By now, everyone has heard about the mass killing at the Covenant Presbyterian Church and School in Nashville, Tennessee. On Monday, March 27, 2023, an armed woman, who was “transgender” and identified as a man, entered the school and in cold blood murdered 3 children, all age 9, and 3 adults, including the Head of School. The Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee Police Department dispatched several officers to the scene. The officers confronted the killer in the school and ended her life in a gun battle before she could murder more people.
I am very familiar with Covenant. I have lived in Nashville almost all my life. Covenant is about 3 miles from my home. I pass it every day on the way to work. I know its founders and many of its current elders, deacons, and members.
Covenant is part of the Presbyterian Church in America, the PCA, a denomination founded in the early 1970s with an emphasis on biblical fidelity and Christian essentials. It is a great church with a great ministry in Nashville. Many of the people in my church are friends with the staff and members of Covenant. Some of our members have children who attend, or have attended, the school. My pastor and a man who has been an elder in my church spent most of Monday consoling the widower of the Head of School.
These killings will have a lasting impact on Nashville, in particular the Christian community here. I urge that believers everywhere continue to uphold the families of the victims and Covenant in prayer.
This is the first time in my life that I have seen martyrdom up close. The assailant killed these children and adults because of their Christian witness and the witness of Covenant. As Tertullian said long ago, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” These children and adults were not mere victims. They were martyrs. They were brave beyond belief and at death were immediately ushered into the presence of the God.
This horrible event deserves a campaign like the ones we often see. A name, a place, a flag, accompanied with the slogan “I stand with …”
What’s more important at this time, however, is not creating a social media movement, but encouraging the Church around the world to honor these saints in their deaths as martyrs of the Church of Jesus Christ, and to pray for their families, Covenant, and the Church.
Their names, from left to right and top to bottom:
William Kinney, Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, Katherine Koonce, Mike Hill, Cynthia Peak