Who Would Jesus Shoot?

BY Herschel Smith
11 months, 2 weeks ago

Emily Miller notes that Washington National Cathedral recently weighed in on gun control.

Once again, the D.C. police are using their resources to provide illegal guns for a public relations stunt intended to pressure politicians to pass federal restrictions on the Second Amendment.

Outside the Washington National Cathedral on Sunday, blacksmiths will “forge firearms into garden tools” as a symbolic enactment of this year’s theme, “Swords into Plowshares.”

The Children’s Defense Fund, which is cosponsoring the event, said in a press release that blacksmiths will be using “illegal guns confiscated by the police.”

The dramatic scene will follows a children’s church service in which the organization’s president Marian Wright Edelman will speak.

It is illegal in the District to possess a firearm that is not registered. When asked about the event, Police Chief Cathy Lanier’s spokesman said that, “These are not firearms. They are scrap parts only, and they are inoperable.”

That’s actually legally irrelevant. According to the District firearms laws written after the Supreme Court’s Heller decision in 2008, even a non-functioning firearm must be registered and can result in criminal liability.

Yea, it may be illegal in more ways than one.  If they take possession of a lower receiver that is technically defined as the part that is controlled by the ATF.  But let’s focus on Washington National Cathedral for a moment.

How very sophisticated of them to beat up guns as part of a worship service.  David Codrea notes – tongue in check – how very hipster Gary Hall is.  Of course, Washington National Cathedral doesn’t believe in any of the classical confessions of the faith (e.g., Westminster Confession of Faith, Heidelberg Catechism, Canons of Dort, etc.).  They don’t believe in anything, and so they aren’t a real church.  You may as well have a Potemkin Pastor for your weekly speaker under those circumstances.  After all, it’s no more than a country club that meets once per week.

A few miles away in Indiana, another pastor takes a different view.

A pistol-packing pastor helped foil a stick-up when he pulled his handgun on a man trying to rob an Indiana discount store Friday night, police said.

Pastor Carl Sanders, who has a permit to carry a firearm, managed to hold the suspect at the Dollar General Store in Evansville on the until police arrived.

Evansville Police said Jermaine Dewayne Marshall, 25, walked into the store and, with a bandanna over his face and an unknown object wrapped in plastic in his hand, demanded money from a worker at the register. The employee refused.

“Marshall tells the individual again to open the register and points this object he’s trying to pass off as a firearm at the employee,” said Capt. Andy Chandler of the Evansville Police Department.

When the clerk refused again, Marshall struck him several times in the face.

That’s when Pastor Sanders walked into the store.

Sanders told NBC affiliate WFIE Evansville that Marshall came at him with what appeared to be a gun wrapped in plastic.

“He was telling me to get on the ground,” Sanders told WFIE. “That’s when I pulled my weapon and say, ‘No, you get on the ground.’”

“I laid my life down for some people, knowing they were going to be OK,” Sanders said, adding that Marshall “didn’t deserve to be hurt, I wasn’t going to hurt him, but I wanted him to know you can’t do this.”

Sanders called the police and kept Marshall covered until police arrived, Chandler said. Police discovered that Marshall had been trying to pass off a spoon wrapped in a plastic bag as a firearm.

You see, Carl Sanders cares about people, and Gary Hall doesn’t.  If this sounds harsh, you need to think more deeply about the issue since it is clear that you haven’t considered the ramifications of your views.

In what I noted to myself as one of the best lines I have ever heard, the horrible Think Progress had a piece entitled Who Would Jesus Shoot?  The comments are more important than the silly article, as they demonstrate that most people (falsely) equate Jesus with pacifism.

So in order to answer that question let me wax theological for a moment.  Nothing happened in the birth, life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus that wasn’t ordained, controlled by God, and intended for a specific end (He upholds all things by the “Word of His power,” and He “Works all things after the counsel of His own will,” Hebrews 1:3 and Ephesians 1:11).

One must understand the soteriological import of every event in order to understand what happened to Jesus.  Asking the question Who Would Jesus Shoot? demonstrates that the questioner is an idiot.

