As terror attacks continue abroad and closer to home, are Christian churches seen as a vulnerable “soft targets?”
In addition to all the other challenges facing the Western church, now physical safety has risen as a growing concern. Has gathering for worship or other church activities become a palpable safety concern for the public? Will fears of becoming a target accelerate already-declining church attendance habits?
Many churches have established detailed security protocols, including the activation of armed guards. For some large churches, this isn’t new. They’ve long employed security forces and bodyguards, created primarily to protect their celebrity pastors from autograph hounds and disturbed followers.
Now the concerns turn to the vulnerable in the pews. The fears and potential dangers arise not only from terror threats, but from perpetrators of domestic violence, disgruntled past employees, and mentally disturbed individuals. But defending the faithful with firepower raises some complicated questions. Do guns and God make a good mixture?
- Should churches be equipped with guns to deter or kill potential evil doers?
- Should church security personnel openly display their weapons–or conceal them?
- Should parishioners be encouraged–or discouraged–from bringing concealed guns to church functions?
A friend of mine, whom I’ll call Kevin, serves as a volunteer security officer at his church. He wears a uniform–a marked church security shirt and black tactical pants. And he carries a gun, concealed. He receives recurrent training with members of the local SWAT team. He, and his fellow church security officers, rehearse to use lethal force, if necessary, to thwart attackers.
Kevin’s church, while located in a state that licenses individuals to carry concealed weapons, does not encourage members to bring guns to church. He said, “I’ve been approached by several members from the church letting me know that they’re carrying concealed weapons and they often they ask me if that poses a problem. I reassure them that we do have armed security team members and that our hope is that they feel secure enough not to carry. I also share my concern with them that if something was to happen and they were to draw their weapon from concealment, members of our armed team could misinterpret their good intentions and they could be mistaken for a second shooter.”
That’s how one church has approached their security risks. And, even if the actual risk for violence at church is statistically small, fears among the public are rising. Therefore, every church would do well to discuss these issues and proactively determine how to approach these security risks. Some resources are available to help assess the challenges. The National Disaster Interfaiths Network offers a tip sheet titled “Active Shooter in a House of Worship.” The U.S. Department of Homeland Security also offers several resources at its Active Shooter Preparedness website.
Congregations also need to consider questions of faith while thinking about how to confront potential violence on their home turf. When does God’s call to “fear not” apply? When does the common sense of self-defense apply?
How a congregation reacts may reflect society’s growing angst about security. Will the presence of armed security guards bring peace of mind to church attendees? Or will visible security measures only scare away would-be attendees, reminding them of the perceived danger of becoming a target for those who wish to attack public gatherings of Christians?
For Christians today, the sense of sanctuary is changing. As it was for the first disciples, publicly following Christ carries certain risks.
We have three people that carry concealed on Sunday morning. We have a signed understanding with each one and they have had training in handling scenarios that may or may not occur in our setting.
We understand that while others may carry, we are not willing to take responsibility for anyone but those we approve.
Firstly, let me say that we initially started this when a very disturbed person continuously threatened to come and “take me out” at the church and/or my home. This went on for about 8 months. Given his actions toward myself and the church in public and on the streets, we took his threats very seriously.
However, concealed was the way to go for us as people tend to get antsy in this day and age when they see an armed person in their midst. For example: Occasionally, a cop on the beat will swing by on a Sunday morning and observe the service until he gets called out. Without fail, people are buzzing about asking why the police are there.
Thank God we have not had an incident where we had to make the decision to draw or not. But that’s why we were extremely selective about who we approved. Some well meaning people just aren’t stable enough in the throws of anxiety.
Just because I’m not use to seeing people wearing open displayed weapons, a visible fire arm would be menacing to me. It would have been very menacing if I was a child. I think I could handle someone wearing a 6″ knife.
An all out shoot out in church could be very dangerous if there were flying bullets hitting by standers. I would think in a smaller place like a church, the charge and tackle tactic would be a better approach, hence carrying a knife would be better for confined spaces. You don’t necessarily need a knife. Pencils, pens… car keys… can do the job.
We have uniformed police officers at our church, but not every church can afford this luxury, in which case I would have a plain clothes volunteer security team with concealed weapons. As a police officer I am always armed and I encourage responsible permit holders to always be armed as well. The KEY factors in dealing with this issue are communication and training. Church leaders should communicate to the congregation that there is a security team present and that if any members are carrying a weapon they should notify security personnel. In order to avoid a ‘Blue on Blue’ incident, this is how we handle police officers attending major venues where I live in Texas; we notify the on duty security of who we are, that we are armed and where we will be sitting. The same concept could be used at Churches. Visitors should be notified of the policy as well to prevent them from becoming a target of security personnel by mistake should an incident occur.
Training is also extremely important and I would want to make sure that the congregation understands the gravity of having the right to carry a weapon and the serious responsibilities that come with choosing to draw that weapon.
I would never want to ‘disarm’ anyone however because if an incident does occur, security officers may be unable to help someone at the point they need it most. In effect, the unarmed people would be ‘sheep for the slaughter.’
I encourage everyone to read this article by Lt. Dave Grossman, “On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs.”
Well, my name is Kevin. I am a deacon in my church, and I carry. There are several others that I know of as well.
Several years ago, when I was serving as chairman of the deaconate, we discussed church security. This included improving lighting, stronger door locks, periodic parking lot controls, better control of offering funds, specially between services, and, yes, the subject of concealed carry by members.
The entire subject of security was treated as it should be, as part of our call by God to be good stewards of the things, and people that He has put in our charge. Elders are scripturally established to lead the church in its worship, teaching, and government. Deacons, scripturally, are called to meet the physical needs of the church, one of those needs is security. We would not be faithful to our call if we neglected that.
Ryan, I believe your fears are unfounded. It sounds like you are under the presumption that bullets would be “flying” everywhere. Those of us that have made the decision to get our permit to carry have undergone quite a bit of training in order to acheive that. Many of us are prior and current military and law enforcement who know what it is like to be under fire. It may sound cliche, but in reality the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun. It may be hard for the timid to accept, but it is a fact of life.
Just this past Sunday we had a situation at our church where our armed security team was put on high alert.
An agitated homeless man demanded to see one of our pastors outside. When the pastor stepped out the door, the homeless man immediately launched into an elevated and profanity laced explanation of how he had been sleeping in his car and that he was sick and tired of his life and being cold at night. He went on to say that he had a loaded shotgun in his vehicle and that he was contemplating blowing his f’ing head off. This was all in front of families and small children streaming in to worship.
The man then asked the pastor to follow him to his vehicle to help fix a tire supposedly going flat. Praise the Lord that the situation eventually deescalated and the man left without incident but it could have just as easily turned very bad with the man possibly shooting our pastor and then killing himself.
After the service two people who witnessed the situation personally thanked several members of the security team for their service to the church and for being willing to put themselves in harm’s way.
Ryan, I’m sorry but a knife, a pencil, a pen or a menacing set of car keys would not have protected the life of our pastor or the unsuspecting people in the parking lot who were unwittingly in the wrong place at the wrong time. I agree with you. An all-out shoot out in the church parking lot would be very dangerous. All the more reason to have a highly-trained and disciplined armed security team to ensure that a really bad situation doesn’t turn worse.
Where is their faith !Live by Plsams 23 . He is always protected me even from my self !Amen
Parishioners “carrying.” One more reason to stay home. Thom, I am disappointed that you have added to the ridiculous frenzy of fear by writing this blog.
Mara commented on Facebook: “Yes because in the 3 seconds that it happens, they have time to find their gun, pull it out and shoot the person – after the damage has been done. Nothing but gunslinger wannabes.”
Russell replied on Facebook: “FBI stats say 70 percent of mass shootings occur in 5 minutes or less. Someone can cause a lot of damage in 5 minutes if not stopped. If someone intends to do something terrible like this they will more than likely take lives. Security is there to stop them as fast as possible and save as many lives as possible.”
John commented on Facebook: “Mara, I fear comments like that make you look ignorant about guns. Your first comment about 3 seconds is misinformed and a small gun being carried by one person has in fact stopped shootings from becoming mass murder and could very well have stopped shootings like the one in the Aurora theatre, the recent one at the Planned Parenthood in Co. Springs recently and a host of others. It would not have stopped all or even most, but it stopped the guy in Chicago when the Uber driver was carrying a gun.”
Russell commented on Facebook: “This was a huge discussion among our security team this Sunday. Its interesting to see how some staff and pastors don’t see the need. Where does the team fit? Some see it in the same department as the greeters and coffee teams. Others see it more aligned with the church staff. The responsibility of what we do and the training we engage in sets us apart from many of the volunteers. Most of our team serve multiple services every Sunday, and are on call for not only special holiday services but events during the week as well.”
I feel safe at church and at home and even shopping in the Dallas Ft Worth area. Armed security guards are fine in church if that is a priority and will give congregants and staff peace of mind. However, I hope that congregants will not bring weapons (concealed or open) into a church service. Our purpose is worship and I do not want a person with a gun in the pew next to me regardless of their good intentions.
Dr. Sandra W. Froese, Ed.D, LPC-S Institute for Healthy Families of North Texas, LLC 3301 Gillespie Rd. McKinney, TX 75070 972-569-8843 (office) 972-542-1919 (fax) 903-815-4779 (cell) firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.texasicounselors.com
Well, could this be a way that the Holy Ghost is speaking to us to increase our faith.
Do you remember the story of Jesus in and the storm? Let’s read it.
Mark 4:35-41 King James Version (KJV)
35 And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.
36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.
37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
In this story you see the disciples and other little ships out on the water. Who caused the storm? I believe Satan did. Jesus was sleeping through the storm. But the disciples feared for their lives. Is this not what we are doing fearing for our lives. They woke up Jesus and He spoke to the storm and it ceased.
But Jesus rebuked them for having NO FAITH.
Can you find anywhere in the scriptures, after the incident in the Garden with Peter and the sword, The Apostles and disciples mentioning carrying protection. Who did they rely on and how?
I believe it was the faith in believing that they would be protected by the Holy Ghost?
What do we do with this scripture?
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
We know this scripture is being fulfilled, just by reading the comments on this article.
The Word means what it says.
God is allowing Satan to start tearing down our playhouses.
You may call me crazy, radical or fanatical, but God is starting to fan the threshing floor. The chaff will be bundled up and burned.
God is allowing Satan to prove our faith (doctrine) (belief). God allowed it with Job. When Israel would not obey, God allowed Israel’s enemies to come in and punish them and bring them to repentance.
God is calling the so called Saints of God (Christians) to repentance. There will be some drastic measures to get us to repent.
God is going to allow Satan to tear our entertainment playhouses down. The Megachurches will no longer be? If they are they will be worshipping the Antichrist and the False Prophet.
The true Saints of God will be meeting in houses or other secluded area in small groups.
The small groups will be able to have their love made perfect and they will not fear for their lives.
Some of the Megachurches will be turned into entertainment arena for Satan.
Get your mind off of collecting gold, silver and other precious things. They will be taken from you. Get your faith out of what you posses physically and materially, but put your Faith in what you believe in Jesus Christ.
Consider this scripture in closing.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 King James Version (KJV)
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
@Scotty Searan I agree that we should trust The Lord, no question about it! But have you considered that ‘fear’ is not the only motive for carrying a weapon? The bible says that God trained David’s hand for war and that God “is a Man of War” or “A Warrior.” Some may make the argument based on Romans 13 that since it is God who establishes Authorities, then the carrying of weapons should be left to them, i.e. Military and Police. But in the USA, which was founded on biblical principles, we have the 2nd Amendment. Americans, even Christian Americans, have not only the right, but the duty. to protect themselves and others. Christ never called us to be pacifists! We are to obey those in authority and contend with evil when it rears it’s ugly head.
I hope you will read this article ‘On Sheep, Sheepdogs and Wolves.’ You are inevitably, one of the three! The choice is yours!
In addition to my comment that Jesus repeatedly called his followers to be pacifists (not sure if it’s getting posted – Jesus blessed the meek in the Beatitudes, he refused to ask his disciples or his followers to defend him prior to his arrest, he chastised Peter for cutting off the year of the guard who was among the party arresting him, etc.), I should also add that the US was NOT founded on Biblical principles. It was founded on religious tolerance and separation of church and state. I would kindly ask you to read up on that before making such assumptions and using them in your argument. You are mixing the 2nd amendment with what does Jesus call you to do, which are separate arguments to be considered separately.
I certainly would not feel comfortable with the congregation carrying weapons. If you must have security, at least limit to trained or hired security.
You are mistaken on two counts:
1. Jesus was/is not a pacifist nor did he teach his followers to be.
2 This country was indeed founded on biblical principles and the First Amendment was intended solely for the Christian religion
– Jesus told his followers if they did not have a sword to get one
– Jesus did not condemn Peter for having a short only for the miss use of it
-Jesus did not condemn the centurions for being soldiers he only told him to be content with their wages
-Jesus is God God inspired the Bible and the Bible says in Romans 13 that the government does not bear the sword in vain it is a weapon of punishment and death, that is not pacifism.
-please reread your history books, you have bought into historical revisionism.
Our country was founded on the Christian religion we left England where there was a state church. The purpose of our founding fathers was so that Christians would be able to practice which ever Christian sect that they chose without a state-sponsored church.
Joseph story was an early Supreme Court judge and this is what he said about the First Amendment:
“The real object of the amendment was, not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects, and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment, which should give to an hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government.”
This is a Supreme Court judge explaining what is meant by the First Amendment no other religion was to be “countenanced”especially what he calls Mohammedism or Islam. At the time he wrote America was dealing with the Barbary Pirates who were in fact Muslim terrorists and slave traders.
OK, I can understand how some folks feel the need to exercise their faith by what they believe is 100% reliance on God for their preservation. The question I have is, do they have enough faith to make everyone else do the same? It’s easy for some folks to lay down our own lives, but how do they feel about laying down the lives of everyone else? What they fail to recognize is that God’s sovereignty extends into every area of our lives, and that He just might have determined to have one of us sheepdogs around when we are needed.
Would you also follow that with the idea that we should not use doctors or medicines because God is the Great Physician? Our use of them does not diminish His ability to heal, nor does it limit His ability to be our Sheild.
Are people forgetting that guns harm or kill innocent people and children MUCH more than protect? Faith and prayer should do the trick. Keep your guns at home or better yet, get rid of them.
First, where did you get your statistics?
Second, Guns have never killed or harmed anyone. Guns are inanimate and amoral. People kill people! If someone comes into your church with a knife, machete, hammer, tire tool or other weapon, and is determined to harm and kill, are you certain that you want all the guns left at home?
Third, if it were not for the ‘Sheepdogs’ around you who are armed, you and people who think like you would be ‘sheep for the slaughter.’
I trust The Lord as much as anyone, but He has given me a mind and the ability to defend the weak and helpless from those who would do harm and by HIS Grace, I will do so!
PamHurley says, “Faith and prayer should do the trick.”
What irks me is that some folks believe that they can box God into only responding one way, miraculously. They don’t believe that He could possibly use ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances to enact His will, and they imply that those of us that have taken the initiative for our own (and our charge’s) security are not relying on Him. Just remember that the next time you need a tire changed, or are expecting an ambulance or the fire department, or as “coolmusings” said when you use a seat belt.
In James Chapter 2 we are told that “faith without works is dead”. I would postulate that those of us who believe that God has put us in the position of “sheepdog”, and have the mindset and training to fulfill that position are exercising more faith than those who are just waiting for God to miraculously intervene.
I’m seriously considering carrying concealed, everywhere. In Washington state I have a permit that did not require training. I’ve owned and used firearms for over 40 years ( including the military ) , but not all states require training to get a concealed permit. As far as uniformed guards in church, they might be the first, easily identified, target. The thing that bothers me the most is the vision of sitting in a crowd at church, coffee shop, wherever, defenseless, waiting for the police, while people are shot one after the other. As they say, “when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.”
I will give up my permit and firearms when the powers that be assign an armed guard to follow me around day and night.
Look, we live in a society where anyone, at any time, can be a victim of violence. Every day in my community and thousands of others, black and brown parents tell their kids, especially their sons, to be wary of police. Some fear the police more than gangs. I certainly do, and I’m a 68-year-old white lady. Kids are not allowed to wear certain items of clothing to school for fear they will be identified as gang members. The private schools have drug-sniffing dogs. We live with violence, but we should not allow it to define us nor should we be so fearful that we become vigilantes.
Every day, every single day, may be your last. It’s up to God, regardless of how a life is taken. It could be a car accident, an accident at home or work, a cop shooting, a gang schooting, a terrorist. It could be a sudden illness. Do you really want to live in fear, or do you want to trust God? Do you want to put your faith in an idol–a concealed weapon–or in the King of the Universe?
I wear a seat-belt in the car, have life insurance, wear a life preserver when boating, but don’t consider them idols.
What an unlikely comparison! None of those things kill other people, and life insurance does not kill anyone. None of them are in the Constitution, either. And note–I did NOT say guns are idols, only concealed weapons for people who are putting their faith in them instead of in God.
What is the world coming to? I’d hate to see security guards and guns at churches in New Zealand. Church is a place of worship and should be a place of sanctuary. Jesus preached a message of peace, not of fear. Even the police don’t carry guns on patrol in NZ.
Jenny, I hope it remains that way in NZ. 🙂 For the U.S., poking ourselves into everybody’s business seems to make us a target. That and more guns than people. I certainly don’t want to be put in a situation where I have to shoot somebody, but it seems like the lesser of two evils here ( carry concealed rather than just be a victim )
Thom! Wow! I appreciate the question. It’s fascinating to read the comments/responses and the rational for guns to be allowed on church campuses. As a pastor, this is helpful to know what people are thinking. At my church, we are doing a study called: The Advent of Peace: A Gospel journey to Christmas. The author has some very thought provoking concepts as she understands the Gospels to say that Jesus calls us to peacemakers.
Recently, I was visiting a local church and discussing children’s ministry and one of the parishoners mentioned that she couldn’t live in a country where she couldn’t carry a gun. I really don’t understand the 2nd Amendment as it relates to today’s context, especially as it relates to the church. I have heard the argument for pro-guns, I just don’t comprehend the necessity in today’s context and church. I would have to resign from a church if they allowed guns on campus. My conviction is to be a peacemaker and look for security and protocols that would protect persons even if they are the perpetrator. Thanks again Thom for this question, I feel compelled to take urgency in getting the churches’ emergency prevention and response process completed. Appreciate you!
John comments on Facebook: “We are thinking through security at our church right now and Conceal Carry by your average citizen is not an answer to providing security. Having trained people with guns concealed can be very helpful. That said, I would not discourage CCW holders from carrying but simply caution them that pulling their gun at the wrong time could endanger lives in the same way that pulling it at the right time could save lives. Having known many, many people who regularly carry, I think it is fair to say that the vast majority of them are not looking for opportunities to be heroes.”
A prayer from one of the Christian leaders in North Africa, prayed while he faces daily death threats: “Help me to realize that no matter how violent their opposition, people are not the enemy. They are prisoners of the enemy. Help me to realize that you died to free those prisoners. And in that knowledge give me the courage, I pray, to penetrate their shores so they might be brought out of their tombs, delivered of their demons, dressed in their right mind, and given the privilege to sit at his feet.” Renowned 20th century theologian, Karl Barth, said “To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.” (From a fellow-believer living in one of the most crime-ridden countries in Africa and the world. And no, I don’t have a gun and will never own one. Now watch the Western Christians rationalise away their Master’s plain words in the Sermon on the Mount and especially the Beatitudes…
How about a whip? I believe Jesus used a “whip” to drive the money-changers from the temple. Let’s take another scenario, which I don’t think is really different. You’re at home with your family and somebody breaks in and starts going after your wife and children with a knife. Are you going to pray, call the police, pick up a baseball bat or start shooting ( and in which order ) ?
Really, same old same old… I warned that the words of Jesus would be rationalised! If you are going to quote from the Bible, bro, at least take the context into consideration?
I think its safe to say this is an individual decision. We don’t have to agree.
Agreed, although let it be said that believers should be guided by Jesus and biblical principles rather than mere pragmatics. That’s all I’m saying. Peace.
Keep in mind, that as more and more people arm themselves, be it concealed or open, the death rate from firearms will increase not decrease. The justifications for the use of firearms will become more and more “liberal” to where the mere presumption of a threat will authorize the use of lethal force. It seems to be path we have taken and there is no turning back now. We will just have to accept it as a part of our culture and ok in the faith of Christianity.
I believe the facts prove you wrong. Just look at Baltimore and Chicago and California. Toughest gun laws-most crime committed with guns..
You are incorrect, overall death from all firearms is on the increase, I am not arguing about illegal or legal , strong gun laws or no gun laws, criminal use or law enforcement use. I am stating a fact that as more individuals become gun owners the overall death rate from guns goes up. Right now firearm sales are sky rocketing.
I thought it was terrorists and the mentally ill who are doing most of the (illegal ) killing, not your average citizen carrying a concealed weapon. Hopefully we’re not equating firearm ownership with mental illness 🙂
As more people buy cars, boats, kitchen knives, drones,and lawn mowers, deaths and injuries go up. Honestly I’m more concerned about my own family. And for the purposes of article, my fellow church members. As I see the inability of government to protect us, and the absolute “weirdness” of our political processes, it pushes me closer to God and, I suppose unfortunately, a tendency to focus on me and mine.
[…] Shultz posted a pretty good article that touches on the subject. He carefully traversed the topic without declaring a side. The point of the article was to get […]
Christy commented, on Facebook: “I don’t kid myself into thinking God would ward off a lethal act of madness, not even in church. (Oscar Romero’s end demonstrated the folly of that notion.) All the same, I would never carry a firearm into worship and would not worship — at least not in an American church, where religion is (over)protected — anywhere I knew I was being watched over by armed guards. That much focus on personal self-preservation would distract me from faithfulness, openness and love. My spiritual solidarity lies with Christian families who risk liberty and life in countries where it’s dangerous to gather for worship by virtue of the surrounding culture.
Another thought: I wonder how attractive a target a church makes itself to a terrorist bent on martyrdom by virtually promising a shootout to the death.”
The beauty of concealed carry ( or downside depending on viewpoint) is that the public or those around you have no knowledge of it. I never did get an answer to this one: “You’re at home with your family and somebody breaks in and starts going after your wife and children with a knife. Are you going to pray, call the police, pick up a baseball bat or start shooting ( and in which order ) ?”
How about taking the wound, like Jesus would have done and did do on the cross? I really think you just don’t want to get it… As you admitted earlier, your life revolves around yourself and yours… Every time I go on mission, my life is at stake…
Well I could take the wound first, die and then not have to see my loved ones slaughtered. I focus on me and mine out of frustration that neither the police nor the government can protect us. Assign me my personal armed guard 24×7 and I’ll sell my guns. God doesn’t intervene in many of these mass-murder situations, unless we conclude the murders were His will.
So let me get a well-known and respected American to say it, being an African myself: “The western church in general, and my tribe in particular, sinks deeper and deeper into a morass of inertia, desuetude and despair because it keeps forgetting the key-word that opens all doors and frees all souls: Jesus.” (Prof. Leonard Sweet, Drew University, et al) And yes, I think it has everything to do with ‘carrying weapons in churches.’ And as far as I can re-call this is a Christian blogsite… I rest my case.
You can serve Jesus, or you can serve the NRA. But you can’t serve both.
Your comment reflects the “either/or” false dichotomy fallacy and is asinine.
Sad. I’m thankful I live in a country (NOT the USA) where carrying weapons – concealed or not – is illegal. While my government doesn’t get everything right, this is one area where it does!
Doesn’t anyone look at the scriptures to see what Christ’s thoughts are on this.
At first I thought this was a satirical site. Then I realised no, this is deadly serious. I’m very thankful I don’t live in the USA. Our federal government has just announced a gun amnesty – people can hand in unregistered guns without penalty. This is the first amnesty in 20 years and is a response to the growing terrorist threat. Having fewer guns in the community makes us safer. The idea that people in church would be carrying concealed weapons is just beyond my comprehension. The whole discussion is just weird.
This article is a good thought provoker. It is right in regards that we need to think clearly about this and not have some knee jerk reaction without understanding the consequences of our actions. Concerning the “fear not” passages in light of the subject matter and faith there are three things to take into consideration. First, it depends on where the “fear not” passage is located. In the books of Deuteronomy and Joshua they are in light of taking the land of promise by force of arms. Interesting in discussing security and guns regarding faith because those actions were considered an act of faith. While in other “fear not” passages it is in regards to sharing the Gospel. One might ask if the Christians are all dead who will share the Good News. Second, let’s not forget in the passage of Luke 22:36-38 the Lord admonished the disciples to bring swords with them as they prepared to go to Gethsemane. There could be two reasons for this: a) He knew what Peter was going to do with one of the two swords (Matthew 26:51-54); b) He was teaching them to be prepared in the event something of a violent nature was to occur. In light of Peter cutting the servants hear off, the servant was not the one doing the violence and the Lord brings out the fact that the Father had legions of angels there to take care of Him. In other words nothing was going to happen that wasn’t planned. The third thing that must be remembered is that not having weapons in a house of worship is something somewhat new. A good study of medieval period have kings and dignitaries entering church services with armed body guards surrounding them in the event of violence. The reality is that once Christianity started taking hold of the world we might be surprised to find of weapons in their midst. Also, in the days of the prairie frontier guns in the church house was not unusual in the event of marauding bandits or Indian attacks. In some of the early years of many states it was illegal for a man not to have a fire arm with him while traveling. Not carrying one was viewed as neglecting your family.
This does not mean that caution should not be taken dealing with firearms and church services. Open weapons may make people carrying them immediate targets. Too many armed parishioners may cause panic and misidentification. However, there is a fact that violent crime decreases greater in areas where there is a higher concentration of armed, trained public than areas where there is not. Maybe one of the best ways is to notify people as they enter the premises that there is armed security and violence of any kind is not permitted. Also the best action anyone could take in a situation where violence appears to be starting is to dial 911.
I attend a very small church. There are like 12 members and I know at least three that conceal carry, one being a guy I’m close to. I’ve never been uncomfortable being with him knowing that he’s carrying. I feel pretty safe. I know my pastor, his wife and my friend have all been through classes and have had training. I hope and pray we never have any situation where they’ll need to use their weapons.
This whole article plays into the fear terrorists want us to feel. That’s why they’re called TERRORists. The odds of being injured in some sort of attack are millions to one. Your car is more dangerous. Let’s not have fear and worry be the focus of our lives and go about living to the fullest. Isn’t that why God put us here?
If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free
John 8:31-32 NASB 1977
Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
Luke 6:46 NASB
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Matthew 10:28 KJV
If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.
Luke 14:26 NASB
Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.
Matthew 10:16 NASB
Everything above this point are direct quotes from The Lord Jesus Christ with scripture citations. Jesus Christ is the centrality of the Christian walk for it is His passionate love to save us His children, His friends. In this lovely relationship, we do not compromise for father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, nor ourselves. We trade this loving relationship for nothing.
Please notice, next Lord Jesus sends out the 12 without swords.
He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing. And He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece.”
Luke 9:23 NASB
And, next, the Lord Jesus sends out the 72 without swords.
Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes
Luke 10:3-4 NASB
Next, John the Baptist answers the soldiers, instructing them to do violence to no one.
And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
Luke 3:14 KJV
Jesus knows that God makes all things work together for good to those who believe that are called according to His purpose, when He said:
But I say to you, do not resist an evil person
Matthew 5:39 NASB
In the next quote from our great and glorious Lord Jesus Christ, He knows the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly/carnal rather we Christians wield the sword of the spirit which is the word of God because the spirit of the Living God indwells us!
Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.
Matthew 26:52 NASB
The next passage makes it clear that Jesus told the disciples to bring swords in order to fulfill the prophecy that he be captured with transgressors. Based on Jesus’s action at Gethsemane when Peter use the sword, it is clear that we are not to use carnal weapons for self-preservation. Jesus did not even let people use the sword to battle for Jesus’ liberation, and Jesus is the ultimate reason to fight; therefore, all other reasons fall underneath as non reasons to fight.
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. For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, ‘AND HE WAS NUMBERED WITH TRANSGRESSORS’; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.” They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.”
Luke 22:36-38 NASB
In the next two quotes of the Lord Jesus, the first expresses how we know where our treasure is located, and the second tells us of our value to God Almighty.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:12 NASB
So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.
Matthew 10:31 NASB
Respecting Jesus driving out the money changers, there is no mention of Jesus using the whip on a person specifically. Even if he did the disciples did not. Not in:
But let’s take a look at John 2:15 the actually talks about the whip being used:
And having made a whip of cords, He drove out all from the temple, both sheep and oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overthrew the tables.
John 2:15 BLB
A city protected by cold blue steel or the blackness of a gun is darkness; on the other hand; the city immersed in Jesus is the city of light. Like salt the body of Christ is used of God to purify, preserve, and make palatable. The ungodly at the wrong end of a gun does not purify.
You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 5:13-16 NASB
In the next quote from Jesus, please note that it does not say “killing someone for his friends” rather it says “that one lay down his life for his friends”.
Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13 NASB
Paul refers to “a minister of God” in Romans, quoted below and referenced in a comment above. A key point is the word “it” which refers to “a minister of God”. The word “it” is the third person; therefore, this is not referring to someone in the Assembly of God. In the KJV and the ESV, the word “it” is translated as “he”,, so the Apostle Paul is clearly not referring to someone in the body of Christ as a minister of God In this passage.
for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.
Romans 13:4 NASB
There is absolutely no latitude for interpretation in the next quote from our Lord Jesus Christ, who is God eternal, there is no Christian nation in this world.
My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.
John 18:36 NASB
God is our only hope, and prayer is how we seek this blessed hope.
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