The Devil in Pew Number Seven

The Devil in Pew Number Seven

by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo, Bob DeMoss (With)


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781414326597
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: 07/16/2010
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 139,706
Product dimensions: 8.30(w) x 5.68(h) x 0.81(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Devil in Pew Number Seven

By Rebecca Nichols Alonzo Bob DeMoss

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2010 Rebecca N. Alonzo
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4143-2659-7

Chapter One

Walking, Crawling, Dead or Alive

I ran.

My bare feet pounding the pavement were burning from the sun-baked asphalt. Each contact between flesh and blacktop provoked bursts of pain as if I were stepping on broken glass. The deserted country road, stretching into the horizon, felt as if it were conspiring against me. No matter how hard I pushed myself, the safe place I was desperate to reach eluded me.

Still, I ran.

Had a thousand angry hornets been in pursuit, I couldn't have run any faster. Daddy's instructions had been simple: I had to be a big girl, run down the street as fast as my legs could carry me, and get help. There was nothing complicated about his request. Except for the fact that I'd have to abandon my hiding place under the kitchen table and risk being seen by the armed madman who had barricaded himself with two hostages in my bedroom down the hall. I knew, however, that ignoring Daddy's plea was out of the question.

And so I ran.

Even though Daddy struggled to appear brave, the anguish in his eyes spoke volumes. Splotches of blood stained his shirt just below his right shoulder. The inky redness was as real as the fear gnawing at the edges of my heart. I wanted to be a big girl for the sake of my daddy. I really did. But the fear and chaos now clouding the air squeezed my lungs until my breathing burned within my chest.

My best intentions to get help were neutralized, at least at first. I remained hunkered down, unable to move, surrounded by the wooden legs of six kitchen chairs. I had no illusions that a flimsy 6 x 4 foot table would keep me safe, yet I was reluctant to leave what little protection it afforded me.

In that space of indecision, I wondered how I might open the storm door without drawing attention to myself. One squeak from those crusty hinges was sure to announce my departure plans. Closing the door without a bang against the frame was equally important. The stealth of a burglar was needed, only I wasn't the bad guy.

Making no more sound than a leaf falling from a tree, I inched my way out from under the table. I stood and then scanned the room, left to right. I felt watched, although I had no way of knowing for sure whether or not hostile eyes were studying my movements. I inhaled the distinct yet unfamiliar smell of sulfur lingering in the air, a calling card left behind from the repeated blasts of a gun.

I willed myself to move.

My bare feet padded across the linoleum floor.

I was our family's lifeline, our only connection to the outside world. While I hadn't asked to be put in that position, I knew Daddy was depending on me. More than that, Daddy needed me to be strong. To act. To do what he was powerless to do. I could see that my daddy, a strong ex-Navy man, was incapable of the simplest movement. The man whom I loved more than life itself, whose massive arms daily swept me off my feet while swallowing me with an unmatched tenderness, couldn't raise an arm to shoo a fly.

To see him so helpless frightened me.

Yes, Daddy was depending on me.

Conflicted at the sight of such vulnerability, I didn't want to look at my daddy. Yet my love for him galvanized my resolve. I reached for the storm-door handle. Slow and steady, as if disarming a bomb, and allowing myself quick glances backward to monitor the threat level of a sudden ambush, I opened the storm door and stepped outside. With equal care, I nestled the metal door against its frame.

I had to run.

I shot out from under the carport, down the driveway, and turned right where concrete and asphalt met. The unthinkable events of the last five minutes replayed themselves like an endless-loop video in my mind. My eyes stung, painted with hot tears at the memory. Regardless of their age, no one should have to witness what I had just experienced in that house-let alone a seven-year-old girl. The fresh images of what had transpired moments ago mocked me with the fact that my worst fears had just come true.

I had to keep running.

Although I couldn't see any activity through the curtains framing my bedroom window, that didn't mean the gunman wasn't keeping a sharp eye on the street. I hesitated, but only for a moment more. What might happen gave way to what had happened. I had to get help. Now, almost frantic to reach my destination, I redoubled my efforts.

I ran on.

To get help for Momma and Daddy. To escape the gunman. To get away from all the threatening letters, the sniper gunshots, the menacing midnight phone calls, the home invasions-and the devil who seemed to be behind so many of them.

But I'm getting ahead of the story.


