The Christchurch mosque attacks: speaking Christ’s peace, truth and love

by

Published: 21 March 2019 (GMT+10)
New-Zealand

CMI’s deepest sympathy and prayers lie with the family and friends of the victims of the Christchurch mosque attacks. This horrendous white nationalist terror attack occurred in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday 15 March that has left 50 dead and 34 wounded. We have prayed and continue to pray that the love of Christ rather than hatred and fear might dwell richly in the hearts and minds of all who have been affected by this despicable act of violence.

And we must be clear to call the origins of this violence for what they are: racism. A manifesto linked with the terror suspect says that the motivation was less concerned with a religious critique of Islam, and more to do with targeting non-whites who are outbreeding whites and ‘taking over the West’ (and whites who embraced Islam, which he regards as "traitors" to the white race).

The Christian response

How should we as Christians respond? First, we should pray. Pray for enemies, friends, and authorities. Pray that the love of Christ will dwell richly in the hearts of his people in Christchurch, that they may be salt and light in the midst of this dark tragedy. Pray that they may have the courage and compassion to speak the truth in love, not skimping on either, to be an aroma of Christ to all. And, of course, to pray for the victims of this tragedy that they may find comfort in the arms of the very human God who died and rose again to make them whole: Jesus, God the Son.

And we should always seek peace. First, God’s peace. But also, as far as it lies with us, peace with all around us too. We should promote peace, and recognize that, whatever disagreements we may have with the beliefs of those who were murdered and maimed, they were innocent victims of a horrendous hate crime. They remain fellow children of Adam, made in God’s image as much as any of us, and thus worthy of dignity and love.

And it is important for us to remember as well that the Bible provides a solid answer to tough questions about suffering and evil (Why would a loving God allow death and suffering?). This sort of evil reflects the reality of Adam’s Fall into sin, and our fall in him (The historical Adam and what he means for us and Cosmic and universal death from Adam’s fall: an exegesis of Romans 8:19–23a). Christ is the only answer to such suffering. His death and resurrection not only reconcile us to God, but will also result in the restoration of the whole cosmos (The New Earth).

And thankfully, this has been the main response from Christians both near and far.

White nationalism?

“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11).

What does the terrorist actually believe? His manifesto is a manifestly evil document. He styles himself as an “ethno-naturalist” (clarifying that he “puts the health and well-being of his race above all else”), and an “eco-fascist”. He rejects the labels of ‘Christian’ and ‘conservative’, and is most concerned to see different ethnic groups live ‘in harmony with nature’ in their own separate homelands.

But fundamentally, concern for ‘the white race’ is what drives him. He cites ‘white’ nations having birth rates below the replacement level, and the influx of non-white immigrants championed by ‘anti-whites’ (supposed globalists, leftists, etc.) as a reason to fight for the ‘existence of the white race’. He turned to violent means because of a culture of suppression in politics and the media of his particular brand of racism.

So, he is a violent white nationalist. And such an objectionable ideology is easily refuted.

At the biological level, there is of course only one human race. All ‘races’ are interfertile, and perfectly capable of travelling to mate. There’s no biological reason why that’s a bad thing. There are of course differences between ‘races’, but they are only ‘skin deep’ (see Skin colour surprises and A troubling thesis—Nicholas Wade pushes an old view of the origin of races).

The Bible also testifies that we are One Human Family. We are one race united in Adam (Acts 17:26). All the people groups (How did all the different ‘races’ arise (from Noah’s family) and languages (Languages of the post-Diluvian World) can also be traced back to Babel. Indeed, this is crucial for the reality of the biblical picture (Pre-Adamites, sin, death and the human fossils). See Racism Questions and Answers.

At the cultural level, he clearly thinks the West is the best culture around. And the West has brought many benefits to the world, but its greatness has precisely zero to do with our skin colour. Rather, it has to do with individual freedom and responsibility (Christianity as progress), care for all the poor and needy, and the quest for truth and reason (The biblical origins of science) for the betterment of our lives that is in large part grounded in God’s gracious provision to the West of His own most holy faith. Christianity made the West great (What good is Christianity?). The Bible made the West great.1 The West hasn’t always lived up to the Bible, and it faces numerous dire problems today (e.g. abortion, promiscuity, and even in many places a crisis of meaning, largely due to the knock on impact of evolution: Evolution's Fatal Fruit), but it’s in striving toward those goals that God has blessed us with so much good. God has been very gracious to us. We should be thankful to God for the blessings he has given the West; not thankful to the relatively low melanin content in our skin.

At the social level, the days of the sedentary family lifestyle of ethnic groups ‘settling in their historic lands’ is a thing of the past, even for many ordinary people. The terrorist himself is proof of that; he has travelled the world, though from a relatively low socioeconomic bracket in Australia. Indeed, the very existence of Australia and New Zealand as ‘European’ nations is proof that ethnic majorities are not static in a given area.

And of course, murder is horrendously wrong (Exodus 20:13). And there are few more pathetic justifications for such heinous evil than that people's garbage racist ideas are not being given the light of day they think they deserve. Those who live by the sword die by it—that’s not an invitation to go down in a blaze of bullets, but a warning that violence won’t guarantee the victory they seek. It will only guarantee more violence. His manifesto declares that as the goal, but the irony is that if his dire analysis of the white race is right, it’s likely his violence will only help speed the demise of the race he wants to prolong. Sparking white vs white violence (which is a part of his plan) won’t automatically result in increased birth rates among whites.

In many respects, the terrorist mirrors Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik. Indeed, he even mentions Brievik and claims to have received a blessing from his ‘organization’ (which is thought by some to be a Dark Web group inspired by Breivik). See Norway terrorist: more media mendacity and Anders Breivik—Social Darwinism leads to mass murder.

The ugly side of tailoring a tragedy to a narrative

Many in the media have unfortunately used this tragedy to further their own divisive political agendas. For instance, a line from the manifesto where he regards current US president Donald Trump as a symbol of his racism has been used by many in the media to blame Trump for fostering an environment that made attacks like this more likely.2 They fail to note, though, that he has absolutely no respect for Trump as a leader and policy maker. The same has happened with anyone who has peacefully criticized Islam in the past, such as Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson, all of whom condemn violence against Muslims.3 Indeed, some in the media have even blamed Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton and herself on the left wing of American politics, for the attack. Why? She condemned the antisemitic comments of a Democratic Congresswoman who is also a Muslim.4

On the other hand, Australian Senator Fraser Anning used this white nationalist terrorism, which he instead dubbed “violent vigilantism”,5 as an opportunity to attack Muslims. Is Islamic violence a problem? Of course (see Unfair to Islam? and Unfair to Islam? Round 2). But the Muslims in the mosques were the innocent victims here, not the perpetrators. Whatever societal problems we think contributed to this tragedy, let’s be clear about the true cause: the guy who pulled the trigger—a hate-filled white nationalist.

And predictably, at least one ‘expert’ has managed to mislabel the perpetrator as a “Christian terrorist”.6 Of course, there isn’t anything Christian about his ideology. No ‘ethno-naturalist’ could say “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:11). Or “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). Or:

Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. (Ephesians 2:11–16)

Christ crosses ethnic boundaries to create one people united in Him. Why? We’re all alike sinners guilty before a holy God, both through the fall of our father Adam and our own sin. Therefore, we’re all by faith made equal citizens in God’s kingdom, solely by grace through faith in Christ. This is the good news: Christ not only overcomes Genesis 3 (the Fall) for us, but also Genesis 11 (the splitting up of humanity at Babel). See also Is Christianity ‘for whites only’? and Sinners and saints regardless of race.