But let’s pull this thread a little farther if we may.  I have dealt with the issue of guns, violence and Christianity in another extensive article, looking at the Biblical evidence, the historical evidence and the theological positions of the Church fathers.  Very directly, I state that:

God has laid the expectations at the feet of heads of families that they protect, provide for and defend their families and protect and defend their countries.  Little ones cannot do so, and rely solely on those who bore them.  God no more loves the willing neglect of their safety than He loves child abuse.  He no more appreciates the willingness to ignore the sanctity of our own lives than He approves of the abuse of our own bodies and souls.  God hasn’t called us to save the society by sacrificing our children or ourselves to robbers, home invaders, rapists or murderers.

Self defense – and defense of the little ones – goes well beyond a right.  It is a duty based on the idea that man is made in God’s image.  It is His expectation that we do the utmost to preserve and defend ourselves when in danger, for it is He who is sovereign and who gives life, and He doesn’t expect us to be dismissive or cavalier about its loss.

If you believe that it is your Christian duty to allow your children to be harmed by evil-doers (and you actually allow it to happen) because you think Christ was a pacifist, you are no better than a child abuser or pedophile.

Who would Jesus shoot?  He would shoot anyone he had to in order to save life from harm by evil-doers.  Christ had very specific warnings about those who cause the “little ones” to stumble (Luke 17:2), and He made clear His stipulations concerning their place in the Kingdom (Luke 18:16).

Like I said.  If you think this is some sort of doctrinaire, theoretical debate with ethereal platitudes, you’d better rethink your position.  This is the stuff of life and death – literally.

UPDATE: Thanks to David, Mike and Glenn for their attention to this article.



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  • Heyoka

    Well if we get past the Roman Doctrine emasculating the Christians for the secular authority of the Roman Empire we will have a better understanding of all this.

    First Jesus said that he did not come to do away with the law but to fulfill it. He said that the Law would not change until “all these things come to pass”, a new heaven and new earth. So since that has not happened the law is still in effect. Also in Timothy it tells us to study the scriptures to show yourself approved, for higher understanding is the meaning. But there was no so called new testament then so the Tora-the Law as God gave it to Moses, and the writings of the prophets are the scriptures not a bunch of letters written by others. I do recognize what Jesus taught and see that to be valid but there was nothing new there.

    As for the Law the subject of Jesus rant was the commentaries that had become tradition and not the actual Law. The original 613 laws, statutes and judgments was expanded by the lawyers to over 1500 pages of garbage that no man could follow. This is an exact parallel with our circumstance with the “lawyers” of today, the politicians. Like the Law the Constitution and the limited powers delegated have been expanded to something that no man could follow. So since that is out of the way and we recognize that God’s law was true then and now we can enter into a “reasonable” discussion on what is expected of every man. God wants justice not sacrifice. This is the first point. Butchering a cow was to remind the person that wrong doing was going to cost you. The law of sacrifice was due to the Hardness of men’s hearts. So forget the sacrifice thing. Jesus fulfilled that part and since it was not part of a God incited heart we have only to do right and return to others the things we do with a contrite heart, that is the sacrifice, giving up our animal nature.

    Well I have more but to support Hershel’s position. Jesus told hid followers to sell their cloaks and buy a sword if they did not have one. He also ran the money changers out of the temple with a whip, not harsh language. So physical violence was authorized but not on light conditions. the Law of God is manifest in nature. Subverting that Natural Law creates an artificial construct that it becomes impossible to follow because of the arbitrary nature of the legislative power in the hands of a few who eventually make themselves the ruling class. Of course Jesus went to town on these people, hypocrites, and the high places based upon the artificial construct these traditions he spoke of. Jesus was a political speaker and as with John he was killed for it. remember this Jesus did not lambast the romans, he took his own people and government to task for their Godless behavior. He knew as it was said by al the prophets, when you follow God’s Law the nation prospers when you don’t all manner of invasion by lesser human types run free reign over the land. Now just what are we seeing he in this country, exactly the same thing….

    I rest my case.

  • Ned

    Well stated, Herschel, and Heyoka.

    Jesus was indeed no pacifist. The instruction for men to protect their children was an instruction – not a suggestion.

    The “turn the other cheek” matter was an instruction not to START a fight. Not to stand there and take a beating.

