For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.
Thank you, Ron. You see the common sense I see. The peace of the Lord be with you always.
The verse "thou shall not kill" is properly interpreted "thou shall not murder". There is no restrictions on self defense. Jesus directed His disciples in one passage to bare a sword. It was not for cleaning fish.
“When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed.
Bruce and Colin
I am a prior service Marine and a Police Officer and a follower of Jesus. A verse for you Romans 13:4 I do feel I am a minister of God against evil. And how do you explain great warriors from the Bible like David, Joshua, Abraham. Yes Jesus does protect us as he did the forces of the Israelites. So who is going to fight for us Christians, do we ask non Christians to fight for us. I believe The Lord has put people like me on this earth for the purpose of defending his people. I respect your opinion that you do not believe a Christian should be in the Military or Police but that implies I am less of a follower of Jesus than you, because you may realize it or maybe not you imply that I am sinning. If I may ask are you of a denomination that doesn't believe in violence in any for for any reason? So if a man with a gun came up to you and said he was going to kill you and there was a gun there that you could defend yourself with you would let him kill you relying on God to save you, what if God put the gun there. Do you believe as long as Moses kept his staff raised above his head God gave his armies the victory. But by your analogy Moses and all his army sinned. Sorry Bruce I know the question was about gun control but you took it down a new road with your statement. May God bless you and keep you safe, I truly mean this as a brother in Christ since you will not.
The best gun to possess is the Holy Spirit. Period.
Bruce do you look before you cross the street or just rely on God to protect you. Please read Psalms 44:6 Isaiah 53 , Matthew 10:34, Luke 22:36, Nehemiah 4:14. Bruce Paul was merely demonstrating Jesus's fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy as it references sheep to the slaughter, it does not mean we are to allow ourselves to be slaughtered. Bruce given the option of being killed or denouncing Jesus I choose death, but given the option of defending myself or Jesus's people as a Shepard defines his flock I choose to fight.
No law of the land is to be obeyed if it violates life (the ability to defend yourself from, yes, even governmental authority or we would still be British) or Liberty (the freedom to practice, preach, and proselytize according to Christian belief). If Governmental (or even religious) authority abridges those freedoms (and there may be others) then we don't have to obey Government authority. God's law comes first. David didn't obey Saul. Paul didn't obey when he was told not to preach.
If we disobey the government we need to be aware that we will have to suffer the consequences for the sake of our faith (conscientious objection).
Answers to this question are from a predominantly American world view. As a non-American my perceptive is probably different. Most Australians, I am Australian, think that Americans are paranoid about guns. Personal rights and freedoms are important, no doubt, but do they eclipse all other considerations?
Yes, I have a right to protect my family. But, the question is, How is my right best served? IS it best served by allowing everyone, my self included, to own weapons.....any weapons.....without restriction? Or is it best served by restrictions gun ownership?
Allow me to draw parallels. WE are allowed to own cars.....but the government restricts the speed at wish I am allowed to drive... Speed limit. MY right to drive does not include the right to drive as fast as I like. Nor am I allowed to run red lights, drive on the left of the road, (right for Americans). MY right to drive a car has restrictions and boundaries. This makes society safer. And my personal safety is upheld when everyone adheres to the restrictions and lives within the boundaries that society, through its government, has established. MY safety, and the safety of my wife and children is enhanced by these restrictions. Imagine, if you would, a society where everyone's freedom to drive came without restrictions.....no speeds limit, no traffic lights, no road rules.....it was up to each individual to establish his own boundaries... ANARCHY would be the result.
Most societies have placed restrictions on gun ownership. I believe this is sensible. MY own safety and the safety of my family is enhanced by the restriction the Australian government has placed on gun ownership. Yes, we are allowed to own guns....but not automatic and semi-automatic weapons, etc, guns must be kept in a gun-safe, etc. These restrictions do not guarantee safety...but they do improve my chances. And I believe my chances are better in a society with restrictions than in a society without restrictions.
