Guns, Faith and History. (Sunday reading)

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Guns, Faith and History. (Sunday reading)

Postby Martin_tu » Sun, 2006-03-12 14:02

Guns 'n Christians?!! But aren't they the "Love thine enemy" crowd?

The Biblical Basis for Gun Ownership. Adapted from Dan Peters, D. Min. ~1998

It's 3 A.M. You wake from a deep sleep to hear glass shattering from the lounge. Someone is breaking into your house! What do you do? You reach for the phone but it's dead. You cautiously enter your hallway. There in your living room are four men you don't know with your TV and hi-fi in tow! One turns to you and you see a gun or large knife in his hand! He says, "Go get your wife & kids, NOW!" What do you do?

As a Christian, (or any 'believer' for that matter), What should you do? Would an alarm system have kept them out? Would a gun have prevented them from presenting a potentially deadly threat to you and your family? Should Christians ever use deadly force to protect their family members?

It's been believed for centuries that law-abiding citizens have (as depicted in the US Constitution - "the right of the people to keep and bear arms... shall not be infringed." As a fundamental part of the American Constitution, it seems (to most intelligent people) to be the greatest human guarantee of all the other rights recognized by currently the most powerful Nation on the planet. For the last eight years or so it has also apparently reduced violent crime every year.

Until the commencement of the "Firearm Control Act" however, here in South Africa it was all mostly theory for me. Except for my involvement (along with my children, grandchildren and interested friends and neighbours) in responsible firearm use, gun-rights were not a very large part of my life. Ever since I served in the Armed Forces in the sixties and seventies, guns were something that one was issued to perform a function when under orders to do so, not a regular part of civilian life, protection from personal attack was the (unarmed) British police's function.

Once I realized in 1998 that plans were being made to disarm law-abiding citizens like me, and although I'd responsibly owned a personal weapon for self -and family- defence I decided to start learning more about ancient attitudes and the efficacy of defending ones 'nearest and dearest'.

I soon discovered that handguns have historically been around for over four hundred and fifty years. And prior to their invention citizens employed swords etc, before that clubs, rocks etc. Oppressive rulers and regimes have over the millenia frequently sought to exclude the individual use of weapons to protect themselves, usually against those very regimes abusing their reign.

As a 'Faith-based' gun owner I've often asked myself questions such as : "Is it right for (say) a Christian to defend his or her family? Are lethal weapons in the hands of private citizens in keeping with the Bible, the Torah or the Koran?"

My Faith being essentially 'Christian based' I discovered that the Bible for one has much to say about weapons. The word "sword" appears in over 400 verses in the Old and New Testaments. The first passage I found that established the right of a homeowner to use deadly force was Exodus 22:2-4: "If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him....

The Mosaic Law, allegedly established by God for the nation of Israel, provided for family defense by stating that if a thief is killed during a night-time theft, the homeowner is not liable for his death, supporting the use of deadly force by individuals to protect the lives of family members. Also, in this instance, it is obvious that the person is a thief, because that is what he is called, as opposed to a rapist or murder or man stealer or child molester, all of which present justifiable killing. If it were not obvious that he were a thief, then he should be treated as a person of the worst possible character and dealt with is the severest possible manner.

(The Lord) Jesus also assumed the right of a man to defend his family by the use of his arms in this quotation from Him in Luke 11:21-22: "When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace. Peace in a man's palace or home is the result of being armed, not disarmed.

Law-abiding citizens, trained in the proper use of firearms, can only enhance the peace of our communities. Armed homes are a deterrent to violent crime.

One of the most informative passages I've come across is the one in which we have a record of Jesus instructing His followers to sell some of their clothes and buy a sword. When they indicated they had two swords among the twelve of them, Jesus then said that it was enough, as we see in Luke 22:36 and 38: "Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.... And they said, "Lord, here are two swords". And he said unto them, It is enough."

Jesus did not prohibit his disciples from having lethal weapons, but instead made sure that at least some of His disciples had them. He even suggests the method of funding for the purchase of weapons. "Sell your garment" implies the fairly basic necessity of them being armed during their travels. This cannot refer to a "spiritual" sword since a "spiritual" money bag and knapsack and garment would seem to be stretching an interpretation to fit a preconceived idea. (As many anti self-defence organisations are fond of doing).

Jesus stopped His disciples from using their weapons when He was arrested, as we see in Matthew 26:47-52: "And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.

And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, "Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword."

Jesus upheld the right of His disciples to carry a weapon and held them responsible for their proper use. He also warned that those who use a weapon take the risk of escalation of conflict. But why did Jesus tell Peter to put his sword in its place? Jesus explained why His servants didn't fight in John 18:36: Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight," that I should not be delivered unto the Jews, (The authority's of that time) : but now is my kingdom not from hence."

