The debate over guns in church
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“Congregations are being offered security training for ushers and others. Some security firms offer free handgun training for clergy so pastors can be licensed to carry—on Sunday mornings, in the pulpit. There seems to be little understanding that carrying guns in church is, at the very least, an exception to Christian practice. Now it seems to be considered conforming to Christian teaching. Hands held up from the waters of baptism holding a gun are more and more considered orthodox.” – Kyle Childress in A Texas church’s real talk about guns [via]


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    • While the theological meaning of that passage from the Gospel of Luke is fairly deep, we can still learn a few things from it:
      1) At least two of Jesus’ disciples – people who traveled with him daily – were armed for their own protection, even before He made the suggestion. Clearly, Jesus did not forbid the practice.
      2) Jesus was a man of peace, but He was not a pacifist. Self-defense is no sin.

      • Yep. If Jesus was teaching today, it would be like two of the apostles carrying sidearms. If Jesus had been against the practice of keeping and bearing of Arms by the apostles, he would have made it very clear in the very beginning of his teaching, that carrying a sword on the Belt for self defense was completely and utterly inappropriate and against the laws of G-d.

        Obviously, that was not the case.

      • Even after Peter used the sword, JESUS, “in Matthew 26:52 speaking to his apostle Peter, in the garden at Gethsemane, after Peter’s cutting off the ear of one of the servants of the high priest’s with a sword, “Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” While the latter of that bible passage is most used (cited), it should be noted that Peter had the sword, that he had it with him, that he was OBVIOUSLY not unfamiliar with its swift employment, and that the LORD had to still-him from further carnage after drawing blood. The Author posits that it should be well noted too, that JESUS did not tell Peter to throw the sword away, or even to lay it on the ground. JESUS merely told Peter to store it on his person from where it was drawn.” [J.M. Thomas R., TERMS, 2012, pg. 51]

    • Prophet,
      I read the Bible cover to cover each year, for about 30 years now. And I’ve had a bit of formal study. Jesus made it pretty clear when he was speaking in metaphor, and when he was speaking literally. For instance, just before that, in the same conversation, he told Peter the “cock would crow 3 times…” This was not a metaphor. This was a literal prediction and warning. The passage you cite is also an example of speaking literally and plainly. It was simple, immediate instruction directly to his disciples.
      Folks that try and turn it into something else are attempting to warp scripture to fit their own philosophy.
      The passage requires little interpretation, but how do you interpret it?

      • If he is being literal, what about this part “And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, It is enough.'” Some translations have an exclamation point on the enough part indicating that the disciples, as was often the case, didn’t understand what Jesus was talking about.

        • See Curtis in IL’s comment below.
          They didn’t need to be ready for all out war, just to protect themselves.

        • I think my problem with any literal interpretation of most scripture is that it is only a surface reading. There is almost always more to it than that. For example, often there is the obvious message to the Apostles, and a message for us that is often a little less obvious.

          In this instance, most, if not all, would probably agree that Jesus is not commanding all Christians throughout time to carry a sword. (But how cool would that be?)

          My reading of this scripture is that Jesus commands us to be responsible for our own physical needs, one of which is protection against violence, and it is a primary need. If Bob and Stan are holding the guns while Steve and Phil are doing the other thing, then that is “enough.”

          A narrow reading of this scripture could be that Jesus is telling his disciples that he is about to die and won’t be there to protect them, and the Jewish/Roman establishment will be coming for them.

      • While I am no Biblical scholar, my interpretation of Luke 22:36 was that Jesus was warning the disciples of the coming lynch mob.

        They would not be able to save Jesus because his impending crucifixion would be the fulfillment of prophecy. But the disciples would also be in danger and they should be prepared to defend themselves.

        • Yup. I don’t think it takes a biblical scholar to come up with your conclusion. It says what it says.

        • Yeah…air. That Makarov is a MP-654K….is a CO2 powered, .177 caliber air pistol that is actually based on the real Makarov and can be converted back to a firearm with a kit. Its called an “air mak” for those in the know.

