Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
“See, now I’m thinking: maybe it means you’re the evil man. And I’m the righteous man. And Mr. 9mm here … he’s the shepherd protecting my righteous *** in the valley of darkness. Or it could mean you’re the righteous man and I’m the shepherd and it’s the world that’s evil and selfish. And I’d like that. But that **** ain’t the truth. The truth is you’re the weak. And I’m the tyranny of evil men. But I’m tryin’, Ringo. I’m tryin’ REAL hard to be the shepherd.”
Frank Soto does an excellent job of refuting Rob Schenck’s article claiming that pro-life evangelicals cannot be pro-gun. To me, however, being pro-gun is being pro-life, because my defensive firearm is just that, to defend the lives of myself those whom I hold dear. This attitude is something that I’ve acquired since I’ve been married and have children to defend. When I was a single man, I owned guns, but I did not think of them as a defensive tools. Back then, I believed in my heart that for “for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” I still believe that, but that equation changes when I have more than myself to live for.
I have friends who are strong Christians and pacifists who will not raise a fist in their own defense and will employ any means other than armed resistance to injustice. I respect their opinion and will not condemn them: There’s a lot of room inside the church of Christ, and as long as you know of Christ’s sacrifice and are down with salvation by grace and the Nicean Creed, I don’t care where you stand on AR-15s.
Just as I am willing to respect other people’s views about pacifism, I ask them to respect mine about the defense of my family. David French does an excellent job of laying out what is and is not said in the Bible and elsewhere about taking up arms in defense of one’s life.
“The idea that one is required to surrender their lives — or the lives of their family, neighbors, or even strangers — in the face of armed attack is completely alien to scripture. There are many examples of martyrs surrendering their lives in the face of evil, but such an act is highly contextual and in response to the individual call of God on a man (or woman’s) life. I know of no precedent for the idea that we are called to surrender the lives of others (such as our spouse, children, or neighbors) in response to deadly attack.”
Read the whole thing, it’s worth it.
I’d add two items as well. One is the oft-quoted Luke 22:36,
He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.
There’s a bunch of different views on this verse. The two most popular are a literal view (“See! Christ himself tells us to arm ourselves!”) and the figurative view (John Wesley, among others, thinks that Christ was talking metaphorically here).
Me? I think a lot of bad theology has sprung up over concentrating on one verse instead of the over-arching narrative of the Bible. I’m not too concerned about whether Christ approves of armed self-defence here as I am about what he says in this very same chapter to his disciples at the Last Supper. That’s the important, life-changing stuff that Christians need to worry about.
Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all that.
Ever notice that “Carrying a sword” isn’t the first or second greatest commandment? Take care of those two first, then worry about everything else.
If you’re still wondering, maybe look at the Augustinian idea of a “just war”. Christian/Western philosophy and morality begins with St. Augustine, and “City of God” should be read by everyone, IMO, not just believers. Augustine’s concept of an offensive action by a group of people against another group of people as being something that God condones and not condemns centers on a war that…
- Must occur for a good and just purpose rather than for self-gain or as an exercise of power
- Must be waged by a properly instituted authority such as the state
- Peace must be a central motive even in the midst of violence
I believe this also applies to individuals, not just nation-states. As I see it, I am justified in taking violent action to defend my life if…
- It occurs for a good and just purpose such as defending the innocent rather than for self-gain or as an exercise of power
- I am a properly trained and prepared individual, not a criminal or someone recklessly attacking out of mindless rage
- Third, peace must be a central motive even in the midst of violence. The purpose must be to stop the threat, not punish perceived slights or dominate another person
I believe that armed self-defense is an extension of the Christian’s mandate to protect the innocent, to “watch over widows and orphans in their distress.” No one doubts that a policeman who carries a gun and watches over society can do such things and still be a Christian: Why, therefore, is there any doubt that an armed individual like me can carry a gun and watch over a small portion of society (my family) and yet still have a deep, abiding faith in God?Published in