Should Christians Support Guns?

guns

Some Christians, especially after a horrible incident—like the Newtown shooting at Sandy Hook public elementary school or the Aurora Movie Theater, or Columbine or Virginia Tech—wonder if it’s right for them to support guns. They ask things like “Shouldn’t Christians love their enemies? Why should they support guns at all?” and “why are American Christians so violence craved that they are adamant supporters of guns?”

What I want to do in this article is highlight what I think is a Biblical position regarding guns. I’m sorry that I can’t deal with the question directly. With so many unspoken assumptions, I have to get to the text through the fog of misinformation.

What is a gun?

The world we live in colors our definition of a gun. By “world” I don’t mean the planet. I mean our culture, our society, our education. We see guns in movies or TV shows and without knowing learn strange lessons. That stinks. That means many of us have absorbed the story arc of movies, television shows, and the rest of the media.

That’s the reason we have working definitions like “a weapon that was created for no other purpose than to kill.” which, apparently (the assumption hints), automatically negates the usage of guns. In other words: guns were made for doing bad so they are bad.

Let’s grant that for a second. Why is a gun any worse than any other weapon? I’d like to see a weapon that wasn’t made to kill. The sword might function as a shovel but its purpose and refinement was to kill. The bow and arrow might be used as a single key guitar, but its purpose and refinement was to kill. Same thing with the spear. Dagger. Dart. Sling.

But, not granting the definition we wind up asking “kill what?”

So let’s get the definition out of the way, according to Merriam-Webster: a piece of ordnance usually (though not necessarily) with a high muzzle velocity and comparatively flat trajectory.

Basically, it’s a device that launches things. It can launch water. It can launch rubber. It can launch lead. It can launch pellets. It can launch bean bags. It can even launch potatoes.

The gun, by its nature, has broad applications. You might have a gun that fires atoms at other atoms or a gun that fires explosive devices at oncoming armored vehicles.

The purpose in each of the cases is different. Of course the critic would point out that I am conflating things—but the point here is to unveil the unspoken assumption about the term “gun”. If we instead focused on a specific type of gun we still have all sorts of assumptions being tossed out of the way.

You can have guns that are meant for hunting birds—in which case you are killing a bird. Or you can have guns that are meant for stopping tanks—in which case you are stopping the operation of a tank within a military environment. Or you can have guns that fire very rapidly—in which case they are to suppress enemy fire by either causing the enemy to seek cover beneath the hail of bullets. Or you have guns that are meant to fire from close up—to stop either an oncoming man or bear. Or you have guns that are meant to fire from very far away—to hunt animals or enemies.

Guns, in dangerous encounters (like military situations or criminal encounters) are always equalizers of strength. A gun neutralizes the imbalance between parties in an encounter. I’ll have to illustrate what I mean by that.

The long-range rifle in the hand of an expert shooter negates the strength of the charging lion. A short female police officer who carries around 100 pounds of gear and a gun neutralizes the strength of the muscular two hundred pound thug. A gun neutralizes the imbalance of strength between the elderly grocer behind the counter and the angry youth with the waved knife. And so on.

A gun, therefore, follows in the long history of ordnance through time. Swords had multiple uses, but one of their major uses was as an imbalance neutralizer. You didn’t have to carry around the heaviest sword to still be able to do damage. A bow and arrow had multiple uses but one of the major uses was as an imbalance neutralizer in battle: an enemy who could easily beat you in man to man combat is best handled at a distance before he got that close. The crossbow eventually was an even better option since it involved mechanics to equalize the strength required to fire a bow long distances.

What is self-defense?

Murder mystery dramas tell us that “self-defense” is a justification for murder. But that’s not true.

Self-defense is the act of defending oneself, one’s property, a close relative, or others. It doesn’t necessarily involve killing but it involves the act of self-protection if one fears they (or those they are protecting) are in mortal danger. So self-defense could happen if you’re being attacked or your child is being attacked. Historically, you can defend yourself (or your property or your relative) with your fists, with a bat, with a sword, or with a gun.