  1. Protecting the weak is a very Biblical principle. Shepherds watching over their flocks are common figurative and literal characters in the Bible.

    A Christian who calls the police to use a firearm on their behalf does not absolve himself (or herself) of the moral implications of the use of the firearm. If you believe you should be protected in church, might as well be carrying yourself.

  2. The number 20 seems to be the magic number. Twenty or more murdered at the Pulse might club, and most homosexuals wake up. Twenty or more Christians in a church and most Christians wake up. Its very sad but it seems it takes at least 20 people to be murdered in a single location before people start to wake up.

    • That’s because we’re all used to accept 10 as normal – the 10 best, the 10 worst, 10 reasons for this or that! It’s normal; we all expect a 10. Now, if you have 20! There’s something to think about!

    • My dad (Evangelical, white, and in his 70s) partially woke up on the issue of CCW after the massacre at the AME church in Charleston a few years ago.

      He still doesn’t carry, but he understands those who do, and feels safer knowing that his son, and certain members of his church are always carrying.

      • By the way, I noticed the photo with this article showed a Makarov pistol. Do any of you guys carry a Mak? I think they are pretty cool, though something like a Shield is just as small, is lighter, and fired a more potent round. Of course I’m a bit of a throwback with my .38 revolver carry anyway.

        • A Bulgarian Mak was my first carry gun, back when I was young and they could be bought for $149. Back then it was the best way to get a weapon that was both cheap and reliable. It’s definitely heavy and bulky for the power of the cartridge, and ammo variety isn’t as good as other calibers, but it is accurate, easy to shoot, and absolutely reliable.

          I later switched to a smaller 9×18 when I was lucky enough to score an FEG SMC-918. Then a couple years after that I made the switch to 9×19 when 9×18 became more scarce for awhile there. I now alternate between a Kahr CM9 and a G26. But I still own and love both the Makarov and the FEG.

  3. Calling some a fool is a bit much. Bottom line, the environment has changed and there is absolutely nothing wrong with parishioners protecting themselves. Of course there are those who will spout “if you’re in church and God doesn’t protect you then why are you there?” or something similar. Well, people carry everywhere outside of church and that doesn’t change the fact God is still there, so why the aversion to church carry? Again, the environment has changed and we must change with it. We’ve always considered churches sacred grounds, but guess what, criminals and evil people don’t recognize that and see churches as an easy target. It’s no different than our thinking years ago that nobody would ever walk into a school and kill children. There is nothing wrong whatsoever with being prepared, no different than how we have multiple first aid kits throughout the church and a couple defibrillators. We’ve allowed carry in our church for years, it wasn’t advertised or attention called to it, and there are probably several who are completely unaware. I don’t see where there is any controversy outside of people making it a controversy.

    • “if you’re in church and God doesn’t protect you then why are you there?”

      This reminds me of a joke.

      A fellow was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help.

      Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, “Jump in, I can save you.”

      The stranded fellow shouted back, “No, it’s OK, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me.”

      So the rowboat went on.

      Then a motorboat came by. “The fellow in the motorboat shouted, “Jump in, I can save you.”

      To this the stranded man said, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”

      So the motorboat went on.

      Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, “Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety.”

      To this the stranded man again replied, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”

      So the helicopter reluctantly flew away.

      Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed, “I had faith in you but you didn’t save me, you let me drown. I don’t understand why!”

      To this God replied, “I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?”

      I’m not a Church goer, but if you can’t figure out that the hand of God coming down from the heavens isn’t the only thing that can save you, well, your planing to fail. If God will save you, why have a fire extinguisher to put out a kitchen fire before it burns the house down when God will save you. Or why drive slower when the road is slick, just go 70mph, God will save you.

      • A lot of people have the misconception that acting and trusting God are mutually exclusive. However, as your joke points out, God often accomplishes His Will through human action. God used Moses to perform miracles before Pharaoh and ultimately lead the people out of Egypt. God used Peter to take the Gospel to Cornelius, and formally extend the message to the Gentiles. The fact that humans acted does not automatically mean people weren’t trusting God, nor vice-versa.

