The Devil In Pew Number Seven by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo

2 Sep

Rebecca never felt safe as a child. In 1969, her father, Robert Nichols, moved to Sellerstown, North Carolina, to serve as a pastor. There he found a small community eager to welcome him—with one exception. Glaring at him from pew number seven was a man obsessed with controlling the church. Determined to get rid of anyone who stood in his way, he unleashed a plan of terror that was more devastating and violent than the Nichols family could have ever imagined. Refusing to be driven away by acts of intimidation, Rebecca’s father stood his ground until one night when an armed man walked into the family’s kitchen . . . and Rebecca’s life was shattered. If anyone had a reason to harbor hatred and seek personal revenge, it would be Rebecca. Yet The Devil in Pew Number Seven tells a different story. It is the amazing true saga of relentless persecution, one family’s faith and courage in the face of it, and a daughter whose parents taught her the power of forgiveness.

Rebecca Nichols Alonzo never felt safe as a child. Although she lived next door to the church her father pastored, the devil lived across the street. This tormented man terrorized her family with rifle shots and ten bombings. When these violent acts didn’t scare them away, he went even further. During dinner one evening, seven-year-old Becky and her younger brother watched as their parents were gunned down. Today Becky speaks about betrayal and the power of forgiveness. She is a graduate of Missouri State University and has been involved in ministry, including a church plant, youth outreach, and missions, for thirteen years. She and her husband, along with their two children, live in Franklin, Tennessee

Excerpt

My Impressions:

The Devil in Pew Number Seven is a testament to Robert and Ramona Nichols faith and trust in God. Throughout persecution that defies the imagination, the Nichols sought to depend on the protection and grace of God while passing on to their children the importance of forgiveness. Although terrible tragedy ripped their family apart, the Nichols succeeded in leaving to their children a legacy of lives lived within the power of God.

Alonzo takes the reader on an almost unbelievable journey through her childhood.  How could something so sinister have continued on for years? Where was justice, where was God?  These are questions that the reader asks.  But even in small town America, persecution of the faithful occurs. If not for eye witness accounts, the reader would be tempted to dismiss the tale.

But even more amazing than the tragic events that unfolded in a small, seemingly peaceful, southern town, is the forgiveness that is expressed throughout the book. Rebecca and Daniel Alonzo forgave the men that terrorized their family and killed their parents.  They forgave them even when it was unasked for.

Alonzo concludes her tale with the lessons learned at the knee of her father.  She expresses what her mother based her life on.  Forgiveness is the language of heaven and as followers of Christ it should be our first language.

The only criticism I have of the book is that many of the newspaper clippings and eyewitness accounts are missing from the narrative.  I would have liked more background of the case and more information on the people involved. Perhaps many of the details were omitted because the story is more about living out God’s grace than what others do or say.

Recommended.

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  1. September Book Reviews « RBC Library Blog - October 1, 2010

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