When it comes to Christians, Pastors and Leaders in the church I am very much known as someone who doesn't run with the crowd, so those who know me will not be surprised by my response. Before I start, there are no children living in my house and when children do come around my guns are safely LOCKED away. Okay, I have given away part of my answer already.
I believe in gun control, but probably not the way many of you do. I believe in responsible gun ownership and that means I believe in thorough background investigation before ANY gun purchase. I also believe any person who plans to purchase a gun should be required to take and pass a proficiency and safety course.
I carry a concealed handgun 90% of the time, in full compliance with state and federal regulations and laws. I have passed FBI certified safety and proficiency tests and have owned and used guns since I was 8 years old. I was taught usage and safety from day one. I was raised in a family who enjoyed hunting, though I lost my desire to kill animals, even for food, a long time ago.
In the military I proved my proficiency numerous times and am quite competent and accurate, I shot all Navy competition in the late 60s and did very well. So there is plenty of evidence of my training and ability.
I have a great deal of respect for our police departments and, since I have a few friends on the force, I am well aware of the pressure they are under to keep us all safe. I am also aware that a response time of less than five minutes is hard for them to accomplish and if someone breaks into my home, tries to assault me or my family or even friends, five minutes is just too long and I have the responsibility to protect my family.
As someone licensed to carry a concealed weapon I am fully aware of my responsibilities concerning gun ownership. Can the same be said about licensed drivers? More people are killed and injured by automobiles than handguns and yet we have a "point" system for those who violate laws while driving. According to some of the latest numbers deaths and injury due to something as simple as cell phone distraction while driving was on a rise that equals driving while intoxicated.
As an American who has violated no major laws, am mentally stable, properly trained and proven proficiency I am offended by proposal of laws that would prevent my ownership of whatever firearm I desire to own. I have no desire or use for high weapons or assault rifles but I have friends who take great pleasure and sport in owning them.
Yes, the tragedies that have occurred by people who shouldn't be able to own a gun is heartbreaking and if I believed the proposed gun laws would do anything to help that situation I might support them, but we all know laws don't stop crime. If laws stopped crime our our system wouldn't be so clogged.
As a Christian I believe we have a responsibility to promote laws that actually have an opportunity to do good. When the government outlaws guns, only outlaws will own them. If you don't want to own a gun, that is your right; if I want to own one, it is my right as long as I obey the laws and am fully mentally capable.
Pride proceeds a fall. Non-gun owners sometimes seem proud of that position and superior to others. This could parallel an attitude toward their other family members similar to Lot's offering his family(daughters) to the evil mob outside his home in Bible.
I doubt if of those who so readily declare themselves in written or verbal discussions would dare to put a yard sign up declaring themselves to be advocates of gun-control and non gun owners. I remember being told of an occasion of someone taking a strong non gun ownership position in community discussion being outraged when his neighbor put up a sign saying: I am for gun ownership. I have a gun. My neighbor is against gun ownership.
The complaint was this could encourage or target them for forcible home invasion or burglary because people who would do this sort of thing would know of their lack of ability to defend themselves and would likely choose them over neighbor that they knew had a gun and could possibly defend themselves and their other loved ones (family members).
Consider protecting your other family members even if you are willing to be a victim.
Shawn, thank you for your service. I respect those who choose not to carry or own a handgun, just as I expect my decision to own and carry to be respected. If someone feels uncomfortable with a gun or thinks they will not use it then I certainly would not press them but I feel strongly I have the responsibility to protect my family to whatever degree I am capable of, and I choose to do that to whatever degree is necessary.
What exactly is gun control? The definition is simple, but we have complicated the issue like everything else. Gun control is simply controlling the type of guns ordinary citizens (with issues) can obtain. There is no reason why anyone should be able to purchase an M-16. I know there are a lot more dangerous guns then the M-16, but I am only using this one for example. The issue has been complicated by people who want to have access to weapons of mass destruction. Ex. A kid goes into a movie theater and kills a number of people; a kid goes into a school and kills 16. We could have saved countless lives if either one of these kids had access to only a Smith and Weston revolver!!!!
Matthew 5:9, "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the Children of God". Peacemakers are military and law enforcers. Peacekeepers are preachers and Christians. There wouldn't be peacekeepers without peacemakers. Just look at Ferguson, Mo.
