He Doesn’t Believe In Good Guys With Guns

BY Herschel Smith
9 months, 2 weeks ago

David Gee writing at Patheos.

A total of 26 people were killed in the 2017 Sutherland Springs church shooting, but the man who ultimately shot the killer – a conservative being hailed as the ultimate “good guy with a gun” – says God sent him to “stop” the attack.

When a man started firing an AR-15 into First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, he killed a total of 26 people and hurt 20 others who were worshiping there. When he left the building of his own choice, he ran into Stephen Willeford, a gun advocate who brought his own AR-15.

They exchanged fire, and the original shooter fled, but when police found him, he had died from the gunshot wounds.

That makes Willeford “the epitome of the definition of a ‘good guy with a gun,’” a phrase used to describe a gun carrier who is able to stop in progress crimes because they are armed, according to Ammoland, which interviewed the man.

Stephen Willeford, an NRA instructor and firearms enthusiast, knew he must do something to stop the killer’s deadly rampage. He couldn’t sit around and let a maniac attack his community. He grabbed his AR-15 and set out to end the murderer’s violent spree.

When Ammoland asked Willeford how he knew about the shooting and why he engaged, he said it was a combination of God and his daughter.

“My oldest daughter heard the shots and made me aware of it,” he told Ammoland. “I truly believe God had called me to go there and stop it.”

Despite the fact that 26 people did die in the attack, Willeford continued to play the same divine intervention card.

“I wasn’t scared at all. I was terrified. But the Holy Spirit was with me, telling me not to concern myself with the bullets coming my way, but to do what he sent me to do,” he said.

Interestingly enough, he also said turning to God is the answer to stopping shootings from happening, despite the fact that this one occurred in a church.

“It is easy to blame the gun for the shooting because it takes away the responsibility of each individual for their actions. It is actually a matter of the heart, good vs. evil,” he said. “That is a lot harder to fix. This country needs to go back to what God values, life. From conception to death. Until we can instill that in our society, these incidents will continue. Life matters — all lives.”

All lives” matter, said the man who recently took a life.

Willeford is put forth as the best example of a good guy with a gun, but the fact is that he wasn’t able to stop dozens of people from dying.

Aside from the snark about a man believing that all lives matter after taking a life (a sophomoric objection we could fisk later), his main objection seems to be just this: God brought him to the church that day to stop the shooting, but “he wasn’t able to stop dozens of people from dying.”

Poor David.  He’s in way, way over his head and is completely unqualified to address this topic.

David needs to take some coursework in theology and philosophy.  He is attempting to broach the subject of “theodicy.”  How could a good God allow bad things to happen, as the philosophers object?  Or as Alvin Plantinga puts it, theodicy is “answer to the question of why God permits evil.”

Since I am a Calvinist, I won’t proffer a free will response.  I believe, as the Westminster Confession of Faith states, that God ordains “whatsoever comes to pass.”  Rather, I turn the tables on the atheist and point out that without the Scriptures (which presuppose the existence of God, and yet evidence and affirm it as well), he has no definition of evil to begin with.

If you study the debate between Bertrand Russell and Frederick Copleston, while I might object that Copleston was too gracious and lenient with Russell throughout the debate, even the highly knowledgeable Russell wasn’t able to develop a coherent, consistent system of ethics based on atheism.  You can see the same struggle in the debate between Greg Bahnsen and Gordon Stein.  Stein was reduced to a blubbering idiot when pressed on this issue by Bahnsen.   Stein failed, as do all atheists.

In order for David Gee’s objection to be an effective defeater, it has to demonstrate inconsistency in my own system (David doesn’t believe in my system, but I do, so David must convince me that my views are incoherent).  David hasn’t even come close.

For a brief answer to the question of evil, one needs to go no further than reading Romans Chapter 9.  My views are entirely coherent when I say that there is a preceptive and decretive will of God, the first being His precepts or laws (what He wants us to do), the second being his decretive will (what He ordains will come to pass).  The two are not the same thing, and He uses secondary causes to bring about His decretive will (see 2 Kings 22:20-23).

God is sovereign.  See for example Isaiah 46:9-10, and Ephesians 1:11.  I have no logical problem with His having decreed the events of that day, from start to finish, including the fact that Mr. Willeford got there to stop the attack, and got there when he did, not a second sooner nor a second later.  And David Gee cannot demonstrate that there is a logical problem with any of this.

