8 months, 3 weeks ago
From a pastor in the UMC (where else?).
Consider for a moment a nightmare scenario: A person walks into your worship service and brandishes or, worse still, actually fires, a weapon.
Now, because your church has opted into our state legislature’s new law allowing licensed gun owners to bring weapons to church, several folks in the congregation are able to draw their guns and return fire.
Now, look into that scene and tell me truthfully: Does the second half of that scenario make you feel safer? In the chaos of such a moment, are worshipers in LESS peril because MORE people are shooting?
I’ll admit, however, that my perspective, like any personal view, isn’t simply practical. My opinion is shaped by my Christian faith and beliefs.
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I’m not saying there is no place for power or weapons in the protection of the innocent (my own son is a police officer, and people I love and respect are in the military). I AM saying that guns in the church are:
• a danger to the very people we would protect,• one more barrier between us and Christ, and
• no more than the illusion of security.
And then there is this from Patheos.
My views on our gun culture are fairly simple. It can be boiled down to this: the human tradition of the second amendment does not trump the divine revelation of the fifth commandment. That’s because, to repeat, the single most important fact of our gun culture is 30,000 corpses each year.
Notice that our UMC pastor tips his hat to the necessary evil of having to use violence by pointing to police (while not mentioning a man’s own protection of his family), but says that it is a “barrier between us and Christ.”
Also take note how he paints the picture. It is one of a perpetrator firing wildly, and a would-be self defender, rather than shooting in a controlled manner to end the violence and thus save innocent lives, firing wildly in return. It’s a painting of two whirl tops shooting indiscriminately rather than with purpose.
He does this to bias his ignorant readers into thinking that folk who carry guns are going to go wild and whirl top on their families. But the pastor knows that something is wrong with his argument. He knows that there is no stopping a gunman unless someone else has a gun.
His solution? “The way of the cross is true and good. Be not afraid.” But here his powers of Biblical exegesis (if he ever had any) fail him. Christ never promised that his propitiatory sacrifice on the cross would stop gunmen. The ignorant pastor conflates different subjects in the Bible.
We’ve discussed this before. Relying on Matthew Henry, John Calvin and the Westminster standards, we’ve observed that all Biblical law forbids the contrary of what it enjoins, and enjoins the contrary of what it forbids. Thus have I said:
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.
So our writer at Patheos and the UMC pastor are both equally theologically shallow and childlike. We can only hope that their influence is commensurate with their poor knowledge of the Scriptures.
As for guns in churches (and anywhere else for that matter), think of the children and the mandate by God to protect them. If you cannot do that you are guilty of violating God’s law. Think of the children.