Excerpted from The Devil in Pew Number Seven by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo Bob DeMoss Copyright © 2010 by Rebecca N. Alonzo. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Author's note ix

1 Walking, crawling, dead or alive 1

2 Once upon a dream 5

3 Shotgun justice in sellerstown 23

4 The devil's in pew number seven 39

5 Under siege 57

6 Now I lay me down to sleep 75

7 The toughest guy in town 93

8 Holding on to hope 113

9 Hearing voices 129

10 Black Thursday 147

11 Unanswered prayers 167

12 Eight men and four women 189

13 Putting the devil on trial 207

14 Life is hard, but god is good 225

15 No apologies in heaven 243

Afterword 26l

Acknowledgments 265

Photo captions 272

Endnotes 273

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The Devil in Pew Number Seven: A True Story 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 144 reviews.
PhilNaessens More than 1 year ago
I must admit when I received "The Devil in Pew Number Seven" by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo with Bob DeMoss I was a bit skeptical. I figured this was just another "how to" book about Spiritual Warfare heavily based on experience and short on Scripture. Boy was I wrong! Being a preacher's kid is never easy and Mrs. Alonzo's early childhood certainly weren't a picnic on the beach. She experienced more terror by the time she was seven then most will see in 5 lifetimes. Mrs. Alonzo leads her readers through those early years including how she witnessed her mother being shot and killed right before her very eyes. Once I began reading this I couldn't put it down and neither will you! While this is a true story describing the destruction of a family it's also a story of forgiveness and I assure you this book will not only break your heart but feed your spirit as well. It's that good! This book deserves six stars as a five star rating doesn't do this book justice. I strongly suggest you go to your nearest bookstore and buy this book! I was given this book free of charge by Tyndale Publishing as part of their Blogger Review Program and was not asked to give a favorable review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up to have something to read in car pool line. This quickly became the book that comsumed every free minute that I had. It was tenderly written and I felt such compassion for the author and her traumatic childhood. Through this book, we see how God works His miracles in His own special way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was the oldest daughter of the previous preacher at this church. and yes I remember the Devil in Pew Number Seven! and yes, he WAS the Devil. I was only 5-6 at the time, but there was always a sense of darkness in that church. The blessing for my family...the church did not have a parsonage for our family, nor a salary, so our family remained in nearby Wilmington and my Dad retained his weekly job. But we were there in Sellerstown every Sunday and Wednesday night. We would visit members and dine with them on Sundays...and we did eat a few times with the Devil, but I don't remember it as being enjoyable. I am thankful, however, to find out that the Devil did come to know our Lord and was forgiven and forgave....
KimTeamer More than 1 year ago
The Devil in Pew Number Seven is an intriguing read. It will stir the mind, challenging you to consider what drives the heart of men. A true story, this book tells of love, loss, and forgiveness. While it is an interesting read, it is also a hard read. Parts of the book will be difficult to understand and other parts will be easy to understand…in Christ. Phone Tree Rating: 4/5 Stars ****
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading this book on my color nook and all I could do was sit quietly and savor everything I read. It was a page turner...I couldn't put it down. Reading the real life story of what Ms NicholsAlonzo went through with her mom,dad and brother was just heart wrenching...but there's joy in the end. She told the story from her heart with such simplicity and honesty which I absolutely loved. We truly do not have contol of what other people do to us and others, but we do have the ability to choose life and a bounty of jor or to be a prisoner chained in unforgiveness.
911ocfa More than 1 year ago
This is not a book that I normally would have "picked out of the stack." I saw a clip about the author and this gripping true story and thought I would give the book a try, really for nothing more than just getting some more details. Well, I can tell you this book was way more than I expected. It forced me to look at my own life and evaluate if I would have the same reaction that this amazing family has had to the most horrific set of circumstances one can imagine. It is a fairly quick read, but the lingering effects of the book will last a lifetime.
ReflectiveRed More than 1 year ago
This book will probably not seem believable to many readers, although it appears to be a true story. My father was a clergyman and, even as a child, I can recall people in our congregation who were far from the "typical" image of God-fearing people. However, as the old saying goes, churches operate for the spiritually sick just as hospitals do for the physically and mentally ill. Some of those in churches and hospitals are healthy staff; some patients are there for health maintenance and fitness training; some are mildly ill; and some are critically ill. In that context, remarkable recoveries can occur with skilled health care, but sometimes staff members die in the process of helping their patients. So this story makes eminently good sense, although it's tragic. We all need both physical and spiritual health care at all times. But don't enter a church, any more than you would a hospital or doctor's office, expecting perfect sanitation and results.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
