Guns In America: What Does Jesus Have To Say?

In Tough Questions by Antwuan Malone6 Comments

The massacre in Newtown has rubbed some old wounds with regard to how America deals with guns. And, in true American fashion, the argument is split. Last night, upon reading an entirely separate response from the Newtown shooting regarding God in schools (and boy did I get fired up about that), I ran across this gun response. As I read (and watched the video below), I wondered how Jesus would respond.

But before we get to Jesus, let’s listen to a few other voices in the argument. 

Guns-Free Zone

Some label the “no guns allowed” response to the latest tragedies a knee jerk reaction, but I’m not sure that’s entirely the case. No one called for the elimination of guns after the Colorado shooting, the Fort Hood shooting, the New York Snipers, the gang bangs in inner cities or any other criminal shooting act in America. But the Newtown shooting is a last straw for many Americans. How long do we stand idly by and watch our citizens become victims of  cowards behind guns? Especially when said shooters cannot be brought to justice since their trend is to shoot themselves after their crimes. Clearly, the law is not deterrent enough.

Or so goes the argument.

It is interesting that when you look at this site showing notable school shootings across the world  (it’s wikipedia, so hardly super reliable, but interesting still) you’ll find several. But you’ll also find that the United States is not on the list, and that’s because our list is bigger than the list of the rest of the world combined. You can see that list here. You can’t deny that such data makes for an interesting point concerning the way we handle arms. What is the United States doing so different from the rest of the world that we come away champions of the school shootings by such a large margin.

I will say this. As a parent, when my children show that they cannot be responsible with their possessions, I remove them. I’m not advocating the government is our parents, but I do understand the logic.

Fight Fire with Fire

The opposite view sounds despicable when heard, but probably makes more sense than its naysayers give it credit. It could be argued that our Constitutional “right to bear arms” was granted to allow citizens to protect themselves from evil. It’s as simple as this. If I am not allowed to have a gun, and a criminal comes to my house with his illegal gun, I (and my family) are out of luck. The balance of power is tipped completely to the criminal in this case. Law abiding citizens (under the scenario where guns are prohibited) are not able to protect themselves and their families from the inevitable monopoly of firearms the underground criminal will have access to.

Those making this case see that drugs are illegal, and yet people are hooked on them. And that abortions are illegal in most places, yet they happen. And even that certain guns are illegal that are still in use. That’s just it. We’ve already made certain guns illegal. In fact, the shooter at Newtown could not get the gun he wanted because he didn’t want to jump through the hoops. The system worked. So how did he get the guns? The irresponsibility of a gun owner… at least in this case.  The law takes us so far, but then we have to start accounting for those who would disregard the law, and those who act irresponsibly (yet legally).

In essence, we must have the option to fight fire with fire.

Jesus and Weapons

This one’s not even that hard, or is it? Aside from the fact that there is no record of Jesus exercising combat (outside driving people selling goods out of the synagogue with a whip), Jesus often speaks to his disciples regarding the sword in very clear terms. We all know that he calls us to “turn the other cheek,” which is a statement that’s met with much disobedience. But we also see what Jesus says about Peter slicing a dude’s ear off. “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” Hmm… what does that mean? This came, however, after Jesus “said to them, ‘But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.'” Clearly, Jesus meant this sword for their protection as he was heading to the cross in just a few hours.

Thus, we might conclude that Jesus was in favor of protecting yourself at the appropriate times. Ecclesiastes 3 is a popular verse speaking to “a time” for everything, and we see God in the old testament, and in Revelation, engaged in battle. Perhaps he’d be in favor of the right to bear arms.

So what do you think? Would Jesus be in support of a gun prohibition?

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Antwuan Malone is a Ministry Director at ELEVATE Young Adult Ministry (elevateministry.net) where empowers young adults toward Christian leadership. He is passionate about seeing young adults take their place in church history by drawing near enough to God to hear his call on their life, and courageously living in obedience to that call.
6 comments
Richie Wines
Richie Wines

Like other topics in the Bible that are unclear, I belive that this is unclear for a reason. God does not want us to be crusaders, but he does not want us to sit idly by while evil has its way. With violence and action, every situarion must be taken into judgment for what response is right or wrong.

