Friday, April 23, 2010

Packing heat in church. Seriously.

This is the most stunningly ignorant thing I have read in a long time. Published today in American Vision is an article titled: “Bring Your Pieces to Church” Sunday. They are not kidding. Here are a few choice quotes from the article:

Christians should be aware that the use of force in preservation of life is a biblical doctrine (Ex. 22:2–3; Prov. 24:10–12; Est. 8–9; Neh. 4; cp. John 15:13–14). Likewise, those who possessed weapons in Scripture are often said to be well skilled in the use of them (Judg. 20:15–16; 1 Chron. 12:1–2, 21–22). We can only surmise that 1) God gave them talent in this regard, and that 2) they engaged in target practice regularly. Further, under biblical law, to be disarmed was to be enslaved and led to a disruption of the economic order due to government regulations and monopolies (1 Sam 13:19–22). But the mere presence of a couple weapons had psychological effects that put criminals to flight (1 Sam 13). There is a reason why Scripture tells these stories: they illustrate the defense of life, liberty, and property in the midst of a fallen world (and fallen governments).

Oh my. Here we see eisegesis at its worst and the perverse blurring of the laws of theocratic old covenant Israel with modern day America. For example, the one New Testament scripture quoted here is John 15: 13-14. Does John 15: 13-14 call on Christians to pack heat and gun down bad guys in vigilante actions? The passage reads:

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. (John 15:13-14)

Note that it doesn't say no greater love has one than this, that he will gun down someone. Laying down your life and shooting someone else are the precise opposite actions. Here is another gem....

But we should also begin to exercise our inviolable rights. Every able Christian should own a firearm, and each should seek instruction and training in how to use them. This includes handguns, shotguns, and rifles, each of which has a particular strength in self- and home-defense. Elders and pastors should teach on the topic and its history, and should help aid church members in obtaining fitting pieces and proper training in legal settings.

Ah, I must have missed that in 1 Timothy. An elder must be capable of hitting his target and qualified to teach others how to shoot to kill. That clearly is what is the biggest problem in the church today, not enough Christians owning and using guns.

This all makes perfect sense in light of the New Testament teachings of Christ. NOT! What we see in the New Testament is not arming ourselves against oppressive governments and criminals. Just the opposite. How often was Paul falsely accused and persecuted and yet his response was to just preach the Gospel, not taking up arms against Caesar. Christ died without even defending himself against an unjust magistrate. The early disciples mostly died ugly deaths and did so without raising the sword to defend themselves. Christians used to respect martyrs, now we bemoan that they were not properly equipped and trained with guns to defend themselves.

This is a perfect example of what happens when you start to think that Christianity and American conservatism are one and the same. I will note, hopefully unnecessarily, that my conservative credentials are above reproach especially with respect to 2nd amendment rights. But being an American political conservative is not the same thing as being a disciple of Christ. We are not called to be dispensers of justice. We rely on the sovereign Lord of the universe to judge and dispense justice. We live in a world crushed with the weight of sin. That will never be set right by violence, even "justifiable" violence but only in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I started reading a book the other day about "living green" from a Christian perspective. I was really excited to read it, thinking it would be much more reasonable than all the climate-change-the-world-is-falling stuff. When it said that Jesus was the original tree hugger because he went to a tree (the cross) and died...I couldn't read any further. I'm all for involving our faith in being better stewards of the earth. But there were some MAJOR stretches and twists in there scripturally. Sad.