So if you are with a friend, and your friend is attacked by a dog and you use a bat to stop the dog, you are still acting in self-defense.

What does the Bible say about guns?

Obviously guns weren’t invented when the Bible was written. We won’t find verses that deal with a device that fires with a high muzzle velocity or even a relatively flat trajectory.

But we will find that the Bible deals with weapons, self-defense, and the proper mindset with these things.

Nehemiah, when rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem for example, had the people work on the walls while armed. The builders walked about with swords on their sides, and trumpeters were nearby to give a war call if danger reared its head. And the weapons weren’t there simply for show (even though the show would function as a deterrent to an extant). Nehemiah tells the people that when they hear the trumpet the people are to rally where they are called and God would fight for them. This is a poetic way of saying that God would be on their side. And even with that thinking that God was on their side, Nehemiah and the Jews refused to take off their weapon at any time while their defenses lay so bare (Nehemiah 4:17-23).

The Bible depicts God as having and using weapons. Okay, yeah, this is a metaphor for God fighting or judging but—this is key—the weapons aren’t evil on account of being weapons. God is using them! (Deu 32:42; 2 Sam 22:15; Psalms 7:12-13; 18:14; 21:12; 64:7; Hab. 3:11; Zec 9:14)

And there are portions of the Bible where the people of God are worse off because they don’t have weapons. The Philistines, notes the historian, ensured that blacksmiths in Israel were scarce so that they wouldn’t make weapons. (1Sam 13:19) This was common practice among enemies when they wanted to make sure the people were subdued and unable to defend themselves (Judges 5:8).

Which is why the Psalmist can thank God for the Psalmists skill with weapons. We find him thanking God for training him in the art of war so that he can fight in battles. But not only is he trained, he thanks God for the strength to use the weapon in battle(Psalm 18:34; 144:1)!

This isn’t just Old Testament stuff! Hop down to the Revelation of Christ to John where we see Christ armed to the teeth (Rev 1:16). Not only is he armed, he threatens to bring war against his enemies (Rev 2:16). Not only does he threaten, we eventually see him fighting his enemies alone (Rev 19:15,21). Not only does he fight them alone, at one point the scene is so violent that it depicts Christ crushing his enemies like grapes in a winepress (Rev 14:14-20).

Fine, someone will say, that’s just Apocalyptic—a handy literary device that can be used to brush away just about anything in the text. But weapons are found in other places in the New Testament.

Christ had earlier told the disciples that they weren’t to be concerned with their ministry since God would provide for them. They didn’t even have to take money pouches. (Luke 10:4). But, before Christ died, he tells them that now they are to carry money pouches, extra cloaks, and to carry swords.  And if they don’t have a sword, they should sell a coat and go buy one (Luke 22:36). Christ is giving instruction to get a weapon.

Now, the disciples immediately show Christ that they have two swords and he doesn’t berate them for it. They have had the weapons and now they’re being encouraged that they will need to carry the weapons (Luke 22:38).

They wind up using one of the two weapons at Christ’s arrest and Christ has some words with Peter about doing the thing. He tells him that the Kingdom of God isn’t going to be established by the sword. Rather, he points out, that (one) the taking up violence as a way of life will find their end in violence and (two) that Christ isn’t powerless. In other words, Christ was willingly going to the cross as part of God’s plan—it was no accident (Matthew 26:54). In which case, the sword has no purpose in expanding God’s kingdom.

But then what does Christ tell Peter to do with the sword? Throw it away? Destroy it? No, he tells him to keep it and put it away in his sheath (Matt 26:52). And to those who came at him with weapons, he doesn’t berate them for the wickedness of weaponry but because they had a chance to take him whenever they wanted and didn’t do so until they were hidden from the public eye (Matt26:55).

