Following Jesus: The Best Gun Control Ever!

Jesus Gun Control1
The Central Valley of California is similar to most of rural America. It’s an area with lots of traditional folks, many who love God and desire to serve Christ in all things. Places like the Valley at times carry the baggage of some sloppy theology, handed down from fundamentalism and the Religious Right. For this reason, I grew up believing that the will of God and the will of the conservative version of the United States were one in the same. I also grew up believing that the US Constitution and its Amendments were God’s gifts to humanity, including the law that gave us rights to own guns. In fact, guns were normal in my family and shooting shotguns at skeet is admittedly fun. I never considered myself a gun enthusiast, but I was certainly willing to shoot them when I was at a family gathering or with the guys.

As part of a “man pact,” I even owned a shotgun for a time. About 6 of us agreed in college (prior to my transition into Anabaptist theology) to pitch in $100 each time one of us got married. What this meant was that we would end up with $500 to spend on a gun of choice. Some chose handguns, but because my interest in guns was minimal, I used the money for a shotgun so that I could shoot skeet on occasion (I only ended up using my gun 3 times total).

Now, having embraced the nonviolent ethic of Jesus and the early church, I no longer have such a strong appreciation for guns. Yet, because of my history and my close friendships/familial relationships with gun enthusiasts, I’m not willing to demonize all people who are members of the NRA or who like to shoot stuff. I would question why some people like to kill (non-human) creatures “just for fun,” as I don’t think it honors the Creator who cares for the birds of the air. I would equally question why any Christian would have a loaded gun in their house when Jesus clearly teaches non-retaliation, but now I digress.

As a follower of the way of Jesus, I do what I can to stand outside of political debates, at least as the media tries to set them up. Binary categories and false demonization does nothing to facilitate the kind of dialogue that brings life-giving results. In order for Christians to maintain their witness, we would do well to start thinking about better ways of talking about gun ownership. I’m not anti-gun, but I do believe that these sorts of weapons should have limited (if any) use for those who are disciples of rabbi Jesus.

Related: What Would Jesus Say to the NRA? by Shane Claiborne

Can we really imagine Jesus with a loaded handgun under his pillow or a concealed weapons permit? The only uses that make sense, based on what I see in Scriptures under the New Covenant, include: 1) sport (with no intention of harming life), 2) hunting (for those who choose to hunt their game rather than participate in the corruption of factory farming), or 3) protection from predator-animals (not killing animals for fun, but saving human life when no other option exists).

If we concede that these are the only uses for guns in the United States, then I submit that following Jesus would be the best form of gun control. Imagine if every Christian either gave up their guns or drastically reduced their intent for using these weapons; gun control would become a non-issue for us believers to argue about!

I realize that this one article is not going to convince those who are not pacifists, but I feel compelled to be upfront about my actual convictions on this issue. With that said, I do think that some important things need to be stated about the sort of things I see Christians reasoning in support of low-restrictions on guns. I invite fellow Christians to consider a life where we all simply decided to S-T-O-P… stop; stop using the following arguments or taking the following stances to justify positions on gun control.

#1 Stop appealing to the 2nd Amendment as if it were the lost ending to the Gospel of Mark.

Something that makes zero sense is how people who love God could EVER make the Constitution the center of their argument. For the past several years, I’ve been disappointed by this tendency that I see in many sectors of conservative evangelicalism. And when it comes to the 2nd Amendment, do we really have to elevate it as though it were holy writ? If you believe that gun ownership is a “right,” show us that through the Scriptures, specifically through solid narrative/historical exegesis of the New Testament. After all, it’s not like the Amendment is the lost ending to the Gospel of Mark that has kept theologians scratching their heads for centuries. This is a law made by a pagan nation – let’s treat it as such.

#2 Stop metaphorically connecting the loss of certain guns to the Apocalypse.

Let’s get practical for a second, friends. First, the book of Revelation is primarily about something that happened in the past, specifically during the reign of the Caesars of the first century. Avoiding the connection to the last book of the Bible is a simple matter of biblical integrity.

Interestingly, many people have gone on record saying that private citizens need guns in case the US government becomes even more corrupt and forms a tyrannical dictatorship (or the like). Even if we believe that Christians can justify the use of violence, do we really believe that semi-automatic weapons would even stand a chance against bazookas, rockets, grenades, or even nukes? I’m not sure that this fanciful thinking justifies an outcry for low-regulated sales of the most destructive of guns.

#3 Stop clinging to guns as if they are central to one’s identity.

We all have hobbies or things that make us feel alive. Some of us play sports. Others love underwater basket weaving. Still others can’t get enough of Dungeons and Dragons. But, as Christians, any time these things become central to our identity, we may want to consider doing some soul-searching. The same is true of guns. Many people love weapons, and I get that. But, based on the passion in some of the people I’ve observed, I wonder if guns (like any other hobby) can become too centralized in one’s own self-understanding?

#4 Stop ignoring the rest of the modernized world as if American culture has the corner on gun control (or the lack there of).

One thing that I continue to discern is that most conservative Christians are quite content to view the world through an American-centric lens. Unfortunately, we often ignore our neighbors in all global directions, when in fact they may have some practical wisdom to offer. Why are US murder rates higher than many other Western cultures? I can’t claim to have the answer to that all sorted out, but we need to listen to voices that may expose our blind spots. Let’s avoid being so proud to be an American that we fail to recognize that this comes just before the proverbial fall. Maybe nations like the UK, New Zealand, Australia, and others have something to contribute to the gun discussion.

#5 Stop trusting guns as a source of personal security.

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Many Christians have loaded guns in their homes. They honorably wish to protect their family against home invasion. I respect the motives of many of these good folks and refuse to cast judgments about their character. With that said, does this say anything about where our trust is rooted? I worry that if I had a loaded gun in my home for the protection of life and limb, that my source of security would be fixated in something other than God.

If we can stop the previous five approaches to the issue of guns, then perhaps we could start implementing several life-giving approaches to the gun conversation.

#1 Start appealing to the New Testament (which includes the Gospel of Mark, amongst other things).

I’m not suggesting that we should thump our Bible in the national political debate, but Christians would do well to posture themselves as humble, love-filled, Jesus followers. In order for this to happen, we really need to recapture the peaceful vision of the New Testament as evidenced in the life of the early church. Anything we say about our understanding of guns and violence ought to be informed by our only holy text! If we do so, we may find that much of the bantering that happens from Christians of various stripes may be rendered void.

#2 Start choosing to trust in God’s faithfulness to see us through even the worst of “apocalypses.”

No matter the circumstances, it seems to me that our freedom comes from the love of God, the self-giving of Christ, and the liberating power of the Holy Spirit. No nation or weapon guarantees this; for proof, just look at the church during the reigns of Tiberius, Nero, or Domitian. When Revelation was penned, the Christians had to choose to embrace the path of the peaceful Christ, even though it often led to persecution, and at times, death. God’s faithfulness, as we experience life in the Kingdom of God, can become the only thing we cling to, no matter the cultural conditions. Even if a new “beast” rises up and forces us to take the “mark” (of course I’m speaking metaphorically and not regurgitating futurist views of the “end times”), we can learn to trust the Father. Guns don’t save, only Jesus does!

#3 Start building one’s identity on the biblical and relational person of Jesus Christ and nothing else.

Our identity as followers of Christ can become immersed in the life of God if we relinquish ourselves to the reign of God. This is a lifetime sanctifying pursuit, but is indeed the life Jesus invites us into. This is something that I continue to struggle with, but I don’t want to give up. If our identity becomes dominated by hobbies, accomplishments, family, social groups, or even guns, we have a serious discipleship gap. Fortunately, we have a gracious God. Nevertheless, let’s strive to be the kind of people who avoid abusing God’s grace for our wants and agendas. Imagine a life where Christ is the center of our identity!

Also by Kurt: The God who Cries when Children Die

#4 Start recognizing that we are citizens of a global kingdom, not an isolated nation called the United States.

The reason that I named my blog “Pangea” is because of the vision of the Kingdom of God as one that transcends borders. In Ancient Greek, Pangea means – “entire” “earth.” It was the “super-continent” that was formed prior to the tectonic plates eventually shifting to break apart the world into the seven continents we currently know. Where this becomes a theological concept is the idea that God’s kingdom is one that unites the world under God’s perfect reign. We are united as a global church that takes our citizenship from a kingdom devised of every tribe, nation, and tongue. To this kingdom and to the King of Kings we give our full and primary allegiance, even as we sojourn in a land that is called America. Our identity as Christ-followers transcends the borders of any nation or anything else our culture creates to divide people. Listening to fellow Christians from other nations as legitimate sources of wisdom is the part of recognizing our true citizenship. This includes how we understand gun control.

#5 Start trusting that Christ is our only source of security and that our only weaponry is “spiritual” and never lethal.

As I’ve already said, I believe nonviolence is clearly taught in the New Testament. Even if you struggle with my conclusion, we both can agree that the only time that a weapon is talked about positively in the New Testament is when Paul speaks of the “armor of God” (see this series). We have all we need in God’s own resources to execute justice in the world. The only weapons we actually need is God’s weaponry. God is the ultimate source of security for those who follow Jesus. And as followers, we need to get better at knowing the Spirit of God inwardly so that we are empowered to express the deeds of Christ outwardly. When Jesus went to the cross, he did not pull out a weapon to fight back. Rather, Jesus “entrusted himself to the one who judges justly” providing “…an example so that you might follow in his footsteps” (see: 1 Peter 2.21-24). By entrusting our lives to God, divine resources become ours in life and in death.

I believe that following Jesus is the best gun control ever. If we become a united people who choose Christ’s Kingdom over our agendas, I believe that much of the debate would be rendered irrelevant. May we stop giving in to the rhetoric of popular culture and start embodying the way of Jesus when it comes to guns.


Kurt Willems (M.Div., Fresno Pacific) is an Anabaptist writer preparing for a church planting project with the Brethren in Christ. He writes at: the Pangea Blog and is also on Twitter and Facebook.

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About the Author

Kurt Willems

Kurt WillemsKurt Willems (M.Div., Fresno Pacific) is the founding pastor of Pangea Communities - a movement of peace, justice, & hope. The church plant, in partnership with the Brethren in Christ and Urban Expression, is based in Seattle, Wa. Kurt writes at The Pangea Blog and is also on TwitterFacebook, and Google+.View all posts by Kurt Willems →

  • OneCloud

    I was just out shoveling snow off of my driveway, and for some reason my mind strayed to this same subject. I am not really a pacifist, nor am I a gun nut, but this is the same place I ended up in my thoughts. I know not everyone will agree with this, but I think it was well stated, and should cause Christians to really think about what it really means to follow Christ – regardless of their opinon on the issue of gun control.

  • OneCloud

    I was just out shoveling snow off of my driveway, and for some reason my mind strayed to this same subject. I am not really a pacifist, nor am I a gun nut, but this is the same place I ended up in my thoughts. I know not everyone will agree with this, but I think it was well stated, and should cause Christians to really think about what it really means to follow Christ – regardless of their opinon on the issue of gun control.

  • Voice of Reason

    While I find the writing compelling both in style and substance, I must offer a voice from the other side. As a Conservative and a Christ-follower, I would surmise your exegesis here is obviously painted by your own liberal ideology that has infused your theology. As a Christian, I am whole-heartedly in favor of us acting like Christ. I have often felt my political leanings and views were not as conducive to witnessing to folks who differ from me in the geopolitical realm. However, I’m not one to deny the obvious blessing God has given our great country. From your comments, it seems you have forgotten the foundation of this great land. A large majority of pilgrims journeyed to the New World expressly for relief from religious persecution. That makes America unique and special. For a long time, America has been a shining city on a hill…a destination of choice for the many folks I’ve met from foreign countries. Why do the people of Mexico, Honduras and especially Cote d’Ivoie that I’ve seen on mission trips want to come to America? Because of what she now and has always represented: freedom. Paul wrote to the Galatians that it was “for freedom” that Christ has set us free. Spiritual freedom versus political freedom, while different for obvious reasons, are connected in the hearts and minds of human beings. I believe the human soul yearns for freedom and to soar in that freedom to become all our Creator intends us to be. No where on earth is that possible like in America. The citizens of earth recognize this. The Constitution is special, albeit not sacred. It is unique among all documents in the world. In fact, where there are similarities with other documents, it is due to emulation of this amazing document. Is it purely from pagan hands penned? No, of course not. Many of the founders professed a strong faith in the God of Christianity, there were also deists and atheists involved as well.

    • Jenn Baerg

      1. Spiritual and political freedoms may be interwoven into the hearts of Americans but they were not in the minds of the Early Church. We can blame (in your case thank) Constantine for deciding the two needed to be woven together.

      2. As for America being unique for its freedoms, I would argue that in the Western world, America has fewer freedoms that most other countries. You don’t have free access to health care, free or afforable advanced education, freedom of speech without extreme polarized debate, such extreme social inequality and still lingering issues of racism from a history of segregation.

      3.Just because a Christian wrote it doesn’t mean it’s the word of God.

      4. (Addressing your other comment) – I’ve said this before on Kurt’s blog, “As a Christian, where is there in scripture that we should live in fear of man?” Furthermore I would add where is the scripture that says it is appropriate to kill, even if self defense where there isn’t require repentence and reconcilliation?And I will not accept proof texting. Having a gun in your possession in the off chance you’ll need it, is daily living with the fear of violence or holding the belief that your government/laws really cannot protect you and you have to do it yourself, while in the same breath claiming your owning of it represents your freedom and that your laws are equivalent to scripture in their sacredness. How is it a freedom if it doesn’t free you? The freedom of Christ is what truly frees you” and I think you’ve missed that in equating laws with safety, a constitution as above the call to love our neighbours, not fear them. Lastly, if someone were to shoot me and I die, yes my family would grieve in this life, but my faith in the Father, is all that really matters, that is truly where my life resides daily. That belief will never change regardless of who is in power, what country I am in.

      • 22044

        Jenn,

        When you confer that freedom is rooted in having a benevolent government that grants you freedoms & protections that they see fit – you’ve got it backwards.
        Any basic study of natural law (which is not found in Scripture but nevertheless has its own useful purpose) – reveals that man is created as a volitional being, that being free is inherent in his makeup.
        You likely don’t know any gun owners. If you did, you would not make the incorrect point that all of them live in fear.

        • Jenn Baerg

          When I stated that the owner of hand gun for the purpose of needing to possibly defend themselves, I am addressing the owner’s motivation. For what other reason would you own it? If I feel enough of a threat that I need to arm myself that feeling is motivated by fear. If you didn’t fear your neighbour or the loss of your stuff then the hand gun wouldn’t be necessary.

          As for freedom I suggest you read the comments above, it will indicate that I was addressing a specific argument that was suggesting that America is the beacon for freedom because it has guns. And with natural law, you’re detouring the argument from Scripture which indicates humanity is made in the image of God by claiming to be created in another image and the only format that offers freedom is the one in Christ.

          • 22044

            Jenn,
            You’ve proved my point – just because you can’t see other motivations for owning guns – doesn’t mean that they’re not there.
            Additionally, to start that man is created in the image of God – precisely means that he has basic freedoms. That proper understanding of natural law is valid – because it does not contradict with Scripture.
            Freedom in Christ is something else. Galatians 5 defines it well, I believe. It’s quite distinct from inherent, natural freedom.

          • Jenn Baerg

            Okay, then explain to me why someone would need to own a handgun or a semi-automatic weapon (which is what the gun control issue is primarily centred on)

          • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

            There are some who own said weapons explicitly and exclusively for sport. However, you are right to note that those who explicitly own weapons for defense are motivated by fear.

