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Rob Schenck (courtesy

“For most of my adult life . . . I believed that we had a God-given right to defend ourselves,” evangelical pastor Rob Schenck writes at “I also believed that the Second Amendment guarantees a right to bear arms, and that anyone should be able to obtain a gun.” Awesome. Can we go home now? Apparently not . . .

Then, I saw the after-effects of gun violence firsthand. In Pennsylvania, I visited the families of five murdered Amish schoolgirls, as well as the family of the shooter. And I watched as a mass shooting unfolded at the Washington Navy Yard, across from where I lived at the time. These experiences, followed by careful theological and moral reflection, left me convinced that my family of faith is wrong on guns.

Oy vey. I find it disappointing that a man of the cloth can’t confront evil without losing his belief in our “God-given right to defend ourselves” – by whatever means necessary. Shouldn’t his experiences with the after-effects of violence reaffirm his belief in that right? It should. But Pastor Schenck is plagued by prevarication.

I disagree with my community’s wholesale embrace of the idea that anyone should be able to buy a gun. For one thing, our commitment to the sanctity of human life demands that we err on the side of reducing threats to human life. And our belief in the basic sinfulness of humankind should make us skeptical of the NRA’s slogan, “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.” The Bible indicates that we are all bad guys sometimes.

Schenck – elevated to celebrity gun control status by the movie Armor of Light – set us up in his lead by stating that he used to believe “anyone should be able to obtain a gun.” See how that works? He now realizes that not anyone (a.k.a., everyone) should be able to have a gun. So let’s talk about who shouldn’t. Bad guys! And . . . we’re all bad guys! Done.

As for Schenck’s calculus that gun control reduces “threats to human life” we can put the Pastor amongst those who refuse to Google “defensive gun use” (DGU) and do the actual math. We’re talking an absolute minimum of 55k DGU’s per year vs. exactly 33,636 firearms-related deaths in 2014, more than half of which are suicides. DGU’s win.

Going back to Schenck’s statement that “we are all bad guys sometimes,” it’s meant to suggest that anyone with a gun can turn evil and use it to murder. Which, I suppose, they can. But, statistically speaking, they don’t. Lest we forget, there are at least 150 million gun owners in the U.S. You can round the number who use their firearm to commit homicide down to zero.

And so to scripture . . .

Anyone using a gun for defense must be ready to kill. Such a posture is antithetical to the term “evangelical,” which refers to the “evangel,” or gospel. The gospel begins with God’s love for every human, and calls on Christians to be more Christ-like. At no time did Jesus use deadly force. Although he once allowed his disciples to defend themselves with “a sword,” that permission came with a limitation on the number of weapons they could possess. Numerous Bible passages, such as Exodus 22:2-3, strictly limit the use of deadly force . . .

To me, turning from Christian to secular sources on a paramount moral question indicates a failure in faith. The words of Cruz, Palin and Falwell seem to contradict those of Jesus Christ, who commands believers to “bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”

TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia have tackled the Bible’s teachings on self-defense many times. Suffice it to say, Pastor Schenck’s statement that the scriptures “seem to contradict” the pro-gun rights position indicates that he has not yet finished his “careful theological and moral reflection” about the Biblical point of view on armed self-defense. So there is that.

I won’t be silent on this issue. The Christian gospel should quell our fears and remind us of our Christ-like obligation to love all people, even those who intend us harm. This generous view of the world calls us to demonstrate God’s love toward others, regardless of who they are, where they come from or what religion they practice. Assuming a permanently defensive posture against others, especially when it includes a willingness to kill, is inimical to a life of faith.

Gun owners who own firearms for self-defense are showing their willingness to protect human life. If that is a “permanently defensive posture,” so be it. The willingness to kill to protect life is not inimical to a life of faith, as millions of God-fearing Americans will attest. By their words and their deeds.

The impulse to protect oneself is natural, especially after terrorist attacks. But evangelicals must be careful that the noble language of self-defense is not used to cloak a more insidious lust for revenge. St. Paul wrote to persecuted Christians, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay.’” We must turn away from our fears, base human instincts and prejudices, and turn toward the example of Jesus in word and deed.

Armed self-defense is not revenge. Conflating the two is a rhetorical trick designed to guilt Americans into supporting gun control. In James 4:7 (ESV), the Bible says “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Armed resistance is no sin.

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  1. I wonder if his church has a security team? the one I attend does and I served in that capacity for number of years and yes I was armed.

  2. I’m just trying to think of the last time the WaPo turned over some editorial column inches–or bandwidth–to any “evangelical” as that term is usually taken. More particularly, to an “evangelical” who was not writing an “I’m an evangelical, _but_ …” column. I’m coming up blank, maybe someone out there can help me out.

  3. First, we are all sinners, not bad men. Sinning involves doing things that God does not approve of. There are many sins besides murder.

    Second, if it’s wrong to arm yourself in preparation for your own defense then it’s also wrong to call on others to defend you. If killing in your defense is equated as murder then calling 911 and having a public servant kill in your stead is no different than hiring an assassin. If you’re going to preach this ideology at least be consistent. Tell your congregation that it is better in God’s eyes to lay yourself and your family down in sacrifice to evil men than to defend yourself and your family at the risk of taking the life of an evil man. I’m guessing your congregation would be pretty small though.

    • Very well said. I expect, however, the pastor would throw Romans 13:4 at you vis a vis calling the law. The Bible can be cherry-picked, just like any other source of information.

      • I’d point him up the page to Romans 12:18 where it says ‘if possible’ to be peaceable to all men. Paul acknowledged that there are times when it is impossible to live peaceably among others. Neither defending yourself with force nor calling 911 is contrary to the Bible.

        But yes, when you’re cherry picking you can construe things way out of context, but then you’re only using the Bible as a weapon in a secular argument, rather than searching for enlightenment.

        • Which indeed is what I expect the good pastor is about–argument, not enlightenment. Oh, and remuneration, despite his claims to the contrary.

        • Gov. Le Petomane,

          You hit the GIANT nail squarely on its head! Just two days ago I quoted that EXACT line of the Bible to my oldest child who described a peer’s verbal attack.

