Top gun advocate has message of survival

This post was originally published on Friday, 02 November 2009, 10:02 pm at

He may have been outgunned but he wasn’t ungunned and the result, the experts agree, probably saved hundreds, maybe even a thousand lives, and now St. James Massacre survivor Charl van Wyk is returning with his message of a biblical obligation for self-defense.

His story has been chronicled in the book “Shooting Back: The Right and Duty of Self-Defense” and also a video documentary – the first ever produced by WND’s film division.

It was only a few months back he appeared on the Mancow radio show and talked of responding, with his .38 special revolver, to terrorists who lobbed grenades and fired automatic assault weapons at a church congregation in South Africa in 1993.

Police later told van Wyk the terrorists confessed their plan was to kill everyone in the church, possibly 1,000 people or more, and his armed response is credited with saving many lives.

The Sunday evening service was under way when the attack happened. Eleven churchgoers were killed and 53 were wounded. But the terrorists who entered with mayhem on their minds fled to a waiting car when van Wyk crouched down behind a pew, took aim and fired.

Since the St. James Massacre, van Wyk has been attacked by armed robbers three times. Each time his firearm saved him. The most recent attack was last year when he was held by assailants who attempted to hijack his vehicle.

When the opportunity availed, he fired on the attackers and drove them away.

Members of the media who want to arrange interviews with van Wyk should call M. Sliwa Public Relations at 973-272-2861 or e-mail

He told Mancow host Erich Muller when the firing started he pulled out his handgun and fired back. He decided he was too far back, and he ran out of the building to try to get closer, only to see the terrorists piling into a getaway car.

He said his first shot apparently struck one of the attackers.

“To create a safe nation, arm the population,” van Wyk has told WND.

In the years that have passed, van Wyk has been working, through his ministry with Frontline Fellowship, in regions that could be called “war-torn” sections of Africa.

Though van Wyk admits that there are disadvantages to having firearms in a society, he says lawmakers should consider the advantages.

“When last did you hear of a multiple-victim shooting taking place on a firearm range, in a police station or at a gun show, or wherever many firearms are found anywhere in the world? You haven’t. That’s because criminals prefer unarmed victims, or soft targets,” van Wyk says. “No wonder they love gun control – it makes their work so much easier and their working environment much safer.”

In Christian circles, van Wyk concludes, there is an additional imperative to be armed for self-defense.

“The Apostle Paul wrote in a letter to Timothy, ‘But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially of those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever,’” noted van Wyk. “Provision includes providing security. In fact our Lord Jesus taught, ‘If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.’”

Quoting Jesus again, van Wyk added, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbour as yourself,’” he said. “Are we loving our neighbor when we stand by and do nothing when he is being murdered or a woman is being raped?”

Van Wyk’s experience in regions of Africa where criminals are armed but the citizenry is not has seasoned his perspective, but he warns that Americans cannot fail to be diligent in protecting their Second Amendment rights.

“We are on the brink of global change,” van Wyk said in an exclusive interview with WND marking the 15-year anniversary of what now is known as the St. James Massacre. “The United Nations has a disarmament program to remove private firearms from all nations. Hundreds of millions of people throughout the world suffer hideously through political systems, which have imposed a disarmament program based on oppression and lies.”

He added, “In South Africa, the communist-inspired African National Congress is imposing a politically motivated disarmament program that will leave law-abiding citizens defenseless. … There is a war of worldviews on gun control being fought right now across the world.

“We have no choice except action,” he said. “The results of gun control can indeed be catastrophic, e.g., Rwanda was a gun-free zone and so too is Zimbabwe today. This period of our history is decisive. Are our children going to live as slaves or as a free people?”

In his book “Shooting Back” van Wyk not only documents the notorious and bloody attack, but offers the first in-depth exploration of the biblical case for armed self-defense.

That account also has now been translated into a video documentary – the first ever produced by WND’s new film division.

Members of the media who want to arrange interviews with van Wyk should call M. Sliwa Public Relations at 973-272-2861 or e-mail

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