          • Craig Listamaro

            And I fasten my seatbelt out of fear, have an annual colonoscopy out of fear, make sure the fire extinguishers in our church are operational out of fear, encourage my wife to avoid certain neighborhoods on her drive home out of fear, and on and on.

            I do not feel that there is anything wrong with realizing that there are dangerous situations and even people in this world, and taking steps to mitigate damage to my family, my community, and myself.

            I do believe that allowing the immoral to intimidate and harm the weak and not stepping in to intervene when that is within my abilities is immoral.

            Or is that protection only to be provided by the police, military and other government agencies? It’s okay to pay someone else to do that dirty work?

          • 22044

            To protect yourself, your family, and/or your possessions. Hopefully you don’t have to use it, and a gun may not be the selected tool. However, it could be.
            Additionally, is fear always a bad thing? Fear or concern in other areas can be a driver for someone to take prudent, wise actions. Why is that different in this case?
            Even if you have freedom in Christ (which is better than natural freedom) you still have freedom of conscience. That’s something you’d have to work out within your personal relationship with God, and maybe some close advisers. But there is certainly no one solution for every believer.
            Scripture actually has harsh words for someone who doesn’t protect his family. The adult(s), especially the men, must keep that in mind.

          • bluecenterlight

            I’m curious about the “harsh words” scripture has for those who don’t use violence to protect their families. Can you provide some examples?

          • Softserve

            “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has
            to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18

      • Jose Gonzales

        “1. Spiritual and political freedoms may be interwoven into the hearts of
        Americans but they were not in the minds of the Early Church. We can
        blame (in your case thank) Constantine for deciding the two needed to be
        woven together.”
        (Jenn Baerg)

        You’re equating freedom from a state-imposed church or certain version of Christianity with its very opposite, Constantine who imposes a state-imposed church or certain version of Christianity on everyone on pains of death! Wow. It is so obvious that everyone who is in favor of gun control is also in favor of state imposed religious beliefs rather than freedom of the individual’s conscience in worshiping God as he understands to be true!

        • Jenn Baerg

          Actually quite the opposite – I do not believe that the involvement of the state in Churches has any benefit – that extends to even their tax status. Rather I was responding to the comment above my initial comment which equated religious rights and the State together, as if the state is the determinant of religious freedoms and it is not needed nor should it be depended on. Furthermore, I do not believe that the “freedom to own a gun” is in any way a religious freedom and depending on a faith based argument is null and void.

          • Jose Gonzales

            Religious freedom is a universal human right that does not derive from the state but from God. However, the state is “the determinant of religious freedoms” in the sense that they don’t always recognize this God-given right. That’s where the right to bear arms, as also a God-given right comes in. Its the right to take down a state that refuses to recognize the right to freedom of religion and to setup a new one that will recognize that right.

          • Jose Gonzales

            Protestants are largely ignorant of this God-given right due to their Marcionitish views of the Old Testament and their rejection of the apocrypha, especially the book of Macabees. The book of Macabees is all about Judas Macabeus making war on the Greek empire because of them trying to impose the Pagan worship of Zeus on the Israelites.

          • Jenn Baerg

            Marcion has nothing to do with this discussion, no one is dismissing the continual presence of YHWH in the scripture or denying the eschatalogical themes of the OT which point toward Christ. Rather what is being argued here is the propensity of persons to believe that YHWH has offered humanity any “right” beyond that of being made in the image of the imago dei, and the free gift salvation. And quite frankly neither is a right which we can demand they are gifts that with the guidance of the scriptures offer a guideline of service, love to God, and service, love and grace to neighbour. Fruthermore, as seen in Joshua 5, YHWH is only on YHWH’s side, it isn’t about political alliances and declarations of rights – penultimately seen in Christ laying down all rights to come to earth and then offer in sacrifice – an act of great love and active non-violence. Lastly since you brought up the Maccabees, their acts of violence and revolts can be seen as proof that just because you combine the name of YHWH and violence together it doesn’t mean you’re right.

          • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

            Who would you say brought in the kingdom of heaven more effectively Jose, the Maccabees with their embrace of violence or Jesus with his love for enemies, even extending to healing them from wounds inflicted by people trying to defend him? There were plenty of violent zealots in Jesus’ day; who would you have? Jesus or Barabbus?

          • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

            “That’s where the right to bear arms, as also a God-given right comes in. Its the right to take down a state that refuses to recognize the right to freedom of religion and to setup a new one that will recognize that right.”

            Jose, thanks for your honesty. At what point do you think it would be right for people in a religion to start “taking down” (which from your comment can only mean shooting) political leaders so that they can then forcibly impose their own government?

          • Nordog6561

            A society lacking sufficient virtue to own guns also is one
            lacking sufficient virtue for liberty and self-governance and must be ruled by
            others.

            The problem becomes, how does a society or people
            insufficient in virtue for self-governance raise up a class of people virtuous
            enough to rule others benevolently?
            “Jose, thanks for your honesty. At what point do you think it would be right for people in a religion to start “taking down” (which from your comment can only mean shooting) political leaders so that they can then forcibly impose their own government?”

            I can’t speak for Jose, but the scenario as you describe it would not only be wrong, it does not necessarily follow from the need and right to own and bear arms for the purpose of political liberty.

            Seeking out and shooting political leaders of one’s own government is not morally justifiable.

            Armed resistance to tyranny is justifiable under certain circumstances (note bene the word “resistance”).
            The Catechism speaks to this issue well in article 2243:
            “Armed resistance to oppression by political authority is not legitimate, unless all the following conditions are met: 1) there is certain, grave, and prolonged violation of fundamental rights; 2) all other means of redress have been exhausted; 3) such resistance will not provoke worse disorderes; 4) there is well-founded hope of success; and 5) it is impossible reasonably to foresee any better solution.”
            Now I realize that “Red Letter Christians” would likely be hard pressed to accept as any type of authority the Catechism. Yet one would hope that such Christians have the capacity to evaluate arguments on their own terms regardless of the one making the argument.
            Be that as it may, as an American I am not bound to a political system by birth. That is, I am not a subject to a crown or governing political body.
            Regarding American society I’ve said previously…

            Either we have a society virtuous enough for both gun ownership and self-governance, or we have neither.

            Yet to conclude that we have neither is actually an argument for gun ownership.

            For in this latter case, prudence requires that man protect himself and his family from the hordes and mobs on the one hand, and the special class of people on the other hand who have concluded that they are our rulers.

          • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

            Glad to see you disagree with the “taking down the government” idea, although you’re right, I don’t take the authority of the catechism over Jesus’ teachings. That kind of thought has an appearance of wisdom, but rejects the core values of Jesus’ teaching that a) we care as much for the welfare of our enemies as we do our families and selves because we have the mind of Christ, and b) using violent resistance to maintain by force a political system that we think is right places the value of that system above that of God’s kingdom.

            “A society lacking sufficient virtue to own guns also is one lacking sufficient virtue for liberty and self-governance and must be ruled by others.”
            That whole statement hangs entirely on the assumption that owning guns is a virtue all by itself. That’s the topic of the discussion, not a premise on which to build an argument. The question is – is it actually a virtue to own weapons specifically to harm other people that Jesus said we should love? This obviously rules out those who own guns as tools say as farmers or for collecting food, it applies specifically to those who have guns so that they can maim or kill another person if they judge that it is necessary. Why is the rejection of such a central teaching of Jesus a virtue?
            Your comments give your own political views and philosophies, but the purpose of this discussion page is to look at Jesus’ teachings and their application to life. Can you show where he taught that violence against the people we are supposed to love, be kind to and lay down our lives for is ok? And if you’re going to refer to the “buy swords” verse, could I ask that you firstly read some of the clear explanations of that verse first and if you still disagree, address those points? Thanks.

    • gunless christian dfnding guns

      What freedom was it that Christ died for? a. Freedom to own your own gun b. Freedom to speak in the public square? c. freedom to work and make a good salary? d. freedom to participate in the vast wealth of porn, alcohol cigarettes and drugs that are so prevalent and cheapest in US culture? I disagree with the statement about people confusing Political and Spiritual freedom. Paul conveyed freedom while imprisoned. The gospel is spreading the most in impoverished, unjust, 3rd world countries where there are few rights- no rights to speak of Christ in public, no rights to private gun-ownership, no protection from corrupt authorities, and yet, the true passion of the contagious church- the true Christ followers is NOT to fight for rights, but proclaim Christ. Here, in the US, we spend WAY to much time talking about how our “Freedoms allow us to proclaim Christ.” I have heard more people talk about that, than actually talking about Christ!” And if it’s true, why is the Gospel spreading more in nations that DON’T have that freedom (China, for one example)? By the way- People from Mexico, Cote d’Ivore, and Honduras immigrate to Canada, Australia, England, Spain, and many other nations because of the freedom found there. When I visit these places, where I have relatives, I see tremendous amounts of immigration from these places. And America, while at times has been a “shining city on a hill,” is also a “sinning city on a hill.” Freedom to sin is protected greatly, and our founding fathers- the most influential of them – owned slaves, protected slavery, and some were deists. But being a good politician in the 18th century meant that you must give God some air-time in your speaking- no different than Bush or Obama. There is no period in history where the human heart has been more prone to be holy.

      Clinton had an affair, and lied to the courts. Jefferson owned slaves, impregnated a slave girl. Franklin was a deist (didn’t believe in “emmanuel” – a God who would care enough to be with us), and so on. These are just a few of the most influential founders. The revolution was far less about religion than it was about paying money (taxes) without getting services. The shot heard round the world would not have been heard if the King would have given us fair due. What do you think? You’ve a good mind, I’d like to hear! :)

      • bluecenterlight

        Well said.

    • bluecenterlight

      Although I believe freedom to be a precious thing ( I am thankful for mine), I do believe freedom has become a god to us. That we will do whatever it takes to preserve it, even if it is morally sketchy. God claims to come along every so often and remove it from those who use their freedom for an opportunity for evil rather than good. Have we been good stewards with the freedom God has granted us? How many times did he send Israel into exile for their disobedience? Not something I really like to contemplate, but as shitty as we have allowed ourselves to become, I would not be shocked if there were some chastening in our future.

    • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

      It’s worth noting that what pilgrims did come to the new world for religious reasons (which were by no means all of the settlers; many came for the promise of wealth), they were not escaping a land that persecuted Christians. Rather, they left a Christian nation in order to practice a different denomination of Christianity than what was practiced back in England. All of Great Britain and the overwhelming majority of Europe at that time was Christian. Therefore, the religious leanings of America’s founders is less unique and special than one might suspect.

      • Jenn Baerg

        Thanks for making that important point.

    • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

      I find it strange that the people who say we should do what Jesus said are described as having liberal theology by people that elevate loyalty to a secular state above Jesus’ teaching. It’s great that you like America, but the Kingdom of God where God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven is even better.

  • Voice of Reason

    While I find the writing compelling both in style and substance, I must offer a voice from the other side. As a Conservative and a Christ-follower, I would surmise your exegesis here is obviously painted by your own liberal ideology that has infused your theology. As a Christian, I am whole-heartedly in favor of us acting like Christ. I have often felt my political leanings and views were not as conducive to witnessing to folks who differ from me in the geopolitical realm. However, I’m not one to deny the obvious blessing God has given our great country. From your comments, it seems you have forgotten the foundation of this great land. A large majority of pilgrims journeyed to the New World expressly for relief from religious persecution. That makes America unique and special. For a long time, America has been a shining city on a hill…a destination of choice for the many folks I’ve met from foreign countries. Why do the people of Mexico, Honduras and especially Cote d’Ivoie that I’ve seen on mission trips want to come to America? Because of what she now and has always represented: freedom. Paul wrote to the Galatians that it was “for freedom” that Christ has set us free. Spiritual freedom versus political freedom, while different for obvious reasons, are connected in the hearts and minds of human beings. I believe the human soul yearns for freedom and to soar in that freedom to become all our Creator intends us to be. No where on earth is that possible like in America. The citizens of earth recognize this. The Constitution is special, albeit not sacred. It is unique among all documents in the world. In fact, where there are similarities with other documents, it is due to emulation of this amazing document. Is it purely from pagan hands penned? No, of course not. Many of the founders professed a strong faith in the God of Christianity, there were also deists and atheists involved as well.

    • Jenn Baerg

      1. Spiritual and political freedoms may be interwoven into the hearts of Americans but they were not in the minds of the Early Church. We can blame (in your case thank) Constantine for deciding the two needed to be woven together.

      2. As for America being unique for its freedoms, I would argue that in the Western world, America has fewer freedoms that most other countries. You don’t have free access to health care, free or afforable advanced education, freedom of speech without extreme polarized debate, such extreme social inequality and still lingering issues of racism from a history of segregation.

      3.Just because a Christian wrote it doesn’t mean it’s the word of God.

      4. (Addressing your other comment) – I’ve said this before on Kurt’s blog, “As a Christian, where is there in scripture that we should live in fear of man?” Furthermore I would add where is the scripture that says it is appropriate to kill, even if self defense where there isn’t require repentence and reconcilliation?And I will not accept proof texting. Having a gun in your possession in the off chance you’ll need it, is daily living with the fear of violence or holding the belief that your government/laws really cannot protect you and you have to do it yourself, while in the same breath claiming your owning of it represents your freedom and that your laws are equivalent to scripture in their sacredness. How is it a freedom if it doesn’t free you? The freedom of Christ is what truly frees you” and I think you’ve missed that in equating laws with safety, a constitution as above the call to love our neighbours, not fear them. Lastly, if someone were to shoot me and I die, yes my family would grieve in this life, but my faith in the Father, is all that really matters, that is truly where my life resides daily. That belief will never change regardless of who is in power, what country I am in.

      • 22044

        Jenn,

        When you confer that freedom is rooted in having a benevolent government that grants you freedoms & protections that they see fit – you’ve got it backwards.
        Any basic study of natural law (which is not found in Scripture but nevertheless has its own useful purpose) – reveals that man is created as a volitional being, that being free is inherent in his makeup.
        You likely don’t know any gun owners. If you did, you would not make the incorrect point that all of them live in fear.

        • Jenn Baerg

          When I stated that the owner of hand gun for the purpose of needing to possibly defend themselves, I am addressing the owner’s motivation. For what other reason would you own it? If I feel enough of a threat that I need to arm myself that feeling is motivated by fear. If you didn’t fear your neighbour or the loss of your stuff then the hand gun wouldn’t be necessary.

          As for freedom I suggest you read the comments above, it will indicate that I was addressing a specific argument that was suggesting that America is the beacon for freedom because it has guns. And with natural law, you’re detouring the argument from Scripture which indicates humanity is made in the image of God by claiming to be created in another image and the only format that offers freedom is the one in Christ.

          • 22044

            Jenn,
            You’ve proved my point – just because you can’t see other motivations for owning guns – doesn’t mean that they’re not there.
            Additionally, to start that man is created in the image of God – precisely means that he has basic freedoms. That proper understanding of natural law is valid – because it does not contradict with Scripture.
            Freedom in Christ is something else. Galatians 5 defines it well, I believe. It’s quite distinct from inherent, natural freedom.

          • Jenn Baerg

            Okay, then explain to me why someone would need to own a handgun or a semi-automatic weapon (which is what the gun control issue is primarily centred on)

          • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

            There are some who own said weapons explicitly and exclusively for sport. However, you are right to note that those who explicitly own weapons for defense are motivated by fear.