          Yes, we should be slow to anger in all things and refrain from employing physical force in response to mere insults.

          What we should NOT do, is let violent people harm, rape, and/or kill us and our families. The Bible does not directly nor indirectly promote that anywhere.

        • The ‘good reverend’ just put hisself squarely opposed to his supposed master Jesus who said in Luke 22:35-38

          “35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” “Nothing,” they answered. 36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 37 It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.” 38 The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.” “That is enough,” he replied.”

    • “These experiences, followed by careful theological and moral reflection, left me convinced that my family of faith is wrong on guns.”

      This is an old, old story and as wrong now as it was in its beginning. The Irish monks on the island Lindisfarne steadfastly refused to defend themselves against repeated Viking raids. They felt that their religion wouldn’t allow for their own self-defense and so the the Vikings, seizing on an obvious opportunity, killed and enslaved the monks and destroyed their monastery. Some people never learn.

  4. Where we go to church there are no less than 4 concealed carriers at every service. There is a definite divide in the church on this issue however. I would say that the most passionate believers, the ones who actually read their bibles, are the most Pro 2A. The holiday Christians on the other hand, meaning the ones who mostly show up on Christmas, Easter, Palm Sunday, they are on shakey moral ground. That’s just my observation.

  5. You’re surprised by this? The man’s life revolves around taking orders from his invisible friend with magical powers. He’s clearly not someone who possesses critical thinking skills.

      • You should look up the definition of “ad hominem” before throwing around words you don’t understand. If I’d said a man who claims to talk to George Washington’s ghost was crazy and thus incapable of critical thinking, you’d have no problem with it. But because you also belong to the same cult as this man and actually think that there is such a thing as an invisible friend with magical powers, you’re offended by someone pointing out how utterly insane it is.

        • A brilliant retort! Truly, your fact filled argument has left me flabbergasted!

          Oh, Publius, bless your heart. You mistook that for an attempt at argumentation.

          If you desire logical debate, you should first attempt to engage in it yourself, instead of resorting immediately to logical fallacy. Since you have demonstrated that you are unwilling or unable to do so, I’ve made no attempt to respond to your logical fallacy with reasoned argumentation.


          ad hominem
          [ad hom-uh-nuh m -nem, ahd‐]

          appealing to one’s prejudices, emotions, or special interests rather than to one’s intellect or reason.
          attacking an opponent’s character rather than answering his argument.

          Seems to me Chip knows exactly what the term means. Rather than making a salient point to counter the pastor’s argument you attacked his character over his faith. You’re supposed to be the smart one here, you should know these things.

        • So is it an “Ad hominem attack” to observe that Publius has demonstrated in his post above that he is a moron and bore? Or is just insulting? Or is it “settled science”?

        • This coming from the guy who seems to have obsessive compulsive need to belittle non-atheists every time matters of faith relating to firearms and armed self defense come up on this website?

    • I suspect your opinion won’t be a popular one around here, but I for one agree. Once you tell me that you hold a Bronze Age belief to be absolute truth, well you lose credibility in my eyes.

      • Sadly, far too many gun owners think that they have an invisible friend with magical powers and will defend this childish belief to the death. It’s one thing for a child without a fully formed brain and a complete lack of reasoning skills to believe in magic and invisible friends, it’s a sign of mental illness / extremely low intelligence for an adult to still believe in those things in this day and age. The notion of “god(s)” served a purpose before we had science – it was mankind’s attempt to explain that which they didn’t understand (seasons, weather, night and day, disease, etc). We have science and understand these things now and it’s just absurd to cling to the archaic explanations instead of facts.

        • Science has indeed solved many riddles that were once attributed as ‘magic’. But the more we learn the more we learn we don’t know. For instance the smartest among us tell us that we can only account for 30% of the universe. The rest they call ‘dark matter’ because they have no idea what it is or how it even exists, but the mathematics don’t work without it, and what’s more they don’t work with dark matter either unless they create ‘dark energy’. You must be far smarter than these people because you portent to have it all figured out. You are a man for whom there truly is nothing left in the universe to learn. And for that I pity you.

        • Guv, just because we haven’t discovered something yet doesn’t make it “magic”. Not understanding how a car engine works doesn’t make it “magic” until you actually learn how it works and then it ceases to be “magic”. A high school Freshman has no knowledge of Calculus – does that make Calculus magic in your eyes? No, it’s just something that they haven’t learned yet.

        • So you’re saying that you have scientific proof that there is no God and that life cannot exist without a physical carbon based body? It seems to me that if we don’t even know anything about something that constitutes 70% of the universe that opens up a lot of possibilities. The use of the term ‘magic’ only indicates that we don’t understand the nature of something. It still exists whether we understand it or not. By your logic calculus didn’t exist until you understood it.

        • “By your logic calculus didn’t exist until you understood it.”

          That is the very essence of the false religion of Ontological Naturalism…essentially, “With science, I can know all.”

        • There’s a lot of dependence, here, on the fact that you cannot prove a negative. “HAH! You don’t have ABSOLUTE PROOF there is no god, therefore your observations are all invalid!” The valid point is that *you* cannot prove the positive, that there *is* a god. And no, the fact that a zillion people profess to believe in something does not make it real.

        • ” The valid point is that *you* cannot prove the positive, that there *is* a god.”

          Acceptance that higher intelligence exists is not a matter of proof. It is a matter of faith.

          As such, it is for each man and women to decide for themselves.

          I don’t have to “prove” anything to you. I suspect your mind is closed to anything I would offer anyway. If I’m wrong about that last, so be it, but it is the appearance you give in all threads relating to religion.

        • Larry, as with just about everything else, people believe what they choose to believe. You can’t prove there is no God and I can’t prove their is, so we are both stuck with our faith. You’re faith doesn’t bother me and mine shouldn’t bother you. But for some people their faith compels them to proselytize. This is true of both sides and it tends to irritate the crap out of the other side. However, when a Christian evangelizes it’s generally out of a deep concern for your eternal well being. When atheists preach all they can do is hurl the most vile insults they can think of at those who believe in a higher power. Seems to me like the evangelical atheists (Publius) are just natural born douche bags.

