible life prison or death penalty for the hundreds he killed? Why hold him up as a ‘good’ example? Disgusting tripe.
    -mike

  16. mike,

    He has a $250,000.00 price on his head.
    If you watch the film you will learn that the people he would turn himself in to were his comrades in arms.
    He knows he will be killed, he knows it’s only a matter of time until they find him.
    He wanted to tell his story because to him, his story is now about Jesus.
    He hopes others in “the life” hear him.
    Tripe indeed.

  17. I would imagine he’s in black for his own protection from cartels, victim’s families, and authorities & because it’s good movie making. Sometimes justice and accountability are steps in a process and talking about it, confessing & repenting are steps towards further, full accounting.

    I haven’t made right the many sins I’ve committed towards others.

    Have you?

  18. So, Mike…as fil pointed out John Newton was a barbarian.
    My guess is that you sing “Amazing Grace”.
    Is it not a sweet sound now?

    What is your Gospel?
    Who can be saved?

  19. I am glad Mike showed up.

    We need someone to turn the lens and show that side of it.

    We know the Gospel is the only hope for a man like El Sicario. We know he is lost and without hope. So let’s get him saved so he can confess, be tried and properly hanged.

    There you go. Find Jesus and we kill you, be found by the cartel and they kill you. Either way you go to heaven because you are useless disgusting …what was that word? … yes TRIPE so we use you for sausage

    Jesus Sausage Dread

  20. Repentance would be turning himself into the police.

  21. BD,

    It sounds as if Mike is saying that some are beyond the reach of the grace of God.
    We, on the other hand, were God’s special sinners and it was only right that He saved us…

  22. mike,

    He was a member of the police…and they were murderers as well, fellow employees of the cartel.

    Did Jesus pay for the sicarios sins or not?

  23. Mike,

    What do you know about Mexico?

    The police are one of the cartels. Mexico is a country in chaos… held together by American drug money, thuggery and a nice tourist industry.

    Take the time to listen to the man’s story.

    Charles Bowden was not writing a Christian book he was telling about a political nightmare fueled by American appetites and policies.

    The man was running from the life he got into and God rescued him. He isn’t asking for our forbearance or toleration. He is telling the inside story of a crime reign that needs to be broken and will require the help of people like himself to expose it and break it.

    Sooner or later he will pay his pound of flesh.

    Stop being the prosecutor… it isn’t your job. Well maybe it isn’t. I have no idea what your job is other than contrarian. Your point is viable, your conclusions are among the various choices but I think you have judged a matter before you heard it.

  24. BD,

    Thank you.
    If Chuck could see this, he’d thank you too.

  25. Mike, there must be hurt under these comments. Hugs brother.

    This story should be celebrated as it glorifies Jesus.

    “Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

  26. I’m inclined to rejoice in the grace of God for myself and insist on the justice of God for others.

    twofacedshamefacedfil

  27. I cannot help but note the irony that someone who loathes Calvinism to the degree that Mike does would limit the atonement of Christ in ways I never would…

  28. Actually, and I’m not going to be drawn in much further, it’s not so much limiting God’s grace as it is requiring what God required for the application of that grace… ie true and humble repentance and willingness to be accountable and make amends when possible.
    The is a repentance of getting caught and trying to avoid responsibility spoken of in 2 cor. That is not true repentance or saving repentance.

    Apparently makes for good christian ‘story’ and movies but he should turn himself in for prosecution to whomever are the lawful authorities.
    -mike

  29. Mike,

    There are no lawful authorities in Mexico.
    You continue to ignore that fact as well as the fact that this was not a Christian movie and it was not made for a Christian audience.
    He doesn’t fit your requirements for salvation…but Jesus thinks you wrong.
    You should rent the film from Amazon…perhaps you’d learn something and repent.

  30. Funny.
    This guy is on the run, avoiding responsibility and prosecution having killed hundreds….
    And it’s ME who you call to repent?

    Never change michael. I’d miss the jokes and fun.
    -mike

  31. mike,

    You’re deeply ignorant on this matter.
    Read the book or watch the film…and come back and tell me how Jesus didn’t save this mans soul.

  32. Setting aside the fact that this took place in Mexico, if he had been an American murdering people in America would it still be wrong to expect one of the signs of his repentance to be admitting his crimes and turning himself into the authorities? It’s great when criminals become Christians, but does that mean their victims and the family members of their victims should give up any expectation of justice or restitution or anything? When Zaccheaus repented the first sign of his repentance was that he would return 4-fold anything he had stolen.

  33. Mike, the gospel just isn’t as exciting as supposed earthly justice is it ?

    How do you know he wont turn himself in some day when there is opportunity for a fair trial ? Doing so now is just asking to be murdered instead of tried (in-justice)

    It seems that hes working even now to do redemptive acts with whats left of his life. Many in the bible did atrocious things at times of war (just like Mexico) when there was no accountability and God had mercy on them by changing their hearts not putting them in prison. You would do well to focus on your heart and not the outward things man focuses on. This man will probably be killed soon by those who know him, don’t try to feel justice was cheated, justice was ultimately placed on Jesus for this man 2000 years ago, and earthly justice will most likely prevail soon against him.

  34. And I agree to a point – isn’t the penalty for being a mass murderer death (and i am one who is against the death penalty).

    What a witness – “I turn myself into illegitimate governors and face whatever consequence given me.”

    Shouldn’t he trust Jesus to guide? Is Jesus’ advise to lay low and stay on the lamb?

  35. J2,

    If he was living in a country with an actual justice system that would be a reasonable expectation.
    He’s not.

  36. “His face is stern now. He has come to the place, the very moment that has permitted him to recount the kidnappings, the tortures, the killings. He is selling and what he is selling is God. He is believing, and what he believes based on his own life is that anyone can be redeemed. And that it is possible to leave the organization and survive.

    His thoughts are a jumble as he speaks. He is telling of his salvation, and yet he feels the tug of his killings. He feels the pride in being feared. Back at the beginning, when he first started with the state police, that was when Oropeza, the doctor and newspaper columnist, was killed. And Oropeza’s killers, he now recalls, were his mentors, his teachers. He remembers that after the murder, the state government announced a big investigation to get the killers. And one of them, a fellow cop, stayed at his own police station until the noise quieted and the charade ended.

    He is excited now; he is living in his past.

    “The only reason I am here is God saved me. I repented. After all these years I am talking to you. I am having to relive things that are dead to me. I don’t want to be part of this life. I don’t want to know the news. You must write this so that other sicarios know it is possible to leave. They must know God can help them. They are not monsters. They have been trained like special forces in the Army. But they never realize they have been trained to serve the devil.

    “Imagine being nineteen and being able to call up a plane. I liked the power. I never realized until God talked to me that I could get out. Still, when God frees me, I remain a wolf. I can’t become a lamb. I remain a terrible person, but now I have God on my side.

    He stares at me as I write in a black notebook.

    His body seems to loom over the table.

    This is the point in all stories where everyone discovers who they really are.

    He says, “I have now relived something I should never have opened up. Are you the medium to reach others? I prayed to God asking what I should do. And you are the answer. You are going to write this story because God has a purpose in you writing this story.

    “God has given you this mission.

    “No one will understand this story except those who have been in the life. And God will tell you how to write this story.”

    Then we embrace and pray. I can feel his hand on my shoulder probing, seeking the power of the Lord in me.

    I have my work to do now.