Summarizing point: The Bible doesn’t mention guns but it does mention weapons. Although there are many places where weapons are used as forces of evil, it also speaks about weapons in a positive light—often used by God and even encouraged by Christ to be part of the Christian’s earthly possessions.

What does the Bible say about self-defense?

The Bible depicts God’s concern with the lives of the righteous and the innocent. In general, there is an aspect to God’s dealings with people that consistently reflects that concern. A bull gores a person and the animal is to be killed (Exodus 21:28). But if the animal had a history of being out of control, then the ox and the owner are both put to death (Ex 21:29). If two guys are fighting and they accidentally bump into a pregnant woman and cause her to lose the baby, then it’s serious indeed (Ex 21:22): eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life.

Very often, Christians misappropriate Jesus’ words about turning the other cheek (Matt 5:38-39) to mean that Christians shouldn’t be defending themselves but rather turning the other cheek.

But this is in direct opposition to God’s concern with the innocent. That woman who is hurt by the fighting men should just turn the other cheek? Or the person who has been gored by the historically violent bull should just offer the other cheek?

Rather, Christ’s words should be read in context. Yes Christ cites the words that are being misused by the people of that day (Matt 5:38) but then goes on to give an example of a personal offense: a slap on the face.  Wayne Grudem points out that slapping a person on the right cheek would be done with a backhanded slap—the most offensive slap. I personally think it can get even more personally offensive. The Left Hand is often the place of insult or blame so a person can slap someone else with the left hand and strike the right cheek and it depicts the same thing.

Christ says that this person is personally offending you, then turn the other cheek. They want to sue you to take your shirt, give him your coat too. They impose on you to go with them a mile, so you go with them two.

Christ doesn’t say if the person wants to rape your wife you offer your daughter and son as well. He doesn’t say that the person coming at you to puncture your left lung you should then offer your right lung as well.

So in one case that is not about self-defense, David is berated by Shimmei and he does nothing about it. In fact, he prevents his soldiers from doing anything to the man (2Sa 16:7-12). But earlier on, when Saul attacked David (several times) David didn’t offer the other cheek or ignore the threat but he ran away (1 Sam 19:10).  When Paul throws his spear David didn’t hand it back to him to have another go; rather he ducked (1 Samuel 16:23) then ran away.

Likewise, Paul didn’t allow himself to be killed (even though he went through a fair share of near-death experiences). When he had the opportunity to run (and thus save his own neck), he would (2 Cor 11:32-33).

Heck, Jesus didn’t allow himself to be killed before his time but conveniently got away (John 8:58; 10:39).

That’s why the Bible, when speaking about actual injury coming upon the weak, it depicts concern and proper responsibility. Psalm 82:4 tells us that the weak and needy must be rescued from the hand of the wicked. Proverbs 24:11says that we are to deliver those who are being taken away to death—that is not the wicked, but the weak who are being slaughtered.

Ezekiel 33 is helpful in that it paints the duty of the Watchman. If he sees the enemy coming up with swords and weapons, he is to warn the people (a concern for the lives of the innocent). Then, those who hear the sound of the warning horn are to act (Eze 33:4) to save their own lives (Ez 33:5). The Watchman then, must offer a warning otherwise he is responsible for every lost life (Ez 33:6). God tells Israel that he doesn’t take joy in the death of the wicked and would rather that the wicked turn from their wicked ways and live (Ez 33:11). But if not, then they will die in their iniquity (Ez 33:9).

Summarizing Point: Rather than deprecating the life of the innocent, the Bible has a strong emphasis on self-defense from mindless brutality and killing. The weak are to be protected either by flight or by defense.

Should a gun be used in self-defense?

Based on the first point, a gun is merely another variation of an old weapon. Based on the second point, self-defense doesn’t necessarily mean killing though it does mean protecting self or others. Based on the third and fourth points, the Bible supports self-defense with the weapon. Therefore, it surely support self-defense with modern weaponry. 

