This might be surprising to the readers of the blog and to some acquaintances of mine who are not entirely familiar with me, but I love guns. I remember when telling this to a few friends, they were surprised by that. When I asked why, they responded by saying that I was a strong Christian. Typically, people who are considered to be strong Christians are mild-mannered, and we attribute people who are hostile, violent, and/or warlike to guns. There are many Christians who think that guns and death go hand in hand. I myself was a victim of that mentality.
A man once said, “French fries kill more people than guns or sharks, but nobody’s afraid of french fries.” Well believe it or not, neither am I. However, I remember how as a child, I was afraid of guns and sharks. I remember watching Jaws as a nine year old, and I remember how I didn’t want to swim for a few months. I couldn’t even swim in a swimming pool or take a bath without thinking I was gonna get eaten by a shark. I also remember watching movies with guns… lots of guns (The Matrix reference), and I associated guns with mindless killing. I grew up in Georgia, so I saw guns a lot, and whenever I saw a gun as a kid… I did have a sense of danger and fear.
That being said, my thoughts on guns have drastically changed. Ever since my first trip to the shooting range, I have never hated guns again. Now, I love going to the range. I love shooting any pistol I can, so far my favorite being a Kimber 1911 variant (with a straight handle) and the Sig-Sauer P320 Carry. I also love assault rifles, and especially my dad’s Sig Sauer 516. The picture for the post is of my dream rifle: the CZ 805-Bren, chambered in NATO 5.56mm with a 14.2 inch barrel. Yeah! I love guns, believe me! Nevertheless, the question I intend to answer is not whether or not I love guns. The question is, how should Christians approach guns? Are they necessary? Would Jesus allow them?
I understand that many Christians’ argument against guns is that guns kill, so that means guns are bad. Guns bring destruction, and Jesus told us that we should be peacemakers. Also, many believe that Jesus was against violence and war, and we should also be against anything that has to do with that. The final argument I’ve heard, and this comes from many godly women that I have known, as well as my grandparents, is that Jesus said those who live by the sword, die by the sword. If we are are to live as Christians, then we are to trust in God, not guns.
Keep in mind that these arguments deserve sympathy, and they are not to be easily dismissed. It’s not easy for many people to accept guns, and we must be sensitive to that. In the same way that Paul didn’t drink wine around those who had a weak conscience, I wouldn’t show off a gun around someone who is sensitive to the sight of one. Now that I’ve laid out some arguments on the table from Christians who oppose guns, are they right? To put it bluntly, no! In fact, these arguments are completely inconsistent with the Scriptures.
Firstly, if arming yourself was so bad, why did Nehemiah, a man who was sent by God to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and had the protection of the Almighty, instruct every man to arm himself with a sword? In Nehemiah 4:17 (ESV) it says, “Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other.” Why didn’t God stop him? Why didn’t God tell Nehemiah that he didn’t need it? It says that every single person working on the wall, including himself, was armed. Either God was considerably tolerant, or secretly angry, if God didn’t like weaponry.
We must also remember that Abraham trained over 400 men, and armed them, to go and rescue his nephew Lot. Why did Abraham, a man of faith, take up a sword rather than pray? Why did God still call Abraham a man of faith even after using a sword? Isn’t God against using weapons? Or consider David, a man who sought God with all his heart. He wrote the Psalms, he had a heart for the temple, and he prayed that God would be near him. David did everything to honor the Lord, but that man was a warrior. Has anyone ever read the Psalms? David slept with his sword by his side, prayed that God would slay his enemies, and had faith that God would strengthen him during every sword and fist-fight. If God were to choose a man who He would call on, one who would seek after His heart, wouldn’t God choose someone who was less violent and less dependent on weaponry?
Also, was Jesus really against war? In Matthew 24:6 (ESV), Jesus says, “‘You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place.'” Jesus saw war as something that was going to happen, almost with no worry or resentment of any kind. In fact, Jesus used war analogies plentifully.
If Jesus was such a man of peace that all the hippies claim He was, why did He say this in Matthew 10:34 (ESV), “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Of all things Jesus said He would come to bring, He chose to say a sword; something that would cut and divide. In Luke 22:36 (ESV), Jesus tells the disciples something even more astonishing, “‘Let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.'” Not only was Jesus not against swords for self-defense, He encouraged it.
Lest there be any doubt as to whether Jesus was a warrior or not, check out Revelation. Read through Revelation and tell me that Jesus was not the most awesome person you had ever seen, better than any action hero by far. The “last action hero” is not Arnold Schwarzenegger, but it is going to be Jesus Christ (sorry I had to throw in the pop-culture reference).
Some might ask at this point, why did Jesus tell Peter to put away his sword? Why did Jesus talk about peacemakers? To understand this, we need to remember one thing about Christian liberty. 1 Corinthians 6:12 (ESV) says, “‘All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be dominated by anything.” Guns are lawful to us as Christians, but it comes with limitations. We must ask ourselves a series of questions.
The first thing we must think about is whether this is something that I believe will glorify God, or if it is something I want to do because it is cool. Am I thankful to God for the fact that I can smell gunpowder in the range, feel a rush when shooting, or have the chance to protect myself and my family from danger? If it is just for my own pleasure, without any consideration of the fear of the Lord or thankfulness to God, then it is it worth it?
The second thing to consider is the heart. Are you ready to kill without question? This is something I have struggled with. I still do. Will I let my emotions, such as fear and anger, get the better of me in a self-defense situation? The sad thing is that you won’t know until you’re faced with that situation, but we must always pray to be ready. To be ready with prayer is better than nothing.
The final thing that I would also ask is whether or not the government allows it. Now, I live in the United States of America, arguably the most free country concerning firearm ownership. Not only that, I live in Georgia. Gun freedom here is incredible! I have friends who have SBRs and full-auto guns, and there are people in my state who own tanks. I love that kind of freedom, even though it is an expensive freedom. However, as a Christian, I must realize something: the day my government tells me I must surrender my firearms, I am bound by Scripture to do so. Guns are not a basic human right, but a privilege. As Christians, we must understand that if gun control laws pass, then we must submit, even if it does sound terrible.
Are guns bad? No. Are people depraved? Yes. That is why a blade can be used to perform heart surgery or cut my steak (not with the same blade though), but yet a blade can also be used to murder. Have guns been used for bad? Yes, but they’ve been used for good.
Why are there no foreign enemies at your doorstep who are threatening your livelihood? Because there are men overseas with M4s who protect your country. Why are there not more criminals than there are? Could it be because of the cops that are armed with Glock 17s? Or maybe your typical ‘grandfather’ who is armed with his trusty bolt-action rifle or shotgun?
So, what should Christians think of guns? God is not against guns, and we shouldn’t be either. It’s an issue of Christian liberty and our freedom in Christ. Personally, I consider it an amazing thing to be given a privilege by God to be experienced with firearms and being able to use them to defend myself and my future family for His glory. However, I also know I have an obligation to look at my heart, to submit to my government, and to be sensitive to those who disagree with me and want gun control. May God continue to guide me in this area, but may He also strengthen me, as He strengthened David, for the day I will need to step up as a man and protect.
Soli Deo Gloria.