Well, the Greek word for "peacemaker" has nothing to do with a military or law-enforcement idea. We should not read into scripture what isn't there. The Greek word actually has more to do with the idea of being a pacifist. The Greek word has to do with "loving peace" more than it does with "making" peace. Drawing a distinction between peace "maker" and peace "keeper" is drawing a distinction where there is none. This verse (Mt 5:9) has little to do with the topic, which is: how should we view gun control. I stated my view on that in an earlier post.
As far as Ferguson goes, those protesters (and media) who foment destruction, violence, and rioting are not peacemakers. It is obvious that they don't love peace. Matthew 5:9 does pertain to that: Those people are not, and will not, be called blessed.
As far as gun control is concerned, a strong argument can be made that those who have guns actually are peace makers because of the fact that if good people have guns, the bad people won't prevail. This has been proven true time and time again. Statistically it is safer in areas where there is less government gun control, and more control of guns by those who love peace.
Jesus disciples carried at least one, probably 2 swords. He even condoned having them.
I doubt Jesus would approve of Peter carrying an AR-15 that can shoot like an electric guitar. A sword is not a semi automatic rifle. To mention them in the same conversation is to pretend in a way that I can never understand. A sword is a weapon. So is a baseball bat if you use it to harm someone. But an AK-47 is the real deal for mass killing. Police weapon, yes. Military, yes. Private citizen that lives next door to me, and whose kid goes to school with mine, NO.
How does anyone have even an inkling about what Jesus would approve of regarding AR-15's. An AR-15 cannot "shoot like an electric guitar." It is no different than my deer rifle in how fast it can fire. People also cannot compare "swords" of the disciples with anything else today and say nay. Swords were the weapon of the day and Jesus allowed the disciples to carry at least 2. Guns are the weapon of the day, so the safe conclusion is that Jesus would allow that as well. An AR-15 isn't a "military style" weapon except for how it is designed to look. It is not a "Military style" weapon as far as function. I can shoot just as well with my deer rifle. I could take it, saw off the barrel, and be MORE concealed and maneuverable than an AR-15. Like I've said above, an AR-15 can be used for peace-keeping as well. And it has. A man in Chicago last week with an AR-15 interrupted a stabbing in progress and chased off the perpetrator who was later caught by police. This happens frequently but doesn't make the news because no one was killed.
F A Parker, I trust that you know that Luke 11:21 is not actually referring to a man protecting his goods from an intruder in his home. It is another of Jesus' metaphors. The subject was 'by whose authority Jesus was casting out demons'. He was telling them that satan had moved in on the demon possessed and was strong, but One stronger, He, had come along and He could evict this intruder. A person has the right to protect his property from bandits, and we don't need to twist the scriptures to prove it. The question is 'how do you ,or I, or anyone professing to be a person of faith, feel about the ABUNDANCE of guns in this violent society. Nobody is trying to condemn the protection of your person, family, and property by the use of a weapon. Protect yourself!! Many are doing more than just protecting themselves with their weapons of choice. They are giving others, maybe you for instance, a reason to arm yourself. How do you feel about THEM exercising the same rights that you value so much.
Yesterday, 2/28/2018, a teacher at a school in my area fired a gun in his empty classroom. He locked the door and wouldn't let anyone in. When they tried to open the door, he fired a shot out the exterior window, and no one was hurt. He was a 14 year veteran at the school, the play by play voice for the football game, a good guy by everybody's account. A good guy with a gun. Dalton High, Dalton, Ga. All this has to be considered by a conscientious person in deciding how to think about this
I would hope that by reading, studying God's word that we learn common sense. Evil has always been and always will reside in the heart of man. I take comfort in knowing that I can buy a weapon IF I actually needed one. AND if I bought one, I would respect that it is a killing tool that should be treated with caution. I would take classes on how to use the tool as I would do with any dangerous machine including driving a 3000 pound vehicle.
