Covenant School Shooter Scrawled a Sick Message on Her Murder Weapon, But Her Plan Was Thwarted by Jesus Himself
Metro Nashville Police have released a steady stream of information in the aftermath of Monday’s horrific massacre that left three children and three adults dead at the Covenant School, a Christian elementary school in the Tennessee capital.
After hours of speculation, authorities revealed the killer was a 28-year-old woman who attended the school as a girl and later identified as male.
Police say she meticulously planned the attack and left behind a manifesto.
The contents of the manifesto were yet to be released Tuesday morning, but given the known facts, it seems fair to assume this was an anti-Christian hate crime.
A Monday evening Twitter post update from Nashville Police gave us perhaps the most disturbing look into the shooter’s psyche yet. Amid photos of the damage done to Covenant Church and police cars, the department released images of the three murder weapons.
Hale fired a number of rounds inside the Covenant Church/School building. She was armed with these 3 guns and significant ammunition. pic.twitter.com/3LYOU2r0sh
— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) March 28, 2023
The two rifles and one handgun are adorned with several strange symbols.
Though it’s difficult to make out, the first photo shows the phrase “Hellfire” written in red and black near the top of the rifle — surely indicating she’d use the gun to send Covenant students and teachers to hell.
Active shooter Audrey Elizabeth Hale drove to Covenant Church/School in her Honda Fit this morning, parked, and shot her way into the building. She was armed with 2 assault-type guns and a 9 millimeter pistol. pic.twitter.com/mIk2pDmCwQ
— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) March 28, 2023
Try as she might, though the shooter was unable to deliver any hellfire.
Though she killed the bodies of six people, by the grace of God their souls now reside in heaven rather than hell.
Though the Bible does not explicitly say, “Children who die go to heaven,” there is plenty of scriptural evidence pointing to shooting victims Evelyn Dieckhaus, William Kinney and Hallie Scruggs, all 9 years old, are now with the Lord in heaven.
In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus rebukes his disciples for attempting to block children from coming to him, saying, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
Earlier in Mark, Jesus tells his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Prominent pastor and author John Piper turned to Romans 1 to explain why children who die are saved.
When it comes to the matter of the three adults who were killed — custodian Mike Hill, substitute teacher Cynthia Peak and head of the school Katherine Koonce — the matter is slightly more complicated.
It’s impossible for us to know the hearts of these victims, but there is very strong evidence to suggest they are also in heaven, rendering the shooter a perfect 0-for-6 in sending people to hell.
From every indication available on the websites for the Covenant School and the affiliated Covenant Presbyterian Church, both organizations were firmly Bible-believing.
The Covenant School says its mission is “to assist Christian parents and the Church by providing an exceptional academic experience founded upon and informed by the Word of God.”
The school also provides its statement of faith, which each of the three employees was likely required to sign, on its website:
“As a ministry of Covenant Presbyterian Church, The Covenant School adheres to solid biblical theology. Our doctrinal basis is the Bible, which is the inspired and inerrant Word of God, and subordinate to it, the Westminster Confession of Faith, which is the faithful summary of reformed biblical theology.”
The Westminster Confession of Faith was written in 1647 and is adhered to by the Presbyterian Church in America, to which Covenant Presbyterian Church belongs. It is a wide-ranging document that contains doctrines with which Christians of some denominations do not agree but at its heart is pure orthodox Christianity.
If Hill, Peak and Koonce have affirmed the Covenant School’s Statement of Faith, there can be no doubt that they are in heaven at this very moment. Perhaps the six of them are quoting Genesis 50:20, where Joseph tells his brothers, who kidnapped him and sold him into slavery: “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.”
The grace of God has thwarted Satan. Though it can be hard for us to see that ultimate truth in times of great tragedy, it is nonetheless true.
When the Jewish leaders and Romans collaborated to kill Jesus, they thought they were snuffing out an annoyance for good, but they couldn’t have been further from the truth. Instead, they unwittingly carried out God’s sovereign plan for the salvation of his people.
So it was at the Covenant School. One of the evilest schemes Satan could have cooked up has resulted in sending six people to eternal glory — and will no doubt result in countless others hearing the Gospel.
The massacre at the Covenant School is many things, but above all it is a display of Christ’s ultimate victory over death and sin. Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross has rendered Satan powerless to destroy those who have true faith. In the often-quoted John 3:16, Jesus summarizes the Gospel, saying, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
The families of the victims and the precious children who were in the school will be forever changed by the events of March 27, 2023. Please pray for them as they go through a time of sorrow that most of us can’t possibly fathom. May God comfort them with complete assurance that their loved ones are truly in a better place.
Jesus explained to a crowd gathered at the temple that those who come to him in faith are eternally saved no matter what schemes of man are brought against him:
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” (John 10:27-29)
Martin Luther’s enduring hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” provides an encouraging reminder in times such as these. The entire song is worth a listen, but its final words stand out:
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His Kingdom is forever.
Praise God for that.
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