Few churchgoers give thought to the fact that when sitting in the pews on Sundays they’re also sitting targets for homicidal killers. But make no mistake, the people who harbor such wicked intentions have given it plenty of thought and often pick such places to prey on unarmed, vulnerable victims.

Certainly, that’s what they thought on July 25, 1993, when storming the St. James Church service I was attending in South Africa, using assault rifles and hand grenades to kill 11 worshipers and injure more than 50 others. Letlapa Mphahlele, the commander of the Azanian People’s Liberation Army, who ordered the attack, later told me off camera at a television recording, they expected to encounter little more than sheep to slaughter.

“There we thought that the church was a gun-free zone,” Mphahlele admitted. “But boy, did you have a surprise for us.”

Amid attacks on churches in America and worldwide, I was shocked to discover that Georgia has a law banning Americans from carrying a firearm in places of worship.

Bobby Franklin, a Republican member of the Georgia State Assembly, thankfully filed recently House Bill 54, “to repeal a prohibition against carrying a weapon (or long gun) in a place of worship.”

Would you be prepared to defend yourself and other innocents in a surprise attack? Find out what one courageous churchgoer did to protect others in the DVD: “Shooting Back: The Right and Duty of Self-Defense”

Georgians need to make their legislators aware that when they create gun-free zones, they are liable for any harm it causes. They’re in essence saying they’d rather risk the lives of law-abiding, disarmed citizens than uphold their right to defend themselves against an attacker.

They’ve fallen for the lie of the gun-free zone – a deception that’s helped make South Africa one of the most dangerous nations on Earth.

In 2004 one of contemporary history’s most dreadful campaigns of mass murder was unleashed upon the Tutsi people of Rwanda. In just 100 days, more people were slaughtered – many in churches – than have died from atomic weapons in all of history.

Dr. Peter Hammond’s book, “Holocaust in Rwanda,” documents how gun control, media manipulation, liberal church leaders and the United Nations played a role in this disaster.

Africa is rife with grisly lessons of gun-free laws failing to stymie the perpetrators or protect the innocent. When I visited the Democratic Republic of Congo as a missionary, I was told of rebel soldiers burying alive in 2001 the pastor of a local church. Two evangelists were cut into pieces by rebels in 1998 and 2002, respectively. Nigeria, Iraq and Egypt have lately experienced attacks on churches.

America is not without such atrocities in houses of worship. On Aug. 12, 2007, a gunman opened fire in the sanctuary of the southwest Missouri First Congregational Church, killing a pastor and two worshipers and wounding several others.

It is very difficult for armed thugs to perform such heinous tyranny if church members are armed. My own experience is testament to this. After the terrorist burst into St. James Church amid a din of explosions and automatic rifle fire, I crouched behind a pew and returned fire with my .38 revolver, sending the terrorists scattering.

And stateside, Jeanne Assam thwarted an attack with her firearm in December 2007 when a gunman came into a 10,000-member church in Colorado.

When last have you heard of multiple-victim shootings taking place on firearm ranges, in police stations or at gun shows, anywhere in the world, where firearms abound? No, homicidal maniacs prefer unarmed victims, soft targets. However sincere their intentions, legislators that quarter defenseless citizens into the “security” of gun-free zones support laws of unintended consequences.

Righteousness or wickedness is not found in inanimate objects – guns can be used for good (to protect) or evil (to destroy). So, the issue many Christians struggle with is really whether Christians are biblically allowed to defend themselves at all.

Solomon wrote: “A righteous man who falters before the wicked, is like a murky spring and a polluted well.” I am faltering before the wicked if I don’t try to stop an attack on my family or church friends.

Further, Timothy claims: “… if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Provision includes a “means of defense.”

Jesus commanded his disciples: “… he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.” The sword was the finest military weapon available then.

We need to pray in the face of danger: “Lord, please make me fast … and accurate!”



Charl van Wyk is the author of “Shooting Back: The Right and Duty of Self Defense”.

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