Back to common sense…I live in a metropolitan area. There are no wild animals here that will eat me. There is a great police force in the community where I pay taxes so that they can have the expertise with guns and crime prevention. Common sense tells me that I don't need a gun. On the other hand, if I lived in Alaska or some other remote area where I needed to hunt for food and/or protection, then I would consider a purchase. "Live by the Sword, die by the Sword" reflects attitude of mind and heart. Do you carry a sword due to anger, hate or revenge? Those who do carry a sword need humility and must humble themselves to ask God if they can bear the responsibility of "Protector" or "Hunter".
About Jesus ALLOWING His disciples to carry two swords: are we to assume that since we have no evidence of Him telling them to get rid of them, He was approving of the use of those swords to protect the crew from their enemies? Are we to suppose that since Jesus ALLOWED Judas Iscariot to minister with them, He approved of Judas? Did Judas have Him fooled? Did He know Judas was stealing money from the treasury?(John 12:6) If John knew I think He knew. Why did He ALLOW Judas to handle the money bag?
When Isaac blessed Esau he said to him 'away from the fatness of the earth your dwelling will be, away from the dew of heaven on high. By your sword you will live, and you will serve your brother. Genesis 27:39-40a. Jesus told Peter to put his sword back into it's place; "all who take the sword will perish by the sword" Matt 26:52. These two are negative in nature concerning the sword. If Jesus endorsed the use of the sword, why did He say that, and why did He heal the man Peter struck with the sword?
It's futile to try and use Jesus' lack of rebuke about a sword to prove He approved of violence of any kind.The Constitution gives people who want to possess guns the right to do so.That should be enough. God ALLOWED David to continue as king of Judah after He rebuked David of adultery and murder. Doesn't mean He approved does it? Sword never leave his house 2 Sam 12:10.The sword is not our friend.
Mr Hickman, I disagree. Far more than there being no evidence of Jesus telling them to get rid of the swords, Jesus told them to sell some things and go buy more. That definitely shows active approval. Turns out they already had 2 swords and Jesus said that was enough. Your quote of Matt. 26 and Genesis 27 are taken out of context. And telling Peter to put away his sword was because Jesus' time had come and Jesus didn't want Peter to interfere with His plan. Sure, there are "negatives", but by your logic that doesn't mean there aren't as many or more positives not mentioned.
Sir, Jesus did not then and doesn't now approve of violence. Defend yourself, stand your ground, brandish a weapon, all by authority of the rights provided for you by the Constitution. But please don't try to use Jesus to justify you exercising your right to, because you identify yourself as a "christian."
Who do you think Mr Ghandi and Dr King got their non- violent philosophy from? They didn't get it from the Constitution. The Lord led them to victory with it.
You don't need to convince me of your need to be able to defend yourself, I believe you. I'm not going to carry a gun or use one at all, so call me crazy if you like. But leave Jesus out of it, please.
Mr Johnson, many people read the Scriptures the way they read other literature, with no sense of the SPIRITUAL nature of the word of God. "Sell something and buy a sword" doesn't necessarily carry the same meaning in scripture as in other writings. Example: the people walked away from Jesus when he made the comment about drinking His blood and eating His flesh. They took it literally. There are many instances that are not so easily understood because of the subtle nature of them, but they are just as spiritually discerned. I hope you understand. Jesus was not trying to get His followers to fight the Roman Empire. Who could He be telling them to arm themselves against?
I'm not trying to win an argument, I want to testify for Jesus. I don't have any idea of how to stop gun violence or violence of any other kind. I'm trying to teach what I believe the truth of the word to be.
Two swords didn't stand a chance against the soldiers who came against them. Also, why not hand out swords to all eleven if He wants them to fight? That's not what that narrative is trying to teach. Mine and dig for a deeper meaning and He might give it to you. Don't settle for a reason to feel right about your politics.
I don't think, Mr. Hickman that you are trying to win an argument. Neither am I. We apparently approach interpretation differently... I agree that there are many instances that have subtleties. I don't think the sword comments are one of them. Neither do most interpreters of Scripture. I do not look for deeper meaning when the plain meaning is obvious. It is obvious that Jesus didn't want His disciples to combat the Roman Empire, but those were dangerous times and as the disciples were told to go out and about proclaiming the Good News, there would be those who would vehemently disagree, especially other Jews. I could easily see the Chief Priest hiring a brigand to attack the disciples spreading this new faith. They paid Judas, why not someone else? Therefore the 2 swords weren't to fight against Romans, but others and in that case 2 might be enough.