What do all these foolish moves in the media amount to? Unfortunately, they are exactly what the gunman wanted. According to the manifesto, his goal is to divide the West to foment war and revolution that he hopes will re-establish the West for ‘whites’. Large swaths of the mainstream media have been playing right into the hands of the terrorist’s agenda. Why should we let such a hate-filled man divide us? Why let him win? This sort of demonization of each other only undermines our ability to be civil and free, and will only foment the sort of unrest that he wants to see.

Blessed are the peacemakers

This is a tragic time. It is one of the worst ever terror attacks on New Zealand soil. So, we mourn. And when we often hear of so much persecution around the world perpetrated by Muslims, it can make it easier for us to grow callous when Muslims are the victims, as they are here. But Christians are called to a higher path. We’re called to love all—not only those who love us (Matthew 5:46). To live at peace with all, as far as it lies with us. And to overcome evil with good. This applies to white nationalists, Muslims, and everyone else. We all need Christ. Why? He is both our peace with God lost in Adam’s fall (Romans 5:1) and our peace with each other lost at the tower of Babel (Ephesians 2:14).


Note to comments below (added 3 April 2019): CMI is one of few Christian ministries that allow comments to our articles. We do not censor or cherry-pick unless they are off topic and or abusive. As you will see this article resulted in a larger than usual negative comments. And those that were negative, in general, claimed that we were soft on the religion of Islam by not mentioning Islam’s religious and political ideologies, and also atrocities committed by some Islamists around the world. In other articles we have been critical of same, so CMI was not being soft or politically correct (a ridiculous charge against CMI when we openly oppose government’s ideological teaching of evolution); but the murderer in this event, as duly noted in the article, was a racist and he targeted this group based upon the shade of their skin. Such a motive is an offence against God the Creator of humankind made in the image of God. This topic is a scientific one as much as a theological one, and as such, dealing with racism is part of CMI’s ministry mandate of origins and the creation vs evolution debate. Veering into the political wrongs of Islam, or jumping on the bandwagon of the ‘sins of Muslims’ in this article would have been inappropriate and insensitive. Although we posted these comments, in hindsight they were most likely off-topic as they sought to use the tragic event to introduce and highlight an anti-Islamic agenda, which was not the point of the article. And we are disappointed that some chose to use our article to do so. At CMI we have no empathy for the cult of Islam, but at the end of the day, no humans are righteous before God and deserve His wrath and judgment, and there go we but for the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

References and notes

  1. Mangalwadi, V., The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN, 2011. Return to text.
  2. Shapiro, B., The Battle For Narrative Dominance | Ep. 739, https://youtu.be/_vj1AvafhnI?t=1240, 18 March 2019. Return to text.
  3. Aziz, O., Our Brother, Our Executioner, nytimes.com, 16 March 2019. Return to text.
  4. Itkowitz, C., Students at center of viral Chelsea Clinton video at New Zealand vigil speak out, washingtonpost.com, 17 March 2019. Return to text.
  5. The relevant section verifying the quote from Senator Anning's press release on the Christchurch attacks can be found at: Young, M., Malloy, S., and Smith, R., Egg Boy speaks after egging Senator Fraser Anning for lashing out at Muslims, news.com.au, 18 March 2019. Return to text.
  6. Duff, M., Warning signs of terror attack in New Zealand have been apparent, experts say, stuff.co.nz, 15 March 2019. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

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Readers’ comments

Louis C.
Overall, I think this is a good article. It is certainly true that this man is evil, not Christian and that we should pray for those Muslims and the attacker. However, I see a bad pattern in CMI's reporting. You are much more likely to report on a case of racism where the perpetrators are white. It is a tactic by the anti-Christian world to picture a Christian culture as inferior/evil, and you are unwittingly going along. Please be fair and truthful and call everyone out.

For example: as an Afrikaner from South Africa, I can read lots of articles about the "evils" of Apartheid , but never a single word about Julius Malema singing a song to "kill the Boers." Is it so obscure that people outside South Africa don't hear about it?

It is really not funny to read how evil you are just because you're white while people of other ethnic origins come scot-free. It is not funny when you have been born after 1994 and have been discriminated against your whole life (by being excluded from bursaries or jobs because of your skin colour). It is not funny when your uncle, a farmer, survived a racial attack once, and you don't know if he will be so lucky next time or if he will become one of the people tortured for hours before finally being killed.

As for Apartheid being evil, consider this: Hitler killed 6 million Jews. communism killed hundreds of millions. Apartheid killed 21 000, of which ~18 000 was two black groups fighting among themselves. White taxpayers paid more for projects for blacks only (like schools in the black languages) than they paid for general things. There is just no comparison. Do I advocate its reinstatement? No! I see it as sub-optimal rather than evil.

The solution: mission! Bring the Gospel to all the dark people (of both races) on this dark continent.
Shaun Doyle
I would heartily recommend our book One Human Family in response to all this, and also our article Apartheid, racism, and biology.
Philippus S.
Have CMI now become political commentators as well, how much of what you quoted about this mans manifesto is your interpretation of it Shaun Doyle, some of us have also read it you know, I think you want to hook on the "lets bash withes" sindrome going around. Let us talk how many times you wrote about the murders that took place in Africa simply because they are black and from another black tribe on another black tribe. Apartheid is dead has been for more then 20 years yet there is more murders going on in Africa than during the apartheid years. I am looking for your articles on Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Mozambique, Angola and many other African countries where there is no whites involved. You and your book writers are talking about because it is popular, and give you points, be careful Satan uses it as well to destroy organisation like churches and Ministries like CMI . Racism has become alive in CMI with this article. I publish to more than 750000 Yes! 750K readers, you articles every day it will stop today if this is what CMI has become.
Shaun Doyle
If you think my interpretation of his manifesto is wrong, then I would be happy for you to point out the specific errors I have made. I have read the manifesto in full, so I'm not relying on the media's impressions of it as I interpret it, and at present I do believe I have represented it accurately. Nonetheless, I am willing to be corrected.

For one example that I have corrected just now, another commenter questioned my source for the claim, "The gunman specifically targeted non-white Muslims in the attack." I thought that's what the manifesto implied, but I rechecked it to be sure. I was wrong. His main target was indeed non-whites, but he also targeted white Muslims, whom he branded "traitors" to their race and culture. As a result, I have now deleted that sentence, and have amended the relevant section to say, "A manifesto linked with the terror suspect says that the motivation was less concerned with a religious critique of Islam, and more to do with targeting non-whites who are outbreeding whites and ‘taking over the West’ (and whites who embraced Islam, which he regards as "traitors" to the white race)." I point this out to you to show that I am willing to correct any errors that I have made, and to do it as soon as I am made aware of them.

I admit to being rather harsh on the gunman, and on his white nationalism. Why? I thought that was obvious: he killed 50 people in a murder spree and 'justified' his actions with a white nationalist ideology. The murder spree deserves to be condemned, as does the ideology he used to justify it. But it doesn't follow that this amounts to 'bashing whites'. Indeed, I said that Christ's love is just as open to white nationalists as it is to anyone else. At any rate, I am white. I don't see anything in what I've said that looks like self-loathing to me (unless implicitly lumping myself in with everyone else by saying that we're all sinners counts ...). And I even defend Western culture as overall a force for good in this world! Yes, I do say that the predominant skin colour of Westerners had nothing to do with the West's success, but I take it to be obvious that skin colour doesn't create the freedom, technology, and prosperity we are blessed by God to enjoy in the West.

