Written by Larry Anderson
Thursday, 07 March 2013 00:00
Recently, I was at a meeting and a fellow pastor sitting next to me shared that he owned sixty guns and asked my opinion on the NRA I shared that I thought sixty guns were enough to start a mini war, and my thoughts on the NRA are a bit biased because of their perceived lack of concern for the tragic inner-city conditions due to easily accessible firearms. He gave me the famous line that “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people,” to which I responded “I never saw anyone shoot someone dead with their finger.”
The debate over Christians carrying firearms is alive and well. On one hand, we can spiritualize all the danger away and easily say ‘the full armor of God,’ as described in Ephesians 6, doesn’t include an assault weapon. One could argue God is their protector, and having a weapon symbolizes a lack of faith in His protective power. On the other hand we can see the amount of home invasions, armed robberies, and senseless killings taking place and biblically reflect on the victories God granted Abraham, Joshua, and David and likewise prepare ourselves for battle.
The question we must ask ourselves is what motivates us to possess a firearm? Fear? Protection? Self Defense?
Is this about protecting my home and family? Can I read 1 Timothy 5:8, “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever,” and recognize this as a commandment to provide protection for my family? If so, then I need to be trained to load, clean, maintain, aim, and accurately shoot the firearm so I will be equipped to do just that. I need to provide a safe place where this firearm will be kept to ensure it is not accessible to anyone but me.
Do I believe I need to carry this firearm with me daily? Can I read Luke 22:36, where Jesus tells His disciples “If you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one,” as permission to bear arms because of the enemies that are out there in the streets?
Also, I must ask myself questions like:
Am I on the enemy’s radar because I carry large amounts of money, drive a car, or wear attire that draws envious attention?
Do I travel in areas during the evening hours which place me in harm’s way?
Am I simply arming myself because I know others out there are armed?
Whatever reason we use to justify carrying a firearm, we should be sure not to have uncontrolled anger issues. Additionally, we must also be sure that we do not allow the weapon to give us excessive confidence because they should never be a real option unless our very life depends on possessing them
Finally, I ask you to wrestle with the question of whether or not carrying a gun is a Christian argument or simply a security issue? If your pastor carried a gun, would your faith increase or decrease?
Larry L. Anderson, Jr. is Assistant Professor of Practical Theology and the Director of the Urban Programs at Biblical. He is also the pastor of Great Commission Church, previously located in the suburb of Roslyn, PA, but now situated in the West Oak Lane community of Philadelphia to provide a holistic ministry to an urban setting.