Editor’s Note: This year marks the 25thanniversary of the Waco Siege that occurred from February 28 to April 19, 1993. Throughout the coming weeks, we will be sharing on the website the articles that appeared in the May 1993 edition (vol. 23, no. 1) of Spectrum concerning this tragedy.
I first saw David Koresh—then Vernon Howell—in 1987, when I was an undergraduate at Southwestern Adventist College in Keene, Texas, a little more than an hour's drive from Waco. One morning during a Sabbath School class, I noticed a man sitting by a window near the back of the classroom. He and his friends were handsome and dressed as if they had stepped out of the pages of Gentlemen's Quarterly magazine. At first, Koresh and his friends were quiet, but soon they were trying to dominate the class discussions.
Koresh - Men - Adventist - College - Students
Later, Koresh and his men met with about 50 Southwestern Adventist College students, lecturing them for some time. Finally, several religion majors questioned their methods of interpreting the Bible (particularly prophetic passages), and challenged their use of Ellen G. White. The thing that turned most of the students off to the visitors was their unwillingness to confess Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ.
Although Koresh and his cohort were never rude or violent, they were uncomfortable and defensive when the college students challenged them.
Friends - Mine - Conversations - Visitors - Branch
Friends of mine who had extended conversations with them told me that the visitors were Branch Davidians, and that they had non-Christian views on sexuality and salvation. In fact, the Branch Davidians thought the good-looking, long-haired fellow I had seen in the back of the classroom was God's "new" messiah. Little did I know that four years later, when I was completing a Ph.D. in theological ethics at Baylor University in Waco, the "new" messiah would be living about 15 miles down...
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