Why report on this event? One, I'm an Aussie living in New Zealand, so this hits close to home for me (both geographically, and in terms of the terrorist's own history). Two, this attack has been all over the news. Three, our main readership sees this same news cycle we do, and so often appreciate a comment on such things from us. Four, Christianity and white nationalism are presented in the media as going hand in glove, so there was something for us to refute. Indeed, in light of the many historical links between racist ideologies like the gunman's and Social Darwinism, it presented us with an opportunity to speak about an issue we have some experience with (on which please see our resource One Human Family).

But you are right; there is a massive tragedy of black on black violence in many places in the world. And Islamic terror is a huge problem (which we have commented on: Unfair to Islam? and Unfair to Islam? Round 2). Our condemnation of what has happened in Christchurch should in no way be read as an endorsement of any other such violence, or that other tragedies are less tragic. They're not.

Therefore, if you feel you need to stop supporting us in light of this one article, then that is definitely sad, but it is no argument against what I have written. I am open to critique of my content, and I think that is the best way forward in any dialogue.
Gina T.
Our human nature is a total disaster zone. Yes, Jesus Christ is the answer because in Him there is "neither Jew or Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female" and there is neither black nor white.

The white nationalist notion that "different ethnic groups live ‘in harmony with nature’ in their own separate homelands" is utter nonsense. At what point is the land someone's 'homeland'? New Zealand was inhabited by brown skinned people for hundreds of years prior to Europeans arriving here in the 1800s. Where does their little rule fit with this?

Also, with great respect, I beg to differ on one of the comments Shaun has made. Friday's attack is unfortunately not necessarily the "worst ever terror attack on New Zealand soil". An atrocious attack on innocent victims took place on 21 February, 1864 at the peaceful Rangiaohia Pa in the Waikato when government troops stormed this non-fighting village and burnt alive many women and children. As well as this the government attack on Parihaka in Taranaki on 5, November 1881 has the same ring of atrocity.
Shaun Doyle
Thank you very much for your comment. I have amended the relevant sentence to read "one of the worst" instead. Such massacres as you mention should never be forgotten, either.
A.
Don't dare print my name on this. And you know why. Proverbs 31 ,8 and 9 order me to open my mouth for those poor Nigerians who have right about the time of the Christchurch act of infamy, been deprived of their loved ones because of sheer hate and murder perpetrated by religious conviction. I notice a lack of worldwide reporting of these heinous cold-blooded massacres. The numbers and frequency of these murderous raids are horrendous but why little or no fuss??? Where is the daily reminder in the world's press of the 500 or so christians martyred daily just because they are christians?? Help these persecuted Nigerians and others financially and otherwise. I quote Proverbs 24:11 "Deliver them that are carried away to death,and those that are tottering to the slaughter, see that you hold not back. "(12) "If you say, 'Behold we knew not this; does not He that weighs the hearts consider it? And He that keeps your soul,does He not know it? And shall not He render to every man according to his works." God bless you Shaun and me especially not to be hypocrites.
Shaun Doyle
What has happened, and continues to happen, in Nigeria is every bit as tragic as the Christchurch shooting. Boko Haram is an Islamic terror organization, and we pray that their bloody reign of terror will end. And we pray for the victims' families and friends there, too. We have commented on Islamic terrorism in the past: Unfair to Islam? and Unfair to Islam? Round 2. Please don't take the lack of focus on Islamic terror in this article as an implicit endorsement or ignoring of the terrors of jihad. Not at all! In talking of the Christchurch shooting, we simply wanted to focus on the evil behind this attack.
Tony F.
If we should be praying for anything it should be that our fear is overcome with love.
Our country needs to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Muslim community and them with us.
This is the only way we can win against the extremist Muslim community and the white extremists.
Love drives out fear and that is what our country needs right now.
Our country is among the most peaceful in this world, what better place to infect with hatred than New Zealand?
Fear leads to hatred. The world is infected with it.
Gian Carlo B.
Unfortunately, Shaun. I don't think the West is the best, at least not anymore. I'm not very interested in the whole political arena, but under the political curtain, there are cultural issues which I do believe concern me and one of them is the dating business, particularly how it affects conservative Christians who want to raise the next generation as Bible believing and nurture conservative biblical values. In the West, with the philosophical acid of radical feminism and in some sense, Darwinism that has permeated, a lot of people are finding it really hard to find a suitable date that some are compelled to move to countries like Russia and South Korea to find better dates there. Another issue, related to this is the fact that the West overall has lost its Christian tradition fervour. Look at Russia, currently, it is socioculturally Orthodox, radical politics have little to no influence to the main people, here in the West we are a mess and waving the 'West is the best' slogan, while it may have been cool a century back, it has lost that title. The Christchurch massacre was horrendous and it shows how even some quack politics have an underlying deep philosophy that should concern us, but the trendy mainstream media politics is just something I have no interest to. Things politically minded people label political like homosexuality and abortion are to me, political misnomers as they have deep philosophical concerns for us Christians. Great article Shaun overall, but the part about the West being the best, as a Westerner and Latinoamerican; such is not the case anymore given the sociopolitical climate.
Shaun Doyle
Interestingly, I just modified the wording on this very point about 'the West being the best' in response to someone else who made somewhat similar comments. And that's fair enough; I have changed it. I have also added this later in the paragraph to provide some needed balance: ", and it faces numerous dire problems today (e.g. abortion, promiscuity, an even in many places a crisis of meaning, largely due to the knock on impact of evolution: Evolution's Fatal Fruit)". Nonetheless, I still think there is room to celebrate the West, and to continue thanking God for the benefits He continues to give us through it.

First, the West had problems as deep a century ago as it does today. Consider that in 1919, the West had just come out of the then bloodiest war in history, only to be topped a mere 20 years later with World War II. 1917 saw the rise of the Bolsheviks in Russia and the Iron Curtain descend over Eastern Europe (which raises an interesting question I don't have an answer to: how divorced is Russia from the West, culturally?). Nazism and Fascism (both of which bear striking resemblances to the gunman's own ideology) grew in the aftermath of WWI. I'm sure it would've been easy to look at the West then with the same doom and gloom we see today because of abortion, radical leftism, the rise of Islam, and other factors. The problems we face today are dire and real, and we must keep up the good fight for God's word! But that's been true for much longer than the last few decades.

Though I'm not sure I find the counterexamples to the West being great entirely compelling. I think the impact of radical feminism in the West on potential marriage partners may depend somewhat on where you go. At any rate, I'm still not sure it outstrips the problems we faced a century ago. It's a different problem, but not necessarily a worse problem.

On Russia, even if we leave aside the question of cultural proximity to the West, I'm still not sure how much an exemplar modern day Russia is of e.g. freedom and prosperity. Crimea? Ukraine? Crackdowns on non-Orthodox denominations? At any rate, the best in their culture comes from the same source as the West's success does: Christ. Great! I can celebrate that. You'll note that the main point of celebrating the West's great achievements was ultimately to bring God the glory, not the West. In so far as Russia is great because of God, let us do the same thing.

The same applies to South Korea. I absolutely love the fact that Christianity and prosperity have boomed in South Korea over the last 70 years! But let's be real about how that started: the positive influence of the US post Korean War. And the US still maintains a huge military presence there, even over 60 years after the main actual hostilities ended. And we all know why: North Korea. South Korea is an heir of the West's success (much the same can be said of Japan).

Obviously, that doesn't mean that everything great about those cultures comes from the West. But innovations that started in the West did help them blossom. That is something to celebrate, even as we see so many dire problems facing the West today, and forces aligned to destroy those benefits in our own experience. But am I happy to be living in New Zealand in 2019 rather than pretty much any other time and place in human history? Yes. And the West's successes, given to us graciously by God, form the major basis for why.
Kevin O.
I subscribed to CMI in order to read about issues relating to creation, surprise, surprise! And now I'm sent just another political article. And, what's worse, another article apparently inspired by white guilt.

