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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.

 

Comments 

 
+3 #3 Lee 2013-08-23 15:51
There is a scripture in the Bible where Jesus asked the disciples,how many swords do we have and they said 2,and He said that's sufficient.Shouldn't that tell us that it's ok to carry a gun ?Then the scripture also says,our weapons are not carnal(material )but mighty to the pulling down of strong holds.So,that seems to say we as christians don't have to rely on weapons.Which is it ?
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0 #2 Dr. Anderson 2013-03-07 10:41
Great response Robert, thank you for sharing.
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+1 #1 Robert Martin 2013-03-07 08:52
Thanks, Larry.

I recently explored a "third way" of looking at this myself. My summary paragraph is this:

"I see folks in the church taking up positions on both sides of the political debate and I worry that they are getting dragged into the same mistakes. Instead of propagating the culture of fear, we need to teach a gospel of the eternal Kingdom of God where the things of this world will all pass away and only that Kingdom is truly forever. Instead of controlling actions and exacting punishments for failing the standard, we need to teach a gospel that everyone person on earth is a precious person in God’s eyes. And these teachings are not things that can be done in the halls of power and in the houses of Congress, these are things that we need to actively live out and demonstrate in our own lives as we proclaim them with our mouths. Let the political debates rage and put bandages on the symptoms. We have a disease to cure, we are the triage doctors out in the field, and we are doing the work of the Great Physician who can heal this disease."

http://abnormalanabaptist.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/gun-rights-an-attempt-at-a-third-way/
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