To which the response might be “But guns kill people. Unlike a sword that could greatly injure—like the lost ear of the official—a gun’s stopping power is deadly. As the Bible says ‘Thou shalt not kill!’” (Exo 20:13).

The Scripture passages above illustrate that the defense of the weak surely will result in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33) unless the wicked repents from their wrong. Indeed, all the passages above where the weak are acting in defense they are doing more than simply parrying attacks: they’re killing.

Two questions then arise: is killing wrong and is God therefore mandating something that is wrong from his people?

Mind you, this topic can get expansive pretty quick and it would take looking at a whole mess of original languages sort of thing. And we would probably even have to delve with topics of killing women and children during war, the death penalty, and the enforcement of law—all of which take me far afield from answering the question if a gun should be used in self-defense. I would highly recommend reading Paul Copan’s Is God a Moral Monster and Wayne Grudem’s Politics According to the Bible to get into all of those topics (including this one at hand).

I will generally say that the Bible differentiates between murder, manslaughter (Numbers 35:6-34), accidental death (Deuteronomy 19:1-13) and killing in war—just like we do in our society. God places a very high price on human life in that murder results in capital punishment (Genesis 9). The Bible also shows that there are consequences to leading a life that is embroiled in violence (1 Chronicles 28:3, 8; Matt 26:52).

The Bible also differentiates between the above and killing in self-defense. Note Exodus 22:2-3 where killing a thief that breaks in at night absolve the person of manslaughter but if it happens when a warning could be issued and the thief apprehended, then the defender is guilty.

Nehemiah wisely sets up armed guards to defend the people from attack (Nehemiah 4:8-23). Nehemiah does this while fully trusting in God (Nehemiah 4:9). In Esther 8-9, defending with killing devices  is even built into the law to defend from the state mandate to slaughter a specific people!

All of which indicates that weapons which kill can and should be used in self-defense.

Summarizing point: Far from condemning killing in self-defense, the Bible supports that self-defense might entail death. Bows are used in killing and should be used. Swords are used in killing and should be used. Therefore Guns can and should be used.

Concluding points

In the end I think we can safely say that a Christian has no Biblical ground for rejecting guns. Indeed, the Christian has no Biblical ground for refusing to own a gun.  And a Christian would be right to use a gun in self-defense even if it results in killing the person who is coming at them, even if it includes the State.

Having a gun to do these things doesn’t mean a person isn’t trusting God. In each of the passages above we see that God is even behind the strength and resolve to use the weapon in defense. Indeed, even with weapons in hand, our ultimate defense is God (Psalm 44:6-7; 127:1; Nehemiah 4:14; 1Sa 17:47). Indeed, the Bible doesn’t encourage revenge but leaves vengeance to the Lord (Rom 12:19) but even in that case the vengeance is mediated by God acting through the state (Rom 13:1-2).

Even though the statistics that list death by guns don’t take a lot into account, especially those that list the death of children (including in children 18 year olds) , perhaps in my situation I think it would be wiser not to have guns in the home of my children. Not because I have a problem with guns or because of the vaunted statistics but I understand my own situation and am uncomfortable with how my children would act with them.

If I were in a different situation, perhaps in a very bad neighborhood, I would think it wiser to have a gun to protect the home. Or if I were in an isolated location I would also consider having it since the police might take longer to get to our home.

If I lived in a country where Christians are killed, I would probably consider owning a gun—unless in that situation owning a gun could be an excuse for further persecution.

All these different situations reflect that this is really a matter of wisdom.

Should Christians have a problem with guns? Not really. Can Christians use guns in self-defense even if it results in the death of the wicked? Yes. Should you personally, in your situation, own a gun? I don’t know since I don’t know your situation. In some cases it might mean yes, and in others no.

So should a Christian support guns? Yeah. But should each individual Christian own a gun? I don’t know since I can’t answer for you: I’m not in your situation.