Of course this was an evil crime, that hardly needs stating. Besides, the media is bulging with reports saying exactly that.


Did I miss a CMI article or two on the 4,305 murders of Christians throughout 2018, largely by Moslems? I hope so, because that would only be fair, wouldn't it? It would also indicate that the indignation was inspired by murder, period, not just the murder of Moslems by a white so-called supremacist. And have I missed CMI's commentary on the 453 terrorist attacks, largely Moslem, in this year so far?

However, your readers do not subscribe to CMI for political comment and if it continues, you shall undoubtedly lose many of us.

Louis C's comment above is sterling, and I pray that his uncle remains safe.
Shaun Doyle
I'm not following why we need to comment on the other attacks you mention to have a justifiable reason to comment on this attack. This hit closer to home for us, and CMI actually has resources well-suited to giving a biblically-faithful response to the ideology of the gunman. We speak on Islam to a certain extent, but there are ministries dedicated to that cause who are better equipped than us for that discussion (we have often referenced answering-islam.org as a source; that's not a blanket endorsement of their website, but I think it's a useful website for apologetics to Islam). But even if we accept your premise that we need to comment on Islamic terror attacks to justify us commenting on this one, it doesn't mean we shouldn't have commented on this terror attack. At most, it just means we should pick up our game elsewhere, and widen our perspective beyond the geographical sphere in which we work and focus on. And we're not perfect, so that could be true.

But I thought I did express indignation at murder, period, when I said this: "And of course, murder is horrendously wrong (Exodus 20:13)." That I go on to excoriate the gunman's pathetic attempt to 'justify' his murder spree makes perfect sense in context, since it's part of my refutation of his white nationalism. But that does nothing to lessen the indignation at murder per se in those words.

And I didn't call the gunman a white supremacist; you will not find me using that designation of him once in either the article or my responses to comments. Rather, I called him a white nationalist. There is a difference. The label 'white supremacist' might be appropriate, but it's not the most accurate label for the ideology one finds in the gunman's manifesto. Why? His basic premise in the manifesto is that people of a specific ethnic group should live in their historic 'native lands' as separate nations, and his main concern is to see the white race (which he identified as people who are ethnically and culturally European) survive and thrive. Does that mean he thinks whites are superior to other races? There are indicators in the manifesto that he does, but they're peripheral to his message. Thus, 'white nationalist' is a more precisely accurate label for him than 'white supremacist', if we go by the manifesto.

I would also advise against commenting on my personal motives in writing this article without even asking me about them. Did white guilt drive me to comment on this? No. I really don't care about my skin colour, or anyone else's. I wrote this article more because we have a ministry here in New Zealand (and I am the only full-time staff writer for CMI in New Zealand), and this has been all over the news, and CMI is well-positioned with resources to refute the gunman's ideology in a truly biblically faithful manner.
Reverend Robert W.
Whilst the perpetrator of this crime of mass murder was motivated by and ties himself to, his notion of 'white nationalism' [but the whites are not and never have been a nation] his misdeeds are really copycating Islamic Jihad, with its gunning down of innocent victims. Alfred the Great never did this; though he was involved in a real war against a violent religious enemy, the Vikings, with their god of war. War is a legitimate function of kings and rulers, but under the Christian doctrine of a just war the ends must be righteous and the means wielded proportionate to those ends. Islamic immigration is a problem because it brings with it not only violent Jihad but the highly oppressive, and in the end, violent, sharia too: you only have to witness the persecution of Christians, and others too, in majority Mohammedan states. We must pray for our politicians to have wisdom in how they deal with all of these issues. At present, they seem to have very little of it indeed.
Bill P.
For ALL of us who have put our trust in Jesus Christ, we are just passing through, looking forward to a kingdom not made by men but by The Lord God.
What happened in N.Z. is pure evil and it is happening ALL over this world. Many in this world will use this event as an excuse to keep on killing, many more people will use this crisis to gain more control in the lives of men and women, and many more will use this event to demand someone w/the power to stop these things from happening and bring peace and safety to the earth. These groups no matter their background ALL have one thing in common. They put their trust in a lie that says "men have the power within themselves to do good"
I submit that the only people who know the real truth, the only people who DO NOT take part in this sort of evil are those who have "TRULY" repented of their evil and believe on the "Only Begotten Son of God Jesus Christ". They know that the only way this evil will come to an end is the return of Jesus Christ sitting on His throne in His city, Jerusalem. He is the answer, He is the only True Hope, BUT alas, those who have put their trust in "the goodness of men" hate those who have put their trust in The Unique Son of God.
The day is at hand when this world will seek those who love The Truth of God blaming them for the troubles of this world and destroy them. Yes it is happening now but what is coming will be on such a scale that the world has never seen.
Until then share The Gospel of Jesus Christ "Truthfully", pray and be kind to any we come in contact with no matter what they might do to those of us who trust The Lord God of Israel. He expects us to respond the way He responded when He lived as a man among His own.
"Those who wait upon The Lord will not be ashamed".
Alan H.
In memory of 140 Nigerian Christians slaughtered in the last 30 days:-

Very laudable article, however anyone notice the 140 Nigerian Christians killed by Islamists in Nigeria over the last 30 days? Cultural genocide in the Middle East, North Africa and other places carries on pretty well without any mainstream media comment as it is not far right, white, Christian, Trump or Israel related. If a UK Labour MP Kate Hoey can notice why can't others who should? Yes what happened in NZ is shocking, welcome to the 21st century. Sunni's/Shia's do that to each other in mosques all the time including bombings, also not well reported for some reason. Shaun needs to get out more.

That is a problem when a ministry with the best of intentions strays from it's expertise. It exposes it's ignorance! What you have in the article is a wake up call. It is a good start for further study in all that is happening in the world and not just the bubble you and the mainstream media are currently in.

Some links:- [link deleted per feedback rules]

"Don’t expect to see anything about this ongoing jihad in the establishment media. No “Islamophobia” is involved, so “journalists” don’t care about what is happening in Nigeria."

[link deleted per feedback rules]

[link deleted per feedback rules]

[link deleted per feedback rules]

