Should Christians Own Guns for Self-Defense? A Global Snapshot – ChristianityToday. com

Last week, a former police officer killed 36 people, many of them young children, at a daycare in northeastern Thailand. The shooting and stabbing spree came weeks after a gunman shot and killed 17 people at a school in central Russia. In July, terrorists attacked a Sunday church service within southwest Nigeria, killing dozens of worshipers.

The United States has experienced many mass shootings this year, including in a July 4 parade in suburban Chicago, where seven people were wiped out; at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, where 10 people were killed ; and at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, exactly where 21 individuals were killed .

In the US, white evangelicals were more likely than members of other American faith groups to own a gun (41%) and more likely to say it made them feel safer (77%), according to the Pew Research Center. More than half associated with white evangelicals (57%) said protection was the single most important reason they own that gun.

Pew’s 2017 study found that 38 percent of white evangelicals worry about being the victim of a mass capturing, 61 percent worry about being a victim associated with violent crime, and 66 percent worry about being the particular victim of the terrorist attack.

Yet Americans who attended religious services weekly had been less likely to own a gun than those who attend less frequently (27% vs . 31%), the Pew study also found . And People in america with high levels of religious commitment were less likely to possess a gun than patients whose commitment was low (26% versus 33%).

CT recently reached out to church leaders from nine countries to learn more about gun ownership in their nation and their thoughts on the subject, theologically or biblically. Their answers are arranged (top to bottom) through those who believe Christians may own guns for personal safety to those who believe it violates their own faith:

Nigeria | Steve Dangana, chairman, Plateau state chapter of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria:

Nigerian citizens can own guns as long as the guns are licensed by the authorities.

Christians are called to be vanguards for peace and peacemakers in a world that is full of violence and evil. The contrast between what we these are known as to represent and the reality of our world today poses a challenge in order to owning a weapon for self-defense and other nonviolence purposes. I personally believe that it is right for the Christian to have guns for the purposes of self-defense.

The level of increased violence in our communities has assumed worrisome dimensions today. The recklessness with which innocent lives are murdered on a daily basis by individuals with no conscience leaves questions in the hearts of many Christians on the ethical challenges of gun ownership. However , a look at the particular Bible offers some insight regarding the practices that inform this issue today.

On the night of Jesus’ betrayal, he encouraged his disciples to carry a sword. They had two, which he said was enough (Luke 22: 37–39). But as Jesus was being arrested, Peter drew his sword and sliced off the ear of one from the servants of the high priest (John 18: 10). Jesus responded simply by healing the man instantly (Luke 22: 51) and then commanded Peter to put away his sword (John 18: 11). Peter’s possession of a sword was not condemned. It was only his use of it in that particular circumstance that prompted Jesus to urge restraint.

On another occasion, soldiers came to John the Baptist to be baptized. When asked what to do to live for God, John replied, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages” (Luke 3: 14, ESV). We see John stop short of telling the troops to lay down their weapons.

It should be safe to opine that the Bible never forbids a Christian from owning a weapon, so long as it is used in tandem with our Christian faith and practice and brings honor in order to Christ, respect and value for humanity, and glory to Lord.

Article continues below

Christian are encouraged to be law-abiding as representatives of Christ plus faithful residents of their country. Romans 13 tells us that governing authorities are from God and are to be obeyed. Therefore any gun law, as well as other local laws, is to be obeyed.

Ultimately, we observe there is nothing sinful or inappropriate about owning guns or even other weaponry as long as it really is for self-defense or other nonviolent use.

South Africa | Siki Dlanga, coordinator of a campaign against gender-based violence for the Evangelical Alliance associated with South Africa:

A South African can legally own up to four guns at the age of 21 or above. Each firearm must be licensed, with strict rules that go with the license.

Whether the Christian owns or does not own a gun is a matter of personal conscience. About weapons, Scripture teaches as follows: “For the weaponry of our warfare are not really carnal but mighty in God with regard to pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that will exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Cor. 10: 4–6, NKJV).