He didn't say that His servants had no right to fight, He rather explained that because His kingdom did not have its origin in this world His servants would not use physical weapons to fight what is essentially spiritual warfare. We (Christians) are not to attempt to spread the gospel by the "sword." Those who have attempted to spread the faith by the "sword" have always brought shame to true Christians. (Self defense and oppression being entirely another matter).

One verse that is used to teach pacifism and disarmament is Isaiah 2:4: "And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

Does this verse teach us to disarm ourselves? No. This verse refers to the future. The Bible teaches that the Millennial Kingdom of God on earth has not yet arrived. There will come a day when the earth will have so much peace that we will no longer need our weapons (for self defense). Until then, we must be prepared to defend ourselves. We should now follow the command in Joel 3:10: "Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong."

"But didn't Jesus say that we should turn the other cheek?" In Matthew 5:39, Jesus said: "But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."

This refers to the response of a Christian to less than lethal force. We should allow ourselves to be misused and defrauded for the sake of peace. But this in no way contradicts the responsibility of Christians to defend their loved ones from deadly criminal assault in a free society. Would it ever be right for a Christian to take the life of another human being? What does it mean when the Bible says "THOU SHALT NOT KILL?"

Is the sixth commandment an absolute prohibition of all killing? No! What is prohibited here is deliberate unauthorized murder, not legitimate self-defense. The Apostle Peter wrote that believers should ot be murderers in I Peter 4:15: "But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters." Personal premeditated murder is always a violation of the unchanging moral law of God.

Another question I asked myself was... Is 'God' a Pacifist?

He used a sword to block the access of Adam and Eve to the Garden of Eden after they sinned (Genesis 3:24). He stood with a sword to block the way of Balaam and his donkey (Numbers 22:23). He appeared to Joshua as a military commander with a sword in His hand (Joshua 5:13-14). He wears a sword on His thigh (Psalm 45:3). He has a double-bladed sword(Revelation 2:12). He says that He kills in Deuteronomy 32:39: "See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand."

God is not a pacifist. He has killed many, as in Noah's flood, and is shown in the Bible as having a sword and using it to bring justice and peace.

"Should government try to bring about peace by confiscating weapons from law-abiding citizens?" One particual instance of disarming people that I could find in the Bible was in I Samuel 13:19-22: "Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears: But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock. Yet they had a file for the mattocks, and for the coulters, and for the forks, and for the axes, and to sharpen the goads. So it came to pass in the day of battle that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan: but with Saul and Jonathan his son there was found."

I discovered in the Bible that weapons confiscation is a method used by "Philistine" governments who seek to make slaves out of the people they rule. The right to keep and bear arms is not only a fundamental, constututionally-guaranteed American right. It is a right given by God in this sinful world. It is assumed in the Bible.

The right to family-defense is presumed entirely from one end of the Bible to the other. The idea that Christians should support the disarming of law-abiding citizens is not in accord with God's will for this age. The disarming of the lawful will only leave the streets and our safety in the hands of criminals and overworked police officers who cannot guarantee our safety.

While "Faith based' people are authorized to defend their families, there is no Biblical basis for personal revenge, hatred or political persuasion by means of arms. 'Theism' was never meant to be spread by means of the sword. And while we do have a right to self defense, we must decide when it is proper to use it. Difficult choices exist in this evil world. Like most people, I hope that I never have to use deadly force to protect my family.

If I do however, I know from my study of the Bible that it is not wrong to use deadly force, -'Violence' per se being a criminal Act- if necessary, to protect myself, my family or anyone else from violent criminal assault.

The Ancient Common Law Right that recognizes the right of a citizen to "keep and bear arms" is in harmony with the teachings of the Bible and should be upheld by Bible-believing Christians and all Faith-based people. Therefore legislation that has the effect of disarming law-abiding citizens should be opposed by Christians and indeed all other 'believers' who take the their own chosen Faith seriously.

Martin L Hedington. ~2006
"I'd rather have a gun and not need it than vice versa."
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RE: Guns, Faith and History. (Sunday reading)

Postby Emilio » Sun, 2006-03-12 15:14

One verse that is used to teach pacifism and disarmament is Isaiah 2:4: "And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
Why beat swords into "pruninghooks" and "plowshares"??? Why does it not say "solid lumps of metal" to be used as paperweights...???

Plowshares and pruninghooks are both symbols of constructive tools used for constructive purposes. Is a shotgun for trap and skeet and duck hunting a weapon of war or a "pruninghook"??? Clearly, sport, hunting and recreational shooting are all constructive. I don't think people will be actually pounding AK-47s with mallets to make them resemble a garden spade or a plowshare, but rather that people will simply retire those weapons from acts of war and will re-assign then for constructive purposes.

It seems to me that gun control will be done away with when Christ reigns...

YAY!!! No more GFSA or gun control !!! YIPPPEEEE!!!!! :wink:
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