This isn’t easy for me to say. Forty-one years ago, I accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior under the preaching of an evangelical pastor. I attended an evangelical college and seminary, was ordained an evangelical minister, and now chair the Evangelical Church Alliance, one of America’s oldest associations of evangelical clergy. My Christian identity is solidly evangelical.
But I disagree with my community’s wholesale embrace of the idea that anyone should be able to buy a gun. For one thing, our commitment to the sanctity of human life demands that we err on the side of reducing threats to human life. And our belief in the basic sinfulness of humankind should make us skeptical of the NRA’s slogan, “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.” The Bible indicates that we are all bad guys sometimes.
Additionally, anyone using a gun for defense must be ready to kill. Such a posture is antithetical to the term "evangelical," which refers to the "evangel," or gospel. The gospel begins with God’s love for every human, and calls on Christians to be more Christ-like. At no time did Jesus use deadly force. Although he once allowed his disciples to defend themselves with "a sword," that permission came with a limitation on the number of weapons they could possess. Numerous Bible passages, such as Exodus 22:2-3, strictly limit the use of deadly force.
The attached article and those like it makes me scratch my head with some confusion. It makes me angry and sad as well. The statement that you can’t be pro-life and pro-gun is a sweeping statement that assumes to know the hearts and minds of those who carry firearms for a living and those who choose to use them for personal protection, hunting and sporting. It is also an insulting statement based on emotion and a complete misunderstanding of intent. I would never fault anyone for not wanting to carry a firearm, or to even use them, but to try to make such a black and white statement like that is foolish.
"Pro-gun can’t be pro-life (Christian)? Really?"
Pro-gun can’t be pro-life (Christian)? Really? How about we just take the word "gun" out of the statement and just say, if you are for anything that could inflict harm on someone else, you are not in line with the God of the Bible. That would condemn just about everyone. I guess that makes every police officer anti-life. Better not call the police to save you when the wolf kicks in your door or wants to take away your child’s innocence. Every soldier must be anti-life too. So is every woman who has ever defended herself and her babies from domestic violence with a gun. She couldn’t possibly be pro-life. Apparently I’m not pro-life either.
I am a Christian and a very imperfect one to be exact. But I believe in the God of the Bible, the Saving Grace of Jesus Christ and the power and gift of the Holy Spirit. I believe the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God and I am fully aware that I don’t have God or His word all figured out. To think otherwise would be just nuckin futs.
The question must be asked, was man designed to kill one another? Absolutely not. God created man perfectly, in a perfect environment and in perfect relationship with him. However sin entered the world and infested God’s good creation. This was not the fault of God, rather the fault of man. What is the result of sin? Death and Destruction. The payment for sin? Blood. The Old Testament used the sacrificial system to cover the sins of the people with blood. This was brutally carried out with a knife slitting the throat of an animal screaming in pain, bleeding out and suffocating on its own blood. There was death, so there could be life.
"The question must be asked, was man designed to kill one another? Absolutely not."
Throughout the Old Testament God empowered His servants to take the fight to the enemies of God. There were various reasons, but all valid in God’s eyes. What about King David? Before he was king he was just a little shepherd boy. One day he was all alone and he killed both a lion and a bear that wanted to attack his sheep. He protected them, killing the predators, giving life to the sheep. It was his role as a shepherd. He was there to lead, feed and protect his flock. He would later make a perfect, one shot, one kill, head shot on the Philistine Giant Goliath preventing a large battle which would have resulted in mass casualties. He used a prehistoric firearm, known as a sling and an old school projectile also known as a rock. Pretty high tech stuff right there. Probably an “assault sling”. Anyway, the sling and stone were merely tools David used for a righteous reason. God’s hand was in that moment and as a result thousands of lives were spared because of his faith and trust in God.
The bible says "Do not murder." Murder is specific to taking the life of someone who is innocent. Yes, I know we are all sinful, thus all bad and fall short of the Glory of God. Thank God for Jesus, right? However there is a difference between good and evil when it comes to the sin of murder. David didn’t murder Goliath, he killed him in defense of his people with God’s consent and blessing. On the flip side, David would later take another man’s wife then have her husband who was one of his soldiers murdered on the battle field to cover his tracks. In case there was any confusion between the two instances, the later was a big no, no. Very not cool. God would forgive David and he would grow into one of the world’s great leaders. He would made many more mistakes in his life, would write portions of the Bible, be a mighty warrior and continue to be an imperfect servant of God, unashamed of his faith.
For us Christians, Jesus is the perfect example, right? The God-Man we all place our faith in and the guy we are supposed to emulate. Just so there is no misunderstanding I fail at this on a minute, by minute basis… which is why I am eternally grateful for God’s unmerited and undeserved favor, also known as Grace. Jesus laid down his life so that we might be spared. Again, sacrifice and death in exchange for life. Did Jesus physically kill during his time on earth? Not that we know of as the Bible doesn’t record it, but the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are eternal. He was there in the beginning of all things and present for all things. Question: How many people died in the flood?