    And so we go our separate ways.

    In the parking lot he moves with ease, in a state of grace. The sun blazes, the sky aches blue. Life feels good. His eyes relax and he laughs. And then I see him memorize my license plate in a quick and practiced glance. He has told me he is bathed in the blood of the lamb, but his eyes remain those of the wolf.”

    http://harpers.org/archive/2009/05/the-sicario/

  37. Given that he lives in a country with no actual justice system, does that absolve him of all responsibility toward his victims? Or is there some other way he could demonstrate repentance and try to make amends to them for the wrongs he has committed against them?

  38. j2,

    The man killed hundreds of people.
    The likelihood is that now he is dead himself.
    His way of making what amends he could was to tell his story in the hope that some of the thousands of young men and women caught up in the life will hear his story and know there’s an out.
    He had no money,nor any way to make any.
    When and if he was found, he was tortured and killed.
    Probably by the police…

  39. His story reminds me of this story out of Liberia.
    Blahyi tells a more dramatic conversion story than this reporter does, but it’s an interesting similarity.
    http://abcnews.go.com/International/penitent-warlord-atoning-20000-war-crimes/story?id=20749940

  40. I’m assuming that we are certain this guy is not another Warnke?

  41. Josh, thanks. I had the same thought but couldn’t remember his name. I was googling “false devil worshipers” but couldn’t get a name.

  42. London,

    We’ll send Mike over there to make sure the conversion is real…
    Great story…

  43. I too was reminded of African war lords, London.

  44. There is mass corruption in mexico, but you way overstate your position by denying there is any legal order, justice or non corrupt courts or authorities.
    Just not the case.
    He could do the right thing but he’s chosen to do the write thing and cash In on some Christian’s desire for ‘true crime’ like stories that they can enjoy from the safety of their Internet blogs

  45. “I’m assuming that we are certain this guy is not another Warnke?”
    I’ll say this for about the sixth time on the thread.
    This wasn’t written for or by Christians.
    The guy made no profit…there isn’t a P.O. box for guys running from a cartel.

    Bowden had vetted him multiple times and ways…read the book.

  46. mike,

    There was no “cash in” except for what Bowden had in his pocket when the guy disappeared.
    You know next to nothing about Mexico or this subject and less about the Gospel.

  47. Sorry Michael. I didn’t see anyone else ask the question.

  48. I don’t really see any motivation for this guy to pretend if he was really going to pretend for Fame or money I think you do it without the mask so he could have the best of both worlds nobody’s gonna kill Him for just being a wanna be

  49. I suppose the honorable thing for Saul of Tarsus to do was turn himself over to the authorities for killing innocent Christians for holding to their faith & face the civil penalties for his actions instead of sharing the gospel with the gentile world as God called him to do…

  50. Paul said he “persecuted” christians, but I’m fairly certain he never actually claimed to have killed any personally (although he approved of Stephen’s killing). And what would he have turned himself in for given that he conducted his persecution within the confines of the law and with the approval of the authorities?

  51. The honorable thing would have been for Paul to make amends in some way. So what if he did a lot for Jesus if he left a pile of wounded broken people n his wake. The sort of mindset you seem to be coming from is exactly what famous pastors use to avoid accountability.

  52. How do we know that Paul didn’t make amends…and how do you make amends for the taking of someone’s life?

    The question before the house is simple…is the grace of God sufficient to cover all sin or is it not?

  53. I would not ever say a person should escape civil consequences for their crimes. Eternal consequences are a different matter. There are people who err in this life and are never caught, but will be held accountable in eternity. There are those caught and punished in this life, even with the death penalty, who will not face judgment in eternity because of the forgiveness in Christ. The grace of God is sufficient to cover the sin of anyone & everyone.

    The corruption of civil governments & simple fact that the justice system is not always just is an entirely different matter.

  54. The question also related to that is “what is true repentance?”

  55. People, please don’t conflate 2 separate issues.

    Justice should be sought, and grace should be dispensed. There is no way we can “make up” for the wrongs we do because they are really against God primarily and the other person secondly. God redeems our mistakes not us. Let us not forget that. Let us micromanage this mans soul no longer, where and when he turns himself in is between him, God and the authorities which are probably fake, who knows maybe he will meet honest LEO and turn himself in when its safe, thats not the point.

    The point is a man with no real motive other then the truth comes forward anonymously and declares Jesus saved him from the monster he was. If you cant appreciate that then you should really go sit in the corner until you can, you are a sad person who does not understand mercy, and it really makes one wonder if god’s mercy has touched your heart.

  56. I’m not saying Paul didn’t make amends. I’m saying that he should have, and that doing a bunch of good things doesn’t excuse doing a bunch of bad things as filbertz seemed to imply. I would also like to see some evidence that Paul actually killed people or acted outside the law that was in place at that time in that place.

  57. This is no different than the thing several years ago when all the Christians were upset that Texas was going to execute a woman who had become a Christian in jail.

    Christians want Christians to have special treatment. Look at the ISIS thing – now everyone on Christian blogs are all up in arms that Christians are being kidnapped and killed. When ISIS was doing the same to Syrians and Iraqis, well, business as usual.

  58. MLD,

    It is different…in this case it appears that the Christians here want to see this new Christian killed…or produce a letter from God saying that He has seen fruits of repentance that people who only read a blog article don’t.

  59. ““Brothers and fathers, hear the defense that I now make before you.” And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew language, they became even more quiet. And he said: “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day. I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness.”
    (Acts 22:1–5 ESV)

  60. ***The point is a man with no real motive other then the truth comes forward anonymously and declares Jesus saved him from the monster he was. If you cant appreciate that then you should really go sit in the corner until you can, you are a sad person who does not understand mercy, and it really makes one wonder if god’s mercy has touched your heart.***

    God forbid some of us see hundreds of people murdered and hundreds of bereft family members and recognize the cold, hard reality that the murderer may have been saved and redeemed but his victims are still dealing with the horrendous consequences of his horrendous actions. Him becoming a christian doesn’t make things better for them.

    I’m not arguing he or others like him should turn himself in or be killed or anything. I’m just wondering if, now that he is a christian, if he has any responsibility to his fellow man or any responsibility to his many, many victims. I mean, sheesh, wouldn’t even a heartfelt personal apology with no further actions be in order?

  61. I’m excited for this man and those he might influence before the end.

    I wonder whos life he will touch before he dies. Maybe the hands that killed will be allowed to bring life through the gospel once or twice before God ordains the end.

  62. j2,

    He gave the interviews because he was trying to communicate to the thousands of young men and women caught up in the same career that there was a better way.

    He can’t possibly make amends to all the victims…but that he could do.

  63. You might also note that I’m summarizing a 90 minute movie and a book in a couple of paragraphs…

  64. It just seems like if he was capable of killing all these people it would be within the realm of ability to track down their next of kin and apologize.

  65. I don’t wish death on anyone but if this man really killed hundreds of people, he needs to turn himself in. If the system is corrupt, he helped make it corrupt. He has earned an earthly death penalty for himself. Personally, my sympathies lie with the families of all the people he murdered.

    I am glad he is now a Christian. Whatever befalls him on earth, he has eternal life in heaven.

  66. j2,

    Most of the killings were done under the influence of drugs and alcohol and done against people he didn’t know.

    I don’t think it in the realm of possibility at all.

  67. Xenia,

    He was resolved to the fact that he would die a brutal death.
    The system was corrupt long before him…he was recruited out of high school.