I’m glad that Mr. Willeford was armed.  It would have been better if others were armed as well and been prepared to defend their families as God has ordered.  Perhaps this event serves as a reminder to heads of households that they have a duty to God and their family, and perhaps that’s one of the good things that comes from this event.

Now to one final related point.  I ran across this commentary under a Google news search.  Note again – a Google news search.  I’m not joking.

TCJ, this very web site, provides useful and insightful commentary, with robust and educated reader responses on virtually a daily basis, and isn’t on Google news.  How does Google news decide to give juvenile, random mental meanderings like David Gee’s piece visits by categorizing them as news?

Nevermind.  I think I answered my own question.  Google news.

If you’ve read this far David, I do have one more question for you.  I think you really do believe in “good guys with guns,” don’t you?  You believe in cops, don’t you?  That means you want the state to have a monopoly on violence, which means you aren’t really an atheist.  Your god is the state.  You worship a totem pole.


  1. On December 6, 2019 at 12:16 am, Dan said:

    That’s the rub with the ‘good guy’s prevent shootings’ issue. It
    is quite simply IMPOSSIBLE to EVER know how many lives were
    NOT TAKEN because a good guy with a gun ended ( and often
    totally prevents) a criminal from continuing their rampage. Thus
    that number which can NEVER be counted is ignored by the agenda
    driven gun grabbing left. We can never prove that someone is alive
    because of a gun. They only care about the bodies they can point
    to and use as justification for their assault on freedom. To play the
    numbers game with the gun grabbing left is a losing effort. We CANNOT
    WIN because they control the rules. We must fight them on grounds
    and with tactics they DON’T control.

  2. On December 6, 2019 at 1:55 am, The Wretched Dog said:

    Exceptional commentary.

    Thank you.


  3. On December 6, 2019 at 8:52 am, Ned said:

    I had to look this up:

    “David Gee is a Religious Studies graduate, journalist, and author of No Sacred Cows: Investigating Myths, Cults, and the Supernatural, as well as Atheist Answers: Rational Responses to Religious Questions, The Book of Gods, The Belief Book, Mom, Dad, I’m an Atheist: The Guide to Coming Out as a Non-believer, and Disproving Christianity and other Secular Writings.

    He is also the founder of The Party of Reason and Progress and a frequent contributor to American Atheist Magazine. Gee, who writes about science, skepticism, and faith, attended University of California, Santa Barbara and graduated with bachelor’s degrees in English and Religious Studies with an emphasis on Christianity and Mediterranean religions.”

    I just knew this guy was an atheist.

  4. On December 6, 2019 at 3:44 pm, Donk said:

    First, Patheos is a mish mash of liberalism, cultural marxism and pantheism masquerading as a “Christian” website. Second, his name is David G. McAfee and is indeed an atheist, likely a sodomite or sympathizer. See; https://www.amazon.com/David-G.-McAfee/e/B008S4IXA4%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

    for a summary of his work.

  5. On December 7, 2019 at 3:15 am, Odysseus M Tanner said:

    Moral and ethical matters are not dependent on theism – in particular, monotheism – in any way. Think Confucianism, Buddhism, etc., and all the harm of theism and you do the math.

  6. On December 7, 2019 at 8:22 am, Herschel Smith said:

    There is no other foundation for ethics than Christianity. I’ve done math all my life, and studied this subject extensively.

    I again recommend that you listen to all of this:


    And then get back with me. Until you consider Bahnsen’s defeater (the self referential nature of non-theistic ethics), you aren’t well versed in the subject. First consider. You can do that. Second, find a defeater for Bahnsen. That, you cannot do.

  7. On December 7, 2019 at 1:10 pm, Fred said:

    God is the Judge, therefor you cannot save yourself. Full stop. This is the danger. This is the edge of and the beginning of what is perceived as the loss of control, loss of self-righteousness, loss of self-ownership. True religion is no crutch of the mind at all; it’s the abandonment of ALL crutches… Salvation is a free gift.

    @Mr. Tanner,
    You give yourself away as a controller. What harm is it that you would force me to be safe from? Is Christ harmful, can you keep us safe from religion? How else except at gunpoint?

    “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,”

    The Holy Bible goes on to mention all liars. No escape. This, oh by the way, is why the Law is still relevant for today, not to mention the times Christ reiterates the applicability of the Law.

