No Guns In Church In Alabama?

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 8 months ago

News from Anniston:

State Rep. Thomas Jackson worries that Christians who carry guns into church aren’t acting like Christians.

Jackson, D-Thomasville, has filed a bill for the current legislative session that would make doing so illegal. He’s not sure it’ll become law — Democrats are outnumbered in Montgomery — but he hopes the bill will get people talking.

“If we as Christians put more faith in Smith & Wesson than we do in God, then we’ve got a problem,” Jackson said, speaking by phone Thursday.

Jackson, an associate pastor at New Hope Baptist Church in Thomasville, said he was shocked to learn how many people carry guns into church.

That sentiment is echoed by the Rev. Lee Shafer at Grace Episcopal Church in Anniston.

People carry them in their purses, Shafer said.

The matter went largely unknown to Shafer until a church-related meeting not long ago, when the topic came up and folks started talking.

“The saddest thing is that there’s a need for guns anywhere,” Shafer said. “Wouldn’t it be horrible if a child got hold of a gun in church?”

Churches, like private business, can ban guns from their buildings, but Shafer said there is no such ban at her church.

While the idea of having a congregation packing pistols along with their Bibles doesn’t sit well with her, Shafer said, “There’s just too many other things for people to get upset about”  for this topic to concern her greatly.

Shafer was hesitant to try to decipher the Bible’s message on carrying weapons into church.

Call any 10 pastors and you’ll get 10 different biblical interpretations, Shafer explained, but she quoted the biblical commandment to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

“Does this contradict that? Not necessarily, but at the same time Jesus was such a nonviolent presence,” Shafer said.

I once knew some of the good people from Anniston, Alabama.  While there are bad people in Alabama too, there are enough good men and women left that it’s a wonder that any of this has come up in Alabama.

I like the line about putting more faith in Smith & Wesson than in God.  That’s amusing.  I’ll have to remember that one.  I’ll find an opportunity to use it again in some fashion.  Watch for it in the future.  In the mean time, it sounds like Shafer needs to go back to seminary (or at least, attend a good one).  Yes, it’s sad that there is a need for guns in church.  It’s been with us for a very long time, and it’s called original sin.  You should have covered that in your survey of the OT as well as in Systematic Theology (I covered it in Historical Theology And Church History as well).

As for any of those ten pastors who give false interpretations of what God has to say about self defense, I’ve covered that.  If ten of them say that God expects us to become doormats and allow the execution of our loved ones so that we can “be like Jesus,” then ten of them are wrong and they are false prophets, not worthy of your attention.  As I’ve said in the clearest terms I can muster:

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.  Finally, self-defense may actually result in one of the greatest examples of human love.

I carry in worship every Sunday.  I carry at the grocery store, at work, during haircuts, while walking the dog.  Always.  While I’m not a betting man, I’ll make this wager with Rev. Lee Shafer and Rev. Stan Albright in Alabama.  Here it goes.

You show me a promise in the Scriptures – not moralistic platitudes, not normative statements or observations, not miracles that occurred at specified times in redemptive history for specific reasons, but a promise – always and in every circumstance to deliver God’s people out of the hands of evil-doers if we simply lay down our weapons and subjugate ourselves to their desires and refuse to engage in acts of self defense, and I’ll never carry at church again.

But if you can’t do that, I win, and you must read my entire commentary on Christians and the duty of self defense next Sunday as your sermon, without additional commentary.

So, Stan and Lee and Mr. Jackson, where do we stand with this wager?

Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. On March 16, 2015 at 8:13 am, I_R_A_Darth_Aggie said:

    I seem to recall Jesus fashioning a whip of cords and driving the money changers out of the temple. Sounds violent to me.

  2. On March 16, 2015 at 11:35 am, milesfortis said:

    You beat me to it.

  3. On March 16, 2015 at 8:49 am, Carl Stevenson said:

    The bible also relates Jesus telling his deciples to sell their cloaks if necessary to get the money to buy themselves swords. He clearly was commanding them to be prepared to defend themselves (and presumably the weak and vulnerable as well).
    Yes self-defense (and the defense of the innocent against predators) is a biblical obligation, from the Old Testament through the New Testament.
    Any preacher that tells you to be defenseless, and to submit to violence and injury rather than to meet violence with righteous self defense, is a servant of evil, not good.

  4. On March 16, 2015 at 9:01 am, Herschel Smith said:

  5. On March 16, 2015 at 9:18 am, Backwoods Engineer said:

    I carry in worship every Sunday– in Alabama. I DEPLORE that this man is trying to take my freedom, and I go on record here and now that I WILL disobey such an unconstitutional edict should it, by some travesty, become law.

  6. On March 16, 2015 at 10:48 am, Dave said:

    The Mormon church has been invoking state violence or the threat of it against congregation members who exercise their God-given right to self defense in Utah churches for years.

  7. On March 16, 2015 at 11:37 am, milesfortis said:

    And that tells you what about the leadership of the LDS?

