The Christian’s Attitude About Guns

Part Three

While growing up in a small farming country near Loudonville, Ohio, times were different. Gun control laws were not as strict. Everyday country boys from the local towns and farms would drive their pickups to school. In the back of the cab in the rear window was a gun rack. It carried a shot gun and a rifle of some sort. To my recollection, there was never a shooting or even a threat of one. Sure, there were fist fights from time to time after school, but the guns stayed in the vehicles. Times are different. A sixteen-year-old then could be trusted but now one wonders whether a twenty-one-year-old is trustworthy enough.

What can be done about the current problems with mass shootings and random gun violence? There are various views. Some believe a Christian is obligated or has a divine right to own a gun. Others will go so far as to claim it is a sin for a Christians to own a gun. Both of these extremes are not supported by the Bible.

The Word of God does give us some important and proper attitudes to have in dealing with the issue of gun violence.

Proper Attitudes:

 Do Not Make Laws

God does not require us to own a gun in order to protect family or the weak or our neighbor. God does not condemn the ownership of this tool, but the sinful use of it. Once Jesus told His disciples to purchase a weapon. “Then He said to them, ‘But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For the things concerning Me have an end.” So they said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.” (Luke 22:36-38). Two swords were enough to demonstrate that weapons do not have a part in the defense or advancement of the Kingdom of God. However, if Jesus wanted to condemn weapons this was His chance. Instead, He at this occasion encouraged the purchase of them.

 Obey the Laws of the Land

Christians are called to submit to governing authorities, and they are to obey the laws of the land (Romans 13:1-7). Peter writes, “therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God” (1 Peter 2:13-16). If the government has certain gun laws in effect, Christians should follow them. If they disagree, they need to use the proper means to produce change. If the law requests criminal or mental health background checks then submit. If a gun safety course is mandated, then take it. If a regular renewal of license is legislated, then keep up with it. If a minimum age requirement of twenty-five is compulsory, patiently wait for it. If some form of gun liability insurance is part of the law, purchase it.

 Defend yourself and family, etc.

Exodus 22:2-3 shows that self-defense must be proportional. “If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed. If the sun has risen on him, there shall be guilt for his bloodshed. He should make full restitution; if he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.” At night telling the difference between a mere thief and a murderer is near impossible. It is not much easier in the daylight. However, it may be easier in the light of day to fend off instead of killing the intruder. Once a criminal is detained and then killed after sunrise, it is no longer self-defense.

In self-defense it does not matter what weapon is used: knives, blunt objects, or even hands, fists, and feet or family dog. There is some liberty in personal choice. A tank would be a bit over kill unless your intent is to kill instead of defending.

A tool to aid any victim would be a phone. However, keep in mind the average response time for a 911 call is between twelve and fifteen minutes.

 Always Value Human Life

Taking a human life is never easy for most people. Nor should it be. Why? Because we value human life. It is a life that is made in the image of God. Pointing a gun at a person should always be a last resort We should seek to neutralize threats without violence whenever possible.

Abortion and violent video games have resulted in the devaluation of human life and depersonalization of our fellow man. Instead of being seen as someone made in God’s image, our fellow man has become a “target” or a “head shot” or a “threat” to be neutralized.

 Capital Punishment Is God’s Solution

What can be done to help restore to society a sense of value in regard to human life? Capital punishment or killing the murderer is commanded by God. The Bible makes a distinction between killing and murdering. “Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man” (Genesis 9:5-6). God ordained the use of capital punishment not only in the patriarchal age, but in the Mosaical and Christians age as well.

 Fear God, Not Guns

Some idolize the gun. Some car bumpers claim: “Protected by Smith & Wesson.” Fear of God does not demand a gun or exclude one. Cromwell: “Fear God and keep your powder dry.” Jesus said, “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! (Luke 12:4-5). Do not fear criminals or guns, fear God.

 Take Up the Armor of God

If we seek true protection from evil, take up and put on the Armor of God. Paul wrote, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:11). The most powerful weapon every given to mankind must be used by every Christian. “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).

 Take Individual Responsibility

To carry and use a weapon demands taking responsibility for it. Remember, the best-trained police officers don’t always get it right. If a man owned a powerful ox, he needed to be mindful of the dangers to others. “If an ox gores a man or a woman to death, then the ox shall surely be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall be acquitted. But if the ox tended to thrust with its horn in times past, and it has been made known to his owner, and he has not kept it confined, so that it has killed a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned and its owner also shall be put to death” (Exodus 21:28-29). If he is using a tool such as an axe, which has been often used as a weapon, he must take responsibility for what happens (Deuteronomy 19:4-6)

 We Need Heart Control, Much More Than Gun Control

Part of the problem with gun control laws is the mistaken believe that if all guns were eliminated or very strictly controlled the problem would be resolved. When Cain killed his brother, God’s response was not to ban rocks or knives, or whatever, but to banish the murderer (Genesis 4:6,7). God did not call for stricter rock or stick control. God’s response was not to register rocks or impose a background check. The evil in Cain’s heart was the cause of the murder, not the availability of the murder weapon.

Nowhere in the Bible does God make any provision for dealing with the instruments of crime. A gun is not a free moral agent. A gun cannot be put on trial. Guns are neutral in morality. It is an object that can be used for good or for evil. Baptism is also abused and misused. But banning or strictly controlling the use and number of baptistries will not solve the problem.

Having a sign that reads “Gun-Free Zone” deters no criminal. Criminals are called criminals because they will not keep the law. The overwhelming majority of the guns used by gangs, thugs, and criminals are unregistered.

Guns are not the source of evil; Jesus said the heart is. “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man” (Mark 7:20-23).

One day the gun will be surpassed by light sabers just as the gun has the sword, bow and arrow, spear, club, rock, etc. The issue will still be individuals controlling their hearts. Ultimately, guns are not the problem. Sinful people are the problem. Only the Gospel can solve that problem and only Christians are called to share the Gospel. Do not abdicate your God-given duty to save people from guns when you need to help saved them from a sinful heart.

– Daniel R. Vess

2023-03-19 - Can a Christian Own a Gun? (Part 2)
2023-04-02 - A Message From Mars (Part 1)
Categories: The Forum