I was an agnostic/practicing atheist for 40 years. I have been an active Christian for a little over 4 years. When Greg Hopkins approached me at the Gun Rights Policy conference in Tamp, Florida, two months ago, I welcomed the opportunity to read his book and write a review.
I do not write book reviews unless I have actually read the book. Readers might be surprised to know that many reviews are written by authors, as a favor to people who the author wishes to “review” the book. The “reviewer” then reads the review, and approves of it (or not).
This book is not one to be read over a weekend. It took me a month of reading and digestion to finish it. I normally read a novel in a day or two. This book is not an adventure novel.
I liked Greg's fictionalization and embellishment of a couple of biblical accounts, as a literary device to make and emphasize particular points. They were easy reading, but they are a small part of the book. A Time to Kill is a deep level study of the biblical perspective on the use of deadly force, both individually, and collectively in war.
The book covers, but does not place undue emphasis on, Jesus' order to his disciples to obtain weapons in Luke. One chapter, 23, out of 27, is devoted to the subject. The Old Testament is covered in considerable detail.
I particularly enjoyed Greg's account of how the two Roman centurions mentioned in the New Testament were treated. Centurions were Roman military officers. As a former U.S. Army officer, I could relate.
The first centurion mentioned in the bible has a conversation directly with Jesus. Jesus praises him for his faith. The second and his household were chosen as the first Gentiles to become Christians. Neither was commanded to give up their profession of arms.
Greg has been a lawyer for most of his adult life. His everyday experience is used to illustrate Christian and legal doctrine. He shows the biblical basis for most of the law on the use of force in the United States. He gives sound advice on both the use of force and how to avoid having to use force.
I recommend the book to anyone who wants more than a superficial look at biblical teaching of Christian morality on the use of deadly force. I found it well worth while.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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