        I see nothing wrong with acting when it is in accordance to God’s Will (either specific guidance, or in the absence of such guidance, in accordance with what knowledge and wisdom He has allowed me). As a Christian, though, my trust would not be in my actions, however, but in God’s guidance of them.

    • Faith-based self-defense is just as silly as NOT planting a vegetable garden and expecting a faith-based vegetable harvest from your non-existent garden.

  4. There seems to be little understanding that carrying guns in church is, at the very least, an exception to Christian practice.

    I’ll give the speaker the benefit of the doubt, that he used the term practice, rather than doctrine, intentionally. Thus, I see no need to digress into a doctrinal discussion; the speaker clearly intended a cultural meaning to his statement.

    That said: if current Christian practice is for believers to be unarmed, then it is the current practice that is at odds with two thousand years of Christian history. However, I would challenge the underlying premise. Perhaps the current practice of mainline protestants on the coasts has changed from the norm, but out here in flyover country, it is still very much current practice for believers to be armed.

    • I had the same reaction. Being armed in church was never a strange thing for me. I didn’t start attending church regularly until I was in my teens, in the 80s. Even then, in our tiny Texas congregation, having a firearm was pretty normal, and I would have expected every truck in the parking lot to have at least one.

  5. Yes. Everyone should weigh how they approach their personal threat model on the multitude of interpretations of ancient superstitions.

    • So Shire-man. You do know that atheism is not a new phenomenon. All through history there’s been times when atheism was very much the norm. But it was at the end of a culture when they become corrupt and degenerate before they collapse into chaos, mass death and tyranny.

      What about modern examples of societies built on a belief in no G-d? The result? Stalin, Mao, Pol-Pot and Castro with tyranny and mass death and some of the worst examples of human brutality and blood beyond anything that we can show in history.

      After World War II, America became the most powerful country in the world with a man on the moon, with the greatest military, the highest literacy, the greatest levels of engineering skill, science and technology and prosperity; with the greatest freedom and opportunity for individual wealth and success of any time in history as a very publicly and proudly Christian country.

      And now as belief in G-d is becoming passe, it is very well acknowledged by a majority in this country, that we are on the downslope of a once great nation and that other countries are pulling ahead in science, engineering and literacy as we fall into corruption, degeneracy and perversion.

      So once again as the Bible predicts, if people will not repent and return to following the laws of G-d; but instead continue to follow the laws of man, we will complete our fall into darkness, death and tyranny.

      It’s not too late Shire-man. G-d is forever forgiving, and full of love, if you choose to come home.

      • Belief in a god or lack of a god is an excuse it’s not a reason. Monsters abounds on either side.

        Personally, I just don’t care one way or the other. God, to me, is like Bigfoot. He might be out there. He might not. Doesn’t change how I’m going to live my day to day life and maybe one day I’ll find out if there really is one. Until then it’s just another Tuesday and I have other things to concern myself with.

        • Well Shire man, I did notice that you did not refute any of my points. Because you can’t. In the end is atheism a symptom of a disease or is it the disease itself that causes a collapse of a society? Because Shire-man that should be of concern, even to an atheist. You would be very concerned in a G-dless Society that was Stalin’s Russia or Mao’s China or Castro’s Cuba or Pol-Pot’s Cambodia, or if you’d been the aborted baby that your mother chose to end before you were allowed into the world.

          I personally know what I believe.

        • “Until then it’s just another Tuesday and I have other things to concern myself with.”

          If that’s really the case then, *why* the deliberate antagonization?

          You believe what you believe, and no one’s going to change your mind. And the same goes for them.

          So why stir the pot? Don’t we POTG have have enough enemies as it is?

          (For the record, I’m agnostic…)

        • Oh now Geoff PR. What fun is that? This site is a battleground of ideas. Instead of swords and guns and bombs, we use thoughts deftly applied, succinctly put, hopefully erudite and possibly with good grammar.