[link deleted per feedback rules]
Shaun Doyle
Another commenter brought this up; please see my response to that (search for "Boko Haram" in the page; that should lead you to the comment. And we pray for the victims' families and friends there, too. We have commented on Islamic terrorism in the past: Unfair to Islam? and Unfair to Islam? Round 2.
Gary L.
The aggregate of the article in my view is good and the comments (thus far) have merit. If I may I’d like to point out: terrorism is indeed objectionable entirely murderous and disgusting and we should pray for all of its victims and their families. It is the same thing that went down in sub-Saharan countries in Africa and elsewhere in the world (with specific emphasis on South Africa, which by the way, have “slipped by” as seemingly insignificant on the world media platform. The nock-on effect of terrorism in SA have produced close on 20,000 murders each year since the post apartheid era of 1994, 20,000 x 25 years is an enormous quantity of deaths, and Hiv Aids have added thousands upon thousands more deaths in SA). The world is in a mess and we need the power of God’s Spirit to be poured out if some of mankind was to be saved, hoping for better things to happen prior to the return of Thé Messiah. A final thought regardless if this comment was to be placed or not, CMI does fantastic work, many thanks guys, I get around to reading about half of them (taking cognisance of their detail). I do wonder though, if a topic of a contentious nature such as this one should be for other forums to report on? Love you people at CMI. Let’s keep praying for the body of our Lord and Christ and the salvation of the lost, i.e. the lost sheep of the world.
Kathleen L.
Excellent article. Thank you, CMI. Thank you Shaun Doyle.
Harold (Bud) B.
This psychopath reminds me of the Manson murders in the Homes of Sharon Tate and the Biancas. Manson wanted to start a race war that he dubbed "Helter Skelter". The media at the time and the judicial system didn't fall for it then and they (and we) shouldn't fall for it now.
I agree with the article that the proper response to this tragedy is rejection of the perpetrators (subjecting them to the full weight of the law) and love, the love of Christ, for the victims' families.
John A.
Yes, the New Zealand attack was horrendous and wrong. God has commanded us not to murder. What does bother me immensely, though, is the mainstream medias total silence on the regular murder of Christians across the globe by people of the Islamic world. Families of those murdered in those countries must be deeply hurt that their plight is not brought to the attention of the world like the NZ massacre has been. Another thing I find deeply disturbing is seeing Islamic texts being spoken in a Christian church. The religion of Islam is totally apposed to Christianity. It is antichrist. What is written in the so called holy books of Islam need to be exposed to the world so people are not seduced by it. The western worlds seeming love affair with Islam must also be deeply troubling for those ex moslems who have discovered that they have been lied to while ensnared in Islam, but who have now found the truth in Jesus Christ. Good men need to expose evil, not befriend it.
Anyway, I see a raging spiritual battle going on in this world and I do pray for all people including my enemies.
I know I have gone off on a tangent from the subject a bit, but I see that what I have expressed is all part and parcel of what is going on in these end times. I do not expect you to publish what I have written. I just felt the need to offload a bit on this subject, and unfortunately you people copped it.
Terence I.
I have no problem with the political content of the message. Jesus Christ was not one to back down from addressing political issues when he addressed the controlling religious factions of his time, including the lawyers, in the forms of the Pharisees and Sadducees. While religious entities they were also highly political which we witnessed when they had Christ crucified by the Romans and attacked Paul in Acts. Politics has more of a role in our Christian walk than we acknowledge.

However, a point of concern to me is the absence of any acknowledgement of the role of the Muslim community in what happened. While the victims were allegedly innocent, they are also members of a religion that relentlessly attacks Christians and Western culture. (See Ishmael, a wild man against every man and every man will be against you, considered the origin of the Arabian people.) Thanks to Islam, Christianity is the most persecuted religion on the planet.

As Christ noted when Peter took off the ear of the man, those who live by the sword, die by the sword. Perhaps, there is an element of this in what happened as well. You cannot relentlessly attack others cultures and religion and expect no eventual "blow back". I am regretful this happened, but when Christians are attacked nothing changes.

In this case, Muslims are attacked and the entire nation is being essentially stripped of specific weapons. Perhaps the same standards should be applied when Christians are attacked in their own churches in Islamic held territories. If not, why not?
Donald V.
Thank you very much for your article. I appreciated the article, the comments, and the replies and corrections. I try to observe the things that happen around us and the different responses to those events as you did with a Biblical world view.
Don D.
Thank you, Shaun for writing and editing this article in response to the criticisms you have already received. With a hot button topic like this, it is to be expected that people will respond passionately. You have well stated, corrected, and defended your thesis here. I posted it to Facebook believing that it has a powerful positive message for all, Christians and non-Christians alike. Thank you again.
David B.
Wow. CMI has become Politically correct, following the narrative of the main stream media. Was God a racist when he told the Israelites to destroy a certain race and to not destroy another? Or was the God of the old testament different from the God of the new? I know the Christian message of today's PC church is love love love, but it is not in line with the truths and balance of the bible. Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating violence or hatred, but I worry the modern day church is compromising itself to fit in with certain modern narratives.
Otherwise, I'm a HUGE fan of your website.
Shaun Doyle
Please read my section "The ugly side of tailoring a tragedy to a narrative". In that section, I take to task much of the mainstream media for using this attack as a pretext for attacking current US president Donald Trump, or those who peacefully criticize Islam, or even someone generally 'on their side' who says something even mildly 'out of step' with the narrative they want to spin. Donald Trump didn't cause this attack, neither did those who peacefully criticize Islam (as we have done many times on this website, please see our articles on Islam), nor did Chelsea Clinton. And the notion that it was a Christian terrorist attack is laughable.

God judged people groups around Israel because their cultures were morally degenerate, not because they were racially different from Israel (Canaanite DNA disproves the Bible? and Is God a ‘moral monster’?). And as Ephesians 2:11–16 shows clearly, in Christ God himself broke down the ethnic barriers He set up in the Old Testament. Those barriers had a vital purpose in the history of redemption (on which please see Why did God choose just Israel?), but God's purpose for those barriers was fulfilled in Christ. Did God change? No. Fulfilling the Abrahamic covenant in Christ (Galatians 3:16,19) is a case of God keeping His word, not changing it.

The 'love' that I speak of is the love of Matthew 5:44–46 and Romans 12:9–21, as should be clear to anyone who checks what I said against those passages. It's not a sentimental, sappy feeling. It's a practical concern for the needs of the other. That includes speaking the truth, even about Islam, in love. But there's a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1–8). Is there more to be said that what I have said in this article? Sure. But this article is purposefully limited to focus on the event itself and the appropriate Christian response to those who have suffered.
David S.
While I agree with the basis of your article, Shaun, I am glad that you have made the corrections others have already raised. Sadly, the Mainstream Media (MSM) certainly hyped up the usual uninformed comments that influence society at large. The 'Seven' news that I saw was filled with extreme language that was based on on uninformed material. For example, the very brief photo of words written on the gunman's weapons appeared to refer to the key battles fought in Central Europe some 300 years ago when Turkish Islamists almost claimed the whole of Western Europe as their territory. In the process they killed many tens of thousands of citizens of those European countries. The news 'commentator' just described these references as 'hate crimes' without fact or justification. Most TV 'commentators' have continued their heavily biased and uninformed 'opinions' to this day. Perhaps if they had read Robert Spencer's latest book, "The History of Jihad" they would better understand why this atrocity took place, especially as his stupidity will likely bring very serious repercussions on Christians (in particular) or non-Muslims in general. Not only was this an attack lacking in commonsense but also completely repudiates Christ's teachings.
Adrian V.
While this event is to condemned, the general public would do well to acquaint themselves with the life and doctrine of Mohammed.
Bob S.
While the article rightly condemned the shooting, it seems a bit out of balance (and meanstream media-ish) in its assumption that the man was a "hate filled man" who committed a "hate crime".

