God and Guns
The question predates the advent of firearms. Since the church began believers have been debating the role of weapons with believers.
On one side of the debate you have the pacifists, who take Jesus’s admonition to turn the other cheek as an indication that believers are always to be non-violent. While they may allow for Christians to take up arms to hunt (Jesus did eat fish after all, and even assisted his disciples on the best way to “hunt” for fish by telling them where to cast their nets), they draw the line at harming another human.
Of course, complete pacifism is a difficult stance to take. Some have maintained that position in the most difficult circumstances, including at times of war. The recent movie Hacksaw Ridge told the story of one famous example – WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss. Doss went into battle, refusing to carry any type of weapon, and saved dozens of his fellow soldiers in the face of unbelievable violence. No one can doubt that Doss lived out his faith.
But with that said, what would have happened if the other soldiers with Doss had all taken the same position he had. They have a name for a nation that refuses to defend itself in the face of aggression: slaves. Jesus said that wars would not only continue as time went forward, but also would increase. And he hasn’t been wrong so far.
For many other believers, taking up arms both to defend self and also the weak is a moral imperative. They remember Jesus’s admonition that if you don’t have a sword you should sell your cloak and buy one. And they take note that Jesus was not above kicking over some tables and laying a whip across the backs of those ripping people off in the name of religion.
Many of them take the verses that talk about the greatest expression of love is laying your life down for others. These believers are among those who take up arms to serve the weak and defenseless in the police force and in the military. Not because they have a love for violence, but instead because they believe the best way to serve their Lord is to prevent it wherever they can.
The reality is that both groups can look to different sections of scripture when deciding the issue. That indicates that the bearing of arms is a matter of personal conviction. And as such, both sides should leave room for the other to follow their Lord as they see fit.
But as for me and my house….
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