A Time to Kill : The Myth of Christian Pacifism ~ Book Review

A Time to Kill: The Myth of Christian Pacifism
A Time to Kill: The Myth of Christian Pacifism
Firearms Coalition
Firearms Coalition

Buckeye, AZ –-(Ammoland.com)-  Regardless of your faith, or lack thereof, Biblical teachings frequently play into discussions about self-defense and disarmament, and this book provides strong arguments for pushing back against the widespread notion that Jesus would expect his followers to passively accept evil acts.

Although Jesus has often been portrayed as a pacifist who would allow bad things to happen – such as His crucifixion – that image is a misunderstanding of Jesus and of His mission.  Much of the Biblical doctrine of force comes directly from the Old Testament – the Jewish Tanakh – which is the foundation of our Judeo-Christian system of laws.

When and whether a Christian might use deadly force is a debate that goes back to the earliest days of Christianity.  Can a Christian use deadly force in a way that does not violate the tenets of his faith?  When?  Under what circumstance?  The default position for many gun owners in the conservative evangelical tradition has been to hope that Jesus would not condemn defending ourselves and our family, based on Luke 22:36 (“and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one”).  And then we hope for the best, because we aren’t going to stand aside and let our families or our homes be violated by criminals.  If that be sin, make the most of it, and let grace abound.

A Time to Kill: The Myth of Christian Pacifism

In A Time To Kill Greg Hopkins brings biblical backup to that visceral instinct to defend.  That instinct, according to Hopkins, is the biblical position.  One verse that seems to drive Hopkins’ entire narrative is Leviticus 19:16b “You must not stand idly by when your neighbor's life is at stake.” (New English Translation).

The author is well-equipped to serve as a guide to the spiritual aspects of applying deadly force.  A lawyer by training, Hopkins has served as a reserve police officer, a prosecutor, and has trained police officers in legal aspects of the use of force.  He has received firearms training from the FBI Academy and Massad Ayoob.

Add to the legal and firearms knowledge a deep knowledge of scripture which Hopkins displays throughout the book, and it becomes clear that A Time To Kill is an important defense of being an armed Christian.

Hopkins takes the reader on a tour of examples of force being used in the Bible, from Abram in Genesis gathering a posse to rescue his kinsman Lot, to a brief image of Jesus at the head of an Army of God at Armageddon.  He thoroughly explores the idea of Jesus as a pacifist, and shows the problems with that idea.

A Time To Kill is clearly organized with a solid structure.  The first section is devoted to self-defense and begins to establish the idea that self-defense is not only good, but that Christians may be shirking a duty if they passively give in to evil.  He talks about the difference between righteous self-defense, and vengeance.  He also explores alternative self-defense methods, notably pepper spray, a tool for which he holds instructor credentials.

The second major section deals with Christians being in the military and police.  They are the arms of government which is, according to the Bible, ordained by God.  Military and law officers need to discharge their duties in the light of biblical principles.  Hopkins explores the differences between their roles, but also the similarities, and devotes considerable space to recovery from a traumatic experience.

After an intermission consisting of a fictionalized account of Abram preparing to rescue his kinsman Lot, Hopkins next gets into the law – not biblical law, but secular – with particular focus on those who break it – criminals.  In this section Mr. Hopkins draws heavily on Proverbs with its many references to the “fool” and the “rebellious man.”  He hammers the point that a criminal intent on a criminal act is unlikely to be swayed by passive, pacifist non-resistance.

The next section is the meat of the book.  Titled “Jesus, Self Defense, and Pacifism.” In this section he lays out the case that Jesus was not a pacifist and that he would not expect pacifism from his followers.  Reading this section, it becomes clear that the chapters leading up to this one were building a solid foundation for this very important structure.

Finally, the book digs into the death penalty, making a solid case for the ultimate punishment the state can inflict  A Christian facing jury duty in a capital case would be well advised to refer to this section.

Self-defense and deadly force can be a thorny issue, particularly with the waters muddied as they are today by popular notions of what it means to turn the other cheek.  An important part of any defensive firearms training is a focus on mindset – being prepared both mentally and spiritually to do the right thing at the right time and to have confidence in one’s actions.  Armed with knowledge from A Time To Kill, an armed Christian will be better prepared for the very real battle between Good and Evil that is armed self-defense.

Every armed believer needs to learn what Mr. Hopkins has to teach.

About Jeff Knox:

Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.

The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona and Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.org.

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Chuckbone56
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Chuckbone56

Yes Gil it does. Foolishness exists. Got any mirrors?