In America, everyone has the right to defend themselves. How far that right extends is up to much debate and interpertation. I believe in this right, and would feel less secure if this freedom were taken away. How much freedom are we willing to give up to bring saftey? Would giving up that freedom make any difference?

That is the question, and I'm not sure God has a definitive stance on it. I know this: God is for the saftely of our children. God is for freedom. There are no good solutions here, other than to change the hearts of the people that would perform evil, and we know that is not going to happen until the end.

Richie

Teacher of Righteousness
Teacher of Righteousness

Fellow Christians let us lie to ourselves first because Christ wa alive when he said , He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword .This he said to his disciple Peter to make him understand that Kingdom of God does not use physical weapons to gain victory over its enemies.Christ himself was beaten,insulted,spitted upon,humiliated and made naked but he did not open his mouth nor wish evil upon his tormenters but he only said ,father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.re you able to do this in reality?just an insult are you able to contain yourself?

American Christians are supposed to help make change in America but many Christians in America hold guns so  I wander which Jesus Christ they follow?If truly Christians in America are led by the Holy Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the grave,then why should we be debating about this issue?but the fact is many American Christians are Christians by word of mouth or they just go church as an event or routine.This is why Christ said many are called but few shall be chosen,WHY?All believers have been called that is you and me but to enter Heaven there is a criteria that shall be used to select those who have obeyed the Word of God in truth and in Spirit.

If I can defend myself then there is no need for God to protect me but if I depend upon him there is nothing that God cannot do for those who truly believe in him and if it happens that anything happens to a believer we leave everything for God for he knows the begining and the end of each and everyone.....

jamespyles
jamespyles

I'm not sure how to apply the Gospels to our current social and political situation. During his first coming, he was a lowly, itinerant teacher reaching out to "the lost sheep of Israel," trying to get his message across in Roman-occupied Judea and Jerusalem. When he was recognized as Messiah (by Peter, for example), he was expected to lead a violent revolution to expel the Romans. In those cases (see John 6:15), he would remove himself so the people couldn't make him King prematurely.

Now move forward into the Book of Revelation and Jesus is very much the avenging King, inheritor of the Throne of David, leading the war to drive evil from the world and restore Israel as the head of all nations. The Bible speaks of him wielding a sword and a rod of iron (see Rev. 2:27), so it's not exactly like he's all meek, mild, and peaceful at that point.

Would Jesus advocate gun control? I don't know how to answer that. When he comes, he will rule the world and usher in an era of peace, but that's only after the final war. It's clear that Jesus as both our shepherd and our King, values peace and desires peace for us, but between that peace and where we stand now, we will continue to have violence with us.

I know this doesn't answer your question, but the contexts in which we see Jesus operating don't lend themselves to an American political situation. Such is life.

antwuanm
antwuanm moderator

@jamespyles So are you saying that Jesus and the scriptures are irrelevant to this conversation?  :)  I hear you. As I worked through it myself, I found myself jumping back and forth. Truth is, 'guns' aren't needed unless there is sin. Get rid of the sin, and you don't need 'protection'. Since sin is here, maybe you do. I suppose the real question is, does Jesus want you to protect yourself?

jamespyles
jamespyles

@antwuanm @jamespyles Not irrelevant, just really hard to apply since we don't have a direct statement from Jesus that we can say points to anything like the Sandy Hook School shootings.

Get rid of sin and there will be no need for guns. I can buy that and in the final age of peace with Jesus, obviously our "swords will be turned into plowshares". But we still live in a broken world, so guns, violence, and sin are here with us. 

When trying to face this question on my own blog, I decided to let teacher <a href="http://mymorningmeditations.com/2012/12/18/a-human-heart-and-courage/">Vicki Soto</a> be my model and inspiration (click the link I just provided if you don't know who she is). Again, I know that's not an answer to the "gun control" debate, but it is an answer, in my opinion, as to what Jesus wants from our lives.