Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Fistful of Guns...

     I will return to 2 Corinthians soon, but some other pans have been put on the stove (my mind only has 4 burners!) and so I need to clean some out to make room for the new dishes to serve.
This one was just funny!
     I had an intriguing conversation with a gent from church... to be honest, I had been expecting this interaction with someone, and he just happened to bring it up.  With the very-publicized bouts of gun violence, and the reactions of the government and the American public, it is timely and expedient to ask ourselves:
What does the Bible say about the 2nd Amendment?
They sure look safe!
    So my conversation went something like this:  after some jovial small talk, he expressed concern about the possibility of stricter gun laws.  I told him my background briefly:  I own guns, I believe an armed society is a polite society, and I believe that a gun is a morally neutral object, to be used righteously or unrighteously.  Police officers or soldiers can (and frequently do) use their weapons in the service of the people to protect and serve.  I believe guns don't kill people... people kill people.  I believe these things both because they seem pretty evident to rational reflection, and because of the worldview of radical fallenness, basic justice and governmental interaction that the Bible proscribes.  With the necessary social conservative disclaimers taken care of, we can examine our guidelines and restrictions according to Scripture;  I don't think you have the time to read (or I have the time to write!) a comprehensive treatise on the topic... I just want to throw out some general points that I tried to (or certainly wanted to) communicate to my friend that day:
1.  We have the God-given right and responsibility to protect ourselves, our families, neighbors and fellow citizens:  to love our neighbor is, in certain, rare circumstances, to physically restrain him from doing evil.  Obviously, this is the healthy, biblical counterpoint to my last post.  This could mean even the taking of a life, if our neighbor (yes, the man kicking down your door to invade your home is your neighbor; Luke 10:29ff) is hell-bent on mayhem and murder, and all lesser responses have failed.  This is both love to this individual, by showing him in the strongest way the heinousness of his intent and not allowing him to commit the sin of murder, and more clearly, it is love to the people he intended to murder, putting our lives at risk to safeguard theirs.

"Then Moses came down from the mountain, and in his hand was..."
2.  We do not have the God-given right to protect ourselves, our families, etc. with a gun.  Scripture has no provisions, teaching or doctrine on our rights to or our restrictions from firearms.  I know there's a certain "Duh!" factor to this point, but it is astonishing how many evangelicals, conservatives, Republicans and all-round good ole boys who elevate the 2nd Amendment to the status of the 67th book of the Bible or the 11th commandment.  So if our right to bear arms doesn't come from God, where does it come from?  The government!  And the government giveth and the government taketh away... I am convinced that unless earth-shattering social revolution occurs, our country as conceived by its founders and their founding principles will cease to exist.  It will likely be replaced by a social democracy with values of inclusion, tolerance and enforced equality.  So what's a Bible-believing, Christ-centered Christian to do when the Man comes for your guns?
The early church had no official protection, no rights, no guns... just the gospel, and they rocked their world through their message and lives.  If God sees fit to put us in the same spot, may we be as faithful and potent.
"You come against me with a sword and spear, but..."
3.  Our power, protection and promise comes from God.  Anyone familiar with firearms can tell you their limitations:  they can't shoot around corners, they don't have "homing bullets", and so are useless unless you can provide the prerequisite marksmanship (or would that be "markspersonship"?).  Especially today and in the near future, the people with the most capable weapons are those who break the law.  In contrast, God never misses His mark:  every person He desires to save is gloriously converted (2 Pet 3:9) through the gospel and no lawbreaker can escape His omnipresent justice (Isa 2:19, Rev 6:15-17).  He never runs out of bullets... just like the hero in the action movie. 
     If your trust and security come from a gun on your hip, you are no better than Israel who trusted in chariots and horses (Ps 20:7).  Instead, you must cling to the name of the Lord your God to fell the giants of our day;  because...
"the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh (physical or earthly) but have divine power to destroy strongholds.  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ..." (2 Cor 10:4-5)
 Photos courtesy of DarrelBirkett, Rev. Bombasticos (!), VectorPortal, and upicks

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