          Even if some of us can be somewhat rude and antagonistic in the application of these thoughts.

        • “Oh now Geoff PR. What fun is that?”

          @ThomasR – You’ve been reading me here for quite a while, you know I’m usually up for a fight on opinions, and I’ve got plenty.

          When it comes to issues of faith, the antagonization is *pointless*. Save our bile for those that deserve it, like Leftists…

      • ThomasR – Confirmation bias worthy of a “gun violence prevention” advocate.

        –What about modern examples of societies built on a belief in no G-d? The result? Stalin, Mao, Pol-Pot and Castro with tyranny and mass death and some of the worst examples of human brutality and blood beyond anything that we can show in history.–
        Problem there was forced adherence to an ideology, just a secular ideology rather than a religious one. History of European world conquest has its own share of atrocities committed forcing the unwilling to accept their ideology.

        –After World War II, America became the most powerful country in the world with a man on the moon, with the greatest military, the highest literacy, the greatest levels of engineering skill, science and technology and prosperity; with the greatest freedom and opportunity for individual wealth and success of any time in history as a very publicly and proudly Christian country.–
        During WW2, proudly Christian country with a great military, high literacy, great levels of scientific and technological development could be describing Germany.

        • “During WW2, proudly Christian country with a great military, high literacy, great levels of scientific and technological development could be describing Germany.”

          And “proudly Christian” most certainly does NOT characterize German government prior to and during World War II.

        • Those in government who didn’t want Christian ideology competing with the Nazi ideology weren’t, but how did the average German, or even the average German working in a death camp, view the country’s religion?

        • The older ones (many of whom weren’t really fully Nazified) may have viewed Germany as Christian. The younger ones who not only supported but agreed with Hitler? Probably not so much.

    • Shire-man,

      “… on the multitude of interpretations of ancient superstitions.”

      And you are supremely confident that the Old and New Testaments of the Bible are “superstition” because, what exactly?

      I hold the Old and New Testaments in the highest regard because:
      (1) They are first rate historical records. Ample external records and archaeology confirm the people, places, and events of the Bible. I have not heard of a single historical error in the Bible.
      (2) Their transcription accuracy is first rate: thousands of manuscripts are statistically identical and there are no substantive errors in all of those hand-written copies. (The only errors of which I am aware are obvious and trivial transcription errors, along the lines where a scribe wrote the same word twice, omitted a word, or misspelled a word.)
      (3) The cost to produce those manuscripts was ASTRONOMICAL: that alone tells us that the people who were there ascribed massive importance to them.
      (4) Predictive prophesies were extremely specific (unlike Chinese fortune cookies) and statistically impossible, and yet they happened.
      (5) Critical reading of the Bible reveals that the people who wrote the Bible intended to write truth, NOT superstitions. And people in Biblical times died for their belief in the Scriptures which tells us people in Biblical times — who saw and experienced events first hand — believed the Scriptures to be true.

      The Bible is rock-solid. Examine the evidence and claims yourself. The implication is very far-reaching and, if true, has eternal implications.

  6. Although I am agnostic and don’t participate in formal religious worship, if I was I’d appreciate the security and peace that being armed brings against any potential danger while I was turning my mind to pondering spiritual matters. I’d rather have an effective means of defense and not need it than need it and not have it. Let those who consider themselves our betters and preach down to us from their high perch suffer the consequenses of not being armed. My guess is that a lot of religious people would prefer not to do that and have more practical ideas about the entire matter. While the liberal/progressive mainstream churches will probably never allow people to be armed in their congregations, good on those independent houses of worship that are considering permitting clergy, ushers and worshippers to be armed, or already do permit it.

  7. “bsurd, right? Not so. It used to be the American way. For example, a 1631 law in Virginia required citizens to own firearms, to engage in practice with them, and to do so publicly on holy days. It demanded that the people “bring their pieces to the church.” Somewhere along the line we have lost this mindset. Today the ideas of church and arms are assumed to be at odds, as if loving your neighbor has nothing to do with the preservation and defense of life and property.

