Contrary to what its website temporarily displayed, the Westminster Presbyterian Church did not undergo a radical shift in religious views. The church's website was hacked by the Islamic State or its supporters on Thursday and carried the statement "I love Islam and Jihadist," a gruesome video, and some very disturbing language, Wate.com reported.
Church Pastor Jim Richter recalled how he woke up that morning with an email from a concerned church member informing him about the hack, and people cannot believe what they saw.
"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. You don't think about that type of thing happening in our area, I mean little town Johnson City, Tennessee."
Conley added that while the attacks made by the Islamic State seem far away, but the hack has only brought their violent offensive closer to home.
The church in East Tennessee has around 200 members, and the small town did not seem to be the place where hackers would attack. But the Westminster Presbyterian Church later discovered that the hackers managed to target other organisations as well.
"They (church members) contacted the organisation or company that services our website and from them we heard there were a lot of churches apparently and organisations that they serve by being a web site provider 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.
Just to be sure, the church then 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.
"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.