Can a Christian Own a Gun?

Part One

Once I met a man at the local mall in front of a very busy store. He called up the church requesting to talk with a preacher. Due to the tone of his voice and other warning signs in the conversation, I agreed to meet him in a very public setting. As soon as I met him, he told me I was a fool for showing up. “Why is that?” I asked. In a very threatening, matter of fact response, he said, “because I have a gun and I am going to blow your brains out.” Well, to make a long story short I still have my brains or at least most of them. The ordeal ended with him in tears, apologizing, and begging my forgiveness with a promise, he would never bother me again.

Thinking back on that event, I have often wondered what would have happened if I pulled a gun in defense instead of helping the man deal with his issues. The fact is the conversation would have ended and the man would not have been helped.

Gun ownership is a volatile issue in our day. You ask a dozen people their view on the subject of gun ownership, and you are likely to get two dozen opinions. It is a very emotionally charged issue. Especially after the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. It is a difficult issue for politicians and a controversial religious topic.

Before examining the various views, it is helpful to identify common ground on which most people can agree. First, should weapons exist at all? There has always been and always will be violence. All sins will continue until the Lord returns and utterly destroys the world.

Should the government regulate gun ownership? God has ordained them to protect those who are good and punish the evil doers. Paul wrote, “let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Romans 13:1-4).

Can just anyone own a gun? Absolutely NOT! No one believes a small child or violent criminal or the mentally challenged should have access to powerful weapons.  Are guns a deterrent to criminals? A gun could help one keep their money or car. And more importantly, it could help them keep their loved ones safe. Can owning a gun lead to an accidental shooting? More than 500 children were killed in accidental gun deaths in 2011. Is it a sin for a Christian to own or operate a gun? Is it a right or a choice or a sin or an obligation? This is the question the next two articles will explore.

Divine Authority from Scripture Will Determine the Answer NOT Statistics

No sooner does the debate over gun-control begin, and out come the statistical charts and graphs. Like the one contrasting Switzerland and Honduras. During the time the facts were drawn up in a chart, both countries were 8.2 million in population. Switzerland required at the time all its citizens to be armed. Honduras had the strictest gun-control laws in the world. However, Honduras had the highest homicide rate of all the nations. Whereas Switzerland had the lowest. Then there is the graph showing Japan with lowest homicide rate and Brazil the highest. In the United States the city of Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws. Ironically, their gun violence is astronomical. A recent study published in the Southern Medical Journal found that a gun in a home is twelve times more likely to lead to the death of a member of the household or a visitor than an intruder (2010, 20100204/ Guns-in-homes-can-increase-risk -of- deathand- firearm-related-violence.aspx).

What does this prove in regard to the query? It has been well said, “Figures do not lie. But liars do figure.” So, when Christians are conflicted, they should turn to scripture and find truth and wisdom from God.

Arguments For All Christians Being Required to Carry a Gun

A God-Given Right

Although there are plenty of arguments made as to why a Christian should not own a gun, first we will look at those who argue that all Christians are required to carry a gun. Some feel the very future existence of the nation is at stake. This nation came to be based on the idea of a place free from religious persecutions. Some link the freedom of religion to the freedom to bear arms. It is argued, that if Americans lose the freedom to own guns, they will not be able to protect those long hard fought for religious freedoms.

However, Jesus told Pilate, “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” (John 18:36). Never has the spiritual kingdom of God been advanced or protected by carnal weapons. The only weapon a citizen of the Kingdom of Christ must have is the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Heb. 4:12; Eph. 6:14f).

Constitutional Right

The Second Amendment to our Constitution reads, “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” A counter argument is that our government is not God, and the constitution is not the Christian creed. The Bible gives us direction and our blessings. Christians answer to a higher power than the government. Government given freedoms do not give Christians the liberty or authority to do anything they want. Rights involve responsible decision making. The right to freedom of speech does not include the right to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater during a movie. (However, it is not a problem to yell “Movie!” in a crowed fire station). The right to bear arms is not a legal requirement. A driver’s license gives one the right to drive a car but in no way demands a driver to own a car.


We live in a dangerous world, even though danger is not always evident. Some believe helping and protecting others requires being well armed. For example, being able to stop a crime in progress like the armed saints at the church of Christ in Fort Worth. Even self-protection does not always require a weapon. Jesus and Paul defended themselves without a weapon.

The outcome of the story from the introduction did not necessitate a gun. The will of God is for Christians to sometimes suffer persecution. “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). Suffering persecution for Christ is a beatitude. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:10-12). This is true whether one own’s a gun or not.

This is not to say that one cannot use a gun to protect their loved ones or themselves. It is not to argue that Christians must be pacifists to the extent they let people abuse or kill them. It is simply saying that sometimes persecution is an important part of our consideration. Jesus could have but did not call legions of angels for protection. In contrast, Paul avoided an illegal beating by appealing to his rights as a Roman citizen.
There is nothing in God’s Word which would demand a Christian to own a gun.

– Daniel R. Vess

2022-03-05 - “This Great Wickedness Against God” (Part 3)
2023-03-19 - Can a Christian Own a Gun? (Part 2)
Categories: The Forum