A Time to Kill: The Myth of Christian Pacifism

A few years ago, at the USCCA Concealed Carry Expo in Atlanta, Georgia, I had the privilege of moderating a panel of women — leaders in the industry — who shared some of their personal stories and struggles with firearms. We included an opportunity at the completion of the discussion for anyone in the audience to ask questions directly to the panel. Near the end, one woman slowly and quietly approached the microphone and directed a very sensitive question to all of us. She stated that she wasn’t sure that she would ever be able to take another person’s life … as a Christian. And she wondered how we made that decision and how she could come to make that decision in her own life.

As a gun owner, a mom, a female, a Christian — and simply as a living, breathing, responsible human being — I could totally understand and relate to where she was coming from. So many of us hope and pray that we never have to use a firearm. Ever. And honestly, whether or not we could pull the trigger in a self-defense scenario is a question all of us have to deal with. It’s a question of morality. It can also be a question of spirituality. And it’s definitely a question that becomes part of the mental mindset that is necessary to be able to protect ourselves and our loved ones. As well, it’s an important aspect to consider, especially as many anti-gun groups will try to use Scripture against Christians to demonize our 2nd Amendment right.

The whole scenario definitely got me thinking. And whenever I start to think about things, I also start to research, and I start to look for answers, solutions, ideas and opportunities. One opportunity presented itself with a well-written and well-researched book by Greg Hopkins titled A Time to Kill: The Myth of Christian Pacifism. I knew in my heart and in my mind that I had come to terms with the decision to do whatever it would take to protect life. And I knew it was the right decision for me and for my family. But I wanted to see more of the research, the explanations and the stories that would support this decision from a Biblical angle.

A former attorney and firearms trainer, Hopkins has crafted a book that is both challenging and refreshing. It is an eye-opening study of how protecting life within our legal limits is not only allowed by God, it is encouraged and justified. And ultimately, Hopkins’ book not only challenges the falsehood that Jesus was a pacifist and that Christians need to be nonaggressive at all times, it provides moral clarity to those who question whether their support of self-defense is also supported by the Bible.

From David’s legendary battle with the giant Goliath (1 Samuel 17) to Jesus’ use of a weapon to drive money changers from the temple (John 2) and even to Jesus’ role in the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19), Hopkins includes many examples from God’s Word that demonstrate that armed self-defense against criminals is not only accepted, it’s backed by Scripture. Hopkins also addresses the misrepresented “turn the other cheek” mentality (Matthew 5:39), challenging readers to pay close attention to “spiritual, historical, cultural and practical real-world contexts,” and he presents many thought-provoking arguments that result in a more solid understanding of the preservation and the protection of life … and our responsibility to do just that. Even with a firearm.

I’ve had a few opportunities to meet and speak with the author, and I am always in admiration of his unassuming intelligence. I also had an opportunity to ask Hopkins some questions about this poignant topic and about his transformational book.

How long have you been involved with firearms (training/ownership)?
“I have owned my own firearms since 1979. I began daily carry when I moved to Alabama in 1985. I certified as a NRA Basic Pistol and Personal Protection Instruction instructor in 1991 and held those certifications for 25 years.”

What inspired/motivated you to write the book?
“After reading the book In Cold Blood, I decided that I must reconcile my decision to defend myself and my family with the idea that Christians are supposed to be pacifists. When I saw pacifism was false and unbiblical, I had to share my findings with others because mindset is so important. Plus, I was convinced that a Biblical explanation that killing in combat is blessed by God would help those struggling with PTSD induced by combat, law enforcement or self-defense.”

If your readers could walk away with one thing from the book, what would you want that to be?
“I want Christians and Jews to understand that God BLESSES us for defending the innocent to the full legal extent of the law.”

No doubt, Hopkins has done an exceptionable job in presenting the need to know, understand and follow federal and local law … right alongside with God’s Law. And we can be assured that using a firearm in self-defense — as terrible as it may be — is not condemned by God. For Christian gun owners who are questioning whether they could (and should) be armed, I hope we can all learn from Hopkins’ book that protecting the innocent from the wicked is supported in Scripture. And I can only repeat the words I’ve often said: We are worth protecting.

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