Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Clingin' to their Guns n' Bibles!"

This post at Cripplegate had me thinking that I need to publish this old-trib-times post again:

The topic above is about the American revolution, but I'm going to hone in more specifically on Christians who wield the sword, which would include Christians who would have taken up arms in a rebellion such as this one. I've written about this before, and will likely write about it more, as living in Texas, this is a topic I hear (sadly) in a lot of churches out here. Cling to you guns and your Bibles, and there's nothing wrong with being a well-armed brother in Christ, right? Hey, if someone breaks in, you've got every right to take the intruders life! No need to subdue him, or call the magistrate, or even hold him at bay until the police arrive... if he breaks in, he's dead meat, right?
But no matter how you slice (or shoot) it, the fact remains that if you are a Christian who carries a gun, and you for some reason shoot and kill a person, you are left with:

- No chance of a life transformation of the person you killed.
- No possibility of the gospel reaching them.
- Just twisted, non-christian justice from a carnal weapon.

So much for Matthew 5 and Christ's commandment to "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." What about the Christian testimony of humility, forgiveness, generosity, giving and love? How can anything in Christ's message of the beatitudes in any way be construed to give a killing loophole, premeditated or otherwise? And as a wise man once observed, how can a Christian claim to be pro-life and yet support killing another person? (and how can one claim to be pro-life if he only has 2 kids and a vasectomy?.... but that's another post for another day.)
Making exception clauses to kill for any reason puts into dangerous papist territory, of warping the love of Christ into directions of Rome's senseless violence and killing at the behest of an antichrist pope...

I read recently about some of the gun-totin' churches and it makes me more and more convinced that the Anabaptist have it right. Their Schleitheim Confession (1527) offers a section that makes perfect sense of the Christian attitude towards guns/swords/killing weapons:

"Now it will be asked by many who do not recognize (this as) the will of Christ for us, whether a Christian may or should employ the sword against the wicked for the defense and protection of the good, or for the sake of love.

Our reply is unanimously as follows: Christ teaches and commands us to learn of Him, for He is meek and lowly in heart and so shall we find rest to our souls. Also Christ says to the heathenish woman who was taken in adultery, not that one should stone her according to the Law of His Father (and yet He says, As the Father has commanded me, thus I do), but in mercy and forgiveness and warning, to sin no more. Such (an attitude) we also ought to take completely according to the rule of the ban."

Another thought is how gun-totin' Christians seem to abide by a cheap grace, that doesn't call the believer to abandon all, but you can STILL hang on to that last bit of carnality and tote a gun. Recently I've been reading Bonhoeffer's "Cost of Discipleship" and one of this continuing theme is an abandonment of all for the sake of the cross, even, potentially, your own life and security. As terrible as it sounds, if someone comes to you and wants to kill you - especially for your faith - you need to be ready to die for it. Not cling to a chunk of killing metal to destroy a foe with. Kill a man, and he dies in his unbelief. You sent him to hell with no prospect of the gospel or eternal life at all.

Maybe it would be different if someone broke into my house, and then I'd think differently, right? Or maybe, like the Apostle Paul, I make full use of my citizenship to Rome, pick up the phone, call the magistrate and have them do their job. This is still a republic, and I do render to Caesar, so perhaps I should leave the defense to the magistrate and instead focus on how I can show love and forgiveness to others, even those who might want to do me harm. I think our military and police protection is wonderful, and I pray for those who protect and serve that God has put into office. I'm just not convinced that a Christian should be in an office that could potentially mean the taking of a life.

Yeah, I'm in a minority, but as I was told years ago by a pastor, if there's something you are convicted right or wrong, verify it by weighing it against the word of God, and that is what I've done... and truthfully I can't read the Bible and see how anywhere there is any sort of instruction to carry a weapon and take a life. Jesus taught forgiving over and over. He taught compassion and care of others, never killing. Christians should not carry the carnal sword, but should instead gird themselves with the sword of the spirit, and with the love of Christ.

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