I do think that if a Christian owns a gun he should do so putting his or her trust in God and wisely get trained in the use and safety of the weapon. Take classes. Go to the firing range. Learn how to do it. Make it a fluid motion. Train your family in safety with the weapon. Lock the weapon so that children or criminals can’t get to it.

There are other questions that can be asked about gun restriction laws and those take me way off topic. In general, I don’t think that gun restriction laws are effective nor wise and rather disarm those who obey the government leaving the wicked and the law-breaker in a position of strength.


References and Further Reading

  • http://www.biblicalselfdefense.com/
  • Grudem, W. A. (2010). Politics according to the Bible: A comprehensive resource for understanding modern political issues in light of Scripture. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan.
  • Copan, P (2011) Is God A Moral Monster? Making Sense of the Old Testament God
  • The directive to buy a sword deserves a measure of separate consideration. Lined up as it is with purse, bag, and sandals, we can eliminate at once any idea that zealot sympathies are coming to expression with the commendation of the sword. The sword is thought of as part of the equipment required for the self-sufficiency of any traveler in the Roman world. Nothing more than protection of one’s person is in view. Similarly there can be no thought that the swords might be used to make a defense of Jesus (as Gillmann, LS 9 [1982] 142–53) or might be for use in an anticipated eschatological armed struggle (as Bartsch, NTS 20 [1973–74] 190–203). –Nolland, J. (1998). Vol. 35C: Luke 18:35–24:53. Word Biblical Commentary (1076). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
  • Crime, The Christian And Capital Justice  by J. Daryl Charles. The Evangelical Theological Society. (1995; 2002). Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society Volume 38 (38:441). The Evangelical Theological Society.
  • The Christian and War: A Matter of Personal Conscience — David R. Plaster Grace Theological Journal. 1998  
  • Wolfgang Musculus and the Allegory of Malchus’s Ear  —  Craig S. Farmer. Westminster Theological Journal. 1998
  • Wallis, J. (2005). God’s politics: Why the right gets it wrong and the left doesn’t get it.

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3 thoughts on “Should Christians Support Guns?

  1. Rey –

    I also posted this comment on Theologica.

    I really don’t have a strong fight in this issue. So I’m not here to strongly argue, but just to present some opposite thoughts (which I’m sure you’ve heard). I do lean towards personal pacifism, but do understand the concept of ‘just war’ at times.

    1) You were quoting a lot of OT verses. But you did caveat with – This isn’t just Old Testament stuff! So you moved immediately to Revelation. However, most of those verses that refer to a sword refer to the sword coming from Christ’s mouth, which most recognise as the word of God.

    2) With other thoughts coming from Revelation, we can leave judgment on God’s enemies to Christ’s authority. I’m not sure it’s calling us (his people) to do his bidding for him. It’s him and him alone. And think of the churches in the late first century and all they were going through – how did they respond? With self-defence or war? They left it in the hands of their Lord.

    3) Many advocates for weapons (or self-defence) turn to the passage of Luke 22:36-38. It’s interesting how this passage, if it is meant as you argue, is counter to everything else in the Gospels and coming from Christ’s lips. I mean it is 99 to 1 in favour of non-violence, non-self-defence, etc. Now there are varying ideas about the Luke 22 passage. Here is one I think worth considering.

    If Jesus is really wanting them to take up swords in a self-defence (and violent) way, then why stop them short at 2 swords? Two swords for 11, especially noting a whole host of chief priests, officers of the temple guard, and leading elders would come? Not only that, but the context brings in the Isa 53:12 passage: And he was numbered with the transgressors. This word for transgressors could be utilised as lawless ones/criminals. What did criminals usually have? Weapons/swords. The swords being available were not to be used to kill, but as a probable symbol of his criminality. This is corroborated when we consider Jesus’ words in Matt 10:34 – Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth, but a sword. He wasn’t speaking of really using a sword to kill. These 2 swords, which were hardly enough, again, were not to be used to kill. Lastly, it’s interesting that we find these words in Luke 22:36 knowing that in just a short time Jesus would grieve the act of cutting off the ear of the high priest’s servant.