        • Even a belief in unalienable rights requires faith. Could any of us really prove that the inalienable right to keep and bear arms even exists? Logic tells me that it does. My religious faith tells me that it does. To me, it appears self-evident. But, I couldn’t provide concrete, scientific proof that something as intangible as an unalienable right actually exists. My belief in the individual right to keep and bear arms is intertwined with my most deeply held religious beliefs. Which, in turn, are the source of my intellectual sense of right and wrong. Even proving that right or wrong exists would be difficult, if not impossible. It is all a matter of faith, IMHO.

      • Technological advancements in metallurgy have not actually made the human brain capable of higher intellect. In fact I’d argue the opposite. We can’t even get our noses out of our smart phones long enough to look both ways before we cross the street. We are not a society of deep thinkers.

        • Indeed. But the argument that “life can exist without a physical carbon based body, therefore an omnipotent and benevolent god of the sort conceptualized by humans several thousands of years ago” doesn’t really hang together that well, either.

        • The argument hinges on the notion that if there is a creator that created us for a reason, it’s logical that he’d make some form of contact with one of us in order to get his message to us. Before you can start to explore which of his supposed messengers are genuine and which ones are false, you must first form an opinion that there is a creator. You will never find spiritual enlightenment if you simply don’t believe in the divine.

          I personally have found the Bible to be at the very least the most remarkable book ever written. If there is a word of God I believe it to be the Bible. And Jesus was a man unlike any other man that ever lived. Although I also believe that there are a lot of apocryphal beliefs circulating around. So if you have an open mind, I’d suggest you read the four gospels and if you find them compelling, continue reading. Then just bear in mind that there are plenty of people out there preaching the gospel that are completely full of shit. Eventually you’ll figure it all out. Or not.

      • So people who go along with that “You will not murder other people” rule have no credibility in your eyes? Interesting…

    • Didn’t read the rest of the article, did you? This guy is swimming against the tide in his “community of faith”, all of whom purport to believe in the same “magical friend” and the vast majority of whom support the same 2A you do for the same reasons. And the goo-goos who want to repeal the 2A and take away your guns are a lot more likely to be agnostic or atheist than evangelical Christians. Use those critical thinking skills.

      • So because those other people support gun rights, that makes them any more sane / intelligent? They still believe in an invisible friend with magical powers. Any intelligent or correct answers they give are purely accidental, like the old saying about a broken clock being correct twice a day. That’s like saying because Donald Trump is correct about the current Muslim invasion of the West, he’s qualified to be President and we should ignore all of the idiotic stuff he spews out on a daily basis.

        • There are people with little or no critical thinking skills in all religions–even that of atheism. And the opposite is true–there are plenty of mathmeticians and physicists and historians and philosophers that adhere to one faith or another. If you think about it, atheism is as much a matter of faith as any other religion. What I am saying is that matters of faith are not the determining factor as to whether a person has critical thinking skills. Which some people still need to apply hereabouts.

      • “And the goo-goos who want to repeal the 2A and take away your guns are a lot more likely to be agnostic or atheist than evangelical Christians.”

        I can believe that. How nice! Is that supposed to be a reason why I, too, should PROFESS to believe, when I do not? If we all get together and profess to believe, will that make it true, where it is not, now? If everybody denies it, will that make it false, if it is now true? Because if both answers are no (which they are), then it is a meaningless input, apparently intended to distract us to follow the shiny ball, there is nothing to see here, move along.

        • No, it isn’t an argument that everyone should believe. It’s a counter to the argument that it isn’t surprising that a religious person would be anti-self-defense more so than an atheist. But don’t let the fact that you missed my point entirely, and are yourself deflecting away from the original point stop your ranting against folks who have a different religion than your atheism.

    • I notice your attack on my faith. Please know that that is a rather nasty generalization you made, and it does not hold water. Whichever theory (regarding how the world came to be etc) you believe in, whether it be religion or the Big Bang theory, it takes faith. Either way, you believe in an event that you cannot really know happened, and nobody saw it happen.
      I do not hold it against you, but I kindly ask you to reconsider your position on people of faith.
      Thank you.

      • The problem lies with the fact that you let your faith decide what kind of person you are. I don’t walk around making decisions based on what may or may not have brought our universe into existence.

      • I don’t make any claims as to how life started. However, every day we have evidence that you do not have an invisible friend with magical powers and your cult is based on absurd contradictions. For instance, the Bible says that God has a plan….but it also says you should pray to God to get him to do as you wish. If he has a plan, prayers are meaningless. If he answers prayers, then he doesn’t have a plan and just does what he’s asked. It also claims God is “loving, merciful, blah blah” – yet every day, innocent children are born with horrible disfigurements / diseases and evil people succeed while good people live in poverty / misery. We have science that explains how gravity works, why we have day and night, why we have diseases, etc. it’s past the point of foolishness and bordering on mental illness to refuse to accept facts and cling to stone age beliefs simply because you’re afraid of the unknown when you die.

        And before you bring it up, I grew up in a religious household and spend almost 20 years being dragged to Church every week and listening to the bullshit and the seething hatred that they meet you with if you ask any questions about the logical inconsistencies in the Bible / religion in general.

        • ‘…it also says you should pray to God to get him to do as you wish.’

          You must not have been paying much attention because nowhere in the Bible does it suggest that you should pray to get God to do your will. Just the opposite, you should pray for God’s help in doing his will, not yours.

          And just because you don’t understand a plan does not mean that it doesn’t exist. Much like dark matter.

        • Not trying to antagonize or take a contrary view, but how can you say with certainty that innocent children with disfigurements, disease, evil, etc. are not “part of a plan?”

          Regardless of your beliefs or explanations for such things, life is a rich tapestry from savagery to serenity. If you step back from it for a moment and stop judging it all (i.e., suspend the notion that any bad thing that happens to you or I is a tragedy rather than just a thing) then you can appreciate it all in a brand new light.