          • 22044

            To protect yourself, your family, and/or your possessions. Hopefully you don’t have to use it, and a gun may not be the selected tool. However, it could be.
            Additionally, is fear always a bad thing? Fear or concern in other areas can be a driver for someone to take prudent, wise actions. Why is that different in this case?
            Even if you have freedom in Christ (which is better than natural freedom) you still have freedom of conscience. That’s something you’d have to work out within your personal relationship with God, and maybe some close advisers. But there is certainly no one solution for every believer.
            Scripture actually has harsh words for someone who doesn’t protect his family. The adult(s), especially the men, must keep that in mind.

          • bluecenterlight

            I’m curious about the “harsh words” scripture has for those who don’t use violence to protect their families. Can you provide some examples?

          • 22044

            1 Timothy 5:8 – protecting one’s family is an application of that verse. And I did not mention using violence.

          • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

            (a) 1 Timothy 5 is all about providing for those who cannot provide for themselves, so taking one verse to be about protection is an interesting move.
            (b) It would seem that violence is implied, since the entire topic of conversation is guns and gun control.

          • 22044

            The specific verse refers to providing for one’s family. The greater implication is that if you fail to provide for your family, you cannot be of use in serving God.
            And guns are not always connected with violence – that is a non sequitur.

          • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

            “And guns are not always connected with violence – that is a non sequitur.” How else does one protect one’s family with a gun?

          • Nordog6561

            “”And guns are not always connected with violence – that is a non sequitur.” How else does one protect one’s family with a gun?”

            One protects one’s family with a gun, if necessary, by shooting a violent attacker.

            Now the more brilliant among us will likely note that shooting someone is a violent act and thus the statement “…guns are not always connected with violence…” has been shown to be false.

            This is of course not the case.

            A few points.

            1) The violence involved in shooting a violent attacker was initiated by the attacker and the attacker bears full responsibility for it. Certainly this does not change the ontological fact that firing a gun into someone is a violent act. But it does at least place the blame on the violence where it belongs. The blame belongs neither on the defender not on the gun (the blame can never be on the gun; guns are not moral agents with free will).

            2) Despite the fact that shooting someone in self defense is a violent act, regardless of where blame lies, the statement “…guns are not always connected with violence…” is simply an abosolutely true statement. This is easily recognized once one reflects that not all guns are used to shoot people and that not all violence is perpetrated by guns.
            The gun that spends its service life doing nothing other than target shooting has not been used in violence.
            Stabbing or bludgeoning someone to death does not involve a gun.
            Therefore…
            …guns are not always connected with violence.”

          • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

            (1) Even if you justify the violence, it is still your violence. Take responsibility for your own actions.

            (2) This is a non-sequitur. We aren’t talking about guns owned for sport purposes. We are talking about guns owned for protection. Since you’ve come to the conversation almost three weeks late, I’m beginning to forget certain details, but I do not recall anyone claiming that guns are responsible for all violence, so “stabbing or bludgeoning someone to death does not involve a gun” is rather a moot point.

          • Nordog6561

            Three weeks late you say?

            Ah, well, Truth is eternal!

            “(1) Even if you justify the violence, it is still your violence. Take responsibility for your own actions.”

            I do.

            “(2) This is a non-sequitur. We aren’t talking about guns owned for sport purposes. We are talking about guns owned for protection.”

            So what? I own guns for protection. I own guns for sport. They are the same guns.

            “Since you’ve come to the conversation almost three weeks late, I’m beginning to forget certain details, but I do not recall anyone claiming that guns are responsible for all violence, so “stabbing or bludgeoning someone to death does not involve a gun” is rather a moot point.”

            Well, no, it’s not a moot point.

            Someone made the statement, “…guns are not always connected with violence.” In addition to simply remarking that this statement is true prima facie, I was making the larger observation that not all violence involves guns.

            The statement “guns are not always connected with violence” is a true statement. Your protestations do nothing to change that fact.

            If you have no use for that bit of factual knowledge, or if it runs counter to something you prefer in its stead, then you will likely ignore it at your will.

            But the fact remains.

          • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

            I am not protesting the statement, so your complaints of protestation are poorly placed. Respond to what is said, rather than to arguments that nobody has made, and we can have progress.

          • Nordog6561

            meh

          • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

            Or just talk past people instead. It does absolutely nothing, but I suppose it’ll make you feel better.

          • Nordog6561

            “Or just talk past people instead. It does absolutely nothing, but I suppose it’ll make you feel better.”

            Don’t think I’m guilty of that, though if I am then I’m in great company in these here parts.

          • bluecenterlight

            How do you nonviolently use a gun to protect your family?

          • Nordog6561

            “How do you nonviolently use a gun to protect your family?”
            It is impossible to nonviolently protect your family regardless of whether or not you use a gun, a club, a fist, or anything else.
            The defense against a violent attack, to have any chance of success, and barring ease of escape, must itself be violent.
            The tools used in the defense (gun, club, fist) is secondary to this immutable fact.

          • bluecenterlight

            if you believe that Jesus taught violent self defense, then all of the disciples, Paul, Stephen, and 300 years of Christians completely misunderstood Christs teachings. Every martyr who died for the gospel was a fool, who clearly misunderstood that they should not have died for the gospel, they should have rather killed for it. Pretty much sums up my feelings on the subject.

          • Nordog6561

            “if you believe that Jesus taught violent self defense, then all of the disciples, Paul, Stephen, and 300 years of Christians completely misunderstood Christs teachings. Every martyr who died for the gospel was a fool, who clearly misunderstood that they should not have died for the gospel, they should have rather killed for it. Pretty much sums up my feelings on the subject.”

            None of what you write follows from the conditional premise you provide.

            Not everyone is called to be a martyr.

            Somehow I doubt that you live the life of a martyr.

            For example, if someone broke into your home and began beating you and your family, would you call the police for help if you could?

            Or would you just offer up yourself and your family as “martyrs” to the criminals?

            If you call the police, you are still resorting to violence, only you have farmed out to someone else the actually act of violence itself.

            No pacifist halo for you.

            You know, the disciples and Roman martyrs gave their lives for the Faith.

            They were killed because they would not denounce Christ.

            That’s a far cry from watching your wife be raped because some drug crazed criminal happened to choose your house to break into.

            The inability to distinguish between a being a martyr for the Faith and being a victim of violent crime is stupidity.

            If you are convinced you are called to be a martyr, then by all means, jump into the lion’s mouth.

            Those with the vocation of parenthood should act accordingly protecting their children, and indeed themselves.

            In the meantime, if you see a child being beaten, are a woman being raped, please just don’t stand there like an idiot and reflect that the child and the woman should embrace their martyrdom. Instead, kick the criminal in the head or something.

            “Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for someone responsible for another’s life, the common good or the family or of the state.” Art. 2265; Catechism of the Catholic Church.

            Where, in the red letters, does Jesus say to never use violence to protect innocence?

            No where, that’s where.

            PS

            What do feelings have to do with it? Do you make decisions and distinctions based on your feelings?

          • bluecenterlight

            I am not telling you how to live your life, I am just telling you how I chose to live mine. You don’t think the Romans raped and brutalized early Christians? Come on. It is a very simple concept, when I die I fall into the arms of my savior. If I kill, I sentence someone to an eternity separated from God. That is not my place, it is God’s, and I will not stand before God with that on my conscience, so I chose to die. That is settled for me, I do not fear it. I will die at the time and manor that God see’s fit. If it is peacefully in my sleep, or at the hands of violent men, to God be the Glory. If I am stupid, so be it. I will be in the same stupid category of men like Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi, I can only hope to be so stupid. God has given us all free will, you can be as violent as you chose. As you chose to quote Catholic doctrine as gospel, then just as with the crusades you can murder your way into Gods good graces. I just chose a different way, the way of peace, even if it means my life. Love your life you lose it, lose your life you will find it. The only problem with your conclusion about the violent Christ is that it really doesn’t separate you from anyone else. The vast majority of people believe what you believe, the world is a product of your belief. Violence, retribution, violence, retribution, and so on, and so on. It hardly seems like a narrow way, and it is far from the example laid before us. But, good luck. If you are right, I will stand before God and He will condemn me for not killing nearly enough people. If I am right, well…

          • Nordog6561

            So, you claim that it is your intention to never use violence to defend anyone at anytime ever?

            BTW, self-defense is NOT retribution.

          • bluecenterlight

            I never said that I wouldn’t intervene. I think it is our duty to stand in opposition to the violent. We just do not use violence. Pacifism is not passive. Jesus used words to diffuse violent situations. MLK’s house was fire bombed, when his supporters showed up with guns, he told them to put them away, that they would respond with love. Gandhi ran the British empire out of his country with nothing but love and a steel backbone. Bruxy Cavey told a story once about an early ministry experience he had. He was preaching on a college campus when he saw a young black girl running for her life from a group of young skinheads. He ran after them and found them in an alley. It was clear they were going to harm her. He yelled, I am a follower of Jesus, I cannot fight you. But I ask, whatever you plan on doing to her you do to me first. They looked at each other, not knowing what to do they walked away. That’s biblical pacifism.

          • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

            Beautiful, thanks for that.

          • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

            And well done not being goaded by the insults and name calling :)

          • bluecenterlight

            I have good days and bad, you caught me on a good one :)

          • Nordog6561

            Just so we are clear, you were okay with the skinheads raping the girl if they only raped you first?

          • bluecenterlight

            I think you missed the point, it was a selfless act of love for people he didn’t even know. Of which the world is sorely lacking. The rest of the sermon was him explaining that he wasn’t sure if he would have the courage to do it now. He has a wife and kids, he didn’t then. These are all tough issues that there are no pat answers for. Each man has to live according to his conscience and in a manner that he believes pleases the Lord. The point is, because He trusted in the Lord, and didn’t resort to violence, no one was raped. Clearly you can see that was the optimal outcome? Maybe? Is God powerless? Does He intervene on our behalf? Is he a God that can be trusted with our lives?

          • Nordog6561

            ” If I kill, I sentence someone to an eternity separated from God. That is not my place, it is God’s, and I will not stand before God with that on my conscience, so I chose to die.”

            You don’t know that if you kill someone in self defense that they will be separated from God. It would certainly be a likelyhood, but it would not necassarily follow the one from the other.

            What about the person murdered because you would not lift a hand? What if that person goes to Hell because their soul was not in grace at the moment you allowed someone to kill them?

            Do the innocent not deserve your protection? Would you really deny it to them?

            “If you are right, I will stand before God and He will condemn me for not killing nearly enough people.”

            That’s a load of crap. I never said nor implied that salvation requires killing a lot of people.

            However, I do say that our duty may require some of us to become violent to protect ourselves and others.

            But then you knew that distinction, you were just being an (_!_)

          • bluecenterlight

            Would you like me to interview my attacker and make sure he knows Jesus Christ as his personal savior before I shoot him? Maybe I could lead him to Christ, then shoot him. I am frequently an ass, but that doesn’t make me wrong. You claim it is your Christian duty to protect the innocent by violent means. You are disingenuous. You are surrounded by them. Innocent people brutalized by violent men. Wife beaters, pedophiles, abortion doctors, drug dealers, pimps, they are all around you. The law does little and they run a muck. I venture you guess you haven’t killed any of these people. Do you lack courage, or conviction?

          • Nordog6561

            “I am frequently an ass, but that doesn’t make me wrong.”

            No, but you can be both. Looks like your doin’ a bang up job of it too.

            “You claim it is your Christian duty to protect the innocent by violent means.”

            No. I claim we have a duty to protect the innocent, and that our Christian duty does not preclude us from using violent means if necessary.

            “Do you lack courage, or conviction?”

            Well, once I found myself surrounded by a mob that attacked a single man and beat him to death. I lacked courage that day. I most certainly did.

            And you? In that world you mention, how many times have you stood by while others were beaten, raped, and killed? Did you feel more Christ like for the experience? How many times have you embraced the martyrdom of you violent suffering at the hands of others? Turning the cheek?

          • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

            “And you?

            In that world you mention, how many times have you embraced the martyrdom of your violent suffering at the hands of others?

            How many times have you turned the other cheek to embrace true physical violence being set upon you?”

            You seem to think that if you can find fault with someone else in the way that they try to put Jesus’ words into practice, then you don’t need to follow him. You twist their words to imply that the decision to love the enemy is cowardly rather than the same courage to take up a cross that Jesus demonstrated to us. Yet none of us have talked about standing by and allowing injustice.

            I have several friends from West Papua, a country invaded by Indonesia in the 1960s and treated with extreme brutality ever since. In one instance, the military entered a remote village, forced the villagers to lie on their backs in a line then marched back and forth over them until they died from internal injuries. In another they killed people one by one, drained their blood and forced the local pastor to drink it.

            One friend began resisting as a guerrilla fighter but rejected that violence because he believed in Jesus. Instead he began to organise peaceful protests where they would raise their national flag and sing traditional songs. He was eventually caught and thrown into a bare prison cell without bed or toilet, with a metal floor so that they could electrocute him as they saw fit. He remained a prisoner for 10 years until escaping, after which he publicly forgave his captors. Many others are springing up in his wake; with each one brought down several more rise up, all teaching their fellow Papuans to give love in response to hate and often paying with their lives for it. Family members are kidnapped, friends and parishioners “disappear” and the leaders themselves are tortured to death. But the more violent the attack, the greater the love shown in response.

            As a result, Indonesian Muslim leaders speak out in defence of the Christian Papuans, soldiers that have been involved in the tortures secretly video them and release them on the net out of shame, and other nations seeing Indonesian trade as their economic hope are forced to exert their influence to curb the violence. The Papuans could have gone down the traditional path of guerrilla resistance and by now they would be dismissed as terrorists, but because some believed Jesus and followed his path they have enriched their society like salt and revealed the truth of what is happening like light, and there is hope when so many other indigenous people have had none. Is their decision to believe Jesus really cowardly?

            Absolutely, I pray that if ever you are in a similar situation to the one you described and that has obviously traumatised you that you will have the courage to intervene. I hope very much that you will not settle for that most base instinct to just hurt your enemies the same way any criminal or wild animal would, but that you would be inspired by Jesus’ words and the examples of his followers to look for a way to protect the victim at your own expense and be to your enemies the face of the God that is love.

            We are reconciled with God when we look to the cross where Jesus revealed him by absorbing our hate and returning love, Jesus who then said: “as the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.”

          • Nordog6561

            “You twist their words to imply that the decision to love the enemy is cowardly rather than the same courage to take up a cross that Jesus demonstrated to us. Yet none of us have talked about standing by and allowing injustice.”

            Again, a bit of projection on your part.

          • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

            No, the difference is that believing Jesus means that we no longer see the guilty as less worthy of love than the innocent.

            We are required to protect the child. We are also required to love the criminal, as Jesus loved us in our criminal states. If you kill your enemy, that isn’t love, no matter how hard you try to spin it. It isn’t kindness. It isn’t the same heart that feeds them when they are hungry and weeps when they weep, rejoices when they rejoice, carries their burdens.

            You are calling black white rather than believe Jesus.

          • Nordog6561

            “We are required to protect the child. We are also required to love the criminal…”

            As I’ve said before, loving the criminal does not preclude visiting violence upon him if needed.

          • Nordog6561

            “And you?”

            That was a question for “bluecenterlight” but since you chimed in I’ll ask you, noting that while lenghty, and speaking of the experiences of others, does not answer the question:

            In that world you mention, how many times have you embraced the martyrdom of your violent suffering at the hands of others?

            How many times have you turned the other cheek to embrace true physical violence being set upon you?”

          • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

            You’re not listening. This is not about how good any of us are, it’s about the things Jesus taught us to do, things that you have provided no answer to except to say “he couldn’t mean this…” I have instances where I have failed miserably and others where I have returned love.

