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 sixty guns were enough to start a mini war.

Should Christians Carry Guns?
A man fires his handgun along a mountain range in Buckeye, Arizona, January 20, 2013. (Joshua Lott/Reuters)

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 that place me in harm's way?

Am I simply arming myself because I know others out there are armed?

Precautions for Christians and Fire Arms

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?

About the Author

Larry Anderson

Dr. Larry Anderson

Larry L. Anderson, Jr. is The Director of Church Health for the Southern Baptist Convention. He serves as an Adjunct Professor of Practical Theology at Biblical Seminary and 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.


+4 # 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."
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+1 # jerryd 2016-04-24 08:29
Any "way" that disregards the commands of God are "ways" that lead to hell. There is no middle - we either obey God or we serve Satan. As Jesus commanded in Luke, go arm yourself and stop equivocating.
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-1 # Dr. Anderson 2013-03-07 10:41
Great response Robert, thank you for sharing.
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+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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+1 # Paul Pollaccia 2015-03-10 20:45
I am a believer, and I wholehearted believe that the Lord Jesus does not forbid us owning a firearm. The bible is very clear on this issue, all one has to do is study the bible. One must be responsible when owning a firearm. I believe you have the right to defend your family against home invaders, but you do not have a right to vengeance. God did say vengeance belongs to me says the Lord. I would like to say this one last comment, there has never been a case where a firearm has went on a rampage , without a person behind it!
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+1 # Darrin 2015-12-05 20:12
I am thankful for this discussion. I went to this site after spending an hour looking online for a gun for home protection. I need much more prayer before doing so. In the end as a christian I believe that the love of Christ should be the weapon to come over the evils of this world. As in a attacker coming in my home that is a different situation. Should I look for God to work a miracle in a home attack situation or realize that having a gun is the miracle???
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0 # jerryd 2016-04-24 08:26
Why should the Lord God act for your defence if you disobey His specific command that you arm yourself?

Only the disobedient disobey this very simple, plain command. Sell your cloak and arm yourself.
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0 # Ken Sandlin 2015-12-07 20:33
you said you never saw anyone shoot someone dead with his finger. I've never seen a gun sitting on a table or leaning in a corner just start shooting someone and it want until a person is involved with it first.
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0 # AD 2016-01-24 16:53
Well put Darrin. The "gun being the miracle" similar to the story of the rescuers sent by God to rescue the flooded-out man, who turned down the helicopter, and the rescue boat, to ultimately drown, and then question God not saving him...
I believe both the Old and New Testaments to be the holy word of God, and I will continue to discern and pray on the subjects of self defense, concealed carry, and other related topics, since I see God approving and also disapproving in the Old and New Testament. I've also learned in life that when in doubt, - stand down.
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0 # jerryd 2016-04-24 08:24
God commands it. There is no debate.
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