He may simply be someone with a psychopathic nature who viewed himself as a 'soldier doing his duty'. Psychopaths don't usually bother with emotions that interfere with clarity of thought and stone cold planning. Hate is just energy draining mental baggage; an unwanted emotional weakness - no good if you want travel light and get the job done. Cold merciless anger might come in handy, but anger is not hatred. It's just a useful tool that is switched off the moment the job is done.
Shaun Doyle
In the manifesto, he speaks both in terms of hatred for his targets and as a soldier fighting for his people. So, I think there is legitimate reason to call his actions 'hate-filled', if we go by the manifesto.
Pat B.
Who can't be utterly moved and shocked by this outrage. But who is to blame, this gunmen or all of us. Let me point out a fact that unfortunately will have people shouting me down, that God separated the nations and set their boundaries, we mostly had black and brown along the equator, this then changed to olive skins as you moved into temperate zones , and finally into Asiatic and whiter skins the further North one travelled. But they had been set up by God Himself, and he collected similar peoples into geographically similar areas, they are all of equal value but are marked out by external differences. Then, through mans greed, huge numbers of people were moved for financial reasons (slavery) to unnatural areas, huge numbers for financial reasons were subdued (colonisation) and then had the right to move and huge numbers for financial reasons saw others prosperity as achievable by them if they moved from their country to another's. The one thing one group feels about another is alienation, they don't understand their ways and feel frightened and unable to explore similarities, if it is small numbers among a larger indigenous group then assimilation is natural, but overload that system and these hatreds occur. So governments and peoples pursuing this path of upsetting the boundaries that God has set, create these problems, and these problems are not Africa complaining of the number of white settlers, or Syrians complaining of Eskimos etc etc..it is almost exclusively, white Western countries who have grown rich on slavery and colonisation complaining of the number of immigrants, who they actually created. So, all of us in the West, we created this, this individual who did this is our responsibility, collectively. Let us all repent and ask for forgiveness.
Shaun Doyle
If we must choose between blaming the gunman and blaming the West at large (or any other group), we should blame the gunman. Why? He did it. On the wider historical and sociopolitical factors at play, I recommend our resource One Human Family.
Lin B.
I was disappointed to hear PM Morrison, a Christian, condemn all forms of fundamentalism. The only true Christians are the fundamentalists - they believe in a 6 day creation and Salvation by faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. They do NOT murder! Conversely, the only true Muslims are fundamentalists who adhere to the Koran which encourages (commands) murder and violence. There is no such thing as a peaceful Muslim .
I also think it was foolish for PM Ardern to wear a hijab, a symbol of oppressed Muslim women under Sharia law. AS for the Islamic call to prayer to everyone...... well we know Allah is not God.
Shaun Doyle
Please see Anyone for fundamentalism? on the issue of 'fundamentalism', both biblical and Islamic. It is nonetheless important to acknowledge that many professed Muslims are not violent.
Dean L.
You hit the nail on the head when you stated that the moves the media have made are exactly what the gunman wanted. Based on his manifesto, not only the media, but the New Zealand government, and more recently a New Zealand bookstore chain called Whitcoulls have acted precisely in accordance with his agenda. Within the space of about a week, the government has banned a particular type of firearm for use by law-abiding gun owners that the gunman had modified to make it function as an automatic, and the bookstore chain has banned a popular book written by Professor Jordan Peterson because it naively linked his book with the actions of the murderer. Many in the media have happily gone along with these actions. The gunman seems to have won. Of course we Christians understand the spiritual warfare that is going on behind the scenes and know that despite appearances, God will use the bad intentions and actions of humans to further His plan. That's what I try to keep in focus, along with praying for wisdom in addressing these issues when they come up in discussions about terrible events like this one with unsaved friends and relatives.
B M.
This article is awesome and I praise God for it! It is sad that many of the comments have devolved into a fierce case of whataboutism. Perhaps CMI should link to their articles on logical fallacies to help deal with this. But until then readers should consider this: proving that someone is a hypocrite is not the same as proving that what they’re saying isn’t true. So CMI didn’t write an article on every tragedy that has happened since the dawn of time. How exactly does that discredit or prove this article to be untrue? I’m almost certain that many commenters lambast Muslim religious leaders who don’t publicly distance themselves from terrorism when it’s at the hands of Islamic adherents. So shouldn’t an authoritative voice like CMI publicly distance themselves from terrorism when it’s done at the hands of a so called Christian? Especially when the godless media is trying to pin this as some pathology amongst Christians. Continue what God is leading you to do CMI. Don’t let anyone goad you into voting for a winner in the terrorist victim Olympics.
Hugo L.
While I agree with your article, I do take issue with your use of the term "white nationalist". The use of this term taints the horror of the New Zealand massacre with the politcal left's agenda. It smacks of identity politics and plays into their hands. Let's keep our focus. This is a fight between good and evil, between God and Satan.
We must remember that our instructions are to love our neighbour, and also, to as far as it depends on us, be at peace with all men. We are not insructed to be doormats.
Shaun Doyle
I'm glad that you find most of the article agreeable. On the term 'white nationalist', I don't call him that to fit any particular political agenda (indeed, I decried multiple attempts to spin a political narrative from this tragedy, including from the left). Nor do I think the term is inherently tainted with a 'left-wing' political agenda. And let me be clear: white nationalism is not the same thing as nationalism per se. There are racist and non-racist forms of nationalism, and I don't intend to comment on non-racist forms. But the gunman held to a racist form.

I labelled the gunman a 'white nationalist' because it genuinely seems to me the most apt description of the gunman's ideology from everything I've read, especially as outlined in his apparent manifesto. His primary concern according to the manifesto is that the 'white race', which he equates with being ethnically and culturally European, survive and thrive in their own lands and nations separate from other ethno-cultural groups (e.g. Arabs, Indians, Chinese, etc.).

A term common in the media coverage to describe the gunman that is tainted is 'right-wing extremist'. The problem with such a term is that it groups quite diverse political ideologies together, some of which the gunman explicitly decried. 'White nationalist' signals the inherently racist character of his ideology where 'right-wing extremist' is way too vague and prejudicial against people who would vehemently disagree with his ideology.
Douglas R.
I must take exception with two items so far. First, calling the man a "white nationalist." I am a white nationalist. I love my country and and believe in putting my nation and people first above other nations of the world. There is nothing un-Christian about this whatsoever! Now if you said, "white supremacist," then you'd be on the firmer ground of truth.

Then you state that "racism" was the reason behind this man's actions. I must strongly disagree with you. Racism is not one of the sins noted in the Ten Commandments, but rather, murder. There was murder in the heart of this psychopath. I dare say there are multiple millions of racists around the world that would never dream of murdering people because they have a fear of God.

With all the disinformation and politically correct commenting going around, I am compelled to make these points.
Shaun Doyle
Your affirmation of 'white nationalism' is ambiguous. You're free to love your country! But doesn't the US have citizens of all different races in it? Besides, Christians are called first to love God and neighbour, not country. And who is your neighbour? Understanding Jesus' ethnic subversion in the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) is useful. Plus, God doesn't determine His people by ethnicity (Romans 9:8). Why should you care about ethnicity, then?

As to your disagreement over racism and murder, I don't really follow your point. Murder was what he did; racism was (a major reason) why he did it. They are both sins. Murder is obviously proscribed in the sixth commandment (Exodus 20:13). Racism is a form of partiality, therefore it's also sin (James 2:1). So, racists sin without being murderers (although perhaps they need to read Matthew 5:21-26 to see that the connection between racism and murder isn't as distant as they might think). But note that I was refuting the terrorist's ideology, which was a violent form of white nationalism. I honestly didn't spend too much time refuting the 'violent' bit, because pretty much everyone can understand why that's wrong.

Please see Sinners and saints regardless of race.
Douglas R.
I am extremely troubled by the author calling this NZ killer a "white nationalist." Are you not aware that our President has stated he is a nationalist in the correct sense of the term? By using this incorrect, co-opted term, and throwing out the true meaning of nationalism, you are siding with enemies of this Republic and our President who are pushing the narrative of our own President being a "white nationalist," implying he is a white racist! This lie has been pushed in the main stream media since this President was elected. It is nearly a daily thing. They are trying to tie the President with this killer using the very terminology that YOU are using. It is incorrect and you are labeling every good white American who is NOT racist but loves his country and considers himself a nationalist (as opposed to a globalist), as a racist and possible killer.

Not only are you falling into the left's way of twisting speech, but overtly, though maybe not purposely, siding against your own President and putting him in relation to a psychopathic killer. It is offensive to me and I'm sure many white (non-racist) Americans.
Shaun Doyle
Please note that I clearly took the media to task for laying implicit blame at Trump's feet for this tragedy:

"Many in the media have unfortunately used this tragedy to further their own divisive political agendas. For instance, a line from the manifesto where he regards current US president Donald Trump as a symbol of his racism has been used by many in the media to blame Trump for fostering an environment that made attacks like this more likely. They fail to note, though, that he has absolutely no respect for Trump as a leader and policy maker."


