All This Talk About Gun Control (part 2)
In my last teaching I shared a few Scriptures that illustrated how people in the Bible often carried weapons to protect themselves from evildoers. One intriguing passage is found in Luke.
- “He said to them, ‘But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one’” – Luke 22:36 NIV
Did our Lord actually instruct His disciples to buy a weapon if they did not have one? It would seem that Jesus wanted his followers to be prepared to protect themselves. It is obvious that they obeyed him. We see this in Matthew 26.
-  “Jesus said to him, ‘Friend, do what you came to do.’ Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him.  And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear.  Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.  Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?  But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?’” – Matthew 26:50-54 ESV
What was Jesus saying? Jesus told this disciple (identified as Peter in John 18:10), that he would not only be committing suicide if he chose to fight in this situation, he would also be undermining God’s redemptive plan for Jesus to die for the sins of the world. Jesus told Peter to put his sword in its place – at his side. He did not say to throw it away. After all, He had just ordered the disciples to arm themselves (see Luke 22:36). What Jesus was saying was: “Peter, this is not the right time for a fight. If you use your sword for improper purposes you will die!” Whenever I hear someone talk about the passage in Matthew, they usually refer to the fact that one of the disciples just missed the high priest’s servant. Actually, I think that the disciples were skilled and prepared to use their swords! Peter likely sliced off the ear of Malchus because he intended to do so; he was perhaps even using restraint!
In regard to handling a weapon properly, consider Psalm 144. To whom did David attribute his fighting skills?
- “A Psalm of David. Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teaches my hands to war, and my fingers to fight…” – Psalm 144:1 KJV
Here David recognizes that God taught him to be skilled, trained and equipped to fight. Verse two also demonstrates that David depended on his “loving God” to be his refuge while he fought. What I am pointing out from the passages in Matthew, Luke and Psalms, is that preparation and training are absolutely necessary when it comes to “bearing arms.”
Richard Henry Lee, a signer of the Declaration and a framer of the Bill of Rights said,
- “It is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.”
Thomas Jefferson similarly advised,
- “A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind. … Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks.”
John Quincy Adams agreed. When sent overseas by President James Madison on a diplomatic assignment, he left his son George Washington Adams to be cared for by his brother. Concerned about the education of his nine-year-old son, Adams wrote his brother the following:
- “One of the things which I wish to have them taught is the use and management of firearms. This must undoubtedly be done with great caution, but is it customary among us, … to withhold it too much and too long from boys. The accidents, which happen among children, arose more frequently from their ignorance than from their misuse of weapons, which they know to be dangerous. Teach him gradually the use of the musket, its construction, and the necessity of prudence in handling it; let him also learn the use of pistols, and exercise him at firing at a mark.”
Accidents with youth and guns occur primarily because youth are unfamiliar with guns and how to handle them safely. Strikingly, guns were numerous in the Founding Era, and every citizen usually owned several. Of course we must be careful with firearms as one carries a huge responsibility on his shoulders if he is going to have guns around! You have an educational responsibility and a safety responsibility so that children do not injure or kill someone with a loaded gun. Still, this does not mean that we should not train our children and ourselves to properly use firearms. It seems to me that it is just another way that our culture has become soft and overly fearful.
Judges 5:8 is a telling verse about what happened when Israel moved away from God and sought other gods!
- “When Israel chose new gods, war erupted at the city gates. Yet not a shield or spear could be seen among forty thousand warriors in Israel!” – Judges 5:8 NLT
Once again the wisdom of the Founding Fathers is pertinent.
- “A well regulated militia, composed of the whole body of the people, trained in arms, is the best most natural defense of a free country.” – James Madison
One of the greatest things God has shown me in the last five years is that we can start meaningful conversations with not-yet-Christians about almost any topic or issue. In so doing, we expose people to some aspect of the Kingdom of God. Of course my goal is to bring them to Christ, but most of the time I don’t start with Christ… I start with God’s view about a REAL LIFE TOPIC! The whole issue of gun-control is being talked about and at the writing of this teaching article our congress is considering legislation that will either support the Second Amendment or disregard it.
- “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” – Colossians 4:5-6 NIV
Most people are simply not hearing the Judeo-Christian ethic with regard to so many life-issues. It is little wonder that our culture becomes more secular as we become more silent.
The Holy Spirit will open up doors. We simply need to step through them. Let’s do it together!