    But the idea of Christian society and an armed, skilled populace actually have deep historical roots. Alfred the Great codified the laws of England in the 9th Century, often resorting to biblical law in order to do so (where he departed from biblical law, the integrity of his famous law code is quite poor). Alfred applied the Deuteronomic laws of kings that forbad a standing army (Deut. 17), and as a result developed a national defense based on militia…”

  8. MY church is armed,has armed guards and encourages self-defense. If unbelievers and apostates hate guns(and gunowners) that’s their problem.

  9. I have trained armed church security teams in self-defense law and the Bible and self-defense for nine years. Since the Sutherland Springs, TX, massacre, demand for my services has gone up. My own congregation just asked me to help them start a team. One of the elders said he has asked 3 people to worship in the past month. EACH ONE asked, “Do you have armed security?” When he said no, they replied that that in that case, they would not come. For the Biblical justifications for self-defense, the military, and the death penalty, see my book, “A Time To Kill: The Myth of Christian Pacifism”.

  10. Jewish teaching on self defense is that we have a duty to protect human life
    We are forbidden to stand by while others are murdered
    Florida law allows concealed carry in houses of worship… unless there is a school in the building
    Even if the school is not in session, concealed carry is against the law
    Most Synagogues have hired armed security
    Usually just one person
    We are commanded to beat our swords into plowshares
    Only after the Messiah comes!

  11. As for churches who ban armed self-defense in church, please answer this for me:

    If it is wrong to enable abortion, which is murdering a child in the womb, why is it “right” to enable murdering children and adults outside the womb at church?

  12. Maybe this is a strange question, but isn’t a church private property? How then do some state governments justify banning the carrying of arms at church? Wouldn’t and shouldn’t that be up to the governing body of the church if anyone? (This is all going along with the idea that even a license to exercise a constitutionally protected right is constitutional, which is crap as well)

  13. Spectrum cable formerly known as Bright House cable has terminated carrying the Sportsman Channel channel number 1157 has been removed permanently from the Spectrum cable channel guide. Spectrum cable said that they could not come to an agreeable term of service so they are no longer offering the Sportsman Channel on Spectrum cable. When I called the Sportsman Channel and talk to their representative he told me that Spectrum cable no longer wanted their Channel on their cable network end of story. They tried going through multiple channels talking to multiple people to no avail, Spectrum cable is left extreme left as all get-out. Spectrum cable also bought Bay News 9 which is an affiliate of Channel 9. Which as you know is liberal Progressive globalist left bullcrap News Channel AKA fake news. Spectrum cable sucks balls!

  14. An armed policeman driving on the street outside of a church building is no more a moral contradiction than having an armed usher standing inside the door of a church building.

    As far as I am concerned, neither is a moral contradiction. Just as there is sound theology behind “Just War” and the just use of force by armed civil authorities, there is sound theology behind “just self defense,” no matter the circumstances of that self defense.

    • It’s more a matter of being an active participant in God’s Will.

      If there is an chance for me to help and I don’t do it, it doesn’t thwart God’s Will. However, I am denying myself the opportunity to be a participant, and it is now being accomplished despite me rather than through me. Knowingly rejecting the chance to help could even be sinful (James 4:17).

  15. A few friends are ushers at various congregations / churches, each / all said they similarly held a meeting of ushers recently amongst themselves and said we have to tell the parishoners that, should gun fire break out in or around the church, the parishoners need to NOT draw their firearms and become a target (of the USHERS RETURNING FIRE). To a man, they all had that meeting at their churches, and ALL (of the four of them) received the same reception from their parishioners; a hearty hi-ho and FU.

    Just goes to show, If you’re going to appoint yourself the Lone Ranger for ‘returning-fire’ YOU may have just become one of “THEM”, and YOU better watch your ass.

    Seems like there’s a lesson there for the country as a (country) whole.

  16. If I walk into a church with a long sword, no priest would allow me stay. Same guys arguing for guns are the same ones arguing not much gun death.

    It doesn’t seem to be the place to embrace nihilism.


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