With all the attention given to the shootings in recent months we now are hearing a whole lot about gun control, the right to bear arms, the confiscation of fire-arms, the government (Home Land Security) buying up hundreds and thousands of rounds of ammunition, and even pleas and ways to turn in your arms voluntarily.
Does the Bible address such an important subject? Yes, I believe it does!
In the not-so-distant past, American pastors were intentional about Scripturally addressing particular events of the day. If there was an earthquake, a Tsunami, legislation being considered in congress, or a significant court case, it was normal for pastors to open the Scriptures and address the subject from a biblical perspective. All of this was to teach their congregations how to respond biblically concerning various civic issues. Can we pray for pastors to be emboldened to do more of this today? I sure hope so!
Let’s begin with a simple question. Do you believe the words of 2 Timothy 3:16? Hopefully the answer is, “yes.” 🙂
But do we really think the Scriptures help us navigate through the waters of such subjects as the proper use of weapons? In addition, do we know what the Scriptures say and where we would turn to address this subject, as well as others that we regularly see surface?
- “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” – 2 Tim. 3:16 ESV.
Let’s consider how profound this verse is. When Paul was addressing Pastor Timothy, the “All Scripture” in reference was only the Hebrew Bible and not the New Testament! We are fortunate to have both the Old and the New Testaments, aren’t we?
In two short articles, I will seek to demonstrate from Scripture and our early founding fathers, what is the truth about the right to bear arms. Let’s look at a couple of key biblical texts:
- “If a thief is caught in the act of breaking into a house and is struck and killed in the process, the person who killed the thief is not guilty of murder.” – Exodus 22:2 NLT
- “All the builders had a sword belted to their side. The trumpeter stayed with me to sound the alarm.” – Nehemiah 4:18 NLT
- “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. – Luk 11:21 NIV
- Jesus speaking says, “But now,” he said, “take your money and a traveler’s bag. And if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one!” – Luke 22:36 NLT
From the above passages it is very clear that in biblical times it was common to carry some sort of weapon in which a person would protect himself.
It is obvious when we take a look at what the founding fathers both thought and taught, that we see how important it was for the general population to bear arms.
Look at the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution:
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights. The Supreme Court of the United States first ruled in 2008 that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess and carry firearms.
The Second Amendment says:
“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Some people try to argue that militia means “government military,” but it clearly does not. The very wording of the amendment places the right of arms ownership with the people and not the state.
Observe what George Mason, (Co-author of the Second Amendment said):
“I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”
I’ll be honest, when I start thinking about this issue I am subject to some fears.
I don’t know about you but I am part of what I call this “culture of fear” that pervades our society. I remember the days when I was young and would walk ten blocks to school by myself or with my sister. If my mom was worried she sure didn’t let us know! Linda and I let our kids walk five blocks to school across a busy street by themselves. I am not sure if it is all the access to the media, the fact that our society is less safe, or that we know so much about the potential evil that can take place, that we are now… extremely cautious. Even I have become more fearful to see our grandchildren walk to school!
When we hear of the Clackamas Town Center shooting, the grade school massacre in Connecticut, or the ex-police officer in California’s rampage, one can be gripped with anxiety. These stories and even others that are less sensational, can and do throw a blanket of fear over us.
However, it is so intriguing to me to grasp the common reality of the New Testament and Old Testament culture and our founding fathers and how they used weapons to protect themselves. It was just simply part of how people lived to help guard themselves from ‘evil doers.’ Perhaps we have become so dependent on our government to protect us that we do not think that it ought to be OUR responsibility to protect our own families or ourselves?
Look again at Exodus 22:2:
- “If a thief is caught in the act of breaking into a house and is struck and killed in the process, the person who killed the thief is not guilty of murder.”
This verse authorizes homeowners to defend their dwelling: and if in the process of doing so they kill an intruder (during the night), they were not guilty in the eyes of God. There was no guilt for shedding the blood of the intruder.
This verse forms the basis of what is now known here in America as the
“Castle Doctrine.” It was actually explained by founding father James Wilson, a signer of the Declaration and the Constitution and an original Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Listen to what he said:
“Homicide is enjoined [required] when it is necessary for the defense of one’s person or house…. Every man’s house is deemed, by the law, to be his castle; and the law, while it invests him with the power, [places] on him the duty of the commanding officer [of his house]. Every man’s house is his castle… and if anyone be robbed in it, shall be esteemed his own fault and negligence.”
In short, if you were robbed in your home, it was not the police’s fault but your own because God made you the commander of your “castle”—hence, the “Castle Doctrine.” Because self-defense is a Biblical right given to every individual, it is therefore inalienable, or a God-given right. An inalienable right is one which God gave to you and which no inferior power has the right to take away.
The Declaration of Independence announced:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men.”
As I read more about what the founding fathers believed and taught in regard to the use of weapons, it inspired me to become more forthright in expressing my biblical convictions with grace and truth.
I am most certain that in the next weeks you will have an opportunity to speak about the right to bear arms. I trust that these simple truths from Scripture will help “train you in righteousness.”
In a week or so I will address a most important question:
- “What about the danger and the risk of accidents with the use of a weapon?
Please, engage people with biblical truth. If you don’t…who will?
If you won’t NOW… WHEN will you?
Living intentionally for Christ with you,