  68. And I don’t want you to think that I don’t see the value of his interview. I’m sure he’s a christian. I don’t think he needs to be killed to right wrongs. Mexico is really messed up and there are no good options. But I also don’t think that looking at him or any repentant person ones self included and wondering on a practical level what actions evince repentance is, in and of itself, a sign that you lack mercy or are being judgmental.

  69. Funny the “repentences” we accept on this blog.

    If it’s a rogue mega-pastor, there’s nothing he can say or do that will satisfy some.

  70. We don’t know what he has done or not done…he disappeared after the filming.
    It was assumed that they found him, but we don’t know for sure.

  71. Xenia,

    I’ll agree with you if we ever see one repent for specific sins that are being brought up to the people bringing them up.
    It hasn’t happened yet…

  72. Well, let’s be fair (I am saying to myself.)

    “I” think he should turn himself in and take whatever he gets. He murdered 100’s of people, he says.

    But that might be the response a mature Christian would make. He’s only been a Christian for a short amount of time and has lived all his live in an inferno. He’s not had time to parse out the perfect system of morality. In other words, spiritually, he’s a baby still.

    So God bless him. AND may God give the families of his victims peace.

  73. If there was a trustworthy government in Mexico then I believe this man should be tried, sentenced and then executed.

    I felt the same way when Carla Faye Tucker was executed years ago.

    I believe the death penalty should be applied when there’s absolutely no doubt about the defendant’s guilt.

    This man did unspeakable things to scores of people and has left permanent psychological scars on scores of others who still live.

    This is a hot button topic with room for disagreement.

    And to be brutally honest if he had tortured and killed my wife and if it was within my power I might have hunted him down and killed him myself.

    In closing I have zero problems believing this man has had a genuine salvation experience.

  74. Here’s an (American) example: Years ago I had a friend whose relative, a pastor, was a pedophile. He admitted it, told everyone he was so sorry, said he’d never do it again, etc. But to the police and the courts he plead “not guilty.” He and his crowd were all very upset when he was convicted and sent to jail. I said to my friend that if he was truly repentant he wouldn’t lie to the cops/ courts and claim he was innocent, just to avoid jail time. I thought a truly repentant child molester would be so horrified at what he had done that he would welcome jail, even if he was loathed by the other inmates. But he still had a lot of self esteem and pride because he was a “Christian” (so he said, anyway) and his sins were covered by the blood of Christ, etc. etc. etc. When he got of our jail, he started hanging around kids again, btw.

    So how should a truly repentant person plead when they have committed a crime? Should they white-wash (or lie) to the authorities to get off the hook or should they take their punishment? Which is the better testimony?

    I knew a man from my CC days who had been wanted by the police for a few years and none of us knew about it. He was a prominent person in our church. He probably could have gotten away, undetected, for years. But his conscience convicted him and he turned himself in. He went to jail and for years, we saw him picking up trash along the highways, the modern version of a chain gang. I was quite impressed, let me tell you.

  75. Xenia,

    #75 is good stuff.

    I can’t see the sicario turning himself in to those who participated with him in these crimes.
    He may have…he would have never made it to a court or even a jail however.

  76. The thing I think some of us are struggling with, Michael, is that he is deserving of a death sentence. If it comes by the hands of a corrupt or honest system, he is deserving of death.

    Now, not everyone has to get what they deserve but someone who has murdered 100’s of people deserves a death sentence if ever anyone did.

    He was so callous about 100’s of lives but seems protective of his own. Human nature. I guess I am wanting to see another Christian hero like the Twenty- One Martyrs of the Islamic Sword. His story would be more meaningful if he turned himself in, no matter what the cost. But he does not live to provide me with stories with satisfying endings. He is God’s servant, not mine.

    And as you say, He may have met his Maker already.

    Just thinking out loud.

  77. I dont think anyone has said he should not be tried by a real court. But many seem to think we cannot appreciate the story without claiming hes not “really” saved because hes not in jail.

  78. David,

    I think with many of the stories that are hashed out here on the PhxP, the particular is expanded into a discussion of the general, in this case, how should a guilty but repentant Christian conduct themselves?

  79. Let’s stop bothering offering a defense.

    He has already been acquitted and

    Like Michael said he has probably been executed.

    Just take the time to take in that story…. incredible

  80. It does however sound as if some are anxious to send El Sicario to hell along with his execution. We do love damnation. We love it so…

  81. Well I don’t doubt whether the guy is a Christian – I think anyone who calls himself a Christian is … until he isn’t.

  82. It’s easier to sing “Jesus paid it all” if you weren’t a really, really bad person prior to one’s encounter with the cross. It’s easier to accept our deserving damnation in theory. Then we look true evil in the eye and we get a little squeamish. Even if it is ‘forgiven’ evil. We may grudgingly accept they may have received their ticket into heaven, but gosh darn it, we’ll feel much better if the pound or more of flesh they owe gets extracted before they leave the planet.

    The testimonies that always amaze me are the survivors of having their loved one’s killers, rapists, etc -offering forgiveness to the perps even before they may or may not repent. Powerful stuff. Way out of my pay grade to figure out just how this all works.

  83. #81 “We do so love damnation.” I do not. The theology of damnation is probably the #1 of my top 10 hinderances to faith.

  84. Anne at #84

    I agree wholeheartedly. I no longer subscribe to that fiction. I agree with Edward Fudge about ‘Conditional’ Eternal Life. Annihilation for those who die without Christ. Read up on it if you like. “The Fire that Consumes”
    -mike

  85. I think we’re mixing up two systems here:

    There is justification through faith by the grace of God through Jesus Christ….that assures the sinner a relationship with the Lord eternally.

    There is also a civil demand for payment for sin: retribution. This is where the death penalty is addressed– an eye for an eye or monetary awards.

    Now, as Christians, living in accordance Romans 13, don’t we need to submit to both standards? One is spiritual, the other secular, but we, as believers, are expected to obey both.

  86. Now that you are saved, go pay for your sin. Brilliant.

  87. brian,

    no… it’s “now that you’ve accepted Christ, been saved… go make amends or restitution that can be made to your victims”

    that would be a more accurate reflection of the theme.
    mike

  88. Ixtlan…if your comment was in response to my post, here is my response:

    People who don’t know the Lord will not respond to His form of government.

    Without knowing Him, how can they embrace His grace?

    Instead, we are held to a higher standard as Christians. Just as a Christian pastor is held to an even higher standard.

    How else do we have a witness?

  89. Suppose this fellow somehow escapes Mexico alive and assumes a new life in a foreign land. Everyone here ok with that?

  90. Xenia,

    To me, the whole point of the story is that there isn’t any of it we should be ok with…which makes the grace of God even more remarkable.

    Jesus doesn’t ask us who we’re ok with adding to the kingdom.

    God help us all if He did…

  91. I never said anything about his salvation.

  92. I was thinking what if this man had become a Mormon. He then came forward publicly and said his faith in the son of god had compelled him to turn himself in to the proper authorities so that he might answer for his crimes.

    The first thing that came to my mind is what a powerful witness that would be for the Mormon church. How many might be compelled to investigate the Mormon faith and possibly convert?

    Is it possible that if this man is still alive and he came forward as described if his witness via his death would speak volumes to a watching world just as the deaths of the innocent 21 Christians that were butchered by ISIS?

