Updated: Nov 18, 2022
According to the Congressional Research Service, there are more than three hundred million guns in America.
Religious groups such as the Amish, the Quakers, and the Mennonites have the pacifistic notion that self-defense runs contrary to the teachings of the Bible. Should guns matter to Christians? Is there any biblical validation for a Christian to “pack heat”? I emphatically say, “Yes,” to both of those questions.
The pacifist often argues that we are to “turn the other cheek.” Let’s be clear. Jesus wasn’t saying “If someone hurts your child, offer to him your other child.” In no way does “turn the other cheek” support the idea that Jesus was against self-defense.
In Exodus 22:2-3 we find that the Bible teaches us that if a thief comes into your house and you hit him with lethal force, and he dies, you are not guilty of anything. In 1 Peter 3, the Bible instructions husbands to “protect their wives.”
In Luke 22:36-38 missionaries were instructed to acquire a sword, a lethal weapon, for self-defense. In Matthew 26:50-52, Peter uses a sword to cut off the ear of the high priest named Malchus.
Jesus rebukes Peter, not for having the lethal weapon, but for using it incorrectly. Jesus instructed Peter to put the sword in its sheath, and then Jesus addressed the core problem, Peter’s misguided heart, not the symptom. The lethal weapon was not the problem, the mentality of the one wielding it was.
We must understand that while violence can be evil, it can also be good. If a female is being violently raped, and someone uses a tool of violence, a gun, to stop the rape of that lady, the hero is to be commended.
Violence (rape) is evil, but stopping the rape and saving the woman’s life showcases violence as virtuous.
If a courageous Christian has to take the life of an evil man in self defense, or in defense of others, we must remember, “God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” (Ezekiel 33:11)
Self defense with lethal force is always a last resort.
Interestingly, the wall constructors in Nehemiah 4:17-18 held a lethal weapon in one hand and worked on building the wall with the other hand. They were rightly ready to defend themselves and defend their building project.
The topic of guns is a fiery topic that isn’t going away anytime soon.
Remember, human life is precious because we are made in the image of God, and that is worth defending.
The above article was written by James C. Johnson. He is the Pastor of NorthStone Baptist Church in Pensacola. To offer him your feedback, find him on twitter, @JamesJohnsonSFL or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.