          The reality is that bad things are going to happen to every single one of us. We will all die, whether it’s illness, frailty or violence that finally does us in. Whether or not it’s all part of some grand master plan, it is the human experience. If you spend all your time and energy asking “why me?” when bad thing happen instead of facing them head-on then you’re kinda missing out.

          Anyway, my only point is that what you see as contradictions aren’t necessarily be contradictions that disprove the existence of a deity or a plan. Not saying you’re wrong or they’re wrong, just that you may be making assumptions about what a proper plan should be.

      • Well, there is one theory which claims the entire universe was created with the wave of a magic wand by an invisible space alien around 6000 years ago, who then got into raping 12-year-old girls 2000 years ago. Since we have received and identified light emitted from stars over 2 BILLION years ago, it’s pretty obvious to thinking people that that particular story is bogus. OTOH, we have heard suggestions that means nothing, because clearly god lied to us, created absolute proof that he doesn’t exist by using his magic wand, in order to fool us into not believing so he can condemn us to hell, to burn for eternity. I mean, come on. Why would anybody worship such a creature? Even if all that were true?

      • Belief in God is generally not grounded in science and thus requires faith. Big Bang Theory does not require faith, it is based off of scientific observation and knowledge of physics that we have. Things like the fact that the galaxies are expanding outwards faster and faster or that if you look through powerful telescopes, you can see the galaxies in the past very close together, the existence of the visible light present at the Big Bang in the form of microwave radiation emanating from deep space, etc…

        • The big bang theory came about from the observation that the galaxies were moving away from each other, and roll the tape backwards and you have the universe collapsing back into a singularity. The problem is that it turns out that the galaxies are not only racing away from each other but they are accelerating. This pretty much eliminates any logical context of the theory. They should be slowing down. The big bang theory was based on a faulty observation, which is too bad because the creation of the big bang where an incomprehensible amount of energy suddenly, magically became mass sounds an awful lot like a god’s creation.

    • Sigh. Publius, remember the old saw about one finger pointed at someone, you have three pointed back at yourself?

      Your ignorance, based on bigotry, intolerance and just plain hatred is obvious to everyone.

      Just read the writings of our Founding fathers, most as dedicated and avowed christians, that based their defiance of tyranny on the bible, and used their faith as a vehicle to create the greatest and freest country in all the world.

      Then explain to me the preponderance of athiests and agnostics in their use as the ” “useful idiots” by those in power over the last hundred years in the murder of hundred of millions of men, women and children, and the ongoing murder of over 50 million of the unborn in the west, and pray tell me how the belief in no god has been an improvement.

      • Yes, because when science was in its infancy, people still believed in the boogeyman and an invisible friend – so clearly it’s true and always will be. Please, try to use facts and reasoning in your arguments – not childish feelings based on “Mommy told me it’s true, so it HAS to be!”. You grew up and stopped believing in Santa Claus once you learned the facts – it’s time you grow up and stop believing in other childish BS too.

        • I grew up an agnostic Publius. A libertarian/progressive. .I at one time believed as you did. That all people of faith, particularly christians, were fools, believing in some big daddy in the sky. I saw them with equal contempt. Like someone believing Santa Claus or the tooth fairy as real beings.

          Until I experienced the direct connection to that same universal intelligence as described by the great teachers. as in the Christ.

          I know now that that intelligence is real. Traditionally called G-d.

          I see it differently, because I don’t come from a family history of believing in some higher power. My mom and dad was athiests. I didn’t have 2000 years of dogma to wade through in my experience of what the Christ brought to us. I experienced it pure and undiluted.

          But I now know that intelligence is real and it is unconditional love. Love so pure it is all encompassing, and is for us to access, if we knock, the door will open.

          I look now on what I had been, and what I had believed, what you believe now, and I saw that I was blind. and I was helped to see.

          It is too bad your experience growing up did not show what is really there. But it is not too late.

      • Your bigotry is on full display too. How many have been killed due to all the various faiths over the last two thousand years?

        • Shhh! Remember, even though the Bible, Torah, Qu’ran, etc all promote violence, according to religious people only those who “don’t” follow the religion properly commit violence. Where else do you think Orwell got his inspiration for doublethink? =)

        • Actually, following the example as set by Muhammad those muslims that become more devout, become more violent.

          The same with communism and all of it’s spawn, the more devout the collectivist, the more violent. “The ends justify the means”

        • It’s funny how once settledscience and atheism replaced religion as the driving ideological force in governments that the mass organized killing ceased to be done in the name of religion and started being done in the name of settledscience. Methinks perhaps religion was never the reason for the killing in the first place but rather the excuse.

        • Yep Gov. The tyrants will use what ever belief system is useful to rally the “useful idiots” to committ tyranny and mass murder, in the past it was Christianity. Now it’s the athiests as the “useful idiots” in supporting the tyrants in committing tyranny and mass murder.

          At least the atheists that are communists and all of it’s spawn, (marxists socialists, progressivises and statists).

          After all, religion is the “opiate of the masses”, or like someone noted, when a revolution overthrows an old tyranny, they replace it with an even more brutal tyramny. That would definitely describe the communistic athiests and the blood drenched last hundred years. It makes the Inquisition pale in comparison.

          And the “faith” that communists must have to keep believing that communism can work, if they just do a little bit better job, be a bit better communists.

      • Once again, Thomas, you go back to how many people believe something affects whether it is true or not. Sorry, but it does not. There was a point in history when 99.99% of people on Earth believed the planet was flat. In fact, you might be murdered by good Christians for suggesting it was round. Who believes what does not change the truth. OTOH, existence could always be proven by a personal appearance. Do you really believe that could happen? Because I do not.

    • Publius,

      ALL scientific evidence and experience unequivocally tell us that something cannot come from nothing, period.

      If you claim that there is no Creator/God, then you are claiming that everything (the Universe, life, intelligence, information, etc.) all came from nothing — which violates all known science. How does that not fall under your definition of “childish” or “insane”?

      Furthermore, for you to claim that you KNOW for a FACT that there is no Creator/God requires you to have ALL KNOWLEDGE of ALL things. And I know for a FACT that no human has ALL KNOWLEDGE of ALL things.

