Scripture Is Silent On The Issue Of Guns In Churches

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 7 months ago

So says Rev. John Armstrong, pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, Columbus.

Guns in churches is really a non-issue, and I will explain why shortly.

I address it only because there is a larger issue in play, reflected in the words of the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians, “do not exceed that which is written.”

Scripture speaks to many subjects: the creation of the world, the sinfulness of humanity, and the grace of God for all humanity through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Scripture also speaks of the sanctity of human life from the womb to the tomb, and the truth that marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman.

But Scripture does not address every issue that we confront, including emergency response procedures in churches.

Knowing this, Christians down through the ages have agreed, “We speak where Scripture speaks, and where Scripture is silent, we must be silent.”

That doesn’t mean we can’t have an opinion, but it remains only that — an opinion.

We cannot say, “Thus saith the Lord,” where the Lord has not spoken a clear word.

To speak for God in such situations is to burden consciences in a way God never intended.

In such matters, we may exercise Christian freedom, but we must exercise our freedom in a responsible way that always takes the well-being of our neighbor into account.

For example, when Jesus says, “Do not resist an evil person,” he is speaking to his disciples about their own lives and how they should not strike back against those who are persecuting them personally.

He is not prohibiting them from acting to save the lives of others, which love of neighbor would certainly allow and perhaps even require.

When someone perceives that the only way to save life or prevent further loss of life is to attack, even kill an active shooter, I assume he or she does so out of love for neighbor.

I cannot condemn such an action.

I can only thank God the person was there and had the opportunity and the concern for others to act.

What mother or father would stand idly by while their child’s life is being taken?

Does Jesus require that of parents?

Not in my opinion, but it’s just that — my opinion.

Armstrong is confused and shouldn’t be a pastor if he cannot build an argument from the Scriptures for defending his own child’s life.

Let me briefly do it for him.

The Holy writ is a unity, with Christ as the scarlet thread running throughout.  The words of the O.T. are no more in contradiction with Christ than the balance of the N.T.  There is progressive revelation and development of the covenant, but there isn’t any embarrassing contradiction.  We needn’t turn to obscure passages or tangential concerns to justify Biblical self defense.  As we’ve noted before, the basis for it is found in the Decalogue.

I am afraid there have been too many centuries of bad teaching endured by the church, but it makes sense to keep trying.  As I’ve explained before, the simplest and most compelling case for self defense lies in the decalogue.  Thou shall not murder means thou shall protect life.

God’s law requires [us] to be able to defend the children and helpless.  “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.”  I’ve tried to put this in the most visceral terms I can find.

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 concerning John Calvin’s comments on this subject:

We do not need to prove that when a good thing is commanded, the evil thing that conflicts with it is forbidden.  There is no one who doesn’t concede this.  That the opposite duties are enjoined when evil things are forbidden will also be willingly admitted in common judgment.  Indeed, it is commonplace that when virtues are commended, their opposing vices are condemned.  But we demand something more than what these phrases commonly signify.  For by the virtue of contrary to the vice, men usually mean abstinence from that vice.  We say that the virtue goes beyond this to contrary duties and deeds.  Therefore in this commandment, “You shall not kill,” men’s common sense will see only that we must abstain from wronging anyone or desiring to do so.  Besides this, it contains, I say, the requirement that we give our neighbor’s life all the help we can … the purpose of the commandment always discloses to us whatever it there enjoins or forbids us to do” (Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol. 1, Book 2, Chapter viii, Part 9).

If you’re willing to sacrifice the safety and health of your wife or children to the evils of abuse, kidnapping, sexual predation or death, God isn’t impressed with your fake morality.  Capable of stopping it and choosing not to, you’re no better than a child molester, and I wouldn’t allow you even to be around my grandchildren.

Is that clear enough for you, John?


Comments

  1. On January 22, 2018 at 9:36 am, Fred said:

    Part of this guys problem, and many others besides him, is that they seem confused as to whether the God of the OT is the God of the NT. Jesus came to complete the law not to refute it or narrow our understanding of creation and our place in it, or to have us live by his words alone. The entirety of scripture is there for our reproof. Jesus never said to use hand sanitizer so I guess it’s ok to give everybody the freakin’ flu?

    This guy is probably running some IRS sanctioned ‘church’ and hey, government said it’s ok to kill 60 million babies and since almost half, statistically, of the women in his church have had an abortion it’s all cool to not sweat it so much about that sanctity of life thing. You know, maybe you defend your family maybe not, it’s cool with YOUR conscience because god, the IRS, says so. The OT is just some fun stories we tell each other for amusement.

    He’s dancing around it and going all soft to try and please two masters. A righteous man of God would be calling for DC to burned to the ground and everybody there hung from the neck until dead for it’s genocide or our people.

  2. On January 22, 2018 at 12:20 pm, Pat Hines said:

    Because there are only two punishments available, Biblically, restitution or death. The punishment for having an abortion is death to the female and the Doctor who performed it. That’s Biblical law.

    Jesus Christ’s arrival fulfilled Biblical prophecy, the Chosen people are those in Christ’s Church. There are NO other “chosen” people.

    That is why I fully support the use of nuclear weapons on Tel Aviv.

  3. On January 22, 2018 at 12:47 pm, moe mensale said:

    “Scripture also speaks of the sanctity of human life from the womb to the tomb…”

    It appears Rev. Armstrong just made a case for being armed in church whether he knows it or not.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Religion and was published January 21st, 2018 by Herschel Smith.

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