Baptist Forum Does Gun Control

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 6 months ago

Baptist Standard:

ABILENE—Christians who advocate gun rights on grounds of self-defense have lost sight of the radical nature of Jesus’ message, a Hardin-Simmons University professor told a student-initiated forum on gun violence.

“Americans have a deep love of salvific violence, the idea that with the use of force—the use of deadly force—against the right kind of people, we can make things turn out OK,” said Rodney Taylor, assistant professor of theology at HSU. “I think the cross, however, says something very different. What we see in the cross is the overcoming of violence, not through resistance, but rather through trust in God.”

Speaking on “God and Guns: The Way of Jesus in a Violent World,” Taylor critiqued the argument of self-defense as a natural right by comparing and contrasting it to Christian beliefs about premarital sex. To non-Christians, a prohibition against sex outside marriage seems like a “strange command,” he noted.

“But there are a lot of other strange commands there that Jesus gives us that seem counterintuitive,” he said. “I think the problem with the natural right of self-defense is that it loses sight of the kind of radical message that we see in the gospel—this radical approach that Jesus gives us that is counterintuitive, that doesn’t really seem to fit.”

The reason it doesn’t fit is because it is nonsense fabricated entirely out of their minds rather than being found in the Bible.

We’ve covered this before in Christians, The Second Amendment And The Duty Of Self Defense.  There are at least a couple of problems with this forum and its pronouncements on guns.  First, professors in anything, those who have spent vast quantities of money and time in so-called “higher education,” want to believe that they’ve discovered something new, something exciting, something breathtaking, something no one has ever seen.

To get a little pointy headed here and diverge into a sidebar comment that few of my readers will know about (but these professors will), this is one of the features of the so-called new perspectives in Paul and N. T. Wright.  No one before him, he must necessarily believe, not Augustine, not Anselm, not Calvin, not Beza, not W.G.T. Shedd, not Hodge, not Dabney, and on the list could go, has gotten it right.  God left it to him to really explain what the apostle Paul was saying.  Everyone else in history was wrong.

Likewise for this forum, every other theologian was wrong about the justification (and even necessity and duty) of self defense.  This is quite an arrogant way to live and think, but academia is shot through with it.  The second problem is that this forum is comprised of progressive, contemporary theologians who believe in nothing much except the social gospel.  Thus, they want to correct or ameliorate broad, sweeping social ills not by preaching salvation by grace through faith to individuals, but by statist control over the collective.

This is easy, folks.  The sixth commandment controls us in this matter.  God forbids the opposite of what he enjoins, and He enjoins the opposite of what He forbids.  Thou shalt not kill means thou shalt save life.  These forum members would sooner allow their wives to be raped and murdered by home invaders than lift a hand to save the one God gave them to protect.  Or, they would fight to save their wives, making them to be liars, and worse, profoundly stupid liars because they chose to use one of the least effective weapons to defend the loved ones under their charge.

Take your pick.  Silently stand by and watch their wives be raped, or they become liars; not even they believe a word of what they have to say, and so you shouldn’t either.  And for the record, God has made no promise to save their wives in home invasions while they silently stand and watch.  Let’s make this even more visceral by quoting what I said earlier.

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.

And even more to the point, “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.”  So here is a challenge for the forum members.  Prove to me and my readers that your views don’t really mean that you wouldn’t save a child being harmed or your spouses being raped.  Prove to me that you’re better than a child abuser or pedophile?  And if you would act to save a life in this way, why would you choose a means that ensured your failure?

  • Greg Williams

    I don’t know why people keep saying the commandment is “Thou shall not kill.” The commandment is “Thou shall not murder.” Murder is killing the innocent, such as abortion. I’m a Christian and you better believe I’d defend my family. Nowhere in the Bible does it say we are to sit back and do nothing when being physically attacked. In fact, Jesus told his disciples they could take “two swords” (Luke 22:38).

    This misunderstanding comes from people forgetting they are reading a translation (Scripture was not written in English). Thus, you could say they are not being properly trained as disciples. (See Westboro Baptist Church for incorrect instruction).

    Not everyone that claims to be Christian is a Christian. Jesus didn’t preach hate, nor did he preach that we should be stupid.

  • Herschel Smith

    I understand the difference between the two. I used KJ english because it reads better. And no reader of the King’s english ever really thought that “kill” referred to self defense because of the case law in the O.T. Case law explains moral law.

    And you can bet that the folks on this panel know all of this. They just don’t believe it because they don’t believe in much of anything.

  • Chief Instructor

    Well said, sir.

    I get many people in my self-defense and safety awareness classes that say they could only take a life in defense of a child or other family member, but not in defense of themselves. Their perspective usually comes from some self-selected moral standpoint, and not strict doctrinal teachings. I can usually get them to see the error in their logic by the end of the class.

    I believe it would be much more difficult for me – some guy they’ve just met – to convince them to challenge the teachings of their pastor or other religious leader.

  • Paul B

    It is hard to challenge a authority figure. the church has, for years, worked to keep us as happy proles. Not very often will you find a pastor preaching a message that Jesus would approve.

    Jesus himself did not go armed but his situational awareness was off the charts.

    I go armed not because I want to kill anyone, I do not want to be killed by a pack of animals. FWIW not all animals have four legs.

    What I tell people is that this question is something they need to resolve for themselves. If they cannot use a weapon in defense, they should not carry.

  • Randy Bard

    Exodus 22:2 If a thief breaks into your house at night and you strike him and he dies from the blow you are not guilty of murder.

    Of course this was before Christ and during the time of an eye for an eye, but it sounds good to me.

  • Herschel Smith

    Randy. Concerning Matt 5:38-48, I encourage you to read R. J. Rushdoony, “Institutes of Biblical Law,” page 700f.

  • john in cheshire

    There is nothing in Jesus’ teachings that tells us we have to bear the weight of the wrath of our enemies. I recall the hymn Onward Christian Soldiers – which is more apposite than most of the lies spread by the enemies of Christianity. As for our greatest enemy, muslims, they are without compassion and without forgiveness. That will be their ultimate undoing.

  • Josh

    It’s as simple as one instruction Jesus gives His disciples at The Last Supper: sell your cloak and buy a sword. Figurative interpretations would have you think Jesus was speaking in the abstract or referencing the far future, considering he later stops Peter from running Malchus through (which was an encapsulated lesson dealing with Peter’s faith). These interpretations seem to forget Jesus’ fit of rage and violence targeted at merchants and bankers and involving tossed tables, scattered coin and a whip…that he MADE.

    That’s not an issue for me; Jesus had a prophecy to fulfill and part of that was becoming a sacrifice. We don’t have a prophecy to fulfill, we have a duty to fulfill: loving and protecting ourselves, our families and our neighbors.

    My fists might do in a pinch, but only on the way to my .40.

You are currently reading "Baptist Forum Does Gun Control", entry #11558 on The Captain's Journal.

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

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