BLOG POST

by Phillip Vanwinkle
OCTOBER 23, 2015

May Christians Use Guns?

With recent events and shootings taking place, some questions have come up concerning Christians and guns. Today we will answer these questions in two ways:

  1. The logical answer to the gun question
  2. The biblical answer to the gun question

Before we start this study, I need to say this: We are not saying that Christians should be over-reliant on certain rights, because the exact same rights do not always apply to all men. For instance if you are living in countries where guns are against the law, then it would not be appropriate for citizens of that country to own a gun (Romans 13). Humans' rights are given only by God. Our rights are directed by, and limited to, what God allows us. This lesson is not about that. This lesson is to help answer the question, Does God allow Christians to own and use guns for defensive purposes, in lands where guns are authorized by their governments?

May a Christian carry a gun? (The logical answer)

There are many more questions and conclusions that must be reached before we can come to a proper conclusion about this question. First, may a Christian defend and protect himself with God’s approval? Second, is it wrong for any person to defend himself?

These are very important questions to answer. Why? Because God has not given many different laws, He has given one law for all today! Everyone living today is under the Law of Christ.

If it is wrong for a Christian to protect himself or defend his family, it is therefore wrong for all men to protect themselves and their families. So, logic demands that we be consistent.

If it is right for all men to use deadly force for protection, it is right for Christians to use deadly force for protection. We must be consistent.

Based upon the fact that we are all under one law, we must conclude that:

Syllogism:

If it is right for all men to use deadly force for protection/self-defense, it is right for Christians to use deadly force for protection/self-defense.

It is right for all men to use deadly force for protection/self-defense,

Therefore, it is right for Christians to use deadly force for protection/self-defense.

That is why it is so important to understand that there is only one law for all mankind.

Here is how it breaks down logically:

Syllogism:

If God has made one divine law for all men, then all men are under the same divine law.

God has made one divine law for all men.

Therefore all men are under the same divine law.

Syllogism:

If God has allowed men to defend themselves by using deadly force, and all men are under the same divine law, then God has allowed all men to defend themselves by using deadly force.

God has allowed men to defend themselves by using deadly force, and all men are under the same divine law,

Therefore, God has allowed all men to defend themselves by using deadly force.

Syllogism:

If Christians are included in all men, and all men are allowed to defend themselves by using deadly force, then Christians are allowed to defend themselves by using deadly force.

Christians are included in all men, and all men are allowed to defend themselves by using deadly force.

Therefore, Christians are allowed to defend themselves by using deadly force.

Syllogism:

If Objects (knives, guns, spears, swords, pans, electricity, forks, axes, bricks, rocks etc)… that may cause death, being used as weapons of defense/protection  are approved of God, then these objects may be used by all men with God’s approval for defense/protection.

Objects (knives, guns, spears, swords, pans, electricity, forks, axes, bricks, rocks etc)… that may cause death, being used as weapons of defense/protection  are approved of God,

Therefore, these objects may be used by all men with God’s approval for defense/protection.

These are the logical conclusions to the question, but these logical questions must be built upon what God has said in His Word. So let us turn to God’s Word to build the foundation upon which the logic is based.

May a Christian carry a gun? (The Biblical answer)

May a Christian carry a gun?

The “no” argument speaking against Christians using guns usually goes something like this:

The Lord said, "all who take the sword will perish by the sword" (Matthew 26:52). So therefore, it is always wrong for a Christian to take up a sword, for any reason at all.

There are of course many problems with this argument, first, it assumes that this only applies to Christians. However, it does not say “any Christian who will take the sword…” it says "all." So whatever this is saying, it is not simply saying it to Christians, but to all. So if it is wrong for a Christian to “take the sword” it is wrong for all to “take the sword.”

Second, and perhaps most importantly, this is a misunderstanding of Bible teaching.

 The statement "all who take the sword will perish by the sword," accepted literally and without qualification, would be false. Why? Because far too many police officers, soldiers, and others have died peacefully in their sleep for this to be an unconditional statement. For a better understanding, as with all things, the context must be considered.

