Was Jesus Anti-Gun?
I don’t think so, but I think we as Christians should tread lightly when faced with this question. The topic of gun laws in America is an extremely sensitive one, no doubt. Most often, the ones that are the most sensitive and passionate about this topic are the evangelical right. We spew out heavily condescending, sarcastic, and prideful rhetoric to people desperate for a legislative solution to the plague of mass-shootings in our country. We obviously value our 2nd amendment right that is potentially being trampled on far more than we do the Gospel of Christ and reaching the lost, and I bet they can tell.
American Christianity no doubt looks very different from the rest of the world. I read in weekly newsletters of how our brothers and sisters across the globe are being tortured daily for proclaiming Christ. I purposefully set aside time on a regular basis to read them, and I need these testimonies to stay humble and stay alert in the comfort of this country. I fear that if I turn a blind-eye to them, I’ll be consumed with trivial things; for example, my right to bear arms. I read stories of entire families dragged from their homes and tortured, even killed for refusing to denounce the very same Christ that most Americans profess to believe in. What’s missing from these stories? Outrage from Christians because they want the right to bear arms and protect themselves from the persecution. They seem to rely on God and His supreme sovereignty as their refuge, not guns. They remain humble. They don’t boast. They respond in love, praying for their persecutors. They are emboldened to further preach the gospel to their cellmates. They absolutely thrive.
On Wednesday February 14th, a man named Nikolas Cruz walked onto the campus of a Florida school armed with a high-powered rifle and murdered at least 17 people. Women and children included. The days following, my social media news feed was an all-out keyboard battle over the right solution to this ongoing horror of mass shootings. One of the hot-button issues that is always brought up is a call for politicians to pass some sort of legislation aimed at guns to curb this violence. I have always held a firm belief that any sort of legislation would not only be ineffective, but would actually be counter-productive. This time was different. Now I’m not so sure. I started to pose the question: If I really believe that God is sovereign and controls all things, why do I care if I can’t have a gun? I couldn’t answer honestly with myself because If I were honest, I knew I trusted my gun for protection just a little bit more than Christ, and I needed to repent.
I grew up in the Bible Belt, the capital of gun culture. I’ve owned a gun my entire adult life. I’ve taken it out and practiced shooting it. I even went through the training several years ago and obtained a permit to carry a pistol concealed. Boy, was I ready. Don’t mess with this guy. Also – Jesus loves you. After all, Jesus told his disciples to sell their cloak and buy a gun if they didn’t have one (Luke 22:36), and that’s all the biblical authorization I needed. But what if I was focused on the wrong thing? What if I wasn’t really walking in the faith that God is sovereign over my steps? If I’m attacked on the street, was it wise or necessary to have the option to retaliate with instant death, potentially sending a person that doesn’t know Christ to hell? I instantly go on to glory with the Father if I die. I have no idea if this person is ready, but probably not if they are attacking me. So am I saying that its sinful to defend ourselves in the event that we’re attacked on the street or in our homes? Of course not. There are certainly numerous scriptures that support both positions, but there are also so many reasons not to immediately want to kill if we care at all about the lost. If we believe in Sola Scriptura, and the Word of God is the ultimate authority over our lives, then lets at least be sure we’re lining up with the Bible and not just giving a prideful response.
I completely agree with most of the common responses from the pro-gun side. Especially the position that the issue isn’t with guns at all, it’s with the total depravity of man’s heart. However, what if we didn’t respond with anger and pride but instead responded with the gospel? What if we chose to show the rest of the country that we value life more than our rights? Take my guns. Pass your legislation. Christ is still King. He is still on His sovereign throne and I have no fear because of that.