He says of himself in Matthew 10 to be on guard as we will be like sheep amongst wolves. He is talking about spiritual and physical harm. He goes on to say that he has not come to bring peace but a sword. There will be controversy and trial, especially if you are a Christian. It’s not if it will happen, but when. Is there a time to turn the other cheek? Yes. Humility and setting aside your pride can be amazing tools of expressive love and I have witnessed this in my own life, but it is not a universal answer and doesn’t infer we are to put ourselves or others in mortal danger. Sometimes you need to take a righteous stand, flip a few tables, kick a little ass and protect your house. John 2:15.
"Will He return? Yes and it will be an absolute blood bath."
What about Jesus of the future? The Bible says He is the same yesterday, now and forever. Will He return? Yes and it will be an absolute blood bath. Read Revelation 19:11 and the stories of death and destruction are graphically horrifying… and justified. Jesus himself returns as a warrior with blazing eyes, on a war horse with a sword coming out of his mouth and his robe dripping in blood. Does that make God any less a lover of life? I think not. He will be justified in His wrath.
What about the present era? You and I would not be here if it were not for someone willing to take up arms to either conquer or defend. War is horrible, but sometimes it is a reality that even God uses to accomplish good. It wasn’t negotiations that saved the Jews from further Genocide during WWII. It was the soldier fighting his way through evil, dying and killing in order to spare others. How many more would have been lost if we had simply turned the other way and let it happen so as not to kill. What about today? ISIS is absolute evil that needs to be eradicated. But, how do you do that? Negotiate with them? Good luck with that. They only speak one language and that is death. They even kill their own, burning them alive publicly when they fail. Bottom line is that some folks are just mean and want to hurt others and will stop at nothing to inflict as much death and destruction as possible.
As a parent it breaks my heart to hear of children being abused, neglected and killed. For someone to treat another fellow human being as if they were consumable garbage is despicable. The pastor in the article recalls the time he witnessed the aftermath of horrific acts that were committed against innocent children. These atrocities were carried out by evil, disturbed and corrupt people that happened to use a gun. He translates his anger (which is justified) onto other people like you and I and makes the claim we cannot be pro-life if we are pro-gun (which is unjustified). He sees the object (gun) as evil. What that statement is really saying is if you are pro-gun you condone evil, the killing of innocents, and cannot be pro-life, or in line with the Gospel which is absolute garbage.
The Gospel means good news and I can guarantee when evil is averted and stopped because someone stepped up and took a stand, the persons saved, liberated and protected consider that good news and an act of love. When Jesus took a stand as the Son of God and was brutally murdered in the most horrific of ways it became Good News for us who believe in Salvation through Christ. His death, gives us life. I’m glad Jesus stood up for me and fought the fight I couldn’t.
"I’m glad Jesus stood up for me and fought the fight I couldn’t."
One of the main stories in the news right now is the story of an 18 year old girl in New York who was at a park with her father. Five teens came up, produced a handgun and told the father to walk away. He did and ran to get help. The fact that he left his daughter alone is staggering to me. I am sure there is more to the story; however that seems incomprehensible to me. Anyway, New York has some of the strictest gun laws in the country so the father was not armed (at least that we know of). The teens, who were under the age of 21 (the legal age to buy a pistol) were already breaking the law and were ready to break a multitude of other laws. They then proceeded to gang rape this 18 year old girl, leaving her beaten, bruised and violated, collapsed on the ground, which is how her father later found her when he returned with help. He was supposed to be her shepherd. He is her daddy and her protector and has been tasked by God to fulfill that duty, even to the point of his own death. I don’t think I could live with myself if I had abandoned any of my three daughters to the wolves. Which was the godlier thing to do? Walk away and let your daughter be ravaged and potentially killed? Or put your daughter behind you, face evil and kill the wolf or at least die trying? You answer that for yourself as you will have to live with the result.
As parents it is our calling to be stewards of the children and relationships God gave us to look after. Would I do everything in my power to prevent something like that from happening to my wife or children? I would use any and every resource at my disposal to protect them. Does that including taking the life of someone else intent on doing massive harm so that they may live? For me, absolutely. No questions asked. I can’t speak for you; however there is no sin in protecting the innocent. There is no sin in removing a wolf from amongst the sheep that is trying to devour and destroy.
Do you have to carry a gun? Absolutely not. Do you have to like them? Nope. I would never fault anyone who didn’t feel comfortable with a firearm or any other object for that matter or feel like they could take another life. If you know that about yourself, great. We are all created different, with unique perspectives and gifts. But never think for one moment that the shepherd isn’t necessary. Without them, there would only be wolves as the sheep would eventually be devoured.
Yes, this life is temporary and we will all one day stand before God to give an account of our life. There are many things in my life that I wish I could take back or do different. I am sure there will be many more to come. I have messed up in awful ways. Protecting my babies and serving my country is not one of the things I will regret. That is my job. That is your job as a parent, as a spouse and as a human being. To care for, love and protect one another in the best way you can. To leave this world better than how you found it. Do that within your God given ability. Means and methods will vary.
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