The Horrible Choice in Dallas

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The recent ambush and murder of Dallas (Texas) police officers has been consuming and draining for many of us who live here. David Brown, Dallas’ Chief of Police, has responded incredibly well to an unthinkable horror. During the standoff with the shooter who had already taken the lives of five officers and wounded seven more, plus two civilians, Chief Brown stayed on top of negotiations between the Dallas Police Department (DPD) and the shooter.

But those negotiations only revealed that Micah Johnson, well-protected and heavily armed in a parking garage, remained adamant about his agenda: to hurt and kill as many white people, and white police officers specifically, as he could. In an interview with CNN the next morning, Chief Brown reported that over a two-hour period of negotiations, he characterized the shooter as “basically lying to us, playing games, laughing, singing, asking how many did he get and that he wanted to kill some more, and there were bombs there, so there was no progress on the negotiation.”{1}

Dallas’ mayor Mike Rawlings reported that “We gave him choices. We said, ‘You can come out and not be hurt, or you can stay there and be hurt.'”{2} Mr. Johnson chose to refuse to surrender.

Chief Brown made the difficult decision to end the standoff before any more lives were lost by arming a remote-controlled robot with explosives that killed the shooter.

As this story unfolded, it struck me that Chief Brown, a Christ-follower who worships at Dr. Tony Evans’ church Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, is now peculiarly equipped to understand one of the most difficult aspects of the Old Testament: God’s commands to kill large numbers of people. In fact, just two days after the shootings, I sat in my church answering this very question by a friend who is wrestling with whether God is good. How could a good God order the killing of men, women and children in Canaan? How could a good police chief order the killing of a man holed up in a parking garage?

After hours of negotiation that included 45 minutes of exchanging gunfire with the shooter, Dallas police determined that Micah Johnson had a hard heart. And, in that situation, an apparently unredeemably hard heart that would not allow for a good outcome (which would mean surrender at the least, and confession and repentance eventually for the sin—and the crime—of multiple murders).

God faced something similar on a much, much larger scale: wholesale cultural evil. Genesis 6:5 says, “Yahweh saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” For 120 years Noah served as a “preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5), but only eight people entered the ark to be saved. God wiped out all the evil in every other human being alive on the whole planet. What a horrible, and drastic—but necessary—choice.

Then, we see wholesale cultural evil again in Canaan, the inhabitants of the land that God promised to Abraham and his descendants. The whole culture engaged in idolatry and even child sacrifice. The Canaanites’ rampant sexual sin was so bad it even defiled the land. The Canaanites’ lifestyle was like cultural cancer. And just as an oncology surgeon has to slice into what may appear to be a healthy body to cut out deadly tissue that will kill a person if not removed, God acted to remove spiritual cancer in the pre-flood world and again in Canaan.

We see God’s heart about this revealed in Ezekiel 33:11—”‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?'” It broke God’s heart to have to take out the wicked people on the earth. Just as our brother in Christ, Chief Brown knows that Micah Johnson was made in the image of God, and was a soul so dearly loved that Jesus died for him. There is no pleasure in having to deal with a man so insistent on destruction that the only way to keep him from taking more lives is to take his. Chief Brown says it was a good call, but that doesn’t mean it gave him pleasure.

Just as, I believe, our good God stopped the growth of moral cancer on His planet and in His land, but it gave Him no pleasure.

Discipline, especially the most drastic kind, is a horrible choice to have to make. But it is right. And good. Even as it breaks the heart of the discipliner.

 

1. theconservativetreehouse.com/2016/07/10/dallas-police-chief-david-brown-extensive-interview-explaining-attack-videos/
2. beta.dallasnews.com/news/news/2016/07/09/dallas-policedecided-use-bomb-end-standoff-lone-gunman?_ga=1.39744103.531856088.1465668815

This blog post originally appeared at blogs.bible.org/engage/sue_bohlin/the_horrible_choice_in_dallas on July 12, 2016.

Sue Bohlin is an associate speaker/writer and webmistress for Probe Ministries. She attended the University of Illinois, and has been a Bible teacher and conference speaker for over 35 years. She is a frequent speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Connections), and serves on the board and as a small group leader of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered outreach to those dealing with unwanted homosexuality. Sue is on the Bible.org Women's Leadership Team and is a regular contributor to Bible.org's Engage Blog. She is also a professional calligrapher; but most importantly, she is the wife of Probe's Dr. Ray Bohlin and the mother of their two grown sons. Her personal website is suebohlin.com.

What is Probe?

Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.

Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:

Probe Ministries
2001 W. Plano Parkway, Suite 2000
Plano TX 75075
(972) 941-4565
info@probe.org
www.probe.org

Copyright/Reproduction Limitations

This document is the sole property of Probe Ministries. It may not be altered or edited in any way. Permission is granted to use in digital or printed form so long as it is circulated without charge, and in its entirety. This document may not be repackaged in any form for sale or resale. All reproductions of this document must contain the copyright notice (i.e., Copyright 2015 Probe Ministries) and this Copyright/Limitations notice.

Sue Bohlin is an associate speaker/writer and webmistress for Probe Ministries. She attended the University of Illinois, and has been a Bible teacher and conference speaker for over 35 years. She is a frequent speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Connections), and serves on the board and as a small group leader of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered outreach to those dealing with unwanted homosexuality. Sue is on the Bible.org Women's Leadership Team and is a regular contributor to Bible.org's Engage Blog. She is also a professional calligrapher; but most importantly, she is the wife of Probe's Dr. Ray Bohlin and the mother of their two grown sons. Her personal website is suebohlin.com.

What is Probe?

Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.

Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:

Probe Ministries
2001 W. Plano Parkway, Suite 2000
Plano TX 75075
(972) 941-4565
info@probe.org
www.probe.org

Copyright/Reproduction Limitations

This document is the sole property of Probe Ministries. It may not be altered or edited in any way. Permission is granted to use in digital or printed form so long as it is circulated without charge, and in its entirety. This document may not be repackaged in any form for sale or resale. All reproductions of this document must contain the copyright notice (i.e., Copyright 2015 Probe Ministries) and this Copyright/Limitations notice.

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