In a show of hostility towards Christianity, Islamic State, or its sympathizers, hacked the website of Westminster Presbyterian Church, posting the statement "I love Islam and Jihadist," a gruesome video, and some very disturbing language.
According to Wate.com, the pastor of the 200 member church, Jim Richter was informed of the incident the next morning after receiving an email from a concerned church member. After contacting the organization that services the website, it became clear that the terrorist group had meant to target multiple churches in the area.
"A lot of churches apparently and organizations that [the company] serve were hacked so it doesn't appear to be something that is directed at our church," Richter said.
"Frankly I thought it was a little humorous that a little church in Johnson City, Tennessee would get hacked by something that says it's from ISIS or that they love ISIS, now the website server when I communicated with him seemed to take that very seriously," Richter continued.
Others, however, didn't find the incident quite so humorous.
"I think it's terrifying, it's hostile no matter what you say about it," Marty Conley, who lives in Johnson City said. "I thought that was really strange."
Conley added that the hack brought the violence of the Islamic State far too close to home.
"You don't think about that type of thing happening in our area, I mean little town Johnson City, Tennessee."
Juliette Monroe, who lives in a city neighboring Johnson City, told the Gospel Herald, "Whether this is just a prank or a real threat from ISIS, it's incredibly disrespectful to the church and to Christianity in general...this is a very serious matter and very frightening for us living in this small community."
The Westminster Presbyterian Church pastor added that the hacking of the church's computer is evidence that spiritual attacks are a very real threat.
"I believe that there is a spiritual warfare that goes on. I think that there is a real devil and a real Jesus and that there's an opposition there so I'm not surprised that churches get attacked in a variety of ways and spiritual attacks and I would say this is one of them," said Richter.
Westminster Presbyterian Church has contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Knoxville regarding the hack, and they will be passing on the report for the Johnson City office to look into.