Wild Bill
Guest
Wild Bill

@Chuckbone, God and his son, Jesus, hold out their hands more patiently than I can imagine. GFYG has never been in a situation that he felt the need to turn to God and beg for his life. GFYG thinks that it will never happen, and the way he has arranged his life to avoid danger of any sort, he might be right. GFYG thinks that his efforts to disarm everyone is just one more step in ensuring his own safety. Personally, I find GFYG, voluntarily choosing hell, rather entertaining. Is that wrong?

Chuckbone56
Guest
Chuckbone56

@WB no you are correct in thinking GFYG has chosen hell over liberty. GFYG and his kind are cowards. They would rather be safe slaves than to fight for right and good. God has granted free will to every man to choose his master.

Gil
Guest
Gil

Why do you need pray to God for when you have a gun? If you’re about to be killed by two murderers: one shoot one dead then pray to God to stop the other and see if you’re still alive afterwards.

Wild Bill
Guest
Wild Bill

@Gil the VPC shill, An awful lot of presumptions in your experiment. How would you arrange all that? What makes you think that God wants you alive? Maybe if you are just a little more trouble, God will squash you.

Gil
Guest
Gil

So you believe your god is a goon will stomp others you don’t like? It comes across “wait until I tell my big brother on you then you’ll get it!’

Chuckbone56
Guest
Chuckbone56

Proverbs does speak early and often of fools and now we know who that is. GFYG! Love this forum and the realistic opinions posted. Helps me keep the faith.

Gil
Guest
Gil

A religion denigrates non-believers? That’s original.

Greg Hopkins
Guest
Greg Hopkins

Garryowen, Thank you for your open-mindedness in wanting to buy my book and give it a chance. It was published in January, 2013. Jeff is very busy and his writing commitments are spoken for many months ahead. Plus he deals with current news topic commentary rather than book reviews, hence the delay of about 9 months since he agreed to do the review. He does the best he can working for gun rights, as we all do. I have never been involved in a shooting nor been forced to draw on anyone. I have, however, been a reserve police officer,… Read more »

Greg Tag
Guest
Greg Tag

The Commandment states:” Do not commit murder”, in its proper translation from the Hebrew.
Moral codes must come from somewhere. If Mr. Gill rejects the Law of Moses and the 2000 year old teaching of Jesus as his moral code, from where does his moral code come? From some newer source? From inside himself? From voices in his head?

Just curious.

Gil
Guest
Gil

You would be murdering people willy-nilly if it could be proved the Christian God is false? Okay. Apparently it doesn’t occur to you to not murder people just because.

John
Guest
John

Actually the original Hebrew transition is “Do not shed ‘innocent’ blood.”
If you ‘dig’ into that you should be able to rationalize self defense.

Pistol Packin Preacher
Guest
Pistol Packin Preacher

The USA is an experiment between God and believers in Christ who founded this country. One of the principals such as self defense and defense of the whole is still going on and thanks to people from all walks of life who fought for this country we still stand even with Gils amongst us. Molan Labe and go USA! Praise the Lord and keep your powder dry. We shall overcome until He comes. He said to occupy till he comes which in the Greek means many kinds of defense. I have some great and deep theological thoughts to give: God… Read more »

tomcat
Guest
tomcat

God is good all the time. All the time God is good.

It is good to see some religion brought into this site rather than listen to trolls and opinions of tree huggers.

Gil
Guest
Gil

What a lie! Yea some of the Founders were devout Christians, others weren’t. If all the Founders were devout Christiana there would be no such thing as freedom of religion in the Constitution yet there it is.

Garryowen
Guest
Garryowen

Part II: Greg Hopkins: We wonder why Ammoland would present an article In review of your book now, when it was actually written (2015?) or surely before the outdated postings on Jeff Knox’s Firearms Coalition website. In my attemp to purchase your book, I went to Amazon and found the first commenter there named Doug Richard, on January, 26, 2016 saying, “Convincing argument that self-defense is not contrary to the Bible. The quarrel I have is his assertion that a Christian must render first aid (without qualification) and should visit the surviving criminal in the hospital, jail, or prison. (Pages… Read more »

Garryowen
Guest
Garryowen

OK, here’s my 2-cents: 1. Jeff Knox: Well written article and yes, Greg Hopkins, I will purchase a copy in support of these issues raised at my ‘Refuse To Be A Victim’ seminars. But having said that, Jeff, it was misguided to include a link to your ‘Firearms Coalition’ website for the sake of credibility(?), when on your home page heading you state that the site has not been updated since August 9, 2016, and then show a number of 275 day old linked stories, while asking a visitor to ‘Stay Current’ with breaking news. As PDJT would succinctly say… Read more »

Wild Bill
Guest
Wild Bill

@7th Cav, I know that you are right about not feeding the trolls, and we should shun them. Would it be alright to talk to each other about them?

