Wichita Falls, Texas, SWAT Officer Charlie Eipper lowered his head to his rifle, peered through his Simmons scope, searched for his target, and fired.
When he killed a man in the line of duty on Jan. 10, 1999, he was confident that Jesus Christ condoned — even supported — his use of deadly force.
He spelled out his convictions — and the Bible’s support for them — in his book “Jesus Christ on Killing,” self-published March 5.
The book is available on Amazon.
Eipper has considered himself a professional warrior in the service of his country for the past 23 years. He served three years as a helicopter pilot in the Army, then 16 years on the Wichita Falls Police Department SWAT team as a sniper and team leader of the gang unit.
His service has required him to use deadly force in several incidents. Currently, he is a patrol sergeant.
In the early days, Eipper — a devoted follower of Christ — said he was misinformed about how Jesus viewed his mission of protection and defense. He’d been told killing of any kind was wrong, which was a troubling stance in his line of work.
But after studying the Bible with the help of Grace Church Pastor Tom Rodgers, today Eipper is confident that Jesus Christ supports warriors and anyone acting in self-defense.
After three years of intense study for the writing of his book, he is articulate on the subject of Jesus Christ and killing and eager to share it with other military and law enforcement colleagues and Christians.
“The Scriptures are clear that God condones the use of deadly force in killing whenever we are threatened,” Eipper said.
A woman who carries a handgun with a concealed carry license can be assured that she can defend herself with deadly force “and still be in complete fellowship with her Savior,” Eipper said.
The Bible is not a manual on killing, he said. “The main theme is salvation. But the topic is discussed.”
Eipper travels from Genesis, Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy to Isaiah, 1 Kings, Proverbs and on into Matthew, Romans, 2 Corinthians and Hebrews to lay out what he sees as the Bible’s stance on killing.
“The reason I can call it ‘Jesus Christ on Killing’ — it’s the spirit of Christ that has been the inspiration for any prophet to speak or write,” he said.
Eipper was motivated to write the book after educating himself on the scriptural teaching on killing, then perceiving it was twisted in movies like “Rambo IV.” The movie, set in Thailand, hooked up Rambo with missionaries who asked him to take them up the river to Burma.
“He didn’t want to, but finally did. Their boat got taken over by river pirates. He had to kill them to save everybody,” Eipper recalls. “When Rambo was dropping the missionaries off at their destination, the lead missionary was stepping off the boat and turned to Rambo. ‘I know you think what you did is right,’ the missionary said, ‘but it’s never right to take a life.’”
Eipper cringed. “I thought, ‘What if there’s a young believer in Christ watching this? What if it’s somebody who is in the Marine Corps? Or an officer? They’re going to be so confused. They’ll think, ‘Surely this guy is speaking on authority of Scripture.’”
Eipper’s book explains the biblical case for civilian self-defense, the death penalty, law enforcement and war. Such issues are rarely, if ever, addressed in churches, he said.
Today’s culture embraces Christ as the suffering servant, the lamb of God, he said. “We have trouble viewing him as king, as the one who is coming back as the Lion of Judah, a warrior,” Eipper said. “My last chapter is Jesus, the Man of War.”
He said that 2,000 years ago, Jesus’ disciples wanted Jesus to be the warrior king, not the suffering servant.
But the role of warrior was to come later, Eipper said.
He sees glimpses in the Bible of the spirit of Christ fighting for Israel as the nation escaped Egypt in Exodus 15.
But the full force of Jesus’ battle plan is ahead, he said.
“When Jesus comes back, he will be the man of war. When he comes back, there will be a whole lot of killing going on. Scripture says that (Jesus) is going to be the one doing it. Our Savior will be going to battle. Finally, Israel will see their national salvation occurring.”