My stance on guns is not political, but practical. According to CDC statistics, more people are saved by good people with guns than these incidences of mass shootings. That, in and of itself, is Scriptural - to save innocent life. One reason I am Pro-Life. I have witnessed a situation where just brandishing an AR-15 turned an attacker away and saved a life. The church shooting in Texas was thwarted by another guy with an AR-15. Maybe 2 armed disciples was Jesus' intention as a deterrent, not overt threat.. I'll stop now though. This isn't a site for a gun debate.
Mr Johnson, Jesus was not being literal about a sword.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerniner of the thoughts and intents of the heart... Heb 4:12. A literal sword can't do all that. A sword doesn't compare to the word of God is the emphasis.
Eph 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. This clearly states that the Spirit does battle with His sword, which is His word.
And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations Rev 19:15. Again, the sword here is referring to the Lord striking the nations with the truth of His word.
Paul got the word he gave to the church from Jesus. He says he didn't receive the gospel from man, "nor was I taught it, but it came from the revelation of Jesus Christ" Gal 1:12. And not once, anywhere, did he tell any member of the church to arm themselves. He tells the Ephesians that we are to have an armor that God provides for a spiritual battle. That's the battle that Jesus fought and won, and the one the disciples were groomed to continue when He departed, and so are we. Being separated to God is not easy. That's what "come out from among them and be separate.. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you" means. 2 Cor 6:17. Are guns unclean? IDK.
That sword He spoke of probably has something to do with His word.
Dear Mr. Hickman. Jesus was most certainly being literal about swords in the passage of Luke 22. You are referring to non-related passages where the sword, I agree, is figurative, but you cannot conflate those passages (Hebrews, Ephesians, Revelation, etc) with the Luke passage. They are totally different contexts. If that were not so, then we shouldn't wear belts because that only figuratively means "truth" (referring to the "belt of truth"). I've studied my Greek New Testament and I know when things are figurative vs literal, and when passages are narrative vs poetic vs apocalyptic, etc. and how context is everything (most of the time), in interpretation.
Mr Johnson, I don't judge believers who carry guns. I understand why people decide to arm themselves in a dangerous society. But I disagree with the notion that Jesus endorses the use of deadly weapons, by any individual. Truth be known, I don't believe He advocates violence for self defense.
Answer this sir: was Jesus being literal when He said 'do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on the right cheek , turn the other to him'? Matt 5:39. If He was, and you said you know when He is, then He is advocating winning your enemy over through sacrificial love.
None of us are not able to rise to that level of godliness, so we lower the requirements and allow for our weaknesses to be overlooked. Fear is redefined as bravado by brandishing a weapon. There's nothing Christlike about that. Perfect love casts out fear... 1John 4:18.
Guns don't really cast out fear, they produce it.(No scripture necessary).
Rom 8:29 says God foreknew us (in eternity) and planned to conform us to the image of His Son. How can He do that if the believer has a gun in His waistband?
Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the site of all men Rom 12:17.
Is that figurative? Is Paul wrong? Sounds like Jesus to me.
I see the term "true christian" often mentioned on this web site. It usually pertains to a believers attitude about life. Carrying a gun says something about your attitude. But what? A "true christian" believes Jesus is the savior, gun permit or not.
Hi Mr. Hickman, I have been following the discussion between you and Mr. Johnson and just find myself with one question.
If Christ did not encourage weapons, then why the almost constant annihilation that God commanded the Israelites to carry out on wicked tribes nearby them?
The answer to that I feel would depend on if someone separates the God of the Old Testament from the God of the New Testament (which is wrongful because God doesn’t not change and we know that).
And yes, we are to win enemies over with sacrificial love but I will point out that more times than not one doesn’t have the chance to accomplish that when people are/attempting to shoot at you.