Moreover, I think the article is clear enough in what I mean by the term 'white nationalist'. I don't mean 'a nationalist who happens to be white'. That's not how the term works. Consider the term 'black nationalist'; most understand that it refers to the idea that 'blacks' should have a separate nation of their own. 'White nationalism' is simply the racial 'whites' version of that idea. But I thoroughly agree that a nationalist isn't necessarily a racist. That's a false equivalence, and a scurrilous one at that. I repudiate it completely. In line with CMI's largely apolitical stance, I voice no opinion here on nationalism per se.

Finally, I'm an Aussie living in New Zealand. I'm an Australian citizen, and I have never set foot on US soil. As such, I have a Queen, a Governor General, and a Prime Minister rather than a President (whether considering my citizenship, my residency, or both). I mean that not as a criticism of your president; only as a statement of fact.
Garry G.
Shaun, I have waivered between not replying to your article, allowing the comments already posted to speak for me, and writing a long-winded response that addresses all of the multitude of problems withe your article. I will instead try to focus on a just couple of the more glaring problems.
You quote Galations 3:28, yet spent a disturbing amount of time on the evils of "white nationalism". Can you define both "white" and "white nationalism" without being racist yourself?
You misrepresent the words of the maniac Tarrant when you used the word "white" where he said "European". For example, his manifesto actually said,
"The environment is being destroyed by over population, we Europeans are one of the groups that are not over populating the world. The invaders are the ones over populating the world. Kill the invaders, kill the overpopulation and by so doing save the environment." The only mention of "white" in relationtothis rant is from you, not him.
I am as appalled by the attack as anybody. But your response is neither Christian nor productive.
I refer you to Phillip Bell's article from 2016, in which he discusses the real reasons for the violence we are seeing: :Terrorism and Europe’s spiritual vacuum—Secularism at the root of the problem" and it has little to do with "white nationalism".
You would do well to avoid the appearance a Social Justice Warrior fighting against western civilisation. You could spend more time objectively considering the words of Senator Anning, an elected representative of the government, rather than verballing him along with the virtue-signalling mob. Violent vigilantism is indeed an accurate and non-racist description of that terrible event.
God bless.
https://creation.com/terrorism-europe-spiritual-vacuum
Shaun Doyle
I don't see that the time I spent on what I (and many others) dubbed as 'white nationalism' was inappropriate. After all, it's the ideology of the gunman.

On 'white nationalism', I can't agree. First, I no more have to be a white nationalist to define 'white nationalism' than I have to be a Muslim to define Islam, or a Marxist to define Marxism. Second, in the manifesto, he explicitly defines those he considers 'white' as 'those who are ethnically and culturally European'. For him, 'white' and 'ethnically and culturally European' are interchangeable. Divorcing the two attenuates the explicitly racial foundations of his ideology.

Now, I agree that Islam according to its most trusted sources is a violent ideology, we see the sad facts of that played out daily around the world, and that Western governments and media currently paint a rosy picture of Islam. But all this can be true, and Anning's press release can still be worth denouncing. It has been denounced across the political spectrum, and as I read the press release, I think the consensus is correct.

As to Philip's article Terrorism and Europe’s spiritual vacuum, I have no problem with it. In fact, I have added it to the 'related articles' section; thanks for pointing it out to me! But this article isn't a simple replay of the same issue. The ideologies behind the attacks we talk about are different (He dealt with several ISIS attacks; I deal with only one attack by a white nationalist). Plus, this article was written within a week of the events themselves, when concerns about a compassionate response to the victims should still be paramount in how we approach the tragedy. This was less so with Philip's article, which was published a couple of months after the most recent attack mentioned in his article.

As to avoiding the appearance of attacking Western civilization, didn't I praise the West? In fact, some commenters said I praised the West too highly! I refer you to my entire response to Gian Carlo B.

I am appreciative of those who have voiced their disagreements and concerns at the article. Thanks also to you. I think they have made the article better, and also sharpened my own thinking on the tragedy. Disagreements on what we’ve said and what we should’ve said will remain. But I pray that we can nonetheless agree that Christianity, firmly rooted in biblical creation, provides the best response to this tragedy.
Malcolm T.
As a South African now living in Australia, I endorse the comments made by Louis C (ZA). I also applaud the basic sentiments in the CMI publication. However, as an older white male I am constantly made to feel guilty, and that I owe somebody an apology for my being. It is also assumed that being from South Africa, I must be a white supremacist. We left South Africa in 1986, before the end of Apartheid, andhad been harassed and under surveillance by the Apartheid police for being too pro-black and anti-apartheid.
As a practicing Christian, I do try to love all my neighbours (not too sure who my enemies are!), and do pray for peace and understanding between all Australians. While I agree with your message of peace, your article is in danger of alienating people like myself who have seen racism at its worst, and are concerned about challenges to our culture and faith, from radical Islam, by demonizing us.
The atrocity in Christchurch must be condemned, and I pray for the victims, and their families and friends, regardless of their culture or ethnicity, but I really do fear that by continually referring to Muslims and other religions and ethnicities, and even referring to the differences, you are widening the divide, rather than creating unity. I respect the Muslim beliefs (although I cannot understand them), but I cannot accept that we worship the same God. Our God and our Lord Jesus are one and the same. Muslims reject Christ and his divinity.
Shaun Doyle
The Islamic conception of God is fatally defective. They deny Christ's deity, death, and resurrection. Saying that we worship the same God stretches credulity to breaking point. Some of the last verses in the Koran to be penned command the killing and/or subjugation of all non-Muslims. The progress of Islam should be countered. But that shouldn't stop me from sympathizing with Muslims when they suffer unjustly. Nor should it stop me calling out the evils of white nationalist murderers, and even white nationalism itself.

We've talked about the evils of racism plenty of times before without talking about other evils, and it didn't bother many people. What's the difference here? Muslims were the victims. But we know Islam is a false and dehumanizing religion! So, we want to see Islam refuted. We don't want it to capitalize evangelistically on the sympathy Muslims are getting from this attack.

And whites and Christians in particular feel blamed for this. Trump supporters. Peaceful critics of Islam. Anyone who has criticized a Muslim for anything they've said in the last several weeks, regardless of political ideology! It's an interesting experience. It's not fun. It's not fair! We didn't do this! It makes me wonder, though: is that what our peaceful Muslim neighbours feel like every time they hear of another jihadi attack?

Thus, while refuting Islam is in general a good thing, there's a time and a place for it. It's my contention that this article isn't it. I understand many will continue to disagree. If they can at least reach far enough to say of my article 'I agree, but there's more to say', then I'll count that a victory. Why? Because I agree that there's more to say.

But here's the question I pray every reader has in their mind as they read my article: How should a Christian respond to a Muslim mum down in Christchurch who just lost her son to this terrible attack? That's the main question this article is designed to deal with. If someone thinks the best response is to launch immediately into a refutation of her ideology, then I submit that they are wrong. We should do everything we can to earn our right to speak to her about why Islam is wrong by loving her as Christ loved us. Christ is true peace. Let's live like it, as I'm sure every thoughtful Christian wants to do.
Richard W.
I wish I could respond directly to comments regarding race issues especially those in South Africa as mentioned above. I am of European descent as well as First Nations and I have visited South Africa, especially the areas around Johannesburg so I may have a unique perspective because of what I have seen and experienced. I could see quite visibly how a lot of the black South Africans acted towards foreigners. It wasn't totally favorably, although considering that I was with a black girl most of the time, I survived. I don't know what it would have been like otherwise. I can understand why they would have a bad attitude regarding foreigners, but it bothered me that they made assumptions about me because of the colour of my skin. I had my First Nations status card with me so I pulled it out on one occasion in order to hopefully get at least one person to think. I had the ability to respond to people when they tried to take advantage me or to question my motives. I don't want it to sound like it was all bad. I did see a younger black person, for example, at the movie theater, treated us fairly well. Maybe he was just happy seeing me with a black girl and being able to get along quite well without any baggage, I don't know. Maybe there is hope from some of the younger generations there.