      If you don’t like the character of Creator/God as you understand Him, fine, you are free to do so. Good luck finding another explanation for the the Universe, life, information, etc.

      • I’ve always loved that excuse for an argument. Are you ready, now? So, where did your god come from? Who created him? Who does he worship? Something cannot come from nothing, right? RIGHT? Only possible answer, that I know of (in my ignorance), is that god has always just existed. We cannot believe that about a universe we can see, that we know exists, but isn’t it easy to believe about a space alien who can’t be bothered to show up and prove his existence. And, of course, who gave him the magic wand? This argument is stupid.

      • So who created the god itself? And why does the god not need a creator but the universe does? IMO, all that really shows is just the limits of our brain’s capability in trying to understand this subject.

        Also, technically-speaking, science does not actually show that the universe itself needed a creator. Because the universe would have came into an existence within a realm that was different than the universe itself, which means that the laws of science within the universe may not be applicable outside of the universe.

    • Publius,

      I am not a religious man (at all). I do however embrace freedom, and freedom requires tolerance of others. I take no pleasure in insulting others in their religious beliefs. I don’t care what they believe so long as they aren’t trying to force their beliefs on me.

      • In the Middle East, Islam is regularly forced on everyone, to the point of killing you. In America, to a much lesser extent, christianity is constantly forced on everyone, and my tax dollars are being used to force that silliness on my children and grandchildren, pardon me if I have some major objections. Everyone pretends to not understand the prohibition on tax dollars being used to force religious training on those who do not want it, but it is a lie every time. If you have a zillion dollars, erect a church on every streetcorner, but you cannot require me to bow my head in “prayer” at a public meeting on public property, nor in a court of law paid for with my tax dollars. Offer overseas educations at a cost of millions of your own dollars, but you cannot spend a nickel that was taken from me by force of arms, to post religious requirements or other nonsense. If you accept any form of government subsidy, you cannot force people to pretend to accept this nonsense in order to access your service. As for marriage, religious marriage is the total responsibility of religious institutions, right up until I get a deduction from my taxes if I am “married”. At that point, the government controls the rules for marriage, if you don’t like “gay marriage” then separate marriage from tax law, completely and absolutely. In 10-20 years there would be no more marriage. The questions here are really easy, unless you have been taught from birth to keep your eyes closed.

        • ‘In America… christianity is constantly forced on everyone’

          That’s funny, because to a Christian (btw, Christ is a name so Christian needs to be capitalized, otherwise you get the red squiggly line under it) it seems that atheism is constantly being forced on everyone. For instance, I have no problem with gay marriage as long as I am not personally compelled by the state to participate in the ceremony. But that’s what it’s come to, participate or the state will come and take your business away and probably your home too. The reason gay marriage is so important to the heterosexual left is that it has become a powerful weapon for the persecution of Christians. Of course Muslims, who are more apt to toss a gay couple off the top of a very tall building than to participate in their wedding, are left alone because Christianity is a religion of peace and the atheists are cowards.

      • Keep in mind that tolerance of religion means not infringing on others’ right to worship. It does not mean universal respect for all religions. To the contrary, religions should be criticized and mocked even, as that allows for critical thinking. Same with politicians and political ideas.

        I have no problem with the mocking liberals do of Christianity in all manner of ways. What gets me is how those same liberals have a heart attack should anyone mock say Islam. For example the same New York Times that ran the “art” consisting of a picture of Mary painted with elephant dung would not run the winning picture from Pamela Gellar’s Muslim cartoon contest, which consisted of a picture of Mohammed saying, “You can’t draw me!” with a hand saying, “That’s why I’m drawing you.” The NYT was gravely concerned about the anguish this contest would cause to Muslims throughout the country.

        • The NYT has no respect for Muslims, they’re just scared shitless of being the next Charlie Hebdo.

    • That is a complete nonsense, and that’s coming from a non-believer here. If you actually think highly religious people lack critical thinking skills, then you know are very clueless. If religious thinking meant a lack of critical thought, then we’d have no fear of any major terrorist plots from the likes of ISIS because they’d all be too stupid to plan them out. The great churches and cathedrals never would have been constructed during the Middle Ages by Christians because they’d all have been too lacking in critical thinking skills to know how to put up such buildings.

      Are you aware that the concept of the right to resist a tyranny comes a good deal from Christianity? Because the Bible is replete with stories of people fighting tyrants. Look at the Protestant Reformation. It was because of critical thinking on the part of Christians that that occurred. Christianity also was highly influential in inspiring the colonists to fight the British in revolution. There is tons of critical thinking Christians have done throughout history. Just look at Thomas Aquinas’s (a seminal thinker in the history of Western civilization) Summa Theologica.

      All of that said, I do think that this particular pastor is not thinking very critically and is a moron. It amazes me when I hear people like him say they have engaged in much thought and critical reflection on an issue and yet then present a point-of-view that makes you wonder if they ever even studied the issue.

  6. This guy is nothing more than the latest Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, and Robert Tilton all rolled into one.

    He’s out there with this movie because of the almighty dollar and his (equally almighty) ego, not almighty God.


  7. He is preaching to those that claim to be christians and don’t read their bibles. As you said, the TTAG AI have long shown that the bible does in fact permit us to defend ourselves from those that wish us harm. And we all know the difference between an offensive gun use and a defensive one. While I agree that “vengence” is the Lord’s, but self defense is all on me. Jesus commended the master of the house who prepared for the thief to come. He must have had a sword ready.

  8. Put your money where your mouth is Padre. Invite the Chris Harpers of the world to your church. Extend the invitation, anytime they want to stop by and make the address public. Let’s see how devoted you are.

    • Good point! Perhaps this misinterpreter of the Bible should invite Dyllann Roof and Matthew Murray (New Life Church) for bible study.

    • If you truly love someone who is violently attacking you and/or your family, obviously you should deliver him to jesus for training!

  9. It is theological constructs like this that has forced me from organized religion. While I find some solace in the ritual of the Catholic Faith, and my belief in the Trinity, the filter by which it passes to us mortal beings is inevitably through fallible beings. Until a time when men shirk the mantle of evil and embrace goodness we will always need an equalizer to defend the defenseless.