            A few years ago we took a woman into our home fleeing from her violent ex-con husband. There were times in my many interactions with him when I very badly just wanted to hit him. Does that make Jesus wrong? There were other times when I was able to respond to his violence with love so that he eventually broke down and cried on my shoulder; is Jesus right now? As Paul said – don’t be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good. Because I believe Jesus as Paul did, I believe that had I given into my ordinary, human response and retaliated – allowed myself to be overcome by evil – then I would have made the problem worse not better. I hope that the rare occasions when I was able to be even a little bit like Jesus in response to him might be enough to open his eyes to the God that loves him and can free him from the Gehenna he lives in.

          • bluecenterlight

            I am sorry that you went through that horrible experience. I don’t think anyone could go through that and not have their life changed. It clearly has influenced your view of the world. I have suffered violence, I have been beaten up twice, and not retaliated. I grew up under the threat of violence. My sister married a man who had severe psychological issues, terrorized my family, threatened to beat me to death when I was twelve, came to our house one night at 2 am.with a gun to kill us ( he confessed this later) he was on our patio ready to break in when my niece woke up crying, he ran away. I believe this was divine intervention. But this is not academic for me, I have wrestled the guilt I would carry if he would have killed someone I love, and do I have a responsibility to kill him first because the police are clearly powerless until he actually did something. Luckily he killed himself. But I was forced at a young age to think a lot about this subject. My conclusion is I will not be him, I will not allow him to turn me into a violent man. I’ve concluded I have to live out the example my savior set before me, and let the chips fall where they may. I have to trust that God can and has protected me and my family because we trusted him to do so. He has proven himself. I have been a coward, because I was afraid to die. I am no longer afraid to die, I am afraid of not living a life that is pleasing to Him. I believe it is possible to be courageous and not be violent. The most courageous thing any man can do is love his enemies, even unto death. I am sorry this makes you angry, but I cannot oppose my conscience. We will just have to agree to disagree.

          • Nordog6561

            ” The most courageous thing any man can do is love his enemies, even unto death. I am sorry this makes you angry, but I cannot oppose my conscience.”

            This doesn’t make me angry at all.

            I can love my enemies unto death, but that doesn’t require me to die, not does it require me to stand by and watch while a criminal kills someone else.

            “I have to trust that God can and has protected me and my family because we trusted him to do so.”
            And how do you expect God to do that? Exclusively via the Holy Spirit?
            Did you ever think that people might be his agent of deliverance?
            Do you think the all police violate the Gospels when they respond to violent crime in progress.
            Do you think all soldiers violate the Gospels when the defend their country?
            PS
            Sorry to hear of you experience. Still, physically defending yourself or others would NOT make you like your uncle. To think that is to be unable to distinguish between assault and defense, or between innocense and culpability.

          • bluecenterlight

            I respect your right to believe whatever you want. Believe me I know what I believe puts me in the minority of Christians in this country. But the great men of history I have used as examples, the Anabaptist’s, the early church, all those who laid down their swords to pick up their cross, those are the ones I desire to emulate. I have not come to my position lightly, and you will not dissuade me from it. I believe this country and the world is about to enter into a violent time, and there has to be people who stand for peace, however uncomfortable that is. That is God’s calling on my life. I pray that you live a peace filled life and that you never again see an innocent person brutalized, God bless you my friend.

          • Nordog6561

            “We will just have to agree to disagree.”

            I would agree with you, but then we would both be wrong. ;-)

          • Nordog6561

            “You don’t think the Romans raped and brutalized early Christians?”

            See, here you make a simple mistake in the convertability of propositions.

            While being martyr for Christ certainly makes one a saint, it does not follow that one must be martyred to be a saint.

          • bluecenterlight

            I do not bring to this conversation the idea that there are special classes of Christians. I do not believe they exist. You are either a Christian or you are not. But let me get this straight, it is ok to stand by and let your family be brutalized by a roman centurian for Jesus, but if someone brutalizes your family to steal your flat screen it is your Christian duty to off them? That is curious logic.

          • Nordog6561

            “I do not bring to this conversation the idea that there are special classes of Christians. I do not believe they exist.”

            I didn’t say anything about special class. You don’t deny that some Christian saints are martyrs and some Christian saints are not martyrs, do you?

            If you don’t believe in martyrdom then I should never expect you to grasp the distinctions between being commanded under pain of death to formally and publically reject Christ and the Church on the one hand, watching someone rape your infant daughter on the other hand.

          • bluecenterlight

            There is a difference between protecting and providing. I am curious about non violently protecting your family. How exactly does that work? Does God protect our family?

          • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

            You did say the gun was for protecting the family though. Do you know of any non violent ways of shooting people that threaten your family?

          • Softserve

            “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has
            to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18

          • 22044

            Nice, but not applicable.

          • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

            I’m guessing that Softserve was responding to what you said here: “Additionally, is fear always a bad thing? Fear or concern in other areas can be a driver for someone to take prudent, wise actions. Why is that different in this case?” In that case, it does indeed seem applicable.

          • 22044

            It refers to having confidence in a God who can save, rather than having fear because of a poorly informed view of God. The application is vertical, not horizontal.

          • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

            The context would seem to suggest otherwise, since the rest of 1 John 4 is concerned with loving others – concerned with how one relates to one’s fellow man, rather than with how one relates to God. But at the same time, John writes about how our love for man reflects our love for God – so if our love for God casts out fear, shouldn’t our love for our fellow man also be fearless?

    • gunless christian dfnding guns

      What freedom was it that Christ died for? a. Freedom to own your own gun b. Freedom to speak in the public square? c. freedom to work and make a good salary? d. freedom to participate in the vast wealth of porn, alcohol cigarettes and drugs that are so prevalent and cheapest in US culture? I disagree with the statement about people confusing Political and Spiritual freedom. Paul conveyed freedom while imprisoned. The gospel is spreading the most in impoverished, unjust, 3rd world countries where there are few rights- no rights to speak of Christ in public, no rights to private gun-ownership, no protection from corrupt authorities, and yet, the true passion of the contagious church- the true Christ followers is NOT to fight for rights, but proclaim Christ. Here, in the US, we spend WAY to much time talking about how our “Freedoms allow us to proclaim Christ.” I have heard more people talk about that, than actually talking about Christ!” And if it’s true, why is the Gospel spreading more in nations that DON’T have that freedom (China, for one example)? By the way- People from Mexico, Cote d’Ivore, and Honduras immigrate to Canada, Australia, England, Spain, and many other nations because of the freedom found there. When I visit these places, where I have relatives, I see tremendous amounts of immigration from these places. And America, while at times has been a “shining city on a hill,” is also a “sinning city on a hill.” Freedom to sin is protected greatly, and our founding fathers- the most influential of them – owned slaves, protected slavery, and some were deists. But being a good politician in the 18th century meant that you must give God some air-time in your speaking- no different than Bush or Obama. There is no period in history where the human heart has been more prone to be holy.

      Clinton had an affair, and lied to the courts. Jefferson owned slaves, impregnated a slave girl. Franklin was a deist (didn’t believe in “emmanuel” – a God who would care enough to be with us), and so on. These are just a few of the most influential founders. The revolution was far less about religion than it was about paying money (taxes) without getting services. The shot heard round the world would not have been heard if the King would have given us fair due. What do you think? You’ve a good mind, I’d like to hear! :)

      • bluecenterlight

        Well said.

    • bluecenterlight

      Although I believe freedom to be a precious thing ( I am thankful for mine), I do believe freedom has become a god to us. That we will do whatever it takes to preserve it, even if it is morally sketchy. God claims to come along every so often and remove it from those who use their freedom for an opportunity for evil rather than good. Have we been good stewards with the freedom God has granted us? How many times did he send Israel into exile for their disobedience? Not something I really like to contemplate, but as shitty as we have allowed ourselves to become, I would not be shocked if there were some chastening in our future.

    • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

      It’s worth noting that what pilgrims did come to the new world for religious reasons (which were by no means all of the settlers; many came for the promise of wealth), they were not escaping a land that persecuted Christians. Rather, they left a Christian nation in order to practice a difference denomination of Christianity than what was practiced back in England. All of Great Britain and the overwhelming majority of Europe at that time was Christian. Therefore, the religious leanings of America’s founders is less unique and special than one might suspect.

      • Jenn Baerg

        Thanks for making that important point.

    • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

      I find it strange that the people who say we should do what Jesus said are described as having liberal theology by people that elevate loyalty to a secular state above Jesus’ teaching. It’s great that you like America, but the Kingdom of God where God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven is even better.

  • Voice of Reason

    Hit my character limit….
    My point is this. Christians are often guilty of putting the cart before the horse when it comes to political debate and our unique world-view. This leads to the feeling that Christians (especially conservative ones) are judgmental and uncaring. That is not the case for those with whom I am acquainted. However, our following of Christ, I believe requires us to be vocal and active in the political process.

    It is my opinion that there is nothing contrary to scripture to use a weapon to safeguard one’s family. While Christ is our ultimate protection, there is nothing I read contrary for a believer to have and use a firearm for personal protection. The Second Amendment may not have a thing to do with your Christian ethos, but God put you here in America. As an American citizen, God’s Word gives clear guidance as to how we should behave. We should be good citizens, vote, be patriotic, support our Constitution, etc. being a pacifist is your prerogative, just as being a gun enthusiast is mine. I find your writing to be condemning to those who take a different belief system than your own. What of Christians serving in the military? Should they resign their commissions and not be patriots bc of some ideal from God’s Word? Please share it is you find that prohibition in the Bible. It’s just as disingenuous of you to call out Christians who disagree with your convictions as it is for those you say canonize the 2nd Amendment.

    • bluecenterlight

      The question is not where can you find pacifism in the new testament, the question is where can’t you find it? Give me one example of a new testament Christian killing someone to protect himself. 300 years of being hunted down and killed in awful ways and they did not pick up the sword. They believed the sermon on the mount, they believed they should love their enemies, take up their cross, not return evil for evil. And yes they asked soldiers to quit. They debated whether or not a soldier should be baptized because they questioned whether you could be obedient to Christ and be a servant of the state. It wasn’t till the Romans co opted Christianity through Constantine that your view of Christianity became prominent. You see, you cannot have a Christian nation. The day when everyone in a nation becomes a Christian, and commits to living like Christ is the day when tanks roll across your borders. Loving your enemies doesn’t really play well with brutal ambitious men. So they had to “modify” Christianity a scosh, so you can have Jesus and all your power and privilege too. The problem is, when Jesus didn’t really mean “love your enemies” it becomes a lot easier to kill your enemies. So if you don’t convert to Christianity, or you deviate from orthodoxy, or you seem like a threat, it’s better that we send you straight to God so He can deal with you. Violence is leaven, and it surely has crept into the church.

      • Jose Gonzales

        “Give me one example of a new testament Christian killing someone to protect himself.”

        Peter striking Ananias and Saphira dead. Wait, he did they simply because they lied about not giving the apostles all the money…..hmmmmm…..

        But seriously, who said that self-defense means killing the attacker? Good martial arts training will make you capable of repelling an attacker without doing permanent damage to him. And if you took a concealed handguns license class they’ll teach you how to shoot to not kill. Just shooting at all will run most criminals out of your house, even if you just shoot the floor, because they’ll know not only that you have a gun, but are willing to fire it. They won’t know whether you intend to actually shoot them with the second shot or not

        • bluecenterlight

          God killed Ananias and Saphira so your gonna have to give me another one. So how does martial arts work with “turning the other cheek”?

          • Jose Gonzales

            “So how does martial arts work with ‘turning the other cheek’?”

            When people attack you with intent to do you real harm, they don’t slap you on the cheek. They put you in some kind of hold, they punch you in an area where there is a vital organ, or they come at you with a weapon like a knife. Did Jesus say “if someone stabs you in one kidney turn to him the other also”? I don’t think so.

          • bluecenterlight

            So a Tapout sort of Christianity, interesting.

        • Jose Gonzales

          “Give me one example of a new testament Christian killing someone to protect himself.”

          Is the New Testament even long enough for us to expect to find such an example in it? It gives us the history of what, 10 years? And even at that its so focuses on one thing, it doesn’t give us detailed lives of even one individual, not even of Jesus. We get the highlights of 3 years of his life, if its even that many. In John its only 1 year.

          What about the example of Moses where he fought off the shepherds that would not allow Jethro’s daughter to draw any water at the well for her cattle? “That’s the Old Testament!” Yes, Marcion, it is. “Well, I may be Marcion, but Moses did not KILL the shepherds.” No, he fought them off though. Your view of ‘turn to the other cheek’ teaches that all self-defense, even non-lethal is wrong. But Jesus was talking about slaps, about insults, not real attempts to do damage. Are we to let people be bullied around and just sit there saying ‘please stop’ like a bunch of pansies? Do you really think that Moses’ example of fighting off these bullies is a sin? Then surely you are deceived. “God does not rightly guide the evil doers”; that would be you.

    • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

      When Jesus said to turn the other cheek and to not resist an evil person, was he right or should we shoot an evil person to stop them hurting us? When Jesus said to love our enemies, and that doing so would identify us as children of God, was he right or should we shoot our enemies instead? When he said that God is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked, should we also be kind to them or should we shoot them? When he said that those who live by the sword will die by it, do you think he knew enough of what he was talking about or had he just not considered how cool the newest gun models really are?
      None of this is easy stuff; it involves trusting a God that we can’t see over a gun that we are familiar with, but whether we do believe this “ideal” from God’s word or not comes down to whether we believe Jesus or whether we think he was wrong. And believing Jesus has always, always played havoc with patriotism and loyalty to an earthly kingdom instead of the Kingdom of God.

      • Jose Gonzales

        He said slap. “evil” in that passage seems to mean “insult.” He didn’t say “don’t fight back if someone is trying to kill you” but “if someone SLAPS you turn to the other cheek.” Last I checked slaps don’t kill.

        • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

          He also said to take up your cross and follow him. Crosses kill, and in a most gruesome way.

        • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

          It’s tempting to change his meaning and defend our human natures but no, sorry. As Snommelp has pointed out, it all comes under the category of losing our lives and carrying our crosses.

          What Jesus said can’t be abstracted from the preceding sentence. Jesus was using a Rabbinic tool called “binding and loosing” (nothing to do with demons and magical prayer words by the way) – you bind up the old: “you have heard that it was said” and loose the new: “but I say to you”. It’s the clearest possible way of saying that the old teaching is absolutely wrong. Jesus is saying that Moses was dead wrong when he said in passages such as Deuteronomy 19:21 “Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” It’s hard, it messes with our nice easy ways of reading the Bible but you’ll need to take that up with Jesus one day if you think he shouldn’t have done it. So when Jesus gives the example of being struck on the cheek, it needs to be read in the context of his entire statement. Don’t hit back, don’t take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand or foot for foot. Do show pity. There is no room for thinking “ah, but he never said anything about this body part”.
          Looking for ways around it misses the point entirely. He wants us to *love* our enemies because that is what God is like. The man threatening you with a gun – God loves him and unless you do or even want to, you just can’t relate to God.
          “Anyone that loves knows God and has been born of God, anyone that does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
          The fact that there is even confusion on such clear teachings just shows how far many Christian teachers have gone from preaching Jesus’ gospel.

  • Voice of Reason

    Hit my character limit….
    My point is this. Christians are often guilty of putting the cart before the horse when it comes to political debate and our unique world-view. This leads to the feeling that Christians (especially conservative ones) are judgmental and uncaring. That is not the case for those with whom I am acquainted. However, our following of Christ, I believe requires us to be vocal and active in the political process.