As I say all of this, I want to emphasize that foreigners (or descendants of foreigners) need to be able to acknowledge the wrongs of the past or there is not going to be reconciliation. I sometimes don't see that acknowledgement and I can see some superiority complex in foreigners as they react to black South Africans because they are judging them by their attitudes. Maybe you should be willing to acknowledge why those attitudes exist and not try to make the past seem like a small evil.
Jonny R.
As a Christchurch resident I really appreciated CMI making an article about our recent tragic events in our city. I will be following up with reading some the links to other articles in the piece. Thank you Shaun D. May God somehow bring good for his people and our city ftom this act of hatred and evil.
Shaun Doyle
Excellent! Please do keep reading the links. I trust they will provide the fuller-orbed picture to this tragic event that will help you contextualize it well, and respond as Christ would have us do. And know that my prayers are still with you down there.
Alister H.
Hi, thanks for this, first for the Christian response, and second for filling us in on the beliefs of this man.

Since the attack we've been constantly told he is a "right wing extremist" (an interesting contrast with the familiar chorus of "this has nothing to do with Islam, they are mentally ill" after other terrorist attacks). And the left has quite effectively weaponised it to smear people and views they don't agree with, so it's somewhat problematic that the "manifesto" is now banned in NZ and anyone who wants to check for themselves whether he really is "right wing" now risks 14 years prison! When I can't read it for myself, it makes me ask if they aren't just trying to cover up the truth - i.e. is he really just another murderous socialist* trying to fight overpopulation and at the same time stoke division between different groups in society? Is this case really only different because he decided to attack innocent Muslims rather than innocent unborn babies?

Yes, I understand that he condemned "Antifa/Marxists/Communists", but if he also condemned "capitalists" and promoted things like "workers rights" then perhaps this is the same as "National Socialism" opposing the "international socialism" of communism. It sounds like he is in fact a true Nazi (something quite rare, regardless of how much the left like to throw the term around). Regardless, I guess it is yet another example of the murderous fruit of evolution and the philosophies it underpins.

Something I wonder - would there be any benefit in redacting documents like this, rather than banning them? Perhaps someone who has read the document might have some thoughts on this.
Shaun Doyle
I was able to read the document in full before it was banned here in NZ. And there are a lot of parallels between his ideas and those of the Nazis and the Fascists in the first half of the 20th century. Indeed, he identifies himself as a fascist. However, he rejects the label of Nazi, and the specifically Germanic and antisemitic bent of Nazism wasn't overtly present in the manifesto. Fascists/Nazis and Communists were often bitter enemies in early 20th century politics, often resulting in violent clashes between partisans on the streets, and in Nazi Germany Communists were among their first targets. It appears the gunman was of a similar violently partisan mindset.
Ronald N.
I don't think you should join the bandwagon of "racism". The man is a murderer full of hate and confusion and deserves to forfeit his life. God has set boundaries where people are born or should live. {acts} Sometimes circumstances mean we have strangers and we need to treat them as neighbours but that should not be the general situation. If I believe that am I a racist. Please stick to bible interpretation and not to forming judgments on these issues.
Shaun Doyle
The murderer is a racist. That’s not hard to see or admit. Even the gunman admitted it.

Regarding Acts 17:26, proper biblical interpretation is important here to show why this doesn't imply what you think it implies. It doesn’t command us to 'stay in our nations', nor does it imply that it’s good for people to ‘stay in their nations’. Rather, the point of Acts 17:26 is that God is in control of all of this for every people group. Consider the surrounding context:

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ (Acts 17:24-28)


Paul expounds on God's supreme independence and sovereignty over history (see Process theism and Why did God choose just Israel?). God in His sovereign providence sets up nations at various times and places; it's not something He invites, suggests, or commands us to do. Such a notion misses Paul’s point. Paul is setting up a gospel appeal by saying that the sovereign God who made everything and rules over history now calls all nations to repent because He has 'gone worldwide' in Christ:

The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead. (Acts 17:29-30)


Paul isn't saying Greeks should stay in Greece. He's calling them to Christ to be a part of a worldwide people of God.

In the end, it doesn’t matter who we count as ‘stranger’ and ‘neighbour’. Even if we limit ‘neighbour’ to mean ‘fellow Christians’, we still have to love them all regardless of their ethnicity. And we still have to love our enemies, regardless of ethnicity. And the New Testament emphatically forbids us from limiting ‘neighbour’ to ‘Christians of my ethnic group.’ Paul rightly excoriated Peter for doing just that in Galatians 2:11–21.
Julie M.
Thank you, Shaun. I'm praying you're not discouraged by all the controversy in the comments. I think your article was important and loving. God bless all you do.
Jordan W.
Thank you for writing this article, Shaun. It was a good read.

I'm based in Auckland and have many friends of the Muslim faith and was absolutely heartbroken when I heard the news of the mass shooting. It's something that should never happen in such a peaceful nation as New Zealand. This attack was too close to home!

Re: the previous commenters mentioning the lack of coverage on Christian murders around the world. I think the New Zealand and Australian media in general are infrequent in their reports on global events, especially in the developing and third world countries such as Kenya, Nigeria or Somalia, where violence against Christians is occurs on a regular basis. The Christchurch mosque attacks have had sustained coverage because of the rarity of the event, especially happening on New Zealand soil. I'm sure if a similar attack had occurred in a Christian church in our country, the media coverage and public outcry would be similar if not more intense.

Furthermore, I do believe this article is an important one. We as Christians with a European outlook on life can often be biased against non-European followers of other faiths and many of us may hold prejudiced views in some ways. I think this is a stark reminder to us that we need to share the love of Christ with all people, even those who differ in their faith.

On a side note, I read an article earlier today about a young Christian youth leader who saved the life of one of the shooter's victims in Christchurch. What a beautiful opportunity for him to show the love and light of Christ.
Robert N.
Thank you Shaun for this appropriate response, and of course you won't cover everything in a way that all Christians will in full agreement with when talking about such an event that many of us are unsure how to carry conflicting views within ourselves. Although I don't always agree with everything in CMI articles, I think that you are dissecting the various issues around this shooting and how we as Christians react. As a brown skinned NZer who lived in Australia for a while, and believes in creation, it is good to view humans as one race, and the redeemed in Christ as one people of God, rather than getting sidetracked into racism distractions when something like this happens. (Not that I am denying that the shooter is racist as you covered before)

Of course all Bible believing Christians will know that the Muslim faith is based on untruth, and we bristle when we hear Imams being given a platform to proclaim that Allah is the only true God. However, it is their time to grieve, and we as a nation based on Christian principals and laws allow the Muslim community this in spite of this not being granted to Christian victims in Muslim countries.

My fear is that new laws of "Hate Speech" and protection against "Islamophobia" will muzzle Christians in New Zealand as seems to be happening in other Western countries. It would not surprise me if this subtle, then overt form of persecution will come upon the Church here, and those who have the courage to speak the truth will face dire consequences. My hope is that the way that a lot of NZers have supported the Muslim community will open a door for Christians to witness to them, with creation evangelism and a revelation that Jesus is God, not just an obscure prophet.

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