    • John E>,

      There are Christian denominations who go to great lengths to understand the Bible and apply it faithfully. Keep searching for them.

      There are no contradictions in the Bible when you actually understand what you are reading — which requires understanding the context, the culture of the time, who wrote which chapters, and to whom they were writing. Of course that takes a lot of time and effort … something that the vast majority of our fast-food culture eschew.

      Oh, when you read the Bible, it also helps if you set your ego aside. (Ego-based bias really muddies the water.)

      • Oh, you cannot really be saying that. With approximately 400 different religions proclaiming that they have the only accurate interpretation of the bible, you claim there is no contradiction in it? Why is there not only *Christianity* and *not Christianity*, then? I get it, study, study, study silliness from antiquity, that will sure take care of all our problems.

  10. Why do all of these a**holes assume that we are all Christians? These sheep can go meekly to slaughter if they like but I, for one, will not “turn the other cheek”, unless I am looking for more ammo.

    The weaklings can die off and go to their reward. Good riddance.

  11. I disagree with my community’s wholesale embrace of the idea that anyone should be able to buy a gun.

    So, you embrace the idea that only those with evil intent should be able to arm themselves, thus rendering the innocent – the would-be victims of those with evil intent – utterly defenseless?

    That’s immoral, and contrary to scripture.

    For one thing, our commitment to the sanctity of human life demands that we err on the side of reducing threats to human life.

    Greater love has no man than this: that he lay down his life for his friends.

    Jesus willingly sacrificed his own life, to save the entire world from (spiritual) death. We can’t come anywhere close to that, but we can certainly follow his example, in putting ourselves in harm’s way in order to protect life.

    And by the way, pastor: it is not us who create “threats to human life”; those among us with evil intent are the ones who create those threats. It is the good among us, who defy them, who protect against those threats – to our own lives, or to the lives of others.

    What you advocate would inexorably lead to an increase in threats to human life.

    And our belief in the basic sinfulness of humankind should make us skeptical of the NRA’s slogan, “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.” The Bible indicates that we are all bad guys sometimes.

    Which is why those who have carry permits are documented to have the lowest crime rate of any demographic in the country, right? (Even lower – by an order of magnitude – than that of the demographic I assume you want to provide for our defense: LEO.)

    Go pray at the Altar of State, which is obviously your true god.

    • For one thing, our commitment to the sanctity of human life demands that we err on the side of reducing threats to human life.

      This reminds me of a Ron White joke where he says about a friend who went to California and then all of a sudden is now a vegetarian and humanitarian and environmentalist, etc…and the friend when Ron meets him again, if I remember right, is saying about all of the things he is doing to save the environment from global warming, which includes not eating meat. Then he asks Ron, “What are YOU doing?” Ron responds with: “Eatin’ the cows.”

      This guy is saying we need to reduce the threats to human life…like violent criminals? Okay, arrest them, or, if they are dangerous enough, just shoot the bastards and save the public money.

  12. I have worked as a fire fighter/emt. There are forces of chaos that cause injury and death, and I use the appropriate tools to bring order out of chaos, preserving life and limb as best as possible.

    Do I seek “revenge” when I attack a fully involved structure fire with a water hose and a fire ax? Do I hate a flood that has stranded a motorist and I am using rope and harness to rescue the driver?

    Do I seek “revenge” when I use the appropriate tool to stop a mountain lion from attacking a small child?

    A human does make a choice to be a predator, unlike that of a mountain lion, but once a person has crossed into the vail of darkness and chosen the path of a predator on fellow human beings, they become simply another force of chaos that I use the appropriate tool to stop the threat and to save life and limb. I have no more the need to seek “revenge” against the human predator, than I would against a rabid dog.

    At least, that’s the way I look at it.

  13. The gun-grabbers really are throwing things at the wall to see what sticks at this point…

    Oh, snap! This one pastor randomly changed his mind about gun control and threw a few passages at me, so I obviously need to repent and change my ways for the greater good!

    Except that I’m agnostic, and you have failed to provide evidence that I shouldn’t be able to defend myself from the wolves that dare break down my door.

  14. Faith leads to the abyss we see in major cities that cannot control hearts & minds of evil men. Within Christian dogma is the vestige of sacrifice. Every victim of criminal activity suffers, in the mind if clergy, the same as crucifixion of Christ. The counsel of moving toward martyrdom in lieu of lawful self defense empowers criminals to prey on citizens and continues suffering of families and communities. Criminals fear no god nor justice, only an armed citizen prepared to end his life.

    • Although there are some factions of those who call themselves Christians who adhere to what you just said, please do not put words in the mouth of all Chrisianians.

      • Those words are for the Clergy. A Christian is free to choose a path. Often it’s not the same as one standing at a pulpit.

        • How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? The clergy are men, not little gods. The questions are nonsense!

  15. I found his quote: “Although he once allowed his disciples to defend themselves with “a sword,” that permission came with a limitation on the number of weapons they could possess,” odd, and suspicious. So I looked up the scripture in question:

    Luke 22:36
    “And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.”

    Indeed this translations does say buy one. My question, is this a translation preference, error, or the exact translation? It’s common in the English language to say something like “go buy a gun,” with the inferred meaning of either buying just a single firearm, or buying a firearm without necessarily restricting the number of guns a person can buy. It’s more explicitly understood if someone says “go buy one gun,” that they want you to only buy just a single gun. So, did the original language say to “buy a sword,” or did it say “buy one sword?”

    If the original language says to “buy a sword,” we can then argue that there isn’t explicit direction to buy just one sword, and thus this just his preferred interpretation. No one is obligated to yield to anyone’s preferences.

    • Luke 22:38, “The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.” “That’s enough!” he replied”.
      I’ve pondered the meaning of this verse, and have come to the conclusion that it means that they were to buy swords for individual self defense, not to wage war. If it means we can’t have more then two “swords” I am screwed.

      • I have looked at this a couple times before.

        The word “sufficient” is more literally accurate than and exclamation of “ENOUGH!”. meaning… what you have there should suffice for your needs.