    Before my sister was a believer she cheated on her taxes big time. After coming to faith she contacted the IRS and told them what she had done and then paid them the money she had lied to get plus the interest.

    I’m sure others have done things along that line after coming to faith. I think this verse from James would apply.

    James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

  93. I’ll say this one more time.
    Who is he supposed to come forward to?
    If you read the book or watch the film or even look into these matters at all, you will know that every level of law enforcement and the judiciary are corrupted beyond belief.
    He kidnapped people as a police officer…with other officers keeping the watch.
    The federal police and the army have been implicated in more horrific crimes than ISIS will ever have the chance to commit.

    Do you know what percentage of homicide cases ever result in a trial in Mexico?
    Less than 10%
    Convictions are less than 2 %

    Those numbers are from their own government figures.

    Mexico doesn’t have the death penalty, though many people die in prison.

    His witness was to sit down and trust someone enough to tell his story that others might hear.

  94. I believe that if Mexico (or any other country) is going to right itself it will begin with heroes standing up and doing the right thing, even if it costs them there lives. One hero at a time.

  95. This is an interesting account on the conversion of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer which in many ways ties in to this story.

    http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/2006/11/Saving-Jeffrey-Dahmer.aspx#

  96. If he were arrested he would never be allowed to speak.

    It frustrates me no end that whether we are talking about 16th century Geneva or modern day Mexico we always apply American standards to everything.

    It just doesn’t work that way.

  97. Michael, maybe he goes public and turns himself over to whoever is acting as the police in Mexico. His death would probably be much the same as that which he imposed on hundreds of innocent and helpless victims.

    In this way he is standing up to the evil that has so filled that country. Maybe that would speak to the people in a much larger way than anything else?

  98. Erunner,

    I’ll let you guys decide what he should and shouldn’t do.

    If the man pokes his head up the cartels will kill him.
    If he pokes it up another place the police will kill him.
    He knows too much about both to be allowed to live, let alone speak.
    If a newspaper printed his story the reporter and editor would be killed.
    Look up the stats on dead Mexican journalists.

    He has about as much chance to go public as I have to do the next State of the Union address.

  99. Michael, from what I’ve read he may already be dead. I’m stating things based on personal convictions as are others and it’s clear there’s a wide divide in thoughts being expressed here.

    That we are able to post here and have such different views is what makes this blog so powerful. I haven’t seen anyone name calling or getting personal unless I missed something.

    We state our piece as the thread moves on and make sure no ill will springs up within us. I suspect as time moves on we will be dealing with and facing issues we may never have thought possible. I wish it wasn’t so.

  100. Michael @99 makes a good point. In terms of Corrie Ten Boom’s story via the The Hiding Place, the takeaway I saw was that her sister wanted to obey all the laws and prayed…she was executed. Corrie, on the other hand, circumvented the authorities and ended up surviving to be a witness. I can’t help believe that God was in control of each life and had a purpose in each one.

  101. My frustration boils over whenever this topic comes up.
    ISIS is rightfully grabbing headlines here at the present time.
    We are stunned at their barbarity.
    Yet, right over the border, many, many times the number of casualties inflicted by ISIS have come at the hands of the cartels.
    The beheadings, the ritual mutilations, the burning alive…all are old news south of the border.
    I can’t seem to make anyone care.

  102. Linnea,

    @101…thank you.
    The God who sovereignly saved him will sanctify him as well.
    He believes he did what God called him to do with Chuck’s help.
    I just wanted to celebrate grace…

  103. I don’t think most here are doubting his salvation. God has saved another terrible sinner, just as he has saved all of us terrible sinners.

    My mind, as of late, has been steeped with stories of Christian bravery in the face of certain death. I should not expect this of everyone because God does not expect it of everyone.

    But I don’t think Michael should be so dismayed that people are wondering what should be the temporal consequences of murdering hundreds of people.

  104. “I can’t seem to make anyone care.”

    ISIS is on the lips of Americans because our overlords want it there. The last thing they want is an end to the drug war that fuels the violence among our real neighbors south of the border.

    The same tricks work over and over and over again.

  105. Jim, I believe you nailed it.
    The same folks profit from both.

  106. j2 and Mike.

    It’s real easy for us in our comfortable living rooms, who have dealt with nothing more than parking tickets and shoplifting to talk about ‘making things right.’ Th fact is, after torturing and murdering, there is precious little in the way of ‘amends’ that can be made. And as Jesus said, those who live by the sword will die by the sword. This man will meet (or has already met) a fate as horrible as he dealt to his victims. How many of us would be man enough to turn ourselves in to the police knowing full well that they would hand us over to men who would peel our skin and flesh off our bones while we were still alive? Praise God that the guy repented and pray that death takes him quickly when his time comes.

  107. I feel your pain. It’s the same as when I try to share info about what’s going on in Ukraine.
    I think ISIS just gets more press by fear mongering media that poses for “news” channels in the US any more.

  108. El Sicario may want to take his chances with the bad guys over this crowd

  109. So glad you watched it, Michael.

    The last 5 minutes are pure gold

  110. Remember when Paul left the road to Damascus? Christians didn’t want to be around him, and as far as I know he didn’t claim to torture and kill 100’s of people. There are a few really high horses in this thread.

    So you’ve got an unidentified masked man who claims to be the biggest serial killer in known history, but don’t worry about that part because now he found Jesus.

    It’s not Jesus that I am slow to trust in this situation. It is a man I don’t know hiding his face and claiming to have done unbelievable evil. If he’s telling the truth, and killed 100’s of people, I would have trouble trusting a person who was once capable of such atrocities. If he is fibbing on the kill numbers, then I’d have trouble trusting someone who has proven to be dishonest. If he is wearing a mask…well, I never trust a masked man.

    I am only spelling this out because of the push back against the thought that anyone would hesitate to let him baby sit your kids.

    Now could Jesus save a killer like that? ABSOLUTELY! Is that guy any more deserving of Hell than wretch like me? NO WAY! If any of us gets to heaven, it will be 100% due to God’s grace.

    However, does this guy pose a bigger threat to society than a sinner like me? Definitely.
    I’ve never even killed a small animal on purpose. Tear up if I accidentally hit something with the car. This guy has grown calluses that a guy like me would never dream of. I’ll be glad to see him in heaven, but I don’t want him in my neighborhood.

  111. I don’t worry about him being in my neighborhood.
    That’s because everyone in Mexico with a gun wanted him dead.
    I didn’t write a single word about offering him a green card.
    All the push back came when some suggested that not only must this man be born again, he must do proper acts of penance to convince those of us behind our computers in residential America that he was really saved.
    I wasn’t nominating him for our church board, I wrote an article about the power of the Gospel and the grace of God.
    As is usually the case, that interested very few people.

    This is reality we’re dealing with…that some of us are trying to deal with.
    There are many more just like this sicario and thousands of young people in Mexico and Central America have had no other life since about 2006.
    We watch ISIS in horror and ignore the fact that they’re rank amateurs compared to the cartels.
    We worry about ISIS traveling sand and sea to attack us when these people already have cells in most cities in America.

    The Gospel succeeded where guns failed in this case…I thought it worth noting.

  112. “If he is fibbing on the kill numbers, then I’d have trouble trusting someone who has proven to be dishonest.”

    Over 100,000 dead since 2006…you think they all had heart attacks from cholesterol?