    It is my opinion that there is nothing contrary to scripture to use a weapon to safeguard one’s family. While Christ is our ultimate protection, there is nothing I read contrary for a believer to have and use a firearm for personal protection. The Second Amendment may not have a thing to do with your Christian ethos, but God put you here in America. As an American citizen, God’s Word gives clear guidance as to how we should behave. We should be good citizens, vote, be patriotic, support our Constitution, etc. being a pacifist is your prerogative, just as being a gun enthusiast is mine. I find your writing to be condemning to those who take a different belief system than your own. What of Christians serving in the military? Should they resign their commissions and not be patriots bc of some ideal from God’s Word? Please share it is you find that prohibition in the Bible. It’s just as disingenuous of you to call out Christians who disagree with your convictions as it is for those you say canonize the 2nd Amendment.

    • bluecenterlight

      The question is not where can you find pacifism in the new testament, the question is where can’t you find it? Give me one example of a new testament Christian killing someone to protect himself. 300 years of being hunted down and killed in awful ways and they did not pick up the sword. They believed the sermon on the mount, they believed they should love their enemies, take up their cross, not return evil for evil. And yes they asked soldiers to quit. They debated whether or not a soldier should be baptized because they questioned whether you could be obedient to Christ and be a servant of the state. It wasn’t till the Romans co opted Christianity through Constantine that your view of Christianity became prominent. You see, you cannot have a Christian nation. The day when everyone in a nation becomes a Christian, and commits to living like Christ is the day when tanks roll across your borders. Loving your enemies doesn’t really play well with brutal ambitious men. So they had to “modify” Christianity a scosh, so you can have Jesus and all your power and privilege too. The problem is, when Jesus didn’t really mean “love your enemies” it becomes a lot easier to kill your enemies. So if you don’t convert to Christianity, or you deviate from orthodoxy, or you seem like a threat, it’s better that we send you straight to God so He can deal with you. Violence is leaven, and it surely has crept into the church.

    • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

      When Jesus said to turn the other cheek and to not resist an evil person, was he right or should we shoot an evil person to stop them hurting us? When Jesus said to love our enemies, and that doing so would identify us as children of God, was he right or should we shoot our enemies instead? When he said that God is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked, should we also be kind to them or should we shoot them? When he said that those who live by the sword will die by it, do you think he knew enough of what he was talking about or had he just not considered how cool the newest gun models really are?
      None of this is easy stuff; it involves trusting a God that we can’t see over a gun that we are familiar with, but whether we do believe this “ideal” from God’s word or not comes down to whether we believe Jesus or whether we think he was wrong. And believing Jesus has always, always played havoc with patriotism and loyalty to an earthly kingdom instead of the Kingdom of God.

  • Frank

    Kurt writes: “If you believe that gun ownership is a “right,” show us that through the Scriptures, specifically through solid narrative/historical exegesis of the New Testament.”

    To me this is the most compelling statement. It should also apply to those Christians that think gay marriage or abortion is a “right.” It’s not that people have not tied to do this, some tried very hard but it never reaches the criteria of “solid.”

    • Jose Gonzales

      “If you believe that gun ownership is a “right,” show us that through
      the Scriptures, specifically through solid narrative/historical exegesis
      of the New Testament.”

      That passage where Jesus tell the disciples to go buy two swords, and one of them says “here is one.” Swords were their guns back then.

      • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

        You mean the swords that Jesus then rebuked the disciples for using? The swords that he explicitly stated were to fulfill the Scriptures, that he would be counted among the lawless? Those swords?

        • srsly

          “. . . But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a sack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one” (Lk. 22:36).

          While Christ told Peter to “put your sword in its place,” He clearly did not say get rid of it forever. That would have contradicted what He had told the disciples only hours before. Peter’s sword was to protect his own mortal life from danger.

          • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

            (a) Context. You can’t lift one verse out of its context and then claim to understand it. In the very next verse, Jesus says that the swords are in order to fulfill the Scripture, that Jesus would be counted among the lawless. Jesus’ reprimand contradicts nothing except a shallow understanding of Scripture birthed through prooftexting.

            (b) If Peter’s sword was in order to protect his own mortal life from danger, it failed. Peter was martyred. Rather than using his sword to protect himself, he knowingly went to his own cross, proclaiming Christ the whole way.
            (c) The Gospel account shows Peter using his sword to protect God Himself, and being rebuked for it. Our lives are worth less than God’s, and yet God rebuked the one who sought to protect God with violence.

  • Frank

    Kurt writes: “If you believe that gun ownership is a “right,” show us that through the Scriptures, specifically through solid narrative/historical exegesis of the New Testament.”

    To me this is the most compelling statement. It should also apply to those Christians that think gay marriage or abortion is a “right.” It’s not that people have not tied to do this, some tried very hard but it never reaches the criteria of “solid.”

  • gunless christian dfnding guns

    All in all, the composition of this article is highly above average…. Some really good points that I think “2nd Ammendment protectors” who call themselves Christian need to consider. But I contest a few items here.

    1. “Jesus clearly teaches non-retaliation” While this is true, Willems (the author) is confusing self-defense with vengeance (retaliation). Jesus clearly told the disciples there would come a time when they would need to be well “armed”; that they should even sell their clothing- not give to the poor- but to purchase a sword. (Luke 22:37). This indicates Jesus was not a 100% pacifist. True, it could be argued that the “sword” was a deterrent that kept the disciples safe. But the same argument might be made for gun control, depending on how the “deterrent” is communicated visually, and so Jesus’ own words could be used to say guns should be considered to be owned as deterrants.

    2. “Can we really imagine Jesus with a loaded handgun under his pillow or a concealed weapons permit?” To this I simply say “can we really imagine Jesus with an SUV, iPhone, and flat screen TV?”

    3. “…if every Christian either gave up their guns or drastically reduced their intent for using these weapons; gun control would become a non-issue for us believers to argue about” This is problematic- First- if every Christian did ANYTHING in complete unison, you remove much of the argument. But a better question here is – “Does Willems REALLY think that getting guns out of only Christian’s hands will render our nation to be a safer place?”

    Of course, I resonate with this article much more than I disagree. I agree- that many Christians are more passionate about their guns than God. More excited about adding to their collection than creating Christ-follwers. The article has great points. But my passion for clear logic won’t allow me to put a stamp on the whole thing. The loss of logic in this case leads to a poor understanding of scripture, of Christ, of culture, and of this current hot-topic. I enjoyed reading this though- perhaps the most well-rounded Christ-centered article from a young person I’ve read.

    • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

      Jesus’ statement to buy swords was not a withdrawal of all of his former teaching on love for enemies. You cannot love an enemy while running them through with a sword or shooting them. You can’t be kind to the ungrateful and the wicked by killing them, and you don’t turn the other cheek so that you can pull out a knife. This is abundantly clear when Peter (who has picked up the sword at Jesus’ suggestion) uses it to defend Jesus. Jesus stops him and heals the enemy. That is beyond pacifist, that is love for enemies.
      People misunderstand this passage because they cut Jesus off before he can finish. The rest of his statement is that there is a prophecy that they will be “numbered with the transgressors”, so in order to fulfill the prophecy they need to look like bad guys. The only way that Jesus could have meant the swords to be used for violence is if he though all of his earlier teachings were wrong.

    • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

      Philip addressed point 1. I will briefly comment on 2 and 3. In response to 2 – SUVs, iPhones, and flat screen TVs are luxury items. So no, based on what the Bible tells us about Jesus when He walked the earth, He would not have owned such items. He was a homeless itinerant preacher, whose only luxuries were a scant few perfumes bought for him. So perhaps we should be purging more than just guns from our lives as we seek to follow Christ. As for 3: Jesus was not concerned with safety. If He was, He would never have been crucified. Jesus was concerned with faithfulness. So the question “Do you really think that getting guns out of Christian hands will make the nation safe” is a far less important question than “do you think that getting guns out of Christian hands is a faithful witness to the Gospel?”

    • bluecenterlight

      You have a very interesting interpretation of Luke 22. Just before the sword statement Peter claims to be willing to die or go to prison for Jesus. This would have been a perfect opportunity for Jesus to say, no Peter, I want you to kill anyone who tries to harm you, but He didn’t. As for the sword, Jesus took opportunity to align himself with old testament scriptures written about the messiah, hence having the disciples find a donkey for Him to ride into Jerusalem, etc. Don’t you find it interesting that the way Jesus identified being “numbered with the transgressors” was with sword ownership? You would think that all of the drunks, politicians, and prostitutes He hung out with would have fulfilled that prophecy, but He chose swords. My friend if you believe that Jesus taught violent self defense, then all of the disciples (save John) Paul, Stephen, and 300 years of Christians completely misunderstood Christs teachings. Every martyr who died for the gospel was a fool, who clearly misunderstood that they should not have died for the gospel, they should have rather killed for it. But, luckily the Romans fell in love with your version of Jesus, and they killed for Him with impunity, so your gospel remains alive and well.

  • gunless christian dfnding guns

    All in all, the composition of this article is highly above average…. Some really good points that I think “2nd Ammendment protectors” who call themselves Christian need to consider. But I contest a few items here.

    1. “Jesus clearly teaches non-retaliation” While this is true, Willems (the author) is confusing self-defense with vengeance (retaliation). Jesus clearly told the disciples there would come a time when they would need to be well “armed”; that they should even sell their clothing- not give to the poor- but to purchase a sword. (Luke 22:37). This indicates Jesus was not a 100% pacifist. True, it could be argued that the “sword” was a deterrent that kept the disciples safe. But the same argument might be made for gun control, depending on how the “deterrent” is communicated visually, and so Jesus’ own words could be used to say guns should be considered to be owned as deterrants.

    2. “Can we really imagine Jesus with a loaded handgun under his pillow or a concealed weapons permit?” To this I simply say “can we really imagine Jesus with an SUV, iPhone, and flat screen TV?”

    3. “…if every Christian either gave up their guns or drastically reduced their intent for using these weapons; gun control would become a non-issue for us believers to argue about” This is problematic- First- if every Christian did ANYTHING in complete unison, you remove much of the argument. But a better question here is – “Does Willems REALLY think that getting guns out of only Christian’s hands will render our nation to be a safer place?”

    Of course, I resonate with this article much more than I disagree. I agree- that many Christians are more passionate about their guns than God. More excited about adding to their collection than creating Christ-follwers. The article has great points. But my passion for clear logic won’t allow me to put a stamp on the whole thing. The loss of logic in this case leads to a poor understanding of scripture, of Christ, of culture, and of this current hot-topic. I enjoyed reading this though- perhaps the most well-rounded Christ-centered article from a young person I’ve read.

    • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

      Jesus’ statement to buy swords was not a withdrawal of all of his former teaching on love for enemies. You cannot love an enemy while running them through with a sword or shooting them. You can’t be kind to the ungrateful and the wicked by killing them, and you don’t turn the other cheek so that you can pull out a knife. This is abundantly clear when Peter (who has picked up the sword at Jesus’ suggestion) uses it to defend Jesus. Jesus stops him and heals the enemy. That is beyond pacifist, that is love for enemies.
      People misunderstand this passage because they cut Jesus off before he can finish. The rest of his statement is that there is a prophecy that they will be “numbered with the transgressors”, so in order to fulfill the prophecy they need to look like bad guys. The only way that Jesus could have meant the swords to be used for violence is if he though all of his earlier teachings were wrong.

    • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

      Philip addressed point 1. I will briefly comment on 2 and 3. In response to 2 – SUVs, iPhones, and flat screen TVs are luxury items. So no, based on what the Bible tells us about Jesus when he walked the earth, he would not have owned such items. He was a homeless itinerant preacher, whose only luxuries were a scant few perfumes bought for him. As for 3: Jesus was not concerned with safety. If he was, he would never have been crucified. Jesus was concerned with faithfulness. So the question “Do you really think that getting guns out of Christian hands will make the nation safe” is a far less important question than “do you think that getting guns out of Christian hands is a faithful witness to the Gospel?”

    • bluecenterlight

      You have a very interesting interpretation of Luke 22. Just before the sword statement Peter claims to be willing to die or go to prison for Jesus. This would have been a perfect opportunity for Jesus to say, no Peter, I want you to kill anyone who tries to harm you, but He didn’t. As for the sword, Jesus took opportunity to align himself with old testament scriptures written about the messiah, hence having the disciples find a donkey for Him to ride into Jerusalem, etc. Don’t you find it interesting that the way Jesus identified being “numbered with the transgressors” was with sword ownership? You would think that all of the, drunks, politicians, and prostitutes He hung out with would have fulfilled that prophecy, but He chose swords. My friend if you believe that Jesus taught violent self defense, then all of the disciples (save John) Paul, Stephen, and 300 years of Christians completely misunderstood Christs teachings. Every martyr who died for the gospel was a fool, who clearly misunderstood that they should not have died for the gospel, they should have rather killed for it. But, luckily the Romans fell in love with your version of Jesus, and they killed for Him with impunity, so your gospel remains alive and well.

    • http://www.facebook.com/julian.torrey Julian Torrey

      Down here in NC i have to argue with many who claim to be Christia, but freely quote Old Testament verces to justify their right-wing opions. When i respond with the spoken words from the Gosples, I get ri8ddiculed r even told not to post.

  • Craig M. Watts

    Thanks, Kurt. Good Christ-centered sense.

  • Craig M. Watts

    Thanks, Kurt. Good Christ-centered sense.

  • JaysonImNobody WhoAreYou?

    “Pretty Good! ____ pretty Neat! ______,” ______
    if your gonna try and Argue your point unto the recent post! _____ Please Advise your Humble Self! ___
    No point shall Rise towards the Surface of the Larger matter at Hand! ____ Other then the Fact that you might’ah just BeLitTled yourself ___ Ah’tad’bit ____

  • JaysonImNobody WhoAreYou?

    “Pretty Good! ____ pretty Neat! ______,” ______
    if your gonna try and Argue your point unto the recent post! _____ Please Advise your Humble Self! ___
    No point shall Rise towards the Surface of the Larger matter at Hand! ____ Other then the Fact that you might’ah just BeLitTled yourself ___ Ah’tad’bit ____

  • http://www.facebook.com/brad.rosene Brad Rosene

    The 2nd Amendment was written for just one purpose. This fact is well documented in the writings of those who contributed to it’s authorship. It is to allow for the violent defense of liberty against either armed invasion, or corrupted government. Not hunting, not sporting, just the defense of liberty. I have struggled long and hard over the conflict between this and Christianity. I struggled with it before taking my oath, and I continue to struggle with it as I see the thing I swore to protect under such clear attack by my fellow countrymen. I see no way to be Christ-like with a weapon in my hands, but I also cannot bring myself to abandon my pledge to defend freedom from what I, and so many others have seen in most of the world we live in. I pray everyday that my ranting and raving about the value of liberty will somehow reverse the tide and allow me to live the rest of my days in peace. I also pray that God will forgive me for placing earthly freedom at such a high place in my life.

    • bluecenterlight

      Christianity is not a complicated religion, it’s just a difficult one. If we are not constantly wrestling, then something is wrong. Do I trust that I leave this earth at the time and in the manner that God chooses? Is He trustworthy to put my life in his hands? God claims to steer the direction of nations, do I trust that? The same God who delivered Paul from death multiple times allowed him to be beheaded by the Romans when his course was finished. This is tough stuff. I argue with people on here who close their eyes to the fact that the first century church simply did not fight back in defense of the gospel. They are our example, we do not get to redefine Christianity, but it doesn’t make it easier. The thought of ourselves, or people we love being brutalized by evil men is hard to take. The idea that the God we love and serve would allow that is even harder, but He has, He will. We try to make this argument about politics, about theology, but at the end of the day it is a question of faith. Thank you so much for bringing brutal honesty into this discussion, it’s something we need to have in all our debates, and more importantly in our own inner dialog.