How many times in Judges did evil people get killed? Lots and lots. And I have to say, I believe that if someone is armed to protect themselves, I daresay they have not much fear.
I will touch on one last thing. Jesus is certainly our Lord and Savior and in control of all things, but, I would disagree that carrying a gun is in a sense doubting him. We as Christians are not told to sit back and twiddle our thumbs as would be hard if someone is attacking you.
For now that is all, I’m interested to see where this goes
Oh and one more thing I just thought of..
I guess I am having a rather hard time understanding why the military and police are more qualified to carry guns than citizens. Because we trust the military and police not abuse that power, it doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t ever. This is not to insinuate anything wrong of them it is simply being logical. If the military and police (which is made up of law abiding citizens), then the citizens who have gun permits/concealed carry licenses who USUALLY ARE law abiding citizens, then why is one more qualified than the other? True, some citizens are not authorized for guns BUT evil people will always be able to get a hold of illegal weapons no matter if it’s from the Black Market or if it’s from a person who decides to sell his guns he has at home.
I just would like to know the distinction between who can carry and who can’t.
Hi Madelyn, thanks for joining in the discussion.
God has no need to change His personality, but He does change His instructions. During the Caanan WAR theater, the people God promised to give the land to were given specific instructions to follow, to rid the land of God's enemies, who were by default, their enemies.
When Jesus came to Earth there was no WAR being waged by Israel against anyone. He sent His disciples out to preach armed with only the power to heal and deliver from the power of sin in the lives of the oppressed. He specifically told them to take neither money, bag, nor sword. When the time had come for him to be arrested He told them to do whatever they needed to do to acquire a sword, and bring it. He changed His instructions, His methodology. Why? There is an old covenant (obselete Heb 8:13), and a new covenant, currently.
There is only one God John 5:44. There isn't an old testament God and a new testament God. Also, there is no old testament church. The Church is a people separated to God the way Israel was, but the difference is the Church has the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. That's a major difference.
God never told Israel to "turn the other cheek" until He came in person to them. You're correct about the days of old being different. Clearly, He is singing them a different song. You didn't address any of the scriptures I listed in defense of my position. Either He is saying something new or He isn't. I think It's clear He is.
Further Madelyn, I repeat: I understand fully what you and others are saying about using guns for whatever purpose you deem desirable or necessary. My opinion about guns is only that, my opinion.
In my previous responses I've tried to be real clear that I don't have the authority or the desire to try to judge, or offer "christian permission" to any believer to carry weapons.
Gun ownership is a constitutional right, and I respect that. I take issue with the practice of claiming that a believer is given the "thumbs up" by Jesus to carry a deadly weapon for personal protection. Believers are given the "thumbs up" by the government and that should be enough.
It's like when I witness the discussion among believers of whether Jesus allows or disapproves of believers drinking alcoholic beverages. People go as far as to claim the wine spoken of in scripture is merely fruit juice. Why would fruit juice even be mentioned in the context of whether Jesus was a winebibber? Matt 11:19, Luke 7:34.
The decision for a believer to drink alcoholic beverages or not is solely the believer's. There's no reason to qualify that decision by the Scriptures. The same is true for a believers decision to own and carry a gun or not to.
I've been robbed twice in the Atlanta area. The last time was way back in 1989. I bought a gun afterwards, got a license, and carried it every where I went. Until 2002 when I died to self and began to live for Jesus. I didn't need one after that, but that's just me.
If you want a Bible answer as to "how a Christian should view gun control", the answer is with limit, just as most of the laws are now, but enforce them. The Bible is not against killing. It is against "murder". The NKJ corrected the mistranslation of "thou shalt not kill" to "shalt not murder." Big difference! In Luke 22:36 Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. (This of course was because the Apostle were now going to have to take care of themselves.) Now the question is would Christ ever authorize killing? The answer is "yes". Jhn 18:36
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” There may be times to kill but never should there be a time to murder! Self defense or defending of others, the defending of ones nation Kingdom etc. The motive for killing must however never violate other commandments. A nation that goes to war out of greed for example is wrong.