On the occasion that He said this, Jesus was about to be arrested by a murderous mob (Matthew 26:47), and Peter sought to protect his Master by slicing at Malchus with his sword (Matthew 26:51; Luke 22:49-50; John 18:10). In response, Christ spoke the remark under consideration (Matthew 26:52), then commented that if He needed protection from the threats of men, He could overwhelm His adversaries with more than twelve legions of angels (Matthew 26:53).

However, no such protection was called for… but why? Because His death was necessary (Matthew 26:54; Luke 22:51; John 18:11). So we see that He was not issuing an absolute prohibition against self-defense, but pointing out that a spiritual kingdom cannot be advanced through physical warfare (John 18:36; cf. 2 Corinthians 10:4-6).

Earlier in his ministry, Jesus had ordered His apostles to arm themselves. He had sent His disciples, first the twelve (Luke 9:1-6), then seventy (Luke 10:1-17), on missions. Each time, He had told them to take no provisions along, but to rely on the generosity of those they would preach to, since their efforts would be directed toward their own countrymen (Matthew 10:5-6).

Before His death, after which He would send the disciples on a worldwide campaign (Matthew 28:18-20), Jesus prepared His apostles for something different. He asked, "'When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?' So they said, 'Nothing.' Then He said to them, 'But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one'" (Luke 22:35-36). Jesus knew that thieves would attack travelers (Luke 10:30), so He urged His disciples to prepare accordingly. So important was this point, that He taught them it was better to be armed than clothed.

Since two swords among the twelve was a sufficient quantity (Luke 22:38), it is clear that the Lord did not want them armed for offensive warfare, but for defensive purposes.

Yet notice, they were armed. Some have argued that these swords were nothing more than small knives—tools rather than weapons, but such a claim only proves the ignorance of those who would argue such. The Greek word translated "sword" in this text is always translated "sword" and is unquestionably a weapon used for killing (Acts 12:2; 16:27; Hebrews 11:34, 37).

Notice that, when prompted, the disciples were able to immediately say, "Lord, look, here are two swords" (Luke 22:38). They didn't even need to sell their cloaks in order to acquire these weapons; they already had them. We must conclude then, that Jesus kept regular company with armed civilians.

It was no surprise to Jesus that they were armed, this has always been the understanding of God’s law.

Scriptures teach that there is "a time to kill" (Ecclesiastes 3:3). God has authorized the government to bear the sword (Romans 13:1-4), and permits His own people to participate in the military (Luke 13:3, 10-14; Acts 10:1-8, 34-48; 11:18).

He charges men with the duty of providing for their households (I Timothy 5:8), which includes the use of armed force to protect property and loved ones. According to Jesus, "When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace" (Luke 11:21).

Abraham even commanded his own army, people from his own household.  "When Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his three hundred and eighteen trained servants who were born in his own house, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. He divided his forces against them by night, and he and his servants attacked them and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. So he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the people" (Genesis 14:14-16). Abraham subsequently received God's blessings (Genesis 14:18-20; 15:1).

We could list many other Old Testament examples of Godly men taking up arms, yet being pleasing to God, hopefully these will suffice

So, in nations where the government allows it:

We have logically proven that God allows Christians to use deadly force (guns) to protect and defend themselves.

We have shown scripturally that God allows Christians to use deadly force (guns) to protect and defend themselves.

Therefore, we conclude that: God allows Christians to use deadly force (guns) to protect and defend themselves.

Addendum

God’s role for government

Though this is not an article about God’s role for the Government, we must say this.

If God has determined to leave it up to certain governments to pass laws that allow their citizens to defend themselves, and those governments allow citizens to use guns to defend themselves, then God has allowed citizens under that government to use guns for protection.

God has determined to leave it up to certain governments to pass laws that allow their citizens to defend themselves, and those governments allow citizens to use guns to defend themselves. (Romans 13)

Therefore, God has allowed citizens under that government to use guns for protection.


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