Bible of the Gun
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I wished he took that part literally. Scott Applewhite. But the biggest hole in his theology is this: There is no Jesus in it.
When it comes to interpreting the Old Testament, Jesus is the lens through which we understand everything. When you interpret Jesus in light of Exodus, rather than Exodus in light of Jesus, you get some whacked-out theology.
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Any pro-gun Christian has the nagging problem of Jesus, and the Sermon on the Mount, and the Beatitudes, and the enemy-love Jesus displays on the cross. At the heart of Christianity is a savior who was a victim of violence, not a defender of violence. In fact, the two have agreed to meet in person next week to discuss the topic. Were I to sit down with Cruz and a Bible, I would turn to a story that appears in Luke 22 — when the disciple Peter uses a weapon to defend Jesus — a story so important to the disciples that it appears in all four Gospels.
Jesus responds in a stunning and bemusing way.
What the Bible Says About Guns and the Second Amendment
Peter learned, as any of us who dare follow Jesus must learn, we cannot carry a cross in one hand and a weapon in the other. Jesus models for us how to interact with violence without mirroring the violence. Instead, history records the opposite. Early Christians insisted that for Christ we can die on behalf of others, but we cannot kill for them.
But the gun and the cross offer us two very different versions of what power looks like. One is willing to die. The other is willing to kill.
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I will say this: Cruz teaches us one thing worth paying attention to. At the root of our gun problem is a theological and moral crisis. Christians are packing heat as they worship the Prince of Peace. Christians own guns at a higher rate than the general population, and are using the Bible to defend those guns just as it was once used to defend slavery. The highest gun-owning demographic in America is white evangelical Christians. Christians like to talk about being pro-life, but too often it would be more accurate to say we are pro-birth or anti-abortion.
Christians need a pro-life vision that is consistent and that champions life from the womb to the tomb. Over lives a day — each made in the image of God — are lost to guns. That matters to God, and it should matter to us. You must be logged in to post a comment. Obviously, the Bible does not specifically address the issue of gun control, since firearms, like we use today, were not manufactured in ancient times. But accounts of warfare and the use of weaponry, such as swords, spears, bows, and arrows, darts and slings were well-documented in the pages of the Bible.
As I began researching biblical perspectives on the right to bear arms, I decided to speak with Mike Wilsbach, the manager of security at my church. Wilsbach is a retired combat veteran who also teaches personal defense classes. He reminded me that in the Old Testament "the Israelites were expected to have their own personal weapons. Every man would be summoned to arms when the nation confronted an enemy.
They didn't send in the Marines. The people defended themselves. And in Psalm , David wrote: "Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle Besides instruments of warfare, weapons were used in the Bible for the purpose of self-defense; nowhere in Scripture is this forbidden.
In the Old Testament , we find this example of God sanctioning self-defense:. In the New Testament , Jesus sanctioned the use of weapons for self-defense.
While giving his farewell discourse to the disciples before going to the cross , he instructed the apostles to purchase side arms to carry for self-protection. He was preparing them for the extreme opposition and persecution they would face in future missions:. Conversely, as soldiers seized Jesus at his arrest, our Lord warned Peter in Matthew and John to put away his sword: "For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Some scholars believe this statement was a call to Christian pacifism, while others understand it simply to mean in a general sense that "violence breeds more violence.
Jesus didn't say, 'Throw it away. The reason Jesus was saying 'Peter, this is not the right time for a fight. It's interesting to note that Peter openly carried his sword, a weapon similar to the type Roman soldiers employed at the time. Jesus knew Peter was carrying a sword. He allowed this, but forbid him to use it aggressively. Most importantly, Jesus did not want Peter to resist the inevitable will of God the Father , which our Savior knew would be fulfilled by his arrest and eventual death on the cross. Scripture is quite clear that Christians are called to be peacemakers Matthew , and to turn the other cheek Matthew Thus, any aggressive or offensive violence was not the purpose for which Jesus had instructed them to carry a sidearm just hours earlier.
A sword, as with a handgun or any firearm, in and of itself is not aggressive or violent. It is simply an object; it can be used either for good or for evil. Any weapon in the hands of someone intent on evil can be used for violent or wicked purposes.
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In fact, a weapon is not required for violence. The Bible doesn't tell us what kind of weapon the first murderer, Cain , used to kill his brother Abel in Genesis 4.
Cain could have used a stone, a club, a sword, or perhaps even his bare hands. A weapon was not mentioned in the account. Weapons in the hands of law-abiding, peace-loving citizens can be used for good purposes such as hunting , recreational and competitive sports, and keeping peace. Beyond self-defense, a person properly trained and prepared to use a firearm can actually deter crime, employing the weapon to protect innocent lives and prevent violent offenders from succeeding in their crimes.
Pastor Tom Teel, an associate pastor entrusted with overseeing the security personnel at my church, answered this question for me: "In this passage God stated that it's okay to protect yourself and your family. In the dark, it is impossible to see and know for certain what someone is up to; whether an intruder has come to steal, inflict harm, or to kill, is unknown at the time.
In the daylight, things are clearer. We can see if a thief has come just to swipe a loaf of bread through an open window, or if an intruder has come with more violent intentions. God does not make a special dispensation to kill someone over theft.
What Does the Bible Say About Gun Control?
That would be murder. Scripture, we know, does not promote vengeance Romans or vigilantism, but it does allow believers to engage in self-defense, to resist evil, and to defend the defenseless. Wilsbach put it like this: "I believe I have the responsibility to defend myself, my family, and my home.