Saturday, March 28, 2009

Interview with Cindy, widow of Pastor Fred Winters

In the following interview Cindy Winters gives a grace-filled testimony of the power of the gospel to enable believers to love their enemies. She tells of her prayers for the salvation of Terry Sedlacek, the murderer of her husband, who was gunned down while preaching March 8, 2009 in the church he pastored, First Baptist Church, Maryville, Illinois. Watch it and pray--for Cindy and her daughters, for Mr. Sedlacek and his family. And pray that believers everywhere will be empowered to exude this same hope and love through the power of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said,
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:43-48).
How can anyone do this? Only through the power of the gospel. Only as we have been forgiven are we empowered truly to forgive from the heart. Only through the power of a risen Savior can we have the hope of a future resurrection that releases us from the tyranny of present tragedies. May this testimony and display of God's grace in the gospel call each of us who name the Name of Christ to live more faithfully as citizens of heaven as we continue our pilgrimage on earth.

HT:Denny Burk


James Hunt said...

Thanks, brother Tom, for sharing this...especially the scripure. I needed the reminder of what Jesus taught. My wife and I are in the middle of the adoption process adopting some older children. I got a little tired today of being cursed, despitefully used, etc. The words of Christ ministered the grace into my perspective needed to move forward with joy. After all, who has been so un-deserving of cursing and ill treatment than Christ...and what did He suffer?

Praise God for His grace.


Terrell Academy Chapel said...

Oddly enough, Tom, this video made me think of Christopher Hitchens of all people, and his constant harping about how Christianity poisons people and turns them into idiots or monsters or worse and how the world is worse off because of Christianity. When I watched this I thought, "No, THIS is what Jesus Christ does to people. THIS is what Christianity is."

Beautiful stuff. Thanks for posting!

Wyman Richardson

Bob Cleveland said...


One minor quibbling about words, but perhaps important (to me, at least).

The power of the gospel is the power into salvation. The victory Mrs. Winters exudes is the indwelling, enabling, victorious power of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Apart from good news on any page of any book.

Given the changes I've seen in the BF&M, I'd say the "powers" who influence such things may be more interested in our relationship to them, to the church, to the SBC, than to the Living, Indwelling, Enabling Holy Spirit.

I also admit that this stuff is one of my bigger "hot buttons, so...

Tom said...

James and Wyman:

Thanks. What an amazing, Christ-honoring testimony Cindy Winters gives!


Thanks for your comment. My failure to mention to Spirit's work in her life was not intended to be a slight to His presence or power but I can sure see how it could come across that way. I am with you 100% when you say this: "The victory Mrs. Winters exudes is the indwelling, enabling, victorious power of the presence of the Holy Spirit."

But I am not sure what you mean when you add, "Apart from good news on any page of any book." If you mean that the Spirit gives power apart from the gospel in Scripture, then I must disagree strongly.

Maybe I have simply misunderstood you. But if that is what you mean, how do you come to that conclusion? The Word is the Spirit's sword and it is what He wields in our lives to mature and strengthen us.

Again, I agree wholeheartedly with you when you say, "The power of the gospel is the power into salvation." But I want to make sure that no implication is given that the gospel is only for unbelievers. The gospel not only gets us into salvation but it keeps us saved and empowers us (in conjunction with the Spirit's ministry) to live holy lives.

I need the gospel as much today as when I first believed. It is what the Spirit uses to further conform me to Christ.

Bob Cleveland said...


No disagreement. Nobody gets anything worth having, apart from salvation which comes via the power of the gospel. But there's a difference in knowing stuff and having it manifested in your life via a supernatural work.

I believe Oswald Chambers once said there's a difference between being saved, and knowing Jesus.

It's obvious Mrs. Winters knows Jesus, far more than just knowing what the Bible says. I can think of people who are saved by the power of the gospel, but likely would not evidence the same grace that Mrs. Winters did ... which doesn't mean the gospel isn't present and effective in their lives.

The changes in the BF&M (which I blogged about some time back) seem orchestrated .. intentionally or unintentionally .. to de-emphasize the personal, intimate relationship with the Living Lord, in favor of attention to rules and theology and principles, so I'm kind of set on "kill" about stuff like that. I mean, I knew a LOT of things before I could confess I knew Jesus....

Nathan said...

Thought I would pass along a note of how God can use blogs. I passed along the link of this entry to a few friends, including one who professes allegiance to the Roman Catholic church.

My friend has a problem (hardly unique to him), that being writing people off (like criminals) and not believing that God can or should redeem them. "Put 'em in jail, throw away the key, and wait til they go to hell. Good riddance."

My friend watched the video and then came into my office and we had a talk. He said he was ashamed of himself after watching Cindy Winters express concern for her husband's murderer. Then he quickly expressed doubt that she could actually, sincerely feel that way. I told him that perhaps his doubt was fueled by his shame. Perhaps he did not want to believe she could really embrace concern and forgiveness for the offender.

Your link to this video was used by God, and the conversation is not over.

David McCrory said...

Only a heart who truly understands how much they've been forgiven could turn around and demonstrate this level of forgiveness themselves. May the Lord bless this testimony for His glory.