Terror Alert: Holy War in America’s Bible Belt

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Laura Harris Smith had a vision of a terrorist attack on Nashville. (Flickr / Toblas Pohl)

It was like any other family vacation for us: rare, restful and too short. Three generations piled into adjoining condos that my father had booked; four generations if you count that my daughter was pregnant and making me a grandmother. We were all gathered to visit and then go with her to the big ultrasound. The result? Twin boys, now almost 8 years old.

But one afternoon, I decided to lay down and take a nap before the big family meal. Since I never nap, and since I believe God speaks through dreams, I decided to take advantage of this extra sleep cycle and see if He might speak to me in a dream. I laid down, asked the Lord what He wanted to say, and drifted off. Surely I would dream about those precious twins. Or maybe about how the generations of the righteous are blessed. But that wasn't at all what God needed to say that day.

I saw an American city destroyed by terrorist bombing. There was carnage in the streets, smoke everywhere, and utter pandemonium. It looked like a desolate wasteland. I somehow knew a "holy war" had been incited by Middle Eastern terrorists, and that the city they'd bombed was my hometown, Nashville, Tennessee. Not that there wouldn't be other cities targeted, but this attack was different.

In the dream, Nashville had been strategically selected by them because of its religious history. The city is known by many names, such as "The Buckle of the Bible Belt," "The Protestant Vatican," and "Worship City."  The Lord showed me that in deciding to launch a "holy war," they'd chosen what their research had shown would surely be America's "holiest" city, in terms of the Christian faith.

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The bombings were to send a message that terrorism was about more than just power, it was about holiness. They murder in the name of holiness. They commit suicide in the name of martyrdom. They believe eternal rewards await both.

I awoke and asked the Lord why on earth He would ever allow this to happen to Nashville. I don't know about it being America's holiest city, but there certainly are more Christian ministries, industries, colleges, publishers, broadcasters and universities here than in any other American city, and so from the outside looking in, a strike against Nashville would be a blatant strike against Christianity itself. There are even more churches here per capita than in any other American city.

When I reminded God of all the work accomplished here for Him, I sensed that He wanted to prevent this holy war but that He wasn't getting much help in doing so. Help from His own elect. Not the politicians and the entertainers but those with direct Christian influence: His shepherds. But how could that be?

I knew that this blanket statement did not implicate "all pastors in the city," but that it represented a psychographic of Christian leaders who were rejecting the greatest ammunition we have against holy war: the Holy Spirit. Not rejecting Him to woo us toward Jesus, and not rejecting Him to seal our salvation, but rejecting Him by keeping Him at an arm's length and not allowing Him to be fully operational in more than just creed at our churches and in our personal lives. Basically, it was as if God was saying that where the Holy Spirit is not fully welcomed, a holy war cannot be fully won.

When I awoke, I opened my Bible and it fell open to the book of Jeremiah. I waited there and prayed. The Holy Spirit led me to several Jeremiah passages which could be interpreted to personify what I'd just seen, including chapters 4-6 which mentions a coming "disaster from the north, even terrible destruction" (Jer. 4:6), which I felt symbolized (in this context) bombs coming from the skies, like I'd just seen. It also mentions "a distant nation against you—an ancient and enduring nation, a people whose language you do not know" (Jer. 5:15) and references our sins including having ears and yet not hearing Him (Jer. 5:21), something that Nashville intercessors have long warred against in prayer, referring to it as a "religious spirit" or a "deaf and dumb spirit."  It manifests itself spiritually by preventing people from praying, prophesying, praising, speaking in tongues and just hearing from God period.

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