    I doubt Luke 22:36-38 really gives us any solid ground to stand on for self-defence with weaponry.

    4) The main glimpse we get of the age to come is that of all weapons being done away with:

    They will beat their swords into plowshares
    and their spears into pruning hooks.
    Nation will not take up sword against nation,
    nor will they train for war anymore. (Isa 2:4)

    We are headed that way and, even now, God’s people are being called to life as those who already participate in this time. We are not perfect, but we are to continue to look to move this way.

    Again, I understand the aspect of ‘just war’. But I’m guessing that we don’t find a firm foundation with regards to personal self-defence with weaponry. It’s not only about devices that fire with a high muzzle velocity or even a relatively flat trajectory. Many times the people behind these devices are the problem – people like you and I with sin of all sorts. But practically & biblically I think there are a lot of pointers that this isn’t God’s best.

  2. 1) The point of quoting those verses in that section was to show that weapons aren’t necessarily evil in themselves. Even within metaphors. Note the summarizing statement.

    2) Not once did I call Christians to perform judgment with God’s authority.

    3) It doesn’t counter everything else that was said in the Gospels (of which you cited nothing to even show that it stands against it). What it does is round off what it does say regarding the sword.

    3b) Two swords would be enough to defend your people from brigands.

    They weren’t to try to co-opt the plan of God with the sword (note above). The kingdom would not be established in that way. So they didn’t need an arsenal. They just needed enough to get by in the world.

    Also Christ surely knew they would survive the impending encounter. The message was not only for them but for all future disciples since he stipulates that he is leaving and now they’re to do this. Just like they should be carrying a wallet.

    3c) The passage does give something substantive to the debate; the fact is you reject it as evidence.

    4) Okay? What does it matter that weapons will be done away with in a future age? So will marriage but that doesn’t mean we’re to stop being married now. So will prophesying so I guess you should stop prophesying now…?

    4b) You cite that there are lots of pointers that weapons for self-defense isn’t God’s best by pointing out the people behind the weapons. And yet, that does nothing with the boat load of texts and thinking about how God is concerned with the weak and that disarming the weak in sight of the wicked is always depicted as a great evil. Why is it that your feeling about what’s Biblical actually doesn’t coincide with what is explicitly Biblical?

    5) See, if you want to make a substantive argument you should have gone with the actual Biblical theme of persecution and suffering. You would have started stringing this theme together by highlighting the Exodus and then from there you would have jumped to Daniel where sufferings are alloted for the people of God. From there you would jump to Christ’s teaching that if he suffered we must suffer and from there you go to Paul’s teaching on what suffering persecution would render in us. From there you would have to highlight Hebrews and 1 Peter to underscore the necessity of suffering. This is the route the Anabaptists take and not an appeal to the Eschaton. And then when they deal with the texts on the sword they spin it Spiritual.

    And yet, even with that actually substantive answer, the Scriptures also teach a concern for the weak. All that stuff I said above still has to be taken into consideration. Persecution and suffering might be an option for me personally, but I have no right to think that the suffering is due to you as well. So Paul, in the epitome of self-defense by defending others, stands in the gap to try to fill up the sufferings that are due Christ’s body. He doesn’t do it with a gun but he does it by trying to suck it all up himself.

  3. Rey –

    Thanks for interacting. I feel like I need to be clear that I’m not trying to be snarky in any way in this interaction. This is great discussion for me, as I’ve never really put a ton of effort into this topic. For me, it’s iron sharpening iron. I suppose I lean towards more of a pacifist view (especially on the personal level). But this is good learning. Thank you.