    There is a large part of the Christian populace who have been misinformed by their 501(C)(3) corporate churches.

    Here’s a relevant post from the brilliant Ann Barnhardt’s website regarding that matter:

    http://www.barnhardt.biz/2013/10/13/quote-collection-indifference-inertia-and-ignorance/

    Here’s a link to a depiction of Christ the pacifist (not):

    http://www.barnhardt.biz/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/jesus-whip-560×448.jpg

  • Paul B

    Yep, Ann has been beating up the Catholics for some time as not being correct. She also has label Islam as a death cult.

    I don’t disagree with the woman at all.

    Jesus, and for that matter the 10 commandments do not condone murder, which is where you start the fight.

    They all espouse self defense. And for the most part crimes are settled by cash, not time served.

    We could do far worse than following the commandments of Jesus.

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  • Ann K

    You’ve got it all wrong. It should be WHOM would Jesus shoot!

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    Oh, isn’t Ann clever? Well, it’s too late to change the URL now. Perhaps you can be my editor in the future before I hit “publish.” I never claimed to be an English major.

  • Jablonski

    Paul, I suppose for you the correct response to Hitler & Stalin’s rampage through Europe was for the Allies to stand by and watch the liquidation of Jews, homosexuals, and yes, Catholics. I suppose they could have condemned it, in the strongest possible terms, as the UN puts it. But that’d be wrong too.

    Because Jesus said not to commit murder, and to condemn not, lest ye be condemned, right?

    See? Two can play Cherrypick This just as well as one can.

    Ps. Jesus didn’t actually provide the 10 Commandments. That was his old man, who also said some things about “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand…” and so forth. He also said, pretty suscinctly, I think, “He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.”

    C’mon. Exegete that away, willya.

  • Phil Turmel

    I like to point pacifist Christians at the Roman Catholic Catechism on the topic:

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P7Z.HTM

    From paragraph 2264: “Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow”

    From paragraph 2265: “Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for someone responsible for another’s life.”

    Having to use lethal force against one’s attacker, or to defend someone else, is a *tragedy*, but not a sin.

  • KMA too

    Jablonski-
    I have no idea what your intent was in your first paragraph, but that last one is quite a bit off, regarding exegesis. Jesus is not separate from “his old man”. Jesus quite clearly said the He and the Father “are One”, and Father clearly backed that up. Jesus also made the claim that, before Abraham was born, “I Am”. That means that the Law WAS given by Jesus (not via a Christophany, per se), as there is no separation between Father and Son. Just as both created everything, “They” gave the Law.

  • Vader

    Well, of *course* the National Cathedral isn’t a real church. That would violate the Establishment Clause.

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    Uh huh. Like having prayer before Senate business violates the clause, and like having In God We Trust violates this clause, and … so on.

    And not according to the Colonial fathers who were the ones who wrote our constitution. My rule has always been that if the Colonial fathers didn’t see something as violating the constitution, well then, they would be the ones who would know.

    But I assume that you’re speaking tongue-in-cheek so I won’t harp on about it.

  • Bill Cook

    I think an analogy can be made to Matthew 25:31-46, the story of the sheep and the goats. Just as you do to the least of these, you do to me (Jesus). Thus, if you fail to protect the least of these, do you fail to protect Jesus?

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    Bill,

    Yes.

  • Bill

    Herschel,

    Excellent essay. The comments as well. We’ve been having this issue at my church, and I’m constantly stating that being a Christian does not equal a pacifist. Just that we’re more tolerant before reacting in general.

    It’s been a long summer, but they seem to be coming around to defending our church and not letting others walk all over the congregation.

  • Lisa

    Jesus would be unlikely to shoot anyone, which proves again what a foolish question it is. He has the power to strike dead, as evidenced in the New Testament Book of Acts; Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead for failing to be honest.

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    Lisa,

    I think you said what I said.

  • Lisa

    Yes, I was agreeing with you.

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  • Fred

    Luke 17:2 says, “It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.” I would think that refusing to protect your child, or any child from harm would definitely cause them to stumble and quite easily lose their faith…

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This article is filed under the category(s) Guns,Religion and was published October 21st, 2013 by Herschel Smith.

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