What would you do if your small family moved to a small town to become the new preacher and you found one individual there that did not want you there? In fact, they would go out of their way to make sure you and your family got the message loud and clear that you aren't wanted and for you to pack up and go home. Yet you felt strongly in your heart that God has called you to bring the message of love and forgiveness to a church that is being run by one man with the power in his hands to control all the towns money and property that is, except for the church. When your father decides to stay even at a risk to his live and the lives of his family, all hell truly breaks lose when Mr. Watts decides to take matters into his own hands to make sure that you get the message to leave, dead or alive. I received the book, The Devil in Pew Number Seven from Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review and found a true story behind it all. It was written by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo and Bob DeMoss, who is the daughter of the preacher, Robert Nichols who is called to the small town of Sellerstown, North Carolina, in hopes of sharing God's message of love and restoration and in the process finds her family terrified beyond what anyone thought possible. What starts off as mere threatening midnight phone calls goes into causing physical harm to the family even with children present in the home. No one is safe! The author uses information from police reports, crime scene photos and eye witness testimony to convey the details of their story in this wonderful book. I would rate this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars for the mind blowing reality that this could really take place in small town America even today. The violence that the enemy is willing to use to bring about the fall of the church is eye opening to the reader.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the book, the story is very touching. Whenever you start reading this book you dont want to stop. I have not compleated it as yet,but i would recommend this book to anyone. The only thing i find a ittle distracting is the word momma.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must read for anyone struggling with faith and strength.
bjdoureaux More than 1 year ago
Imagine your father is the pastor of a church, where your mother plays the organ, in a small town where you are loved and quickly accepted. Do you imagine being happy? Feeling safe? Rebecca Nichols Alonzo was that child, along with her younger brother Daniel… but they never felt safe. With threatening letters in the mail, harassing late-night phone calls, and several explosions around their home, life for the Nichols family was far from peaceful and safe. Then, one night, a man came in armed with three guns. Rebecca’s life would never be the same. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain of going through this. Rebecca tells us her story as an example of, of all things, forgiveness. If anyone would be allowed feelings of hate, revenge, or bitterness… it would be Rebecca. But she has chosen another path. A path she had seen her parents take many times as she grew up. A path that is commanded by our Heavenly Father: forgiveness. In this book she takes us back to how it all started, walks us through the events, and the aftermath. Through it all, she focuses on the act of forgiveness and its healing powers. I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes from Tyndale.
Beachbum004 More than 1 year ago
This book was a very good book, teaches you why it's so important to forgive people.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was one of the best books I have read in a long time! It is a wonderful example of forgiving others & trusting in God to do his will. I had seen the author, Rebecca Nichols Alonzo & her brother Daniel on Dr. Phil & was so impressed with them both & knew I had to read this book. It definitely did not disappoint. She shows how we must all learn to forgive others if we expect God to forgive us.
bookworm2211 More than 1 year ago
an unfathomable true story. had to remind myself many times throughout that this family really endured these horrific nightmares.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rebecca Nichols Alonzo really brings to life the story of her parents love and dedication during an amazingly scary time! Living near where this story took place and knowing some of the characters she wrote an amazingly accurate portrait of the events. A definite must read
m-e-a More than 1 year ago
The Devil in Pew Number Seven is written mostly as a memoir and tribute to Rebecca Nichols Alonzo's parents. It gets a little mushy at times when she constantly refers to them as Momma and Daddy ( I wish she would just call them Ramona and Robert!). However, this was a personal and family tragedy so I can understand how she would want to preserve her parents as saints, as she paints them this way. Once you get over the part of how her parents met and started out, it gets more interesting. Stick with's worth a read to remind us that sometimes the worst and scariest monsters are real people.
JMDESQ More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing story well told. From the moment I began to read I could not put it down. The fact that the events in the book actually happened makes it even more interesting. The story is told in a truthful and direct manner that made it compelling to finish. This book is worth the read, and will impact your thinking about forgiveness and human nature.
mom2kchmwr More than 1 year ago
I really didn't know what to expect when I chose this book to review. I guess I knew it was non-fiction, but until I had the book in my hands and started reading did I realize that it was an autobiography, well researched and detailed. So many autobiographies are set up as "first I did this, and on this date we went here and this happened in this town and so and so was involved." Not even from the first page did I feel like I was reading an autobiography. This woman has uniquely crafted her life story into a book that reads like a novel. The last chapter is a conversation with the author. Or that's what it feels like. She explains what she has learned about forgiveness and how important forgiveness is in our lives and how it is a huge part of our walk with God and our witness for Him. This is a message that all people need to hear and know. And if she can forgive, I certainly can. I have not experienced in my life, what she has in hers! Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