    1) I’m happy to agree that weapons (or as you put it ‘a device that fires with a high muzzle velocity or even a relatively flat trajectory’) aren’t evil in and of themselves. Any device is not inherently evil. Just like video games, movies, internet, prophesying, marriage, food, etc. All of these can be used for evil, but don’t have to be. But I’ve never seen a weapon used for ‘ultimate’ and ‘kingdom’ good (I lack a better word). Not just in the Newtown situations, but in self-defence situations. How the scenario all plays out is not at the heart of God – the original attack leading to harm/death and the self-defence leading to harm/death. None of this has any relation to the rule of God in our midst.

    On metaphors: Using metaphors never inherently communicates something is ok. The whole Hosea/Gomer situation (and it was acted out) does not absolve adultery from being evil. If anything, the sword of the word of God shows how we ultimately see the great enemy/enemies of God defeated. Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit – says the Lord. I could even give an account of the word of God being used to stop a crazy man in his tracks from bloodying my friend with an ax. Those are extraordinary. But I learned a lot about that with regards to the word of God.

    2) No, you didn’t specifically say Christians are called to perform judgment with God’s authority. But here is what you said: Not only does he threaten, we eventually see him fighting his enemies alone (Rev 19:15,21). Not only does he fight them alone, at one point the scene is so violent that it depicts Christ crushing his enemies like grapes in a winepress (Rev 14:14-20).

    You used two passages in Revelation – which depict the ruling Christ bringing judgment himself – as proof that, ‘This isn’t just Old Testament stuff!’ You used it as proof of weaponry for self-defence. But these 2 passages are not about taking up weapons to self-defend. This is about the Lord dealing with his enemies himself, ultimately through the word of God, rather than actual swords or guns.

    3) One could counter with a large plethora of verses, but also just the tone of the whole of the gospel, the gospel of peace. In Jesus’ most telling words, he calls his followers to love their enemies, to turn the other cheek, to suffer through persecution to become children of the kingdom, etc. Paul says do not return evil for evil. This is not just a few smattering of verses. This is the tone of the full new covenant in Christ.

    3b) Two swords helping 11 folk defend against a large brigand. Yes, possibly. I’ve not yet tried, investigated or researched this. Maybe with Simon the Zealot leading it forth. I still think, in light of the sweep of the new covenant, I find that Luke 22:36-38 doesn’t give much weight.

    3c) It is one passage that gives possible evidence, not substantive evidence. Again, no where in the Gospels or epistles do we see any exhortation to take up a weapon for any reason. And I still think the way you’ve used Revelation does not empower Christians to take up a weapon for personal self-defence.

    4) You’ve made a good point. What I think might be worth considering is that marriage and prophesying will be done away with, not on the grounds that they are bad, but because their time has ‘expired’, if you will. My reading of the Scriptures, which could be flawed, gives me this strong understanding that weaponry and killing at any level is not dear to the heart of God. Marriage & prophesy (revealing something of God’s nature & plan) were not introduced because of sin. Killing, along with killing via weapons, was.

    5) I’m happy to go with the route of suffering. All I wanted to consider was that the large amount of proof-texting wasn’t really producing the desired result – that God somehow how says it’s ok (even advocates, for it must be advocated if we can quote some Scriptures) to take up/own a weapon, all in a probable effort to defend one’s self. You said: So Paul, in the epitome of self-defense by defending others, stands in the gap to try to fill up the sufferings that are due Christ’s body. He doesn’t do it with a gun but he does it by trying to suck it all up himself.

    The bolded part is very telling for me – how do Christians defend the weak. Is it Martin Luther King style? And I’d say the same of Jesus Christ and what seems to be his great call to his followers. Interesting we never see anything in Acts of the disciples walking out what seems to so many as clear instructions for self-defence weaponry in Luke 22:36-38. And the only time we see a sword come into play, just a few verses later in Luke 22, Jesus rebukes Peter.

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