    • Jose Gonzales

      There may be a conflict with Christianity but not with the Old Testament. The Israelite were constantly defending themselves with weapons. They left Egypt “armed” and in “squadrons.” And God was leading them. Did they lack trust in God as so many imply here? Let your appendix burst then to prove you trust God. “Surely Allah is most merciful and forgiving,” as the Koran says, and Allah will “forgive” you good and proper once the citizenry of the United States is no longer armed, if you know what I mean.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brad.rosene Brad Rosene

    The 2nd Amendment was written for just one purpose. This fact is well documented in the writings of those who contributed to it’s authorship. It is to allow for the violent defense of liberty against either armed invasion, or corrupted government. Not hunting, not sporting, just the defense of liberty. I have struggled long and hard over the conflict between this and Christianity. I struggled with it before taking my oath, and I continue to struggle with it as I see the thing I swore to protect under such clear attack by my fellow countrymen. I see no way to be Christ-like with a weapon in my hands, but I also cannot bring myself to abandon my pledge to defend freedom from what I, and so many others have seen in most of the world we live in. I pray everyday that my ranting and raving about the value of liberty will somehow reverse the tide and allow me to live the rest of my days in peace. I also pray that God will forgive me for placing earthly freedom at such a high place in my life.

    • bluecenterlight

      Christianity is not a complicated religion, it’s just a difficult one. If we are not constantly wrestling, then something is wrong. Do I trust that I leave this earth at the time and in the manner that God chooses? Is He trustworthy to put my life in his hands? God claims to steer the direction of nations, do I trust that? The same God who delivered Paul from death multiple times allowed him to be beheaded by the Romans when his course was finished. This is tough stuff. I argue with people on here who close their eyes to the fact that the first century church simply did not fight back in defense of the gospel. They are our example, we do not get to redefine Christianity, but it doesn’t make it easier. The thought of ourselves, or people we love being brutalized by evil men is hard to take. The idea that the God we love and serve would allow that is even harder, but He has, He will. We try to make this argument about politics, about theology, but at the end of the day it is a question of faith. Thank you so much for bringing brutal honesty into this discussion, it’s something we need to have in all our debates, and more importantly in our own inner dialog.

  • Urban II

    That’s shit! As a former officer in a foreign Army, that has been combating muslims for more than 50 years, I would say without any means of defense, you no longer exist. The fact that your Dem Government has been trying to enslave you, brainwash you for decades & disarm you is the very proof of that. Left without any weapons enemies of Christianity would exterminate you in less than a second, Just saw what happened in Mali in the past few months? Hordes of muslims exterminating black Christians? Of course not it is never on the alphabet TV news. Your president, a fellow muslim sympathizer has been promoting our enemy’s faith around the world, either be in NASA, exclusions in Obamacare or direct financial help to young muslims in Europe via embassy programs.
    We need to stop this illegitimate Government & anti-Christian attitudes and YES a well trained, armed militia will do that. We have enough returning vets with combat experience to achieve that,
    Resist my fellow Christians!

    • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

      Urban, there is so much fear and anger in your comment, and so VERY little of the Gospel. Seeing as this is a Christian website, would you care to try to re-articulate? But this time, let Jesus and the Spirit speak for you, rather than politics and fear.

      • Jose Gonzales

        His point is, without a defense in the form of weapons, the gospel is booted out of a country. The more violent religion will prevail when the citizenry is not armed. Look at the Muslims nations. Christianity is booted because the Muslims are able to get guns despite gun control because they’re criminals, an they then kill Christians and Christianity it bye bye.

        When you have an armed citizenry like in the Unite State, the Muslims can’t just go around killing off Christians. Even if Christians themselves don’t have guns or won’t use them, the Deists and Theists would grab their guns and come to the defense of Christians. Even the atheists might because they realize the Muslims will come after them too eventually. An armed citizenry is the only defense against Christianity being wiped out in a nation by a more violent religion like Isalm. Take away the guns, Islam takes over the world.

        • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

          I’ve read through the rest of your comments here. Fascinating that you think Christians need guns to protect themselves from Muslims, Atheists, Catholics, Calvinists, Evangelicals, and rapists. Is there anyone that you don’t view as a threat?

    • Jose Gonzales

      Don’t forget how this administration sent a bunch of fighter jets to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt last week to make sure the Muslims take over Egypt good and proper.

    • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

      You’re trying to marshal others with guns to form a militia to kill Muslims and members of your Government?

  • Urban II

    That’s shit! As a former officer in a foreign Army, that has been combating muslims for more than 50 years, I would say without any means of defense, you no longer exist. The fact that your Dem Government has been trying to enslave you, brainwash you for decades & disarm you is the very proof of that. Left without any weapons enemies of Christianity would exterminate you in less than a second, Just saw what happened in Mali in the past few months? Hordes of muslims exterminating black Christians? Of course not it is never on the alphabet TV news. Your president, a fellow muslim sympathizer has been promoting our enemy’s faith around the world, either be in NASA, exclusions in Obamacare or direct financial help to young muslims in Europe via embassy programs.
    We need to stop this illegitimate Government & anti-Christian attitudes and YES a well trained, armed militia will do that. We have enough returning vets with combat experience to achieve that,
    Resist my fellow Christians!

    • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

      Urban, there is so much fear and anger in this post, and so VERY little of the Gospel. Seeing as this is a Christian website, would you care to try to re-articulate? But this time, let Jesus and the Spirit speak for you, rather than politics and fear.

  • SamHamilton

    I agree with much of what Kurt writes here. I really don’t understand the fetish that some people have for guns. Our society has so much violence in it, I don’t like how guns are glorified in media and entertainment. I agree that we need to build our identity in Jesus, not anything man-made, including guns.

    But I’ll take issue with a couple things here.

    The first is Kurt’s first point about the 2nd Amendment. Gun ownership is a right in the U.S. because the Constitution says, and subsequent court rulings have said, it is. No, it’s not a universal human right. People in other countries don’t have this right. But it’s an American civil right. Just like the right to vote is. You don’t need to justify it by going back to the Bible anymore than you have to go back to the Bible to state that voting is a right. This isn’t a statement of comparative importance between the Constitution and the Bible, but merely a statement of fact.

    My second objection is to guns as a source of personal security. While there are certainly arguments that the costs of having a gun in a home outweigh the benefits or that owning five guns isn’t necessary for self defense or that yes, if the government actually wants to send a SWAT team to kill you they’re probably going to succeed regardless of your armory, I don’t think it says anything about where our trust is placed. Take guns out of the equation for a moment. You could ask this question about anything that could be used as a defensive weapon. I read a blog post recently written by a woman who wanted to tell men how most women go through life – fearful that they’re about to become the next sexual assault statistic. So when they walk streets alone they grasp their car keys in their pockets ready to use them as a defensive weapon against an attacker. Are these women putting trust in something other than God? The statistics clearly show that a large proportion of women will be sexually assaulted in some way. And you could take this even further and ask this question about anything we do for “security.” Saving some money in a bank account in case of a medical emergency or rainy day. Locking our front doors if we live in an area that is prone to break-ins. Is this rooting our trust somewhere else than with God or is it simply prudence, using our God-given wits to prevent harm coming to us and our loved-ones?

    • Jose Gonzales

      ” No, it’s not a universal human right.” I disagree. The “right to keep and bear arms” is a universal human right, the right to self-defense. Arms of course means more than guns. Its absurd to me that our government outlaws weapons like nunchucks that can only be used at close range and are very effective for self-defense. That’s a clear violation of the 2nd amendment but I don’t see anyone arguing about it. Guns are really less useful for everyday self-defense than some of these blunt weapons that they have outlawed and we ought to protest that with as much vigor.

      • SamHamilton

        It’s debatable whether the right to own a gun is universal human right. The right to self-defense certainly is, but I think a government can put limits on what types of weapons can be used without a human rights violation. But it’s certainly true that other countries have not recognized gun ownership as a right in their governing documents. We, however, have. So it is a civil right here.

    • Jose Gonzales

      “So when they walk streets alone they grasp their car keys in their
      pockets ready to use them as a defensive weapon against an attacker.
      Are these women putting trust in something other than God?”

      Where does God say you should no think about possible outcomes? or you should not take any precautions? Its nonsense to expect God to smite every bad guy. You have to think rationally. You have to do some things for yourself. Like you hear in the prayers at church “LORD prepare the hands of the physicians as they operate on our dear sister….” what, God can’t do the operation himself? IF you have your appendix removed, are you trusting in something other than God? You should let your appendix burst to prove you really trust God! If you die, don’t worry, Allah will give you 72 virgins!” I threw the last bit in because the Koran says exactly this about going to war: Don’t fear, go. if you die, God will give you paradise. THis is the sort of thinking you are encouraging! THat’s not Christian!.

      • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

        I’d be interested to know exactly where you’re getting your information about the Koran.

      • SamHamilton

        Where does God say you should no think about possible outcomes? or you should not take any precautions? Its nonsense to expect God to smite every bad guy.

        This is exactly my point. I’m not encouraging this thinking. I’m questioning the thinking that says to have a weapon close at hand in case trouble might arise is not placing your trust in God.

  • SamHamilton

    I agree with much of what Kurt writes here. I really don’t understand the fetish that some people have for guns. Our society has so much violence in it, I don’t like how guns are glorified in media and entertainment. I agree that we need to build our identity in Jesus, not anything man-made, including guns.

    But I’ll take issue with a couple things here.

    The first is Kurt’s first point about the 2nd Amendment. Gun ownership is a right in the U.S. because the Constitution says, and subsequent court rulings have said, it is. No, it’s not a universal human right. People in other countries don’t have this right. But it’s an American civil right. Just like the right to vote is. You don’t need to justify it by going back to the Bible anymore than you have to go back to the Bible to state that voting is a right. This isn’t a statement of comparative importance between the Constitution and the Bible, but merely a statement of fact.

    My second objection is to guns as a source of personal security. While there are certainly arguments that the costs of having a gun in a home outweigh the benefits or that owning five guns isn’t necessary for self defense or that yes, if the government actually wants to send a SWAT team to kill you they’re probably going to succeed regardless of your armory, I don’t think it says anything about where our trust is placed. Take guns out of the equation for a moment. You could ask this question about anything that could be used as a defensive weapon. I read a blog post recently written by a woman who wanted to tell men how most women go through life – fearful that they’re about to become the next sexual assault statistic. So when they walk streets alone they grasp their car keys in their pockets ready to use them as a defensive weapon against an attacker. Are these women putting trust in something other than God? The statistics clearly show that a large proportion of women will be sexually assaulted in some way. And you could take this even further and ask this question about anything we do for “security.” Saving some money in a bank account in case of a medical emergency or rainy day. Locking our front doors if we live in an area that is prone to break-ins. Is this rooting our trust somewhere else than with God or is it simply prudence, using our God-given wits to prevent harm coming to us and our loved-ones?

  • JR Rhea

    Well Kurt, the only other time I wrote a comment about your writing it was full of praise….This time I’ve got to say, to a great extent, you don’t know what you are talking about. Much of your reasoning is so illogical and falacious I had to quit reading the article and brose the rest of it. You are correct, a lot of boobs and fanatics are vilifying anyone with a proposal to better control our guns. What about some fool on meth. or cocaine or pcp that gets in your house or your occupied car. Pray? Yes, by all means and rebuke them in the name of Christ. Let them rape your wife, daughter, date, sister, of course not. These bad people are typically the ones we are told God hates in Psalms 5; thats right, it tells us God does not love everyone and that there are such things as refraining to cast pearls before a swine. — Thousands of godly men go off to war every year and kill members of the Taliban and Alqueda….Would you shoot those guys if at war with them or otherwise attacked? What about the theif and potential murderer that invades your home? If you would not defend people in your home? If not then I am sorry, you are a poser, an imposter male. Like Biden communicated last week, feel free to get a shotgun. If someone attacks you, you be the judge, you can feel free to let them kick your but, maybe torture you or maybe murder you. As for the women and children in your home, they may not survive the intrusion if you are not willing to be armed and pull the trigger and they will struggle to ever forgive you. Be a real man, a Teddy Roosevelt type, you know be like Christ, in one circumstance armed with a whip and willing to use it on people who have done serious enough things to warrant those consequences.

    • http://twitter.com/UsAndRufus Edward B.

      Killing people is veeeeery different to self-defense.

      Would you rather shoot someone or let your family be raped? Tough question, but you could probably knock him out with a baseball bat over shooting him…

      • Jose Gonzales

        You could also shoot him in the leg or shoulder and not kill him. You guys act like bullets always kill. You watch too much TV where a guy gets shot in the arm, and instantly falls over dead without any blood even showing. That’s not real life dude.

        • Nordog6561

          Don’t point a gun at someone you are not prepared to shoot. Do not shoot someone you do not intend to kill.

          If I must protect myself and family from lethal force I want every advantage I can get. Baseball bats ain’t it.

          • Jose Gonzales

            If its just one intruder, and he’s unarmed, and he’s not a lot bigger than you, a baseball bat may do just fine. BUT, contrary to what Edward B thinks, a baseball bat is not necessarily non-lethal. You can kill someone by hitting them on the head with a baseball bat just like you can by shooting them. So the whole concept that baseballbat is better than gun because its non-lethal is absurd.

          • Nordog6561

            “If its just one intruder, and he’s unarmed, and he’s not a lot bigger than you, a baseball bat may do just fine.”

            If.

            2 a.m., in the dark, with an intruder is NOT the time to be making intellectual distinctions about the efficacy of baseball bats.

          • Nordog6561

            “So the whole concept that baseballbat is better than gun because its non-lethal is absurd.”

            This of course is right on the mark, if you pardon the shooting metaphor.

          • http://twitter.com/UsAndRufus Edward B.

            The baseball bat was just a random example, not specifics.

            My point is that guns are hard to aim, especially in the dark. Yes, you may have training, but the chest is an easier target than their leg, and you are much likely to cause fatal organ damage by shooting there.

            Most intruders don’t have guns and most of the time they’re trying to steal your TV etc, not kill your family.

            Yes, protect your family from lethal force, but how do you know that there will be an axe murderer downstairs when you hear a window smashing? Carrying a gun downstairs assumes too much, and in the heat of the moment you will probably shoot the person whether they are armed or not.

            Mainly what I was trying to say is that guns are designed to kill people. Killing someone over stealing your TV is clearly wrong. If they are going to try and murder your family or something, maybe it’s justified but unless you’re a public figure or a secret agent, that’s probably as likely as being struck by lightning.

  • Mr. Mike

    I do not entirely digress with the above article. I do beleive That Christ never carried a weapon. There is nothing to support or dispute this outside of the message he preached. However, his disciples WERE armed. With swords. The “handgun” of the day if you will. In one instance, they even drew and used said weapon. Yes, Jesus did heal the servants ear but Jesus also knew about the weapons in advance and let the disciples carry them. Used or not, the intent to use is and was there. Were they “allowed” to carry them just for that particular moment? I do not know. A fine line we tread and I do not in any way pretend to have the answers to this particular question but am grateful for the opportunity to share.

    • http://twitter.com/UsAndRufus Edward B.

      Jesus made that whip as well, didn’t he, hohum… ;)

      • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

        Check that passage in John again – he drove the animals from the temple with the whip, not the people. He spoke to the people.

        • http://twitter.com/UsAndRufus Edward B.

