Guns: Think Of The Children

BY Herschel Smith
2 years 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.

[ … ]

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.

  • Rob Crawford

    A barrier between us and the same Christ that commanded his followers to sell their cloaks, if necessary, so as to be armed?

    The clown at Patheos is a bigot, and should be shunned as one. I long ago learned not to expect much different from the UMC.

  • Doug Rink

    There have been many shootings and attempted shootings in houses of worship. Most of these churches or gathering places for people of other faiths did not have armed security, and were deemed gun free zones. Would be mass killers have consistently targetd gun-free zones. Just the knowledge that a congregation may have armed members in its midst may be deterrent enough to save lives.

    Jesus, as recorded in Luke 22:36:

    “And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.”

  • Pingback: United Methodist Church is anti-gun... | The Gun Feed()

  • Billy Mullins

    First off, such incidents are more common than hen’s teeth but not a whole lot more common. Secondly, the mere fact that the potential for the 2nd part of the pastor’s scenario exists, reduces the likelihood of the scenario occurring at all. Bad guys, though bad, are seldom stupid or suicidal. The fact that some congregations allow (encourage?) their members to carry on their property would tend to discourage bad guys from trying to shoot up THOSE congregations. They’ll go where they don’t have to be concerned about being shot. So, in answer to the Pastor’s question, the thought that there people present who would possess the wherewithal to return fire DOES, in fact, induce me to feel safer. But then the law here in Texas has allowed the congregational leadership to authorize concealed carry on that Church’s property.

  • Flashman1

    The historian Ian W. Toll in his excellent history of the founding of the United States Navy, “Six Frigates,” discusses the difficulties that the designer of the frigates, Joshua Humphreys, a Quaker, had with the ship building authorities in Philadelphia, who were all Quakers, about building warships. He quotes a Presbyterian minister who said “That he would bow down meekly and expose his neck when faced with a deadly threat is committing the mortal sin of suicide.” Amen.

  • VonZorch Imperial Researcher

    And that fifth commandment actually translates as ‘do not murder’, quite different from killing in defense of self or another.

  • Herschel Smith
  • Billy Mullins

    Mr. smith, Overall, I agree with your analysis. I do disagree with your characterization of the premise as being “childlike”. It is not childLIKE – i.e. innocent, trusting, unfeigned, pure – but childISH – i.e. infantile, immature, silly, juvenile, foolish.

  • MrApple

    The Bible may say:
    “My soul finds rest in God alone; for my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress; I will never be shaken.”
    Psalm 62:1-2

    “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
    Psalm 27:1 (21st Century King James Version)

    “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”
    Deuteronomy 31:6

    Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.
    1 Corinthians 16:13

    But it also declares:
    “A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”
    Proverbs 22:3

    Common sense dictates that God didn’t give us the brains to construct firearms and not want us to use them for our protection and the protection of innocents. I have a hard time believing that God wishes us to let evil run wild and unrestricted.

  • Shawn McEwen

    This guy is missing something. First of all, I’m one of those carrying in church-no danger there- I shoot straight. Secondly, I don’t carry a concealed firearm out of fear, I carry one because I have the courage to do so, and the sense of duty to my fellow man. God gave me the ability to suppress fear and act with crystal clarity, and I will use this gift for the defense of those I love should that need ever arise. I have my doubts it will, but I will carry on just the same.
    The problem I see here is one as old as the world itself. The pastor thinks he alone knows the will of God and the motivations of those on both sides of the shooting in this scenario. I think this is simply a combination of misunderstanding the driving nature of the situation, and the arrogance necessary to manufacture an inability to admit possible fault. When are people going to realize they don’t have all the answers? More importantly, when are they going to realize that it’s ok to not have all the answers because nobody else does either? Life is a confounding mystery full of wonder and amazement. We do the best we can in life with what we are given. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we get it wrong, but believing there’s only one way to skin a cat is indeed unwise.

  • Josh

    So very many problems in the world today and throughout history come down to a single issue you’ve highlighted: the separation of a follower from God’s word by men who interpret and espouse the “will of God” to the detriment of others. This can be seen in its most violent form in modern-day Iraqistan, where children are being sent out willingly with a bomb strapped to their torsos, killing and maiming innocents.

    This can also be seen in Christian churches across America where all variety of strange, ritualistic behavior is encouraged – and that’s the least of it.

    Any man who claims to know and understand the “will of God” is a fool and a liar. That man may know what is written in the sacred texts, and nothing more or less.

You are currently reading "Guns: Think Of The Children", entry #12222 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Guns,Religion and was published May 7th, 2014 by Herschel Smith.

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