  113. We all saw the pictures and the news coverage where ISIS set 45 people on fire.
    How many of you saw any coverage of the fact that a few months previously 42 students in Mexico died the same way?

  114. Actually, I was more aware of the Mexican school tragedy than the 45 burned by ISIS.

    There is no value in making these comparisons. There is nothing we can do about Mexico. I suspect there is nothing we can do about ISIS. The West has lost the moral high ground, if it ever had it. Christians are going to have to be personally courageous in the coming days. Martyrs will be made.

    I regard most Mexicans and Central Americans in my town to be refuges of one kind or another so I endeavor to treat them with all the compassion, dignity and respect possible. This may not stop the drug cartels in Mexico but it does offer a small amount of consolation to their victims. This is something we can all do.

    Anyone wanting to learn Spanish I recommend the app Duolingo. It’s free and effective.

  115. By “we” I mean the ordinary citizen.

  116. “All the push back came when some suggested that not only must this man be born again, he must do proper acts of penance to convince those of us behind our computers in residential America that he was really saved.”

    Not one person said anything near that. All specified they believed he was saved. Some wondered what was to be made of the 100’s of devastated families left behind.

    “Over 100,000 dead since 2006”
    Wait, this guy killed all of them? If he claimed 100,000 I’d definitely have trouble believing him.

  117. Another way people can show the love of Christ to the poor, many being Hispanics, in their neighborhood is to volunteer for Meals on Wheels.

  118. “I don’t worry about him being in my neighborhood.”

    Bull. No sane person would want to be within 100 miles of him. A, because he may have killed a bunch of people, B, because a bunch of people want to kill him.

    I know you didn’t write about his citizenship, but you have gotten very flustered than anyone dare ask the question, “What now?”.

  119. Josh,

    Go up the thread and read Mikes comments to me.
    Your questions about the victims need to be addressed to God as I am not the One who chose to save this guy.

    I never said that this guy killed 100,000 people and if you want to get snarky I’m primed and ready to go.

    The point is that this guy is just one of many recruited from youth and trained to kill.
    Mexico has had an ongoing bloodbath since 2006.

    Again, this was supposed to be about the grace of God and the power of the Gospel.

    I was impressed.

    Your mileage may vary.

  120. EVERYONE WAS IMPRESSED!!!

    The only question has been what to make of those families who lost loved ones. That’s it! All of us want to get together with the guy in heaven. We are glad that God saved him and forgave him. We wonder what consequences he should have to deal with here on earth, even though he is now a new creation.

    Are you mad at everyone because Mike is a jerk? Let me break something to you, Mike is always a jerk.

  121. “I know you didn’t write about his citizenship, but you have gotten very flustered than anyone dare ask the question, “What now?”.”

    How the hell should I know?

    The man lives in a narco state with no real law or justice and now that God has saved him I need to come up with a plan to sanctify him?

    All your arguments are with God…take it up with Him.

    What probably happened since the filming of the movie is that he was found, his hands bound with duct tape and his mouth closed with it as well. He was taken somewhere and tortured in ways I can’t write on the blog, then finally shot in the head and left on a street.

    That’s my best guess.

    Perhaps that will comfort the readers.

  122. “The only question has been what to make of those families who lost loved ones.”

    Take it up with God.
    While you’re at it, read the article where I asked the same damn question.

  123. Then I have no clue what you are upset about, other than Mike being a jerk.

    It was a good article and a good discussion. For some reason it has rubbed you entirely the wrong way.

    The take it up with God comment could be said about absolutely everything that has ever been written on this blog. That’s typically what we do here: Discuss the things that have to do with God.

  124. Why are you so angry.

    You too are just sitting behind your computer, just like the rest of us.

  125. Let’s review.
    I write an article that basically says that no one is beyond the grace of God.
    I do believe that God saved this man…and I raised some questions about that act of God that only God can answer.
    I raised the questions before anyone here did.
    I also raised the possibility that the Gospel may be a more effective weapon than carnal warfare.
    God saved a monster and I have no idea what provision He made for the mans victims.
    How I would be able to answer such a question escapes me.
    I have tried to explain that to “turn himself in” would require turning himself into people who assisted in his evil and they probably wouldn’t want him to go to trial.
    Thus, we will never know what became of him or the extent of temporal judgement he received.
    I can’t arrange for Mexico to be governed by the rule of law.
    I can try to point out that it isn’t.
    Yes, Xenia, for the most part I’m just another guy behind a computer.

  126. If I may jump in for a moment as one who has been purely an observer of this discussion up to this point. What I have seen is that Michael wrote a good article pointing to the grace of God. Mike comes along and takes a dump on the thread by questioning the man’s salvation, repentance, and the grace of God, while also questioning and attacking Michael. He then continues his arguments in his normal passive-aggression fashion. This pisses off Michael. This also ends up turning the thread towards a discussion of the man’s repentance and what his actions should be in keeping with his repentance. This I believe is a legitimate discussion while also realizing that many of us don’t nearly have a full understanding of the conditions and environment that this man came from and from which he must now endure/(hide?) from. Michael is still pissed off from Mike and was originally hoping the thread would focus on the grace of God. So he is no mood to entertain the discussion of what actions the man should take to follow through with his repentance, while also knowing there’s probably no way for us to ever even know what this man has done or can or will do in that regards. So he snaps at those who discuss that line of thinking. And some who have been snapped at snap back. All the makings of another fun day on the blog. Maybe it would be best for those involved to pause for a moment and reflect on the situation. Maybe that’s already happening as it looks like my comment will be the first one posted after a bit of a break from the comments.

  127. Well, at the very least, I was too slow in writing my comment and it looks like Michael gave a bit of a recap before I posted mine.

  128. My only contribution to the thread is to note that regularly (including just a week or two ago if memory serves) there is a mocking made and encouraged against evangelical (naturally) testimonies that are shared in churches around this country – for including lots of nastiness in the “before Christ” portion of the testimony.

    Regularly there is also a judgement made that lots of these details are no doubt exaggerated or even made up in order to titillate the Christian audience.

    The mocking specifically pointed to the new Christian trying to be as explicit as possible as to the old sinful life, and all those greedily listening to the testimonies and praising God the more when the testimony is the worst.

    This El Sicario article begins by saying this may be one of the best evangelistic films ever made. I have no doubt. I love a powerful testimony and rejoice in the reminder that nobody is beyond the power of God to save.

    However, I am puzzled by a double standard. A concealed testimony to an important secular journalist in a hotel room is lauded.

    But a person stands up and shares in a live service, name and face included, and it is indicative of all the ills wrong with the American, evangelical church that we would be interested in such things and ask people to share their stories.

    That’s all I have to say…

  129. KevinH,

    Good work… 🙂

  130. “How I would be able to answer such a question escapes me.”

    I don’t think anyone expected you personally to answer the questions. I think we were just discussing and asking the questions, open ended, that came to mind.

    I think you feel a bigger burden to do something about Mexico, and it frustrates you that things don’t change? Honestly, as a blogger, you are doing everything that could be expected. You have drawn attention to it.

  131. Kevin H – go jump in a lake. Nobody tells me what to do.

    Just kidding 🙂 . I think you got it about right.

  132. Steve,

    I’ll say this one.more.time.
    This wasn’t produced by the Billy Graham association.
    It wasn’t Bowdens desire at all to make this an evangelistic vehicle.
    He wanted to expose the corruption and the horror of modern day Mexico.
    He also wanted to demonstrate how much these monsters are just like us.
    He wasn’t real interested in promoting Christianity, but it was why the sicario agreed to speak in the first place.
    It’s a completely different purpose than that of the “testimonies’ we have in American evangelicalism where the worse you were the more we continue to make of you.