    Controllers hate Christ Jesus. He is the biggest threat to governments of men that has ever existed because the true believer needs no other master, no other law, no other modality of living. We don’t need your kings, your governments, your schemes at safety, and progress, and science, and yes, we don’t even need your math. Blasphemy against you god? Yes, yes it is. These are all well covered by the Holy Bible, and without exception they are correctly presented in the King James Version text, as annoying as that may be to unbelievers and some believers alike. Science, including math are only not false when they prove God’s Law.

    Change direction to a general address:
    This is God’s Law. It is a template, a table of contents from which all the righteousness of God is being revealed:
    “-Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
    -Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
    -Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
    -Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. [For another time is to show that even the Sabbath as rest, not sacrifice(s), was not destroyed by Christ, but that’s a whole ‘nother topic.]
    -Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
    -Thou shalt not kill.
    -Thou shalt not commit adultery.
    -Thou shalt not steal.
    -Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
    -Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” Points – (as dashes) are added by me.

    And the result of the Law to the believer:
    “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
    No man can keep the Law. But God can and He does. That’s why we need Him. It’s His Law that we can’t keep, therefor, in Him, and only in Him can we be made righteous.

    One reason why I don’t like apologetics, aside from my own intellectual inability (maybe, see below) is I have to argue a part of God, or a distinct subset of what God says that He is. God’s Law is perfect, and that’s why no man can keep the Law. I have a duty here, to God. Debating with somebody who won’t even read one of the four Gospels is a waste of time, IMHO. God’s word is its own best argument. I would rather read scripture at the unbeliever, for the exact reason that they won’t listen, it makes them nuts; it’s an unknowable riddle with no beginning or end.

    This is my argument:
    We are all sinners. All sin is against Holy God.
    Rom. 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
    Ecc. 7:20 “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.”

    You are under the Judgment of God because of your sin. The price on sin is judgment, wrath, and hell.
    Eze. 18:4 “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.”
    Rev. 20:15 “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
    Rom. 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

    God is the Judge, therefor you cannot save yourself. Full stop. This is the danger. This is the edge of and the beginning of what is perceived as the loss of control, loss of self-righteousness, loss of self-ownership. True religion is no crutch of the mind at all, it’s the abandonment of ALL crutches… Salvation is a free gift.
    Eph. 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”
    Rom. 3:20 “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”

    Knowing that it’s not a particular prayer or any Church you attend, and that it is no ritual, rite, or recitation that can save you, but that we are saved by the blood of Christ Jesus on the cross, who being a perfect, holy, sacrifice died for our sin once for all, now then raised from the dead, for by grace are ye saved by faith.

    Heb 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

    Jesus gave himself to be crucified so that you might be saved from your sin and from hell. Jesus already paid your sin debt, in full, if that you would only believe.
    1 Tim.2:3-5 “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”
    Acts 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
    Heb. 7:25 “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
    Heb. 10:10 “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

    The Lord gave himself to be crucified so that you might be saved from your sin and hell. If you would believe on Him by faith, Jesus will save you.
    Behold, The kingdom of God is at hand!
    Isaiah 55:6 “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: ”
    John 3:15-16 “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
    Gal. 3:26 “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
    Rom. 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

    Change topic, sort of:
    Stein gives himself away as well when he discusses disproving a negative. God, if He can be truly God, has what duty, exactly, to reveal Himself to you, or anybody? I’m pretty sure that all atheists start at this root; if God exists then He must prove Himself to exist, and since I can’t make God do this then I will criticize His followers. I have zero duty to prove God to anybody. I tell you that He does exist, has revealed (is revealing) Himself to me and I have shown you, from the text of the Holy Bible how he can, if He chooses, reveal Himself to you also. Yes, that IS very convenient isn’t it? What are you that God be inconvenienced? God names Himself; I Am. Forget dogs talking and people flying and unicorns, these are specious arguments by Stein. A better analogy is to ask whether you can know every sentient human. No you cannot, so it’s very possible, even likely that you can’t find God within a logical and systematic search. Unless and until God says to you; I Am, you cannot know Him. How can you know a cab driver in New Delhi except he be revealed to you, either by his own doing or by introduction, but still, even if he is introduced you may not know a man if he chooses to remain unknown. God must be at least this sovereign or He is no better than a Indian cabby.