        I’m pretty convinced that its not a rebuke.

        • Thanks, Bob, and HandyDan. I figured I may have missed something.

          Well, then by the next lines in the Bible, we can clearly argue that the original language probably did not contain explicit direction to buy only one sword. If Bob is correct, that a more literal translation is that two is sufficient, then it can be inferred and easily understood that there was no limit on the number swords they could have bought.

        • Yeah, we are at the disadvantage of reading a translation, and without the cultural context of the times. Poor translations can radically alter the meanings of verses.

        • Another thing to think about, is that it seems that not everyone HAD to have a weapon, since there were 12 and only 2 known swords was “sufficient.” So at least 2 of the 12 would have had a sword. Did the others have them? I don’t know. Does it say anything about having more swords being bad? Luke 22:36 leads me to believe that if everyone had a weapon, that is good. So I don’t see anything obvious to me that would make me think more weapons = bad.

      • As I only envision using ONE “sword” at a time I’m Ok. Actually I don’t own any sword I’m under equipped. First I should replace the firearms lost in in the late great canoe accident.

    • I think you and others touched on it. “buy one” or “buy a sword” is accurate. It’s not a text variant issue and its not a translation preference issue. ιματιον = coat singular; μαχαιραν = sword singular.

      It is seriously bad theology to make this verse say that an individual cannot have a certain weapon or can only have a certain number of weapons. There is no limitation being placed on the reader here and if there was . . . then you could only have one money belt or one bag. While the Bible does mention weapons, touches on the use of force, and has instruction on life in general . . . However – there is no Biblical passage that limits the kind, type, or amount of weapons an individual or group can possess.

    • The passage is really not about swords or limiting self-defense or anything of that nature. Rather, Christ knew he was near the end of his time on earth, and by telling his disciples to buy swords if they didn’t have swords already, to be prepared to go on without him. But then his disciples started getting wound up about earthly, secondly matters instead of the fact that Jesus, their Master, was about to be torn from them. From the book of Luke{King James version}:

      “22:36:Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
      22:37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.
      22:38 And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.”

      That is why Christ said “That is enough!”. He wasn’t saying two swords were enough, he was saying “Enough of this talk about swords! I am about to leave you, and you are harping about incredibly trivial stuff!”.

  16. So according to this man… What am I to do?

    When someone breaks into my house to do evil, I need to welcome him in. Offer my belongings, and oh by the way, “If you would like to have my wife, she’s right over there. Oh and don’t forget, my teenage daughter… she’s right through the door over there. Love you bro! Have fun!”


    I would be failing to love my family.

    Our enemy is not flesh and blood. However, flesh and blood can be stirred up to do evil deeds. My weapons are designed to stop flesh and blood from their actions. We can still love someone doing evil… at the business end of a weapon. and when they are stopped, IF they survive, we may still be able to love them by calling authorities for help(police, ambulance, etc… plus it will probably look better for you in court if you did this anyway).

    There is quite a bit of background on what the Bible says about self defense here. I reference it every so often. Take a peek:


  17. Christians are funny people, I wonder what they will say about them in a thousand years… “Here are a group of people that professed to follow the teachings of a man that was supposedly well known for his pacifism and non violent beliefs, yet they aren’t willing to follow his example. Because the bible says so…”

    • …Here are a group of people that professed to follow the teachings of a man that was supposedly well known for his pacifism and non violent beliefs…

      So, will the Bible no longer be around in another thousand years? It most certainly is available today, so you might want to try reading it, before spouting nonsense about Jesus and “pacifism.”

    • Jesus was actually known for sacrificing his life to save mankind. You must be thinking of Ghandi. And considering Christianity has been around for two thousand years and is still going strong, I’m pretty sure that in a thousand years they won’t be talking about the followers of Christ in the past tense.

    • Non-Christians are funny people, so many of them apparently know all about Jesus without ever reading the biographies written about Him (aka the Gospels).

    • Says the self-mutilating Nihilist who makes explosives in his free time.

      You are Jack’s passive-aggressive projection.

    • I will be ruling and reigning with Jesus Christ in the Millennium in 1000 years. This so-called pastor should hang out with the large 1st Baptist Church I attend in Hammond,Ind. It’s in a bad neighborhood who has many homeless/poor folks and children who they minister to. And LOT’S of armed people-cops,CC security both paid and unpaid and many CC folks. And the pastor talks about defending yours with guns(I think he carries but hasn’t said so). I can debate endlessly with the apostate but there is no glory or redemption from being slaughtered by a thug. That’s not dying for your faith-just dying for nothing…oh yeah good job Chip and Happy New Year.

    • ” known for his pacifism and non violent beliefs,”

      Where do you get the idea that Jesus Christ was a pacifist?

      Talk about your leaps of logic…or gross reading comprehension issues, not sure which.

      • Yeah, that part about Jesus overturning tables and flailing about with a whip of cords while chasing out the money changers must have escaped their notice.

  18. Those who like to insult Christianity are out in force today. What’s the deal? You don’t have to believe in it but you also don’t have to deride those who do.

    • yes, they do have to. they cant help themselves. its not that they dont believe in God. even though they will never admit it, they know in the core of their being that He exists, and they hate Him. it follows that they would also hate His people. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.”

      to the unbeliever reading this, i know this assertion might makes you frothing mad, and i wish it didnt, but im not sorry for saying so because i know its true. ridicule me as you will.

  19. “The gospel begins with God’s love for every human.”

    No it doesn’t. It starts with God’s just wrath on mankind because of mankind’s sin. The “good news” is you do not have to suffer that wrath.

    For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

    Roman’s 5:17-19

  20. As I was reading his words, I could almost hear the Flavor Aid being mixed with poison in tubs for his flock. This guy’s dangerous to anybody that believes what he’s saying.

  21. During Jesus’s life security was in the hands of the Roman authorities and remained so until Constantine. Therefore, a Christian was relieved of responsibility for the physical protection of others. Once Christians became reponsible for the use of physical force against others they were presented with a dilemma. Does the faith require passivity in the face of threats? Shall Christians, in the words of Martin Luther, place the job of providing security in the hands of the Turk? If the answer is yes then Christians should never participate in government because you have to do such things.