  8. On March 17, 2015 at 9:58 am, Heyoka said:

    It tells you that the Morman people were run across the country by armed crowds killing them off as they fled. Joseph Smith was killed in Navoo, Illinois while he was being kept in a jail cell for his safety, shot by the armed crowd while unarmed and without the ability to flee. I have been there, I have seen the blood stain on the floor in the cell and I will not be disarmed by any evil especially proselytizing their version of the Bible while being an elected official. That is a violation of church and state separation clause, no state sponsored/official religion as was done by the Catholic Church in times gone by.
    The Morman people fled to Utah and resisted the US Army for a time because they had had their fill of the “justice” they were fed. The modern Pharisees, attorneys, legislators and judges, have carved out exemptions for themselves time and time again where none such existed or was intended. It is time we read, understand and follow Jesus example and realize it was not the Romans that Jesus hounded for their wickedness but his very system of religion and government…. Sound familiar??
    There is no such reading in the Bible that demands we submit ourselves to lawlessness or evil intent of others. Jesus told us to remember the Law, Matt. 5:17-20. That includes the Old Testament right and duty to protect one’s self, their family and neighbor. Jesus did away with the sacrifice and the temple practice through his sacrifice, the New Covenant, he did not do away with the law. Jesus did away with the “Traditions of Men” the Pharisees had erected by their incessant commentaries and elaborations on the law until their tradition was imposed instead of the Law. Jesus was very explicit and direct on this point, they killed him for it.
    The right and duty to do justice of every God fearing human being has been restated time and again in the Book. We need no modern day Pharisee to tell us the law, they were relieved of that duty by Jesus.

  9. On March 17, 2015 at 11:38 am, milesfortis said:

    As The Bard would write for the gender; “Methinks he doth protest too much.”
    And after all that, you didn’t answer the question.

  10. On March 16, 2015 at 11:33 am, Blake said:

    Wow, a politician speaking about that which he knows nothing. Color me shocked.

  11. On March 16, 2015 at 11:35 am, Nextanker said:

    I guess he missed the old Ad, God created man, Samuel Colt created them equal.

  12. On March 16, 2015 at 12:31 pm, Ed Hamilton said:

    It’s one thing for a church to ban guns from their property, it’s a completely different thing for law makers to claim it illegal to bring one to church.

  13. On March 16, 2015 at 1:22 pm, Tailfin said:

    Perhaps Rev. Shafer should be admonished, when she next chooses to eat a meal rather than to wait for God to inpart sustenance into her body, that she is placing more faith in Wonder Bread than she does in God.

  14. On March 16, 2015 at 3:26 pm, Daniel Barger said:

    A Dem politician preaching about ‘trust in the Lord’…..propaganda. It’s a virtual certainty he’s not a true Christian…just pretends to keep up appearances. Lying POS gun grabbers will SAY ANYTHING if it will serve their agenda and that agenda is ALWAYS disarmament of honest people whenever and wherever possible.

  15. On March 16, 2015 at 6:16 pm, Milton Stanley said:

    As far as the state is concerned, what the Bible says is irrelevant, really. The U.S. Constitution is the relevant document in this case, and the state’s banning firearms in church is, arguably at least, a violation of the First Amendment’s protection of the free exercise of religion. It’s up to churches, not the government, to decide whether or not to allow congregants to go armed. Period.

  16. On March 16, 2015 at 8:17 pm, Blackwatch2 said:

    “If we as Christians put more faith in Smith & Wesson than we do in God, then we’ve got a problem,” Jackson said,,,,,,,

    Well, substitute the words Smith & Wesson with fire extinguisher or fire sprinklers. I’ll bet the state representative put her faith in fire prevention tools. I’ve always been amazed at peoples’ ability to rationalize that a building somehow has magical powers just because we call it a church. I was always taught that the “church” was wherever fellow Christians came together in the spirit of Christ. Tactically speaking, most churches are a nightmare. Everyone is facing away from the ingress/egress routes and focused on a single person. I’ve always carried in church, and always will.

    Also, I’ve told fellow Christians that know I carry (even in church) the following: when you can tell me the date, time, and manner of my earthly demise, I’ll “beat my swords into ploughshares”. 10 times out of 10…..crickets chirping is the sound I hear instead of a reasoned response.

    Semper Fi,

  17. On March 19, 2015 at 2:39 pm, Barry Hirsh said:

    With due respect, God historically has not stopped lunatic gunmen from shooting congregants.

    It’s a noble thought, but completely unrealistic, and dangerous.

  18. On March 19, 2015 at 5:49 pm, sorleyboy said:

    Churches without arms, by law, are open invitations to anti-Christian terrorists to come and wreak havoc. I carry in Church and will continue to do so, law or no law. It is the right of a free man and the duty of a Christian to protect his family and the innocent in general.

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You are currently reading "No Guns In Church In Alabama?", entry #13579 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Guns,Religion and was published March 15th, 2015 by Herschel Smith.

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