Recent events in San Bernadino and Paris have our heads spinning. They also have kicked the “spin machine” into high gear. Emotions are raw, loud and proud. A good number of people are offering what they claim the Bible says is THE stance on guns, ammo, owning firearms, carrying and potentially using them. Many are offering what they insist is the ONLY position every Christian should have about guns and ammo in these turbulent times. Some propose stricter gun laws and even confiscation, while others advocate not only owning firearms, but also carrying them at will, being ready to respond should a situation merit the use of force. Who is right and who is wrong? What does the Bible say about guns, ammo and carrying a firearm? What is a Christian to do – especially in the midst of these crazy, increasingly violent times? And, what does the Bible say about the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution? Moreover, does God even care about the Second Amendment?
The truth is, none of the extremist views circulating about guns, ammo, carrying firearms, or the Second Amendment, have overtly biblical support.All of us need to stop hiding behind our Bibles in the thick of the arguments. We need to stop being pompous proponents of our views in the name of God. It drives me batty (and perhaps it drives you batty, too), when I see liberal and conservative Christians blasting each other, speaking in condescending, arrogant ways toward each other. We are embarrassing ourselves – and moreover, we are embarrassing the Jesus we all say we’re representing.
Each side claims their views stem from a “love” for others and that they are “concerned” for the well-being of everyone – but in the process they often slam, slander and shame the other side. The manner of our talk often betrays the claims of love. If we have to remind each other that we love each other, it’s a pretty good indication that we don’t really love each other.
A Few Things to Bear In Mind As We Debate the Right (Or Lack of a Right) to Keep and Bear Arms:
- Just because there is not overt biblical teaching about gun ownership and gun usage doesn’t mean the Bible is silent on the matter. When the Bible is silent, common sense and wisdom are imperative – and biblical principles are to be followed. What we need is a LOT of common sense and wisdom, not smart-aleck quips that drive up Follows and Likes on our social media platforms. Under scrutiny, extremist views about guns aren’t biblical – at all. They are filled with emotion, personal bias, and a good measure of misunderstanding and stereotyping that all converge for a perfect blend of . . . confusion. This only ends up exacerbating an already blazing debate.The heart of the matter is not a bullet or a firearm. The heart of the issue in the gun debate is . . . the human heart. There are biblical principles and examples to guide us in thisdiscussion. God is the author of common sense and the very embodiment of wisdom. To reject these is completely contrary to our being created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Those who follow God – in humility – will demonstrate both common sense and wisdom. And, they will do so without slamming, slandering and shaming opponents.
- There are significant, life-and-death lessons from history we should be investigating and revisiting – with eyes and minds wide-open. But it seems that today we are more prone to forget history. We are not letting history teach us – and those who forget history are bound to repeat her errors. Are we paying attention to the lessons of history, or pretending we live an an altruistic, fantasy world that exists in movies, novels and poetry? Lessons from history are lessons for life. Think long and hard about who is going to make the decisions about gun ownership. Who will determine who owns guns, how many guns can be owned and under what circumstances – if at all? What happens if the decision-makers, while beginning with noble motives, go astray? What if we find out down the road that their preliminary, persuasive talk about love and peace was actually a ruse to gain control and obliterate all opposition? It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened. In fact, it happens all the time.
- We can – and should – have courageous, healthy, humble, common sense, wisdom-filled debates about guns and ammo at this key time in world history. But if the debate keeps raging as it has begun, we’ll only fan the flames of fear, hatred and division – none of which are productive, God-honoring or reflective of what it means to be a Christ-follower, or anyone else for that matter.
- Understand that your conclusion about guns, whether or not a person can own and/or carry a firearm, and who makes these decisions for the masses, may one day directly affect your own life and perhaps the lives of people you know and love. This is no place to be cute, arrogant or stupid. Your participation in the debate must be marked by tremendous humility, reverence for God and reverence for the life He created. It must be marked by a clear understanding of history and the heart of humanity. To do otherwise would betray the very reason we’re supposed to be having the gun debate in the first place – out of love for God and love for each another. Without these, we’re already on the wrong road.
For the rest of this week I’ll be blogging about what the Bible says about guns, ammo and the potential use of firearms. I’ll be blogging about the Christian response in an increasingly violent world. You may be surprised, irked, upset and comforted. But by the time we’re done, you may breathe a little easier. You may even be converted, for the best.
What do you think about guns, ammo and owning firearms? What about their use? What’s a Christian to do? Who should make the decisions? Who will hold the decision-makers accountable – and how?