    I will also disagree with the Pastor when he says there are no good men. He is deliberately misinterpreting this biblical concept. By bad, Jesus meant that we all sin against God. Sin is disobedience to God’s will which encompasses a lot more than violence. A pacifist is as a much a sinner as a man prone to violence. Pastor Rob flunks Christian theology 101.

    Note: I am not interested in another pointless religious debate. My post should be read in the context of Pastor Rob’s faith.

  22. Just another reason to stay home on Sunday and worship God in my own way. I’ll give to charities that do not use my money against me and my freedom.

  23. I have no idea who this idiot is but I’m throwing the BS card on “I believed that we had a God-given right to defend ourselves,”

    I don’t think I’ve ever met a reformed progun person (went stupid). Many libtard antigun type have seen the light though once they mature..

  24. Then, I saw the after-effects of gun violence firsthand.

    I’ve always been baffled how people can draw lines and separate violence based on the tool used as if it had anything to do with it. Violence is violence. It would go a lot further to reduce harm to people by addressing violence (with whatever tool) than attempts to eliminate one kind of tool they could use.

    Our laws forbid violence. Criminals don’t obey them for a variety of reasons. Solving those reasons is the answer. Passing new laws regulating possessions only hurts us all.

    • “Our laws forbid violence.”

      Point of contention, but no they don’t. Violence is condoned or even sanctioned in a variety of circumstances.

      Violence itself is not “evil.” Violence is merely the use, or threat of the use, of force.

      There are quite a few examples of “ok” violence. A parent grabbing a child to prevent that child from running into traffic is an example of “violence” that is not only condoned, but heralded as both right and necessary.

      Our laws forbid certain applications of violence, but not violence itself across the board. Our laws are designed to prevent victimization of one by another, whether that be violent or non-violent means.

      We need to stop letting the Proggies define terms according to their whims and agendas.

      • I agree.

        My statement was a non-detailed generalization with assumptions built in aimed toward violence outlawed (e.g. Assault, battery, killing of innocents, etc.). I did not elaborate on the violence required to protect, to defend, etc. in those instances you are correct.

  25. Lost me completely at “gun violence”
    As a Christian pastor you should know… turn back to the beginning of your Bible. Was Abel killed by “rock violence” ? Turn ahead to the NT… was Jesus subjected to “nail violence”?
    Or maybe it was HUMAN violence! All the time, every time.

  26. So… he believed it was a “GOD-GIVEN RIGHT” for one to defend one’s self. Nothing I saw in the rest of his hand-wringing did anything to change that first point.

    Now I happen to think the notion of “god given rights” is meaningless (given how easily man takes them away) but I’m just wondering how he left that premise. What other rights are “god given” that are okay to forget about if “bad people” do bad things with them?

  27. Wow, there is a lot of anti-Christian folks on the blogosphere today. There are so many denominations with differing interpretations of the Bible that claim they speak for Christ and Christians. Who gives a hoot what one person claims about his interpretation of the Bible? This argument is not about what religious belief trumps another. This is about freedom. It is about the right to defend yourself against a corrupt government regardless of your beliefs.

  28. “I disagree with my community’s wholesale embrace of the idea that anyone should be able to buy a gun. For one thing, our commitment to the sanctity of human life demands that we err on the side of reducing threats to human life. And our belief in the basic sinfulness of humankind should make us skeptical of the NRA’s slogan, “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.” The Bible indicates that we are all bad guys sometimes.”

    Just another cuckservative sellout. America imports huge numbers of people from super-violent African and Latin populations every year. I doubt very much you’ll ever hear this cuck “demanding” we end mass immigration of 3rd world populations because “sanctity of life.” This guy’s bowing to liberalism, end of story.

    Leftism kills. See Black Book of Communism for details. But, does anyone ever hold leftism to account? Of course not, because leftism is the religion of the powerful and monied.

  29. “I happen to think the notion of “god given rights” is meaningless (given how easily man takes them away)”

    That’s the whole point of calling them God-given rights; to put steel in the spine of the God-fearing, so they resist having them taken away.

  30. Preacher should crack a history book. If his Christian forebears had taken his attitude, Europe, and by extension the Preacher, would be bowing toward Mecca 5 times a day.

  31. “I disagree with my community’s wholesale embrace of the idea that anyone should be able to buy a gun.”


    I disagree with everyone else who has embraced wholesale that they, or their POS appointees should be able to regulate or who says who gets to have a gun.

    We’re (and by We’re I mean all non-anchor baby, didn’t brake the law to get here Americans) all neighbors. The Constitution defines how we stay that way. The Second Amendment is there in case someone wants to chuck the Constitution unless as prescribed, and then, for if you don’t like the final answer.

  32. Oh, no, here’s another media-centric cause-head “leader” telling me what I should think as a Christian. He may not have chosen that arrogant headline of “I’m an evangelical preacher. You can’t be pro-life and pro-gun,” but it betrays his hubris in writing it. If given the opportunity I’d say to him, “brother, you can believe as you see fit, and I will do likewise unbeholden to you.”

    He should know as a vaunted evangelical that he has no ecclesiastical authority over me or anyone else outside his own pastorate. And even they are not obligated to believe in lockstep with him, particularly when he’s speaking extra-biblically as in this case. Prefixing one’s name with “pastor” or “reverend” may carry some cachet with some people, but to me he’s another would-be gun-grabbing turd in a big brown ocean full of them.

    As for the people here who would use a troll like this guy to dump on the faith in general, you’re not contributing anything except drawing battle lines within our own ranks.

  33. I guess it’s a good thing I’m a Germanic Pagan. I’m pretty sure my gods would be pissed if I didn’t bear arms to protect myself and my loved ones. I won’t turn the other cheek to an aggressor. I’ll bring the @$#/ing hammer down.

  34. It’s like watching the caliber wars.

    How’s this for future click bait. Find an abortion doctor who’s anti gun and write a post about him. Bound to get at least 300 hits on that one.


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