“Can the gospel stop a bad guy with a gun?”
“ and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.” (Ephesians 1:19-21)
In part 1 of this paper I tried to subtly challenge the reader so that they might look at the issue of gun control with a specifically “Christian” approach. I dropped hints of my belief that as Christians we should not “love” guns for the fact that they may be used for self-defense, meaning that we should not be glad to possibly take life even when guns are justifiably used to preserve life. Of course we will rejoice for the life or lives that are saved, while also grieved at the life or lives that were lost. (I am not saying we may not in any sense “love” guns for sports, hunting, collecting, managing wildlife, etc., while bearing in mind that this should not be an idolatrous “love.”)
Personally, I will readily confess that in my younger days and even today, one of my favorite television heroes is Lucas McCain – “The Rifleman.” In my younger days he was just a really cool and tough guy, but to my adult and Christian eyes he is one of the most Christian TV heroes I know of. I would also have no problem if people just like him inhabited the majority of households in America. Furthermore, if the government decided to take away his guns in order to make the country a safer place I would think they were insane! Of course the majority of gun owners today are probably far from Lucas McCain in moral integrity, justness, and mercifulness. But even admitting comparative moral deficiency, I still think that to disarm them would be insane. The reason is simply because “gun control” would not remove the guns from the “element” of society that prey on others, and would simply make them more vulnerable to attack.
I believe the government needs a healthier view of the law abiding gun owners. Why shouldn’t the government see them as a good and pervasive force of terror to the evildoers because they are equipped, rather than seen as a threat because they are equipped?
“For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.” (Romans 13:3)
Obviously the “rulers” use those “under” them to fulfill this purpose, so why not “use” the law-abiding citizens? The only ones set to lose in this scenario are “the evil.”)
So my response to “gun control” is to say that we should take this crisis as an opportunity to reevaluate our contribution to America, and to work toward making it a place where our “rifle”, in regard to using it against predators, may rest comfortably over the mantel. In other words, the problem that “gun control” is supposedly meant to fix, namely killing people, should be alleviated through positive work to change lives spiritually, socially, economically, and in other ways possible. We need to consider anew our responsibility to “seek the welfare of the city.” (See Jeremiah 24:4-7)
The “gun control” the government proposes is simply through seeking to lessen the opportunity for violent crimes by lessening guns. But where there is a will for evil, there is a way. I think the solution is more to seek to lessen the numbers of people motivated to commit violent crimes and so lessen the occasions of violent crimes. The “gun control” of the government is merely external, and is a police state mentality. What we need is a transformative mentality, where people again have internal restraints of morality, decency, spirituality, good society, etc. Essentially, I am saying “it takes a village” not a “police state.” Which would we rather see?
Perhaps we can help to stop a “bad guy with a gun” through the means that were started by Jesus who has decisively stopped the biggest bad guy so that his followers can stop the little bad guys in his house:
“Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? And then he will spoil his house.” (Matthew 12:29)
James Davison Hunter has written the following that should demonstrate to us that we do not realize the responsibility laid upon us through the power of the gospel for all the nations:
“The fact is that Christ’s victory over the principalities and powers was a victory over the power of oppressive institutions – the sense that reality is what it is, that all is set as it should be, that the ways of the world are established and cannot be changed; that the rules by which the world operates are ones we must accept and not challenge. We are not bound by the “necessities” of history and society but are free from them. He broke their sovereignty and, as a result, all things are possible. It is this reality that frees all Christians to actively, creatively, and constructively seek the good in their relationships, in their tasks, in their spheres of influence, and in their cities.”
Do we feel like our government is seeing us as part of the problem? We need to remember the saying “if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem”. We need to remember the Josephs and Daniels of the Bible. Their redemptive presences within ungodly kingdoms brought much good to those kingdoms – they became “part of the solution.” Therefore, with such hope I say, may our rifles rest comfortably over the mantel, collecting dust from misuse, except when needed for their better uses!
So with this post I humbly present some of what I, for now, am thinking. I pray that God will lead us all to his will concerning his solutions for the violence in our society, and encourage us all to share the Good News of the Kingdom of Jesus our Lord and Savior.
Please let me know what you think! But please lets “mind our manners” and keep it civil (or I probably won’t approve your comment.)
Original Content © Bryan M. Christman and Manifest Propensity, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan M. Christman and Manifest Propensity with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.