  133. Josh,

    All lakes (and rivers) near me are frozen over right now. If you cover the gas and tolls it would cost to drive to the shore and jump in the Atlantic, maybe I’ll consider it. 🙂

  134. Michael,
    It seems to me you write articles like this because you want people to be aware and to engage on the atrocities of mexico. Yet, when people do, it seems that we are missing the mark on what you expect, or hope, the conversation will be about. Maybe it would help if we understand what you hope people would say (except mike who just likes to come on here and piss you off regardless if the topic)

    What response would be appropriate?

  135. Kev – We just got our one snow for the year here in NC last night. 3″ or so. It’s awful. You don’t want to come here now. WE WILL REBUILD!

  136. London,

    I didn’t write this article to talk about Mexico.
    JTK mentioned that he had seen the movie, which sent me on a quest to find out if it was streaming online so I could see it too.
    I knew the story already…I’d read the book and had some conversations with people who knew the back story.
    The movie still blew me away on a bunch of levels…especially when this guy talks about his conversion.
    It brings up huge questions about grace and justice and it suggests that there is such power in the Gospel that the worst evil imaginable falls before it.
    How do we as a church respond to such truth in the face of ISIS and the cartels etc?
    When I read “Christian” commentaries on the Islamic situation they always come back to military and political options.
    I rarely read of Gospel options or the weapons of Christian warfare as described in Scripture.
    We make calls to pray for victims, but we want to kill the perpetrators.
    Is it possible that we are called to pray for both and wage war on a completely different plane?
    How do we do that?
    Have we grown so dependent on political and military solutions that we have left our true stations?

    No, this article wasn’t primarily about Mexico…it was about the Gospel.

  137. Nobody appreciates art any more Michael.

  138. Michael,

    In my FB feed, which I suspect includes a different set of folks from your FB feed, a well-known EO priest suggested we all repent last Sunday (The Sunday of the Final Judgment, first week of Lent) on behalf of the ISIS murderers. I don’t actually think you can repent on behalf of someone else but his heart was saying “Lord, forgive them for I myself am also a sinner.” And the relatives of the Twenty One were also talking about forgiveness.

    That’s the kind of thing I was reading in my FB feed.

  139. We need a nice article on Baptism to calm things down around here 😉

  140. My FB feed is all pictures of kids playing in snow.

  141. To answer your question about response to articles that are about Mexico.
    I’ve quit writing them in case you haven’t noticed.
    I wanted people to look at the situation as it is, not as we think it ought to be, not as it is portrayed by our media and politicians.
    I wanted people to look into these things and care.
    The last ones I did caused a flood of hate mail, a large loss of friends, and more grief than I could process.
    It was time to set it aside lest I lose the platform completely.
    At the time, my biggest concern was covering the Philippine child abuse case and we were the only site doing so.
    I had to stay up and running and somewhat sane to do so.
    I don’t have a thick skin…strangely enough after all these years I’m far more sensitive than when I started.
    I watch your work on raising awareness about the Ukraine…and I read it because I want to understand and I want to care.
    I want to honor the fact that you care by being open to being informed and to do what I can with the information given.
    Some day I’ll circle back to the subject…when I have acquired more callouses and can temper both my passion and my pain.

  142. MLD,

    We have a baptism article in the works for next week… 🙂

  143. Michael, thanks for the clarification. I honestly didnt get that from the original post.

    I admit, I’m more inclined to think we should blow them all off the face of the planet, and am not so inclined to pray for them in any meaningful way.
    Prayer seems to take forever and personally, I want them stopped now.
    A military option (in theory) seems quicker and more effective.

    Btw- my FB feed is full of the atrocities going on in Ukraine and the people there trying to do something about it.

  144. “I admit, I’m more inclined to think we should blow them all off the face of the planet, and am not so inclined to pray for them in any meaningful way.
    Prayer seems to take forever and personally, I want them stopped now.
    A military option (in theory) seems quicker and more effective.”

    I completely agree.
    My question is if we are right…

  145. You put out a very good, many-faceted article and you are hoping people “get” what you “got,” that is, God can save even the most horrible sinners. I think we all agree with that. But your article brought up other issues as well. including the question of what should a notorious criminal “do” once he has become a Christian? Should he turn himself in? Under most circumstances, I think the answer would be “yes.” If someone in America killed hundreds of people and converted to Christianity of course we would still expect him to face the consequences. You have convinced us the situation in Mexico precludes this.

    Baptism doth now save us.

  146. Michael @133 – you really need not repeat what I certainly showed no sign of misunderstanding…

    Bowden’s purpose here is different than the church’s purpose in testimonies. HOWEVER, the church’s testimonies are hopefully for the purpose of maybe leading someone to Christ once in awhile. Your reference to the Billy Graham assoc makes that point clear. And we all agree that people getting saved is a good thing.

    Now, if YOUR purpose of the article is only Bowden’s – to once more raise the awareness of the horrors there with Christianity just being secondary then fine. But you did not write such an article here. You promoted it for its evangelistic value. You incorporated it fully with the Christian message.

    Do you want Christians to watch this movie, hear and praise the Lord.
    Do you want unbelievers to watch, hear and possibly call on the name of the Lord and be saved.

    If so, then your purpose is no different than the pastor’s purpose in having someone with a powerful testimony share to the congregation (who are encouraged to bring an unsaved loved one to hear)

    And those are what this blog mocks, regularly….which is my point of the double standard.

  147. Brian Williams career is over due to his “embellishments” of stories he covered. If we applied the same measure to church testimonies and sermon illustrations we’d lose a third of evangelical leaders…
    ——————————————————
    From Feb 9th Things I Think….

    A secular journalist’s job plight is used as a jumping off point to bash the church and its leaders. Excuse me A THIRD of its leaders, not the random falsehood. So a third of the evangelical church is full of it when they describe their lives before Christ.

    And even if the point is correct, does Brian Williams warrant the need to bash Christ’s bride?

    I’m not going to argue the point or the difference further. I have no reason to doubt El Sicario’s testimony, but I don’t have reason to doubt a brother or sister in Christ either, just because they too may share a “radically saved” testimony – unless that reason shows itself later.

    A guy in my fellowship just wrote a book about his life on the streets as a homeless person with a wife and several kids….a wonderful before and after testimony. I would be scared to death to recommend the book here for the comments that might follow. Of course, this guy is “just” a white homeless former drug addict and not a murderer for the cartels.

    As a pastor, (who does not do testimonies at services) I am sensitive to bigotry and stereotypes (whether about women, money, power, fame or something else)

    And as a believer, cynical bashing of the Bride because of a few does get wearisome

  148. Michael – @137. 🙂

  149. The one thing you can count on…everybody here always agrees with the blog owner and dissenting opinions are not allowed.

    Once again, I think we can lay that one to rest…

  150. ***j2 and Mike.

    It’s real easy for us in our comfortable living rooms, who have dealt with nothing more than parking tickets and shoplifting to talk about ‘making things right.’ Th fact is, after torturing and murdering, there is precious little in the way of ‘amends’ that can be made.***

    I don’t particularly appreciate being lumped together with Mike. I never advocated for him turning himself in or allowing himself to be tortured and murdered by corrupt authorities. The action I put forth for consideration –i.e. that he should try to track victims and victims families down and give them a heartfelt persona apology–is such a ridiculously tiny thing that I am shocked anyone would find it an offensive thought.