LovenGod More than 1 year ago
I must start this review by saying this book frightened me. I love crime stories and mysteries, but this was a true story and it frightened me, because it truly is a possibility in any day and age. In the late 60's Pastor Nichols moved to Sellerstown, North Carolina. A small town, really just a wide spot in the road, named for all the people in the area named Sellers. What Pastor Nichols did not realize was that this small country church, he was the new pastor at, was controlled by a man who was not even an member. This story is the story of said man's journey to rid Sellerstown of Pastor Nichols and his family. As he sent in a anonymous letter, they would leave either "walking, crawling, dead or alive." It is truly a time of emotional abuse, terroristic threatenings, bombings and a frightful time for a young family. I must say I truly admired the clarity, and the lack of bitterness that Rebecca showed in this book, it was truly an inspiration of forgiveness and grace. 278 pages $14.99 US 4 stars. Thanks to Tyndale for providing this book for review. No payment was received for this review.
onedesertrose More than 1 year ago
The Devil in Pew Number Seven is the true story of Robert and Ramona Nichols' family life in Sellerstown, North Carolina, starting in 1969, where Robert served as the Pastor at Free Welcome Holiness Church, as told by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo. The small community eagerly welcomed Robert with one exception. One man, in pew number seven, was determined to control the church and was obsessed with getting rid of Robert Nichols. Robert and Ramona initially ignored the harassing phone calls and the anonymous accusatory and threatening letters, saying they'd leave "crawling or walking.dead or alive." Robert declared that "When the Lord gets ready for me to leave this church, He won't send the message by the devil." What they couldn't ignore was the devastating terror and violence the man in pew number seven unleashed against them. Rebecca's father stood his ground until one night an armed man walked into the family's kitchen.and Rebecca's life was shattered. I found this story difficult to read emotionally in regards to the devastating violence and terror inflicted on a family with two small children-to their psyches and emotions. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder screams from inside my head. To see the gospel of forgiveness lived out by this family was so astoundingly amazing, yet chilling-wondering if I could stand that strong in my faith. Rebecca's flowing story holds nothing back. Although she was young, age 3, when the terror started, she was able to piece it together with her parents' personal journals, photo albums, cassette tape, court notes, and newspaper articles. Although this was a horrific story, I felt Rebecca did a wonderful job of putting it together with times of poetic, picturesque writing, along with the raw images and emotions throughout the circumstances that occurred. What impressed me throughout the story, was her parents' strong faith in standing firm during the horror and their protection of Rebecca, and later Daniel, by using prayer and the Word of God to help her cope through all the violence. As Rebecca states it, "God is still good even when life is hard." Her parents instilled this in her heart along with forgiveness-"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse." Rebecca's spiritual insights make this book a 'keeper.' It's may be a hard read emotionally, but the grace of God stands stronger than the devil in pew number seven, or anywhere else. Special thanks to Christy Wong of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest review.
Grabbag on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Becky Alonzo is only a newborn baby when Mr. Watts begins terrorizing her family in hopes that the priest and his young family will leave town. He writes in his letters to the preacher that he will see the family leave, dead or alive. Meanwhile he claims to be a community leader with the best interests of the church and town at heart. Using her mother's journals, personal memories, newspaper articles, and interviews with family friends and parishioners, Alonzo narrates the seven years of Hell that Mr. Watts imposed on her family, including late-night bombings and shootings. I wish the author had given more background information of the town and its inhabitants. She tells us about the congregation's overwhelming support of her father, but does so quantitatively. It would have been nice to read about her some family's interactions and memories of the preacher and his wife, instead of just having to rely on the author's word for it. Bible verses are peppered heavily throughout the book, but it never feels "preachy". The author doesn't seem to have an agenda other than to tell the story of her mother and father, both of whom were bright lights in a dark world, whose legacy deserves to be a positive one, instead of emblazoned in the negativity that surrounded their deaths. As a Christian I appreciated the religious applications made to their daily struggles, but one does not necessarily need to be a Christian to understand the connections. This is a fabulous book that will make you smile through your tears, because even after all of the horrible things the family endured, the author lives a good, spiritual life. She, just as her father and mother, took the bad and turned it into good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thank you to my sister for telling me about this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a good book to read about forgiveness . The things that this family experienced was terrible . God was in charge . . I would recommend this book .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago