Gun ownership

Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 11:23 AM.

Weapons in the Bible were also used for personal protection.  In parts of Israel, robbers were common and people carried weapons when they traveled.  Carrying a weapon for self-defense is never condemned in the Bible.  In fact, Luke 22:35-38 mentions it in a positive light by Jesus Himself.

Christians are called to submit to governing authorities, and they are to obey the laws of the land.  This would have to apply to gun laws, too.  If American gun laws change, Christians should submit to these changes and work through democratic means toward any desired alternatives. 

The Bible does not forbid possessing weapons, and neither does it command such possession.  Laws may come and go, but the goal of the believer in Jesus Christ remains the same: to glorify the Lord.
Another biblical principle to consider is that “all who draw the sword will die by the sword."  Jesus said this to Peter when Peter tried to mount a reckless “defense” of Jesus against the mob that had come to arrest Him.  Peter’s actions were not only useless against such a “large crowd armed with swords and clubs," but his foolish behavior also refuted Jesus’ submissive attitude and worked against fulfilling Scripture.  There is “a time for war and a time for peace," and Peter confused the two.

Christianity supports personal freedom.  When Scripture does not clearly address a particular issue, there is freedom for individual choice.  America has historically embraced personal freedom that resonates with this principle, and the founding documents guarantee wide freedoms regarding firearms.

Some may point to Mathew 5:9 in which Jesus pronounces a blessing on the peacemakers, and apply it to the issue of gun control.  The idea is that guns are opposing to peace.  This may be more of a philosophical or political idea than a theological one.  There is nothing theologically, or even logically, that links guns to a lack of peace; sometimes, guns help keep civil peace.

As I see it, the use of guns is a matter of personal conviction.  I believe the Bible supports this train of thought.  There is nothing unspiritual about owning a gun or knowing how to use one.  There is nothing wrong with protecting oneself or loved ones, even if it involves the use of weapons.  We need not pretend there is never a need for guns, but pointing a gun at a person should always be a last resort.  We should seek to defuse threats without violence whenever possible.

With the authority God has entrusted to it; the government has the right to allow or disallow gun ownership to whatever degree it considers right.  We, as citizens, are called to submit to whatever gun control laws the government institutes.  This is not, however, a statement on the wisdom of gun control.  There are good reasons to allow law-abiding citizens to own guns.  Ultimately, guns are not the problem.  Sinful people are the problem.

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