    Have you dealt with so much more than parking tickets and shoplifting that you are in a position to dismiss my concerns about the many victims as springing from mere naivete or ignorance?

    The bible tells people to make amends–to leave your offering at the altar and make things right with someone you have sinned against. I don’t understand how this film can be considered evangelistic if you’re rebuked for voicing aloud recognition that his many victims are still suffering from his choices and maybe now that he is a christian he should seek to play some role in their healing.

  151. j2,

    The idea isn’t offensive, it’s just pretty much beyond the possibility of happening.
    He simply did what he was told to do and had no relationship or knowledge of the victims outside of the fact that they were targets he was called to eliminate.
    We have no way of knowing what he has or hasn’t done, but I would tend to believe that he had minimal opportunity to do much.

  152. I argue against the notion of “radically” saved. I think it is a no brainer to convince a murderous motorcycle gang member or Mexican hitman he is bad and on his way to hell. Most just say they don’t care.

    People like me – the good guys – are the ones who take work to convince – who need to be radically changed. Why do I need to change my beliefs etc – I am good, I take care of my family, my employees and even give to the poor once in a while. God loves me just like I am and would never think of making demands on me.

    This is the testimony of me and almost all of my friends at the time – we are good enough for heaven so take you Jesus stuff elsewhere.

    People like El Guapo 😉 come running after Jesus – us good guys have to be kidnapped by Jesus to make us come.

  153. MLD,

    That might be your best comment ever.
    Don’t blow it. 🙂

  154. ***The idea isn’t offensive, it’s just pretty much beyond the possibility of happening.
    He simply did what he was told to do and had no relationship or knowledge of the victims outside of the fact that they were targets he was called to eliminate.
    We have no way of knowing what he has or hasn’t done, but I would tend to believe that he had minimal opportunity to do much.***

    I understand that. I just think at the same time that it’s not wrong or unchristian or lacking grace to feel bad for his victims and to feel that they’ve gotten a super-raw deal, more so than the main character in the documentary did. I believe he’s a christian, I’m glad he is, but I still feel really bad for his victims, more so than I feel bad for him. In an earlier comment you semi-graphically described the gruesome end he probably has met or will meet in the future. He perpetrated those same things hundreds of times against others, and I would hope at the very, very least that he apologized on film to everybody and expressed deep remorse.

  155. Well, I supposed it’s my turn to contribute to this thread.

    In my lifetime, personally I have suffered some pretty horrendous things by the hands of persons who were scalawags and murderous in all that they thought and did. Additionally, I have known indirectly what both perpetrator and their victims have struggled with concerning wrongs done to others and wrongs done against them.

    Most people do seek justice as a result of having to suffer. Even those who have perpetrated such sufferings upon others will have done so as a result of not being able to see justice done to those whom have harmed them at an earlier part of their lives. For instance, when serving jury duty several times, I noticed that far less focus upon the facts being presented to determine the guilt or innocence of defendant and far more was placed upon each jurors own experience of being wronged in their own lives. It is what is referred to as displacement. That is, we exact a judgment based upon something that may or may not be attributable to the character and truth of the defendant. We take what we have experience and the prosecutor uses that to appeal to a win, not the truth.

    So in turn, not even in the best courts will justice ever be served. Not really.

    The other thought that I have is this: In viewing various documentary on those family members whom lost a loved one by being murdered (no matter the process that took place in ending that loved one’s life), not one family member reported having been able to achieved a true healing as a result of the convicted person having their life ended through the death penalty. All the months of anguishing whether or not this person who took from them a loved one was not resolved by seeing what they thought “justice” would achieve. It didn’t bring back their loved one and it certainly didn’t heal the wounding of their own grief and felt losses.

    Personally, I have found that in my own working through such issues, before and after becoming a Christian have always but always left me with having to gain healing not through the perpetrator, but by seeking to find ways to rid myself of the toxins invoked by those that turned my world upside down, so that I would not carry that which I hated within me and that which did not belong to me. In doing this, I found it possible to forgive those who had hurt me and others, while understanding that forgiveness does not mean I am reconciled with the unrepentant but that I am able to speak to them, sincerely about that which had changed my own heart and mind from that which held me under a bondage wrought by the evils perpetrated upon me. In this, I could with great diligence and intention to pray for those who have hurt me and others. My greatest petition would be for them to be born again in Him. But until then, I would petition that He would keep this person from being able to harm anyone else until they were knocked off that horse they were riding upon to see the truth, the way, and the light.

    In my mind and heart, this is the greatest thing that I would want every person to have happened to them. Not a death penalty or anything horrendous to them, so they will “know” what it felt like to their victim (s). As for fruits of repentance, if they are truly born again, then God will use them according to His will and if that means turning themselves in, then that will happened without my mandating such an action on their part. In my mind, it serves no good purpose in light of knowing that even if they were to spend the next 50 years in prison, it is not going to restored back to me what was lost. Instead, I would prefer to see this person to pick up their cross and be a witness to those who had gone down that path that led them into such darkness. For, justice, as it is dealt out by man is so faulty at its roots, thus there is little, if any real godly fruit that can be wrought in also bringing healing and repentance among perpetrators or victims alike.

    If this person who gave his testimony to a journalist in private, it is still a testimony that bears witness to that which happened to him, to others, and to that which we each have had to come face to face—-the truth of our mortality and the condition of our own hearts and minds towards one another, whether they be a person with decency and integrity or a person that lived in darkness within their own souls and through that which surrounded him or her. Given the horrific things this confessor related, no amount of human contrived repentance will satisfy that which was taken from them. Not time in prison or even by the ending of his life. It is an expectation that in reality is wrought by that which we would like to believe would bring such peace to our own hearts, mind, body, and soul.

    In Jesus, our hearts and minds are renewed by the work of the Holy Spirit within us. My greatest hope and prayer for any who has harmed me would be that they would take steps to reconcile with those that would do them no harm and not worry about those who have murder or revenge in their hearts to do harm to them except to stay clear and continue to do what God has enabled them to do while having to protect themselves from giving up their own life due to that which is not of the Lord or is a reflection of that which honors and bears witness to Him, but rather more so to the desire of man to get that pound of flesh all in the name of “man’s” sense of justice instead.

    I have every confidence that God will square the books regarding anyone’s account yet to be placed in the balance of that which heart and soul have yet received. And for those who are truly in Him, we know that not all things we make excuse to do that is not of Him, we too have a reckoning and these things too, will be known and be dealt with as well, according to His just and righteousness, and not that which we would like to believe will be waved away, simply because we would like to believe we now, being in Him, are able to do giving ourselves the excuse, that we by sin nature, cannot help ourselves. Yet, have such little understanding to those like this fellow which Michael wrote about without realizing for such, we too would have done the same as this person had we also led the life that he did when first being recruited and being introduced to this darkness that led to the things that he professed to having committed.