          True, my bad :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

      It’s a confusing passage if we read that into it, it would suggest that Jesus actually wanted his disciples to ignore everything he had taught them. It’s the only verse in the Bible that any pro-gun people could use to suggest that Jesus supported their position so predictably it gets raised very frequently with the connotation that we should read it out of context and dismiss what Jesus taught; but read in context it actually makes a lot of sense. I’d suggest you check some of the explanations on this page :)

  • tim H

    Some real good thoughts Kurt. I am from an Anabaptist background as well, but do not wholly subscribe to the pasifist position – has (in my opinion) some flaws in logic, and I have met way too many “pacifists” who were just a little too “selective” as to what issues they wanted to pull the pacifist card. Anyway, I do weary at the shrill rhetoric on the pro-gun side, but I am also highly suspect of the motives of “gun-control” advocates. The present administration’s “never waste a crisis” mantra is very real, and the grandstanding use of tragedies to advance their caseu is discusting.

  • Ian

    A very well thought out commentary, excellent to the effect of challenging my own presuppositions on this complicated issue. I struggle very much with the thought of solving the issue of gun violence primarily by federal control of the arms themselves. This is for both pragmatic as well as philosophical reasons, though some degree of it will always be necessary.

    It is important to question our behavior in light of how Jesus himself lived above all other things. We must look very critically at the issue of the use of violence even in self defense as followers of Christ. Philosophically what I cannot earnestly support though is that decision being made for all of us through federal law, rather than according to our own conscience. Pragmatically, we already have a ban on actual automatic weapons. Picking and choosing weapons that look like their military counterparts will not be enough. At a minimum, all semi-automatic weapons would have to banned. There is no way that can be passed without much strife and yes, according to constitutional law as it currently stands it would not pass muster in the court of law.

    Culturally though, I dearly hope we can strive against what is a culture of violence in the U.S. in the sense that violence is the means of dealing with our frustrations, pain and a means of vengeance against those who we feel have wronged us. I believe deeply in personal liberty. I also hate the idea of a society in which we must carry guns to our schools, churches and malls in order to protect ourselves. Not because I feel self defense is wrong in all contexts. We should not cling to our own lives, but I do feel we should intervene if we see others, children most of all, being attacked or abused. I hate it because it will mean we have become a society so lacking in love, goodness and meaning that we become consumed in protecting what we have and end up in a vicious cycle of more violence.

    For whatever it’s worth I wish states would create a licensing system for at least semi-automatic guns as we do for cars. It won’t solve or stop all murders and violence but there is nothing unreasonable about proving that you are competent and able to bear the responsibility that your constitutional right entails for the sake of the security of your fellow men and women.

  • Jose Gonzales

    “I would equally question why any
    Christian would have a loaded gun in their house when Jesus clearly
    teaches non-retaliation, but now I digress.”

    Nonviolence is fine when you are dealing with regular violence. But when dealing with sexual violence nonviolence is stupid. Why do Christians have loaded guns? You can slap me on my cheek and I’ll turn to the other. But if you break in my house to rape my wife, I’m going to shoot you. Its a different category. For a man to allow an intruder to rape his wife would be to partake in a sin. It would be like giving your wife over to another man to commit adultery with (and against her will to boot). And to allow yourself to be raped (man or woman) without making any attempt to prevent it is to commit adultery. To just say “here I am, rape me because Jesus teaches I can’t fight back” is to say “I consent; let’s commit adultery.” So load that shotgun up and protect your wife’s chastity. Don’t a dummy.

  • Jose Gonzales

    “#1 Stop appealing to the 2nd Amendment as if it were the lost ending to the Gospel of Mark.”

    This is a stupid comment. Its obvious one reason why the founding fathers included in the bill of rights the right to “keep and bear arms” is because its the only way to protect religious liberty. Their idea was obviously that if you end up with a tyrannical government that wants to establish a state church, you protect the first amendment (religious freedom) with the second.

    Now, you will say “it shouldn’t matter to Christians if there is religious liberty or not, blah blah blah” but tell that to the Reformers not to us. Go back in time and tell them to not start the Reformation. Because guess what…splitting from Rome causes WARS. Rome was like “Ut uh! You can’t teach justification by faith alone–we’ve got swords and we’re not afraid to use them.” If the Reformers had been all “please kill us then because Jesus teaches nonviolence” instead of “yeah, well we’ve got swords too” there would be no Protestantism today. Just because you don’t want to carry a gun doesn’t mean you should undermine the constitution. Undermine the right to bear arms, and then sooner or later the Catholic church will take over this country, or Islam will, or radical atheism, or some crazy version of Protestantism like the loony Calvinist cretons who will use the army to kill everyone who doesn’t believe in predestination. I think the founders were smarter than you, and oh yeah, when the thugs break in your house to rape your wife, and you have no gun and no martial arts training, what are you going to do, just watch? You are really not very bright.

    • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

      Killing Jesus kind of infringed his religious liberty, but did it really make him ineffective? Did killing Martin Luther King block his message, or did it awaken the conscience of America so that they could see the evil of their actions in contrast with his Christlike response?

      Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only one. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. God’s wisdom, not ours.

  • Jose Gonzales

    “1. Spiritual and political freedoms may be interwoven into the hearts of
    Americans but they were not in the minds of the Early Church. We can
    blame (in your case thank) Constantine for deciding the two needed to be
    woven together.”
    (Jenn Baerg)

    You’re
    equating freedom from a state-imposed church or certain version of
    Christianity with its very opposite, Constantine who imposes a
    state-imposed church or certain version of Christianity on everyone on
    pains of death! Wow. It is so obvious that everyone who is in favor of
    gun control is also in favor of state imposed religious beliefs rather
    than freedom of the individual’s conscience in worshiping God as he
    understands to be true!

    Gun control is a backdoor for the Catholic Church, Islam, or the radical Atheists to take over the country and impose their beliefs on everyone on pains of death.

    Unfortunately the Calvinists and other loony Evangelical types think they will be the victor if gun control is passed and they will be the ones taking control and imposing their view on everyone, so they argue in favor on gun control too!

    Man is this sad!

    • http://www.facebook.com/peter.fodera.1 Peter Fodera

      “Calvinists and other loony Evangelical types”??? Are you suggesting that Calvin and Evangelicals have NOT historically loved God and sought to understand His Word and then obey it?

  • Jose Gonzales

    “#2 Start choosing to trust in God’s faithfulness to see us through even the worst of “apocalypses.””

    Let your appendix burst to prove you trust God!

    Let your heart fail to prove your trust God!

    If you make any provision or use any logic you are not trusting God!

    Stop taking your medicine! Don’t you trust God?

    Real great advice.

    • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

      I suspect he’s suggesting that we shouldn’t sin in our response. It isn’t sin to take your meds, it is sin to kill someone else that Jesus said we need to love.

  • Nordog6561

    “I worry that if I had a loaded gun in my home for the protection of life and limb, that my source of security would be fixated in something other than God.”

    Grace builds upon nature. It is the nature of home invaders that they need to be shot. Jesus is okay with that.

    • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

      A 17 yo friend of mine came home a while ago to find two people that had broken into his house. They ran when they saw him and he gave chase until they eventually stopped, exhausted. He asked them why they had broken into his house, they explained how they were in hard times financially, apologised and gave the stuff back. He then prayed with them until the Police arrived.

      He did it that way because like Jesus, he loved them. They did not need to be murdered and their kids did not need for them to be dead.

      It’s easier for this sort of thing to happen in Australia because despite all of our problems, we haven’t had people telling us for centuries that Jesus “is ok with” sinners being murdered, so 16 years ago when our government asked people to hand in weapons that it was stupid for any peaceful person to own, they gave them back. We have not had a single gun massacre since and the rate of homicide has dropped by nearly one third.

      The love of guns and the rejection of Jesus’ teaching as you just did in your comment is a deep spiritual wound in America.

      • Nordog6561

        “The love of guns and the rejection of Jesus’ teaching as you just did in your comment is a deep spiritual wound in America.”

        Defense of self and family is not murder and is very much a spirtual duty and in keeping with the teaching of Jesus.

        Your fatuous condescension on the other hand is a true spiritual wound.

        Go screw yourself.

        • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

          Jesus taught us to love and be kind to our enemies; you teach that we should instead kill them. That isn’t condescension, it’s observation. Please show from Jesus’ teaching where he says that he was wrong about love and that we should instead use violence in self defence. You don’t get to just make up new teachings of Jesus.

          • Nordog6561

            “Jesus taught us to love and be kind to our enemies; you teach that we should instead kill them.”

            Not true. I do not “teach” that our enemies should be killed.

            But I do hold fast to the position that it is morally licit, and even a duty, to use lethal force is necessary for defense. To do this has no bearing on whether or not I love or hate the individual from whom defense is required.

            Show me where Jesus said that we must never us violence to protect ourselves and our families?

            Rather, he himself visited violence on occasion.

            You don’t get to just make up new teachings of Jesus.

            (Where did Jesus teach, “Just pay attention to the words in red”?)

          • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

            “Show me where Jesus said that we must never us violence to protect ourselves and our families?”
            …………………………

            “Do not resist an evil person” as opposed to “shoot an evil person”

            “if someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to them the other” as opposed to “hit them back at least as hard so that they learn not to mess with you”

            “if someone takes you coat give them your tunic as well” as opposed to “they’ve stolen from you, stand up for yourself and get it back”

            …………………………………..

            “Rather, he himself visited violence on occasion.”
            Where? He once made a whip to drive animals from the temple. Did he use violence in self defence when they tried to stone him / throw him from the cliff / crucify him? Didn’t he instead heal the soldier wounded by someone that mistakenly thought violence was ok for defence and say to them “those who live by the sword die by the sword”?
            Now could you show where he said it was right to use violence?

          • Nordog6561

            So, am I to conclude from this that you would not lift a hand to defend a child being raped?

            I can turn the other cheek, but I only have one alternate cheek to offer.

            Do you really hold that Jesus requires that we bow down and be beaten and killed when the criminals come around?

            You know, you confuse scripture teaching personal sanctity of self with and broader teaching (a broader teaching that does not exist) that we should never defend ourselves or those whose lives are in our charge.

            BTW, Jesus drove PEOPLE out of the temple with those animals.

            “Now could you show where he said it was right to use violence?”

            I’m not a “red letter” person, so I don’t need actual quotes from Jesus to substantiate every point Christian morality.

            The scriptures do not record anything Jesus ever said about abortion. If from this you conclude that it is morally licit for Christians to slaughter babies in the womb then, well, you’re pretty far gone.

            “Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword.”

            Do you have a record of allowing people to steal from you?

          • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

            It is possible to restrain a person from hurting another person without the attempt to hurt them, I’m sure you can see that.

            No, I said nothing about bowing down, I said love. Did Martin Luther King bow down? Was his love for his enemies cowardly or courageous? Love means that we are to stand up to injustice, confront the wrong. Jesus described discipleship as “carrying a cross” for a reason – the cross is the thing we place between the aggressor and the victim, where we allow them to pour out all of their evil and return love just as Jesus did for the people that nailed him onto one.

            “You know, you confuse scripture teaching personal sanctity of self with and broader teaching (a broader teaching that does not exist) that we should never defend ourselves or those whose lives are in our charge.” What I don’t do is to attempt to spiritualise away teachings that are crystal clear. You have offered no argument at all as to why we should not think that Jesus meant exactly what he said, yet you quote a verse like “Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword” as if that is Jesus negating everything he has taught. Do you really believe that Jesus came to bring killing in general? That this was his purpose? Or is it possible that he wasn’t negating all of his earlier teaching and was instead talking about the division that comes when people try to follow him?

            I agree that Jesus did not instruct us on every application of love and therefore we need to extend his teachings to consider issues such as slavery or abortion, but that isn’t an excuse to ignore the teachings he has given us that explicitly and undeniably tell us to love our enemies. I get it; there’s a way that seems right to you and Jesus’ teachings just seem totally foolish so along with most western Christians you stretch every strand of credibility to argue them away. It just doesn’t work; they remain unchanged and the image of God in you longs for the courage to be able to do them, no matter how you fight it.

            “Is this what you do? Really? Do you have a record of allowing people to steal from you? Are you really that pure or do you just pretend to be while online?”

            The thing is, whether I do what Jesus said to do or not does not make it more or less true. You recognise it as pure because of the image of God in you, but don’t dismiss it as only being for extraordinary people. The Great Commission was that we teach people to do the things he said to do, which is why I am here. I long to do it better and I long to see people believe him because the Kingdom he wants us to bring where his will is done on earth as it is in heaven is good and I am homesick for it. So yes, I do try to do that in my own messed up way and I recognise it as sin when I fail. To tell the truth though, I have not had to let anyone steal from me because over the past several years where along with my wife and son we have opened our doors and housed homeless kids with violence and psychological issues, drug problems, expelled from school for stealing etc; never once have they stolen from us. I’ve barely ever locked my house or put my valuables out of sight in years; they come and go as they need to and they respond to the love we give them by giving us love. Because I have learnt to love them though, I can say confidently that despite all of my failings I have seen enough of God’s country to know that if one of them stole from me I would ask them if they had enough or whether they needed more.

            Like Peter walking on water, Jesus takes very ordinary people and enables us to do the things he asks if we believe him.

          • Nordog6561

            So, if you see a child being raped you would intervene, violentnly if necessary? Or not? It’s a simple quesiton.

          • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

            I pray that I would intervene by placing myself between the child and the assailant, trusting my God to show me how in the moment to return love for hate. That’s the difference between our scenarios – faith in Jesus’ way requires God, but he’s irrelevant in your approach.

          • Nordog6561

            “That’s the difference between our scenarios – faith in Jesus’ way requires God, but he’s irrelevant in your approach.”

            That has to be the most false, calumnious, and all around fracked up thing you have said so far.

            Either you are invincibly ingnorant or you are truly an ass.

          • Nordog6561

            “…there’s a way that seems right to you and Jesus’ teachings just seem totally foolish so along with most western Christians you stretch every strand of credibility to argue them away.”

            Quit putting words into my mouth.

            Jesus’ teachings are not foolish and I never said they were.

            YOU’R teachings are foolish, but then you’re neither Jesus, nor do you speak with his authority.

          • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

            I’m not interested in continuing into a foolish argument. Jesus said to love them and be kind to them, you say shoot them, and pretend that’s what he really meant. You know what you said, I’ll leave you with it.

          • Nordog6561

            “Jesus said to love them and be kind to them, you say shoot them, and pretend that’s what he really meant. You know what you said, I’ll leave you with it.”

            No one with any good will could conclude that my position is what you say it is.

            Your an ass and a liar.

          • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

            The difficulty of a hypothetical discussion is that we are left with only what our imaginations can put together, so when you imagine a home invasion, lethal violence is the only defence you think that will save your family. Unfortunately when it comes to guns this is more fantasy than reality; the reality is that with a gun in your home your family members are 2.7 times more likely to be murdered and nearly five times more likely to suicide. Why? Because there are no goodies and baddies, we’re all just people capable of the worst things if given enough pressure – there but for the grace of God go I and I hope I never have a gun handy if I do.