Garryowen
Guest
Garryowen

Sure WB,

It would only be acceptable “to talk to each other about them” if we used a code name for them, like perhaps GFYG

OK…?

Wild Bill
Guest
Wild Bill

@Air Cav, message received. Sierra seven Bravo zero six out.

trianglewhip
Guest
trianglewhip

Blessed be the Lord my strength, who teacheth my hands to war and my fingers to fight; Psalm 144-1

Greg Hopkins
Guest
Greg Hopkins

Gil,
If you read my preface, you will find that I began this study 35 years ago with the purpose of discovering God’s will and OBEYING it, whether it pleased me or not. I found that few people had actually devoted themselves to a detailed study of this issue, in the past 2 millennia as I have done. I deal head on with as many objections to my thesis as I could find. Please read the book before you condemn me for simply serving my own foregone conclusion.

Gil
Guest
Gil

How quaint you assume the Christian God is true and all others are false and he is a worthy dictator to submit to.

Gil
Guest
Gil

Au Contraire, pacifist Christians cite the “don’t even fight back” verses, Christians such as you will note the “fight back only in defense” lines while violent Christians will look for violent verses. A history of the Christian West shows no lack of violence and imperialism.

DrSique
Guest
DrSique

Yeah, whatever. And, would the Bible tell followers that they shouldn’t do everything necessary, including killing, to stop the Muslim who chooses the version of his religion that tells him to blow up little girls at a pop concert??!!! See how your argument goes round and round in a circle? But hey, isn’t that what you progressive pukes excel at?

Gil
Guest
Gil

The West has shown no special restraint relative to other religions. There are plenty of Muslims who can feel good about themselves because they have never been violent.

Colonialgirl
Guest
Colonialgirl

Well it does allow you to spew your totally moronic stupidity and idiocy.
Never forget that JESUS told his Disciples to sell their cloaks and goods and go buy SWORDS to defend themselves from evil doers.
Now back to your potty room safe space Gil.

Gil
Guest
Gil

You found that your interpretation of your religion gives you the right to do what you going to do anyway? Phew! What a relief!

Colonialgirl
Guest
Colonialgirl

Well it does allow you to spew your totally moronic stupidity and idiocy.
Never forget that JESUS told his Disciples to sell their cloaks and goods and go buy SWORDS to defend themselves from evil doers.
Now back to your potty room safe space Gil.

Gil
Guest
Gil

So you adhere to a version of a particular religion that allows you do what you always wanted to do? I would argue I will determine if I am need of weapons of self-defense than worry about someone’s view 2,000 years ago.

Larry Brickey
Guest
Larry Brickey

Humans have always had the right of self defense. It’s nothing new. It’s not a religious thing, really, just a human right. You might need to broaden your thoughts beyond apparently being anti-religion. Someone attacks you, Gil, do you defend yourself? What about your family or friends? If the answer is no, I sure don’t want to be near you when the SHTF.

Wild Bill
Guest
Wild Bill

@Gil, professional shill, And your rejection of God and his son, Jesus, liberates you from the burden of showing mercy to the less fortunate. You need only take care of yourself. You can be the center of all things. Phew, what a relief.

Pistol Packin Preacher
Guest
Pistol Packin Preacher

@Wild Bill Amen and Amen

Larry Brickey
Guest
Larry Brickey

Wild Bill, there are more religions than Christianity. The right to self defense is a basic human right.

Wild Bill
Guest
Wild Bill

@Larry Brickey, Ok.

Larry Brickey
Guest
Larry Brickey

Wild Bill, there are more religions than Christianity.

Wild Bill
Guest
Wild Bill

@LB, you said that already.

Tionico
Guest
Tionico

gill you got it backwards. I always wanted to do what is right according to God’s Word…..something of which it is fairly obvious you know little. Here are a couple of verses you might consider… the one that talks about the FACT that I AM my brother’s keeper.. that means, protector, helper, caretaker. WHen HE is in trouble, and I know it, and have means to help, if I withhold that from him I have STOLEN it from him. FUrther, you need to study up a bit on the hell that falls upon any individual who uses a gun in… Read more »