    So rather to think about what consequences he must suffered to prove he is saved, I think it is far more important to understand what he shared about life in Mexico, the Cartel, and to above all give praise to God that even in the darkest of places, God used these things to bring one man to Him, broken, scared, terrified, and ever so wanting to be at peace and no longer in the darkness—-wanting to be forgiven and washed clean by the Blood that Jesus shed while being able to warn others from following the path that he had taken as a result of the temptations laid before him at one time long, long ago and that ended in doing so much harm to so many others. Knowing myself how these thing work, this testimony to this journalist took much courage and placed himself at a greater risk while enabling others to realize that these things do exist and that it is up to others to do what they can to understand that a country so near to ours is in need of reform and its victims in need to a place to go that is much safer and that is able to offer a better future with more opportunities for their children and generations to come.

    FWIW

  156. So rather to think about what consequences he must suffered to prove he is saved<<<

    Except this is not what any of us are saying.

  157. People like El Guapo  come running after Jesus – us good guys have to be kidnapped by Jesus to make us come.
    ——
    Great quote. Can I use it for my tell all book?
    Just kidding
    -mike

  158. ” that he should try to track victims and victims families down and give them a heartfelt persona apology–is such a ridiculously tiny thing that I am shocked anyone would find it an offensive thought.”

    When one is in hiding, it would be pretty hard to track the victims down as it would only exponentially increase the risk of being found by those who live in the darkness that he is now seeking to avoid being found.

  159. ***When one is in hiding, it would be pretty hard to track the victims down as it would only exponentially increase the risk of being found by those who live in the darkness that he is now seeking to avoid being found.***

    I’m sure even writing a letter would be out of the question. Okay, fine, the guy owes nothing to anybody. Once you become a christian the slate is wiped clean and it’s as if you never committed the crimes and you have no responsibility for your previous actions. I guess Jack Chick got it right when he wrote “Lisa”.

  160. j2,

    I do believe in recompense when it is possible.
    My only contention is that based on what I’ve learned from years of research is that such would be almost impossible in this case on any broad scale.

  161. I know you believe that, Michael. I’m not sure what some of the other posters believe.

  162. We are in no position to ask for recompense from anyone who claims the name of Christ.

    If God moves on the heart of that man or woman to pay back their wrongs, then fine.

    We all have a “get out of jail free card” and its based on the righteousness of Christ and nothing else.

  163. ***We are in no position to ask for recompense from anyone who claims the name of Christ.

    If God moves on the heart of that man or woman to pay back their wrongs, then fine.***

    That, frankly, seems like a horrendously destructive viewpoint that would lead to the victimization of weaker people and social chaos.

  164. We are in no position to ask for recompense from anyone who claims the name of Christ.
    ——————————————————
    Leaving for a moment this particular individual and his salvation…I can’t believe I just read that on this blog. I know it is certainly not the standard for the poster boy pastors that are featured here…

    Stuff like this is how people end up believing that Jesus only died for your sins before you get saved…..

    Sins as a Christian require earthly consequences. This entire blog has had that as a major focus. Everyone who posts here (regularly at least) wants to hold people responsible for their sins when committed as Christians, especially when in leadership.

    But anything you do before being born again is under the blood for EARTHLY consequences too?? and the victims have no right to expect anything just because the guy can now say truthfully “I’ve become a Christian”??

    Should we empty the jails and let guys like Chapman (Lennon’s killer) free too.

    (And MLD as to your point…I was as ‘radically saved’ as anyone, because my life at age 25 (outwardly) was about as good as it gets…but I doubt it would have the mass appeal of a movie about me…showing a guy sitting for hours reading the Bible probably would not sell a lot of tickets 🙂 )

  165. So the Liberian guy who’s story I posted does the thing people are asking this other guy to do.
    If he finds out someone us a victim of something he did, he apologizes and asks forgiveness. Some article I read about him said sometimes people walk away, sometimes the forgive, sometimes they want to kill him.
    I think part of the difference is that Liberia has moved past their civil war and as a country, are working to bring healing to the victims on all sides of the war. Mexico isn’t in that place, they are still in the middle of all the bloodshed.
    Maybe, at some point, the Mexican killers will be in a place to be able to walk around and ask forgiveness.
    Doesn’t sound like that’s today.

  166. A psychopath — being saved by the Blood of Jesus

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DakEcY7Z5GU&feature=share

  167. If I stole a thousand dollars from my neighbor and then became a Christian and told my neighbor that he should not expect me to pay him back because I have now acquired something called “the righteousness of Christ,” he’d be pretty unimpressed.

  168. Hmmmmmmmmmm

    Did post salvation “Saul” turn himself in to the authority-cartel of THAT cruel godless culture.?

    or
    Did the born again Paul proceed to proclaim the Gospel while mentioning his past and sometimes avoiding the forces of evil.

  169. All’s I have to say is that this idea that once you convert to Christianity you have no obligation to at least attempt to make whatever amends that are possible is bizarre.

    Zacchaeus returned all he had stolen and then some.

  170. “Did post salvation “Saul” turn himself in to the authority-cartel of THAT cruel godless culture.?”

    Had Paul committed a crime, for which he should have turned himself in?

  171. The comparison to Saul/Paul is laughable. He actually got PERMISSION from the High Priest and authorities to do the persecutions he sought. If a Marine gets saved and becomes a pacifist he does not turn himself into the US Attorney General for “murder” because he fought in Iraq.

    I was already saved for several years when the Lord brought to mind someone I had been cruel to when I was in college (as an unsaved man) and it happened at the exact time I was given an alumni contact book. I had not thought once about that sin until the conviction came to me “Look in that book, see if X is in there and contact him and apologize” – The opportunity presented itself which had not before, and THAT is when the Lord brought conviction. And I did not think for a second that somehow God already had it covered by the blood and thus I did not need to respond to the Spirit’s conviction for any earthly amends.

    Is that trivial in comparison. Of course. All sin is bad but not all sin is equally bad. However, if the argument is that one need only repent of the trivial sins committed before conversion, then I will disagree. Likewise, if the argument is that when the repentance might end life in this realm then it should not be done, I once more disagree and find it incompatible with any sense of earthly justice that requires new Christians to stay in prison. Instant parole, right? Once you get saved so your life on earth can be “used” for the Lord.

    It’s funny that Christians rip on the 12 Steps a lot and yet even recovering alcoholics recognize that sobriety requires making amends as much as possible – amazing that Christ requires less than AA to some here….

  172. In our area many years ago (Salinas area) there was a terrible home invasion. The father was killed and the daughter was subjected to unspeakable torture. The mother, a Christian, determined in her heart to forgive her attackers and began a reconciliation ministry where she helps criminals make amends, which is biblical, by the way, if you read the Old Testament law code (which I am anticipating people saying no longer applies but in this case I believe reveals the heart of God.)

  173. But the attitude that says “Hey, former victim, I don’t owe you anything because *I* now possess the righteousness of Christ” is mean-spirited and very bad theology.

    (Not talking about the El Sicario story here.)

  174. Steve Wright

    In agreement with what you shared in #172.

    Perhaps the best that El Sicario could do in terms of repentance while having to hide is to tell his story and hopefully let others know that he understood what he had done and that he, knowing how these guys worked, his days were numbered he wanted to bear witness to those that might be tempted or seduced or even held as a hostage into this lifestyle, while also giving witness to the victim’s family that in deed these things had been perpetrated. Perhaps due to not being able to safely search out these family members, his ability to meet with this journalist was all that he could offer and as a result of coming to the Lord, he did the best that he could at the time.

  175. Yeah Steve.W,

    You must be correct

    There surely could not have anyone or any group-cartel which would have been effected and upset with the actions of Saul…

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