By Tyson Thorne

March 21, 2019

Defense2019 Large

We've published a number of articles over the last five and a half years to teach Christians about the historical, scientific, and philosophical reasons their faith is in a God that is real. With posts on the reliability of the Bible, understanding the Trinity, archaeological evidence, readers can be encouraged that their beliefs are based on real people and events. Even so, the number of Christians well versed in apologetics are falling. While we recognize the importance of apologetics and promise it will continue to be a focus of our writings, we've identified another problem in most Christian communities.

Pew Research has identified that few Christians are capable of defending their faith, but even less are capable of defending their church. The shootings at two masques in Christchurch, New Zealand were horrific and we at pray for the Muslim families that experienced tragedy and loss. As sad and as difficult as it was to watch unfold, what happened in Christchurch is normal in some hot spots around the globe.

In Africa, for instance, Muslims shoot up Christian churches on a weekly basis. It has become so normal the news media no longer reports on it, but if you doubt my word spend a few minutes at We've seen it here in the United states as well, albeit with far less frequency. In light of the direction the world is moving (toward identity politics) we can count on these currently rare experiences growing in number and severity. What can we do about it?

First, one thing we should not do is stop attending church. Worshiping God and serving our fellow brothers and sisters is more important than attempting to protect our own life. If you truly love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength the threat of death wont keep you from worshiping him. Both the Old and New Testaments are full of stories of men and women who put their lives on the line in order to serve the Lord.

Second, we need to be aware of what is happening around us. I'm not saying we need to be paranoid and always watch the sanctuary doors. I am saying that we need to look at the people in our church and really take notice of them. You should notice if someone is on the verge of tears, or if their clothing suggests they suffered a financial hardship, or any number of other signs that your brother or sister is in need of help. While we're observing the congregants to see who needs your help, you can also identify the guy wearing a long jacket on a hot day, or a guy who moments before had a backpack that is now missing. The FBI calls this "situational awareness", the apostle John called it loving one another.

Third, find out if your church has a security team. Where I live many people have a concealed carry permit and secretly wear their firearm to church. This is not a bad thing, but it's not enough either. In both the Christchurch shooting and the Sutherland (Texas) shooting in November of 2017, the shooters approached their targets openly brandishing their weapon. A security team needs to keep an eye on the exterior of the church and engage the aggressor before he has a chance to enter the building.

Fourth, remember that this isn't the movies. Most shooters are not ex-military or police and most do not have any idea how to "clear" a building, room by room. Any congregant who doesn't panic can save lives. The less resistance a shooter encounters, the higher the body count. Even if one doesn't have a gun, running away rarely saves one's life. It is better to take cover, or hide, and try to surprise the attacker should an opportunity present itself. Keep in mind also that often the best way out means running toward the sound of gunfire rather than away from it.

Fifth, every sanctuary and classroom should have an emergency first aid kit. One thing all shootings have in common is more people are shot than are killed. Being able to treat a wound can keep that second number lower. It is never fun or entertaining to think about such things, but planning for these hardships will make you like the man who built his house upon the firm foundation. Next week we will return to our regularly scheduled program.

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