            I believe in Jesus, which means that when I am faced with someone that wants to hurt my family I will try to do what my dad did in that circumstance. I will stand between my family and the aggressor and calmly talk to them. When they attack me I will not try to hurt them in return because I love them, and if they kill me then as I die I will trust that Jesus was not wrong when he taught that I should turn the other cheek to them, and that foolish as it might seem to those who are perishing, Jesus will bring greater good from it than I could have by rejecting his teaching as you are saying I should do. Who knows? By encountering love, this attacker might be freed. That’s between them and God though; it’s not for me to decide. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

            “To do this has no bearing on whether or not I love or hate the individual from whom defense is required”. Really? Imagine that the attacker is a member of your own family as it is in 3/4 instances in America. Your son is threatening your wife with a gun. Do you shoot him because that is your “duty”? Would you find that difficult? Would the difficulty be because you love your son? Would it be dereliction of duty if you stood between he and his mother and said to him “kill me if you have to but I will love you until my last breath.” Love for enemies means that they are all your sons, daughters and family. The question is no longer “who is my neighbour” but “who can I be a neighbour to?”

            “Show me where Jesus said that we must never us violence to protect ourselves and our families?” I suspect you know the answers.

            “If someone strikes you on one cheek turn to them the other also”, as opposed to “hit them back at least as hard so they learn not to mess with you.”

            “Do not resist an evil person”, as opposed to “use lethal force to resist an evil person”

            “If someone takes your coat give them your tunic as well”, as opposed to “go out back and get your gun”, or “give them your tunic as well but do it violently”.

            “Rather, he himself visited violence on occasion.” Where? Are you talking about using a whip to drive sheep and cattle from the temple? What kind of violent self defence did he use when they tried to stone him? Throw him from a cliff? Crucify him? When Peter used violent self defence, did Jesus commend him for doing his duty, or did he tell him “those who live by the sword die by the sword”? I’m not sure how Jesus could possibly have been any clearer than he was. But maybe you could answer my question this time, where did Jesus teach that we *should* use violent self defence?

            “Where did Jesus teach, “Just pay attention to the words in red”?” He didn’t, and neither is anyone else here. What he did teach after giving the sermon on the Mount was “everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man…” you know the rest I’m sure. The point is, he taught that we were to love our enemies, be kind to them, lay down our lives for them. In Both Matthew and Luke he says that this love for enemies is what identifies us as God’s children. It is absolutely central to his teaching and to either just dismiss it by saying “he’ll be ok with that” or even to try to use other parts of the Bible to argue that we should ignore it is to be the foolish man that builds his house on the sand. That’s the spiritual wound I mentioned before, where so many professing Christians explicitly reject central teachings of Jesus. No matter what spin you try to put on it, you cannot make his words mean something different; you either believe Jesus and ask for the courage to love your enemies or you say he was wrong. Even if you dress it up in respectability and catechisms, rejecting his teaching is what it is and the fact that the church though the ages has been guilty of it doesn’t make your foundations any more secure.

          • Nordog6561

            I’m sure you will interpret the Bible as you see fit, in fact you have done.

          • Nordog6561

            “Jesus taught us to love and be kind to our enemies…”

            Oh, and sometimes the most loving and kind thing one can do for a violent criminal is to shoot them. But it should never be done with hatred in the heart.

          • http://www.facebook.com/philip.zylstra Philip Zylstra

            Sorry, but that’s bizarre. I’m just glad Jesus never saw things that way or we would all be up the creek.

          • 22044

            Philip,
            The arguments that you’ve presented would lead to lots more murders & crimes against innocent people if they were carried out.
            How dare you present them and try to dress them up in empty religious justifications. You sound like a typical liberal ghoul.
            You may actually have blood on your conscience because you insist on missing so many well-made and airtight points made by Nordog, among others.
            Repent from your foolishness.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.cauley.7 Steve Cauley

    The right to self-defense is a God-given right. How you choose to do that is your business, not “Caesar’s.” There is nothing inherently “Christian” or “un-Christian” about a gun any more than there is with a car, computer, or any other modern device capable of being used for “good” or “evil.” Is this really so complicated?

  • http://www.facebook.com/peter.fodera.1 Peter Fodera

    1) The 2nd amendment is NO MORE NOR LESS “holy” than the 1st and 3rd through the 27th amendments. Scripture did NOT MANDATE that slaves be freed but the Constitution does. Scripture does NOT mandate that women be allowed full participation in the workplace and politics but the Constitution does. Scripture does NOT insist upon unfettered free speech — only speaking the Truth in love — but the Constitution’s 1st amendment that you relied upon to freely express your views without fear of legal retribution protects your right to say and write whatever you please without that fear. Scripture does NOT guarantee that you’ll be able to worship without punishment or oppression but the Constitution does.

    In short, the 2nd amendment is only one amendment among 27 in addition to VII Articles and twenty-one Sections among the first IV Articles that comprise the entire Constitution of the United States of America.

    A knowledge of History and a rudimentary understanding of the 18th-century’s founders’ and framers’ Theistic and Deistic faith makes it abundantly clear why they included the 2nd amendment among all the other Articles, Sections and Amendments. They knew how evil, tyrannical, unjust and violent governments become when they are unfettered by a Bill of (the People’s) Rights and not limited in what they can do with the people’s money.

    But surely your exegesis followed by a sound Hermeneutic allows you to wrap your brain around the fact that whereas guns did NOT exist in 1st-century Palestine the quite ubiquitous Assault Weapon of the day was the SWORD that Jesus instructed his swordless apostles to purchase after selling their cloaks. He is never recorded as having rescinded that admonition. Swords were NOT known as particularly utilitarian hunting weapons; spears, slings, and bows and arrows were.

    BAD FORM: “. . . .(the 2nd amendment is) a law made by a pagan nation – let’s treat it as such.”

    The Framers were NOT pagans. NOT at all. Shame on you for not doing sufficient Due Diligence to avoid this specious allegation. Their writings are chock full of faithful references to God and high esteem for God’s Word. If you need citations and references please do NOT hesitate to ask and I’ll provide numerous ones. Unfortunately RLC stopped allowing imbedded URLs.

    2) “. . . do we really believe that semi-automatic weapons would even stand a chance against bazookas, rockets, grenades, or even nukes?”

    You seem unaware that over 300,000,000 guns reside in the hands of nearly 150,000,000 people-almost half the U.S. population. And do you really have such a negative view of the Obama regime as to seriously think he’d order NUKES be dropped upon New York City, Chicago, L.A., Atlanta, Dallas, etc.? As much as I disdain and disagree with Barack Hussein Obama even I stop short of that fear. And then there’s the question of our military personnel’s willingness to follow orders to kill civilians. Many have already pledged NOT to! Please research Oathkeepers dot org.

    Arguably Barack Hussein Obama’s GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT and MOST SUCCESSFUL Economic Stimulus has occurred in the firearms industry, confirmed by the the FACT that he’s near single-handedly driven the firearms industry to hire more people to MANUFACTURE MORE FIREARMS to be SOLD in the private sector to MORE AMERICANS than any other president before him.

    There have been ~ 65,400,000 Gun Purchases Since Obama Took Office, 91% More Than Bush’s First-Term Total! (Citation available upon request).
    As other industries lag and freeze hiring the firearms industry is firing on full auto and hiring people just to keep up with demand!

    And on what basis do you conjecture that the ENTIRETY of the Book of Revelation was fulfilled nearly 2,000 years ago. You see nothing of the Apocalypse and Parousia yet future therein? Which seminary did you learn exegesis in?

    3) People can love guns more than God just as easily as they can love Blogging, the Internet, Fame, Fortune, Applause, and Accolades more than God. That’s for sure.

    4) The UK, New Zealand, Australia, etc., don’t have a Constitutional 2nd amendment that expressly states, “. . . the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The U.S. does and unless and until it is amended by the tenuous Constitutional Amendment process it shall remain in full force as does every other jot and tittle of the Constitution.

    5) Never conflate eternal security with temporal security. Many an unarmed good Christian has prematurely lost their temporal security and life at the hands of an evil person with a gun only to be propelled into eternal security to the great grief and chagrin of their family and loved ones. This may have been their pacifist prerogative but it is NOT enforceable by force of law. Pacifism, especially for men with wives and children dependents, is always voluntary and never mandated as universally normative. Men may choose to allow their wives and children and themselves to die at the hands of evil men with guns attempting to rob, rape and ravage them to death, but the law and nor arguably God mandates this as normative for all.

    But it is an interesting aside that Mass Murderer Christopher Dorner was a BIG supporter of Barack Hussein Obama AND a BIG advocate for Gun Control even though he used several BIG guns to kill police and other innocents. Lethality results from guns in the hands of evil, violent wo/men, not in the hands of law-abiding citizens whether Christian or not.

    #1) “I’m not suggesting that we should thump our Bible in the national political debate.” I AM. And so is our good Christian Black brother, Dr. Ben Carson, who spoke during the recent National Prayer Breakfast about the need to extirpate Political Correctness and rely more heavily upon God’s Word when it comes to tax policy, deficits, debt and Pro-Life opposition to abortion.

    #2) Thanks be to God for every defenseless and unarmed man, woman and child who has been slaughtered by gun or knife or baseball bat or golf club, etc., in the hands of violently evil wo/men. I pray many jewels be added to their crowns in heaven and that the angels, beasts, and elders rejoice greatly before His throne!

    #3) Amen.

    #4) The vast majority of legal Americans, whether Christian or not, possess a U.S. passport and/or driver’s license that is recognized by most nation’s as proof positive that we are citizens of the United States of America. Are you advocating that we give up our passports and licenses and renounce our American citizenship? Were you taught in seminary, as was I, that Jesus inaugurated the Kingdom of God on earth but did NOT yet fulfill it? This does create some citizenship ambiguities, especially for families with dependent children.

    #5) Please point out the Red Letter Words of Jesus that convey a “negative connotation” within his admonition to His apostles to sell their cloaks and buy swords. I could not discern either explicitly nor implicitly any negative connotation nor denotation. Please help. Thanks in advance.

    Finally, are you prepared to say to every Christian man, woman and child that should they choose NOT to be pure pacifists and renounce not only guns but knives, baseball bats, glass vases, crowbars, etc., they will fall into chronic sin akin to those who once married, get divorced and remarried, or those who have abortions? If so, I welcome your Scriptural exegesis and hermeneutic. Thanks again in advance.

    • http://snommelp.tumblr.com/ Snommelp

      “Please point out the Red Letter Words of Jesus that convey a “negative connotation” within his admonition to His apostles to sell their cloaks and buy swords.”

      This has been provided for you numerous times. Every time, you ignore it, and then make the same claims as if it was never provided for you. If you are not going to pay attention to the responses that disprove your interpretation, do not pretend that you would be glad to see them.

  • D.A.

    For those that think owning a gun for protection is living in fear, I would like to ask if any of you buy health insurance? Life insurance? Home owners insurance? Car insurance? Because if you do, obviously you are living in fear of getting sick, wreaking your car or burning your house down. Being prepared is something God wants us to do. Providing for your family is commanded by God. Putting on the armor of God was an example of something good to do physically for defense and showing that we are to also spiritually suit up as well. I don’t have a problem with anyone that has a personal conviction against owning guns as long as they aren’t telling others who disagree that they are not living like Jesus did. Jesus did lay down His life because that was His whole purpose in coming. I could have laid down my life like that, but it wouldn’t save a soul. Only Jesus could be the sacrifice for us. But the same Jesus you say was non-violent, whipped, chased and threw out the money changers in the temple who were cheating people. According to your logic, is it only ok to whip those who would cheat and steal from people? The Bible doesn’t speak specifically about many things… no talk about antibiotics, but plenty of talk about anointing with oil, praying, but no talk of taking medications to bring down a fever, or use of antibiotics to kill bacteria, and nothing about surgery to stop a cancerous tumor. Is God against those things… Should I use this same statement, “We have all we need in God’s own resources to execute justice in the world.” And change it to, “We have all we need in God’s own resources for healing in the world.” Does God not use doctors to heal? Does God not use guns to stop evil? People who own guns, at least those of us who are Christians, don’t put our trust in a gun. We put our trust in our God that He will enable us to use whatever means He has allowed us to have to protect ourselves and our family. If I have a gun, I’ll use it. If I don’t, is my faith any less? No… I’ll use whatever God has put into my path. But this doesn’t mean I’m going to be stupid and not be prepared. I am going to do my best to be wise, to be prepared. For those of you who think that is wrong, send your daughters out at night on some downtown street and just tell them not to worry and to just trust God. Or send your kid to walk by a house of a known sex offender and say, it’s ok… all your resources are in God you don’t have to do anything else but trust. Well you know what? You can trust God all you want, but when you decide to go against what He teaches about being wise and about being prepared, then you will end up reaping what you’ve sown in the seeds of disobedience to those things. I am not a regular visitor to this blog and I know I don’t have time to keep coming back to check for replies, but I hope this gives you something else to think about. You can equate a spiritual world to a physical one. They aren’t the same… the two will one day converge and Christ will reign and the Lion will lay down with the lamb… but that day will not come until Christ reigns on earth. That day is not now.

  • defendingyourfamilyisnotasin

    “If a thief is caught breaking in at night and is struck a fatal blow, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed.” Exodus 22:2.

    I vividly remember a night years ago when my dad used a firearm to defend my pregnant mother from a large group of frenzied and substance crazed neighbors who became infuriated when she set off the motion light in our back yard while bringing her laundry in, inadvertently exposing the likely illegal “activities” they were participating in on their front lawn. My parents were new Christians and had worked very hard to try to improve the neighbor’s decaying moral situation, treating them right, praying for them daily, babysitting their children, inviting them to church and giving them the Gospel. Now they were approaching my mother and unborn little brother, screaming in substance-induced madness, brandishing weapons and threatening them with injury and death. My dad heard the commotion and ran out to help my mother inside and tried to reason with them to stop, and when it became apparent that they were not capable of reason my dad, in fear for his life and the life of his wife and children, showed them the business end of a revolver. They understood that and calmed down immediately. They called the authorities to report what was happening and they showed up 40 minutes later, a typical response time for our area.

    I pray to God it never happens, but if someone breaks into my home with the intent of torturing and raping my wife and children, I will not be complicit in their wicked acts by permitting them to do so. (Prov. 25:26). I will shoot them. After they no longer present a threat I will do everything in my power to help them survive if possible and will present the Gospel to them. There is no more paranoia in owning a firearm to protect your family than there is in providing other necessities for your family (1 Tim. 5:8). We all work jobs so we can have money to pay for food, is that a violation of Matthew 6:25-34? We all live in shelters, we all have fire extinguishers, we all have cell phones with 911 on speed dial, we all keep tire irons and spare tires in our vehicles, we all wear seatbelts, we all wear helmets, we all have first-aid kits, because bad things happen and it is not unfaithful, Biblically prohibited, or paranoid to do so; it is simply prudent. God has called us to trust Him in all things (Matthew 6:25-34), but that does not somehow mean we should relinquish our responsibilities to be realistic and provide safety and protection for our families when called to. I handle those things God has graciously given me the tools, knowledge, wisdom and responsibility to, and I trust Him to handle those things that I cannot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Felps/100000663624560 John Felps

    As an avid gun enthusiast, hunter and dyed-in-the-wool libertarian, that other thing I’m into… leaves me convicted and left without any argument. Thanks Kurt!

  • David Tremain

    Interesting article, some parts of it are very good. I will not say I agree with everything.
    He says “I would equally question why any Christian would have a loaded gun in their house when Jesus clearly teaches non-retaliation”, having a gun in the house for family protection is not the anything like *retaliation*.
    At this point in I do not have a gun of any type any more and I am not seeking to own, at least not now. But I wouldn’t say anyone that did own one for family protection was violating any precepts of Scripture by that in itself.

  • Jorge Ortiz

    The only thing to ask yourself here is this; what would Jesus response if you ask him; Lord, is it ok for me to own a gun just in case someone threatens my family? If you’re a real Christian, you’d know that the answer would not be an answer but he would question you back in a way that would itself questioned if you knew him or not. Because it would be a big NO!

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