    As to the writer of the article quoted, he has an infantile mind and a wretched soul. The guy ties himself in knots from which he cannot escape. I’m pretty sure that his father the devil is the one finishing off those knots with pretty little bows. While admitting that I have a very pedestrian intellect (except in a very narrow vein), in the end, I’m mostly glad that I was uneducable. Most academicians just aren’t that smart. Being able to regurgitate what you’ve been told isn’t strength, and doing so is weakness. Having your own ideas, that is strength, and very dangerous indeed to those same controllers.

    This is the fear:
    Heb 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Man, I see no other way to truly know God except to let His first commandment be true. We must abandon our own selves as the ultimate sovereign, and accept, by faith, in a Spirit that is unseen, that there must be a higher order, a higher Law and thus a higher bringer of this order, a Creator of this Order. To the mind of the intellectual this is recklessness. Heh!

  8. On December 7, 2019 at 1:32 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    ” … all atheists start at this root; if God exists then He must prove Himself to exist.”


    ” … all atheists start at this root; if God exists then He must prove Himself to exist according to a set of presuppositions that I concoct which in effect begin by denying His existence, thus making this all self-referentially incoherent.”

  9. On December 7, 2019 at 3:12 pm, Fred said:

    Well, OK. But I did try to 1. Destroy any presuppositions in the totality of my comment by proving God’s Law as the only necessary prerequisite from which to argue, but I get your point. And 2. This “self-referentially incoherent” that you mention; I did think to address by: “I would rather read scripture at the unbeliever, for the exact reason that they won’t listen, it makes them nuts; it’s an unknowable riddle with no beginning or end.” That’s their incoherence. These are not insults at the unbeliever, I was all these things and much much worse.

    I don’t much listen to pinheads, my statement is more to the level of discourse that I run across in the wild. There were about 10 other points I was going to make but I got tired of writing, it’s not necessarily natural to me. One of those points is; that God’s Law is one Law. So, if it’s wrong to rape and kill your neighbors wife and lie about it, and it is, every atheist able to argue his point of view knows this, then the first commandment MUST be true as well: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Therefor: “I Am” says God. Else, why not rape and kill and etc? God’s Law, before our precious enlightened modernism, says so, that’s why we shouldn’t. And if God’s Law pre-existed, it was always wrong to rape and kill and lie and etc. was it not, well, good night to any argument against God.

    To give order and structure:
    1. God created, else how could we hear and know.
    2. God said; “I Am.”
    3. God said; there is no other God. (Thou shalt have no other god’s before me.)
    4. God said; don’t rape and kill your neighbors wife and lie about it, as one example using at least 3 of His commandments.

    So, if you KNOW that number 4 is true, and you do, then how do you know that it is, except that 1 thru 3 be also correct. Did some puddle of ooze write that pre-existing truth of number 4 onto every man’s heart? Evolutionism is Ridiculous!

    [only a sociopath would do what I describe but a sociopath is a thing I don’t believe in, since none of that psychobabble is provable anyway (Remember, science falsely so called?). God says that devils in possession are real, now that I believe. Blasphemous against the New Order and oh so very unenlightened and nonintellectual I know! I’m just a poor simple peasant man who must be told what to think and do and believe, for my own good, at the point of a gun no doubt.]

    Another point I was going to make to the believer is; stop apologizing for creation. The American Church is doing grave damage to God’s Holy Word by trying to mash it into some long days theory or some evolutionists notions. God says 7 days, upon which the last He rested. It’s blaspheme against God, and the unbelievers know it, every time they tempt you to give a little of God’s truth away for free. God’s truth is not negotiable for any reason. God’s truth is bought by the blood of His Son. What are you afraid of? Fear God. Thou shalt have no other gods before me! Remember; any science that does not prove God’s Law is science falsely so called. Either the entirety of God’s Word is true, or you make it all a lie. They, devil and his minions, know this and even they believe. Don’t number yourself among the transgressors for even satan knows the word of God and knows that it’s true. If you can be drawn away from God’s word by sciencey sounding stuff then you can be led astray.
    “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.”
    Your job is not to make friends or allies among the unbeliever but to proclaim the Father, by His Son! The believer must work within the frame which God has given to us in His word or the believers prayers are not answered in that thing. If you want them to believe, make no excuse.

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