Scripture positions the believer’s protection from the spiritual realm first. Our weapons are not carnal but religious. We know that everything begins spiritually before this manifests within the physical realm. We cannot fight Satan with the weapons he has invented and hope to defeat him. To defeat evil, we must use spiritual weapons that are, we are told, “mighty inside God. ”

Furthermore, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, yet of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1: 7). Reliance on firepower rather than the energy of love is not the way of Christ. Firepower offers sown much suffering in the world, to the point that we can only hope for peace if we threaten each other with “mutually assured destruction. ” That’s hardly a good indicator of the civilized society with an audio mind.

South Korea | Kim Seungkyeom, senior pastor of Graceforest Community Church in Yongin:

In Korea, owning a gun is strictly restricted. Only hunting rifles are allowed. But you have to register it at the police station.

In my opinion, it is not advisable to own a gun for personal security. If someone owns that gun for protection, another person will try to protect himself by having a stronger gun. You can see this from the arms race associated with nuclear weaponry. More and more nuclear weapons, stronger nuclear weapons, and a comparative advantage over other nations can make the world more and more dangerous.

Basically, personal safety issues are an area that the nation should take on. Romans thirteen: 4 says, “For it is a servant of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it will not bear the particular sword for nothing; for it is a servant associated with God, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who practices evil” (NASB).

As for individuals, the Lord said this particular: “‘Put your sword back in its place, ’ Christ said to your pet, ‘for all who draw the blade will die by the sword’” (Matt. 26: 52, NIV). Strictly speaking, this is a lesson within revenge, not personal basic safety, but it is also a basic lesson in the utilization of weapons.

Christian should not rest their safety in possession of a gun, but in the grace and protection of God. Ironically, however , I have a baseball bat next to my bed in case a robber suddenly breaks in.

Switzerland | Jean-René Moret, pastor, Evangelical Chapel of Cologny:

We are allowed to own weapons in Swiss. We still have conscription, and most Swiss men bring their particular assault rifle home regarding storage plus shooting exercise. Assault riffles are permitted. Men who have served their time have the option to buy their own military gun back and keep it. Gun owners must register.

Post continues beneath

(Only men are conscripted. Women can ask to be part of the army. Those who are conscientious objectors do community service. )

Jesus’ teaching and example show that Christians should rather suffer the loss of their possessions, honor, plus life compared to answer assault with physical violence (Matt. 5: 38–42; one Pet. 2: 20–23). Paul in Romans 13: four recognizes the particular role from the state to bear arms in order to repress evil. But this is not the individual’s role.

One could consider whether owning a weapon to defend vulnerable others could be admissible. It might be the case in situations associated with state failure and lawlessness. And even in such cases, one must ask where Christian believers will put their trust. Will these people trust in Our god, or in their own weaponry, strength, and abilities? (Isa. 30: 15–17).

Gun violence is a consequence not only of gun ownership but also of a culture where guns are seen as providing security plus solutions. Swiss people personal lots of guns but don’t expect to have any kind of use of them besides hunting, sportive shooting, and the unlikely war. For Christians, weapons may be a good idol, a thing that asks for the trust we should put in The almighty only.

Canada | Karen Stiller, author, editor, and journalist, Ottawa:

We can own guns, although Canada provides strict weapon control laws. Thorough background checks are required. More than 1, 500 types of military-style assault guns were banned in North america in 2020. Stricter legislation was brought forward recently to limit gun possession even more.

My dad was a Mountie. I grew up in an environment where guns were present and acknowledged as a potentially dangerous but necessary part of my father’s work. We respected my dad, his work, and the uniform of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. I was glad he had a gun, because I knew it helped protect him and the individuals he had pledged to protect in his work plus calling.

Guns have a place in the world, of course , but they are just not a part of everyday life and culture within Canada like they are in the US, or I suspect, in many other places on the planet. Our countries have such different histories, and we don’t have the Second Amendment and all that represents.

The different roles that will guns play in lives might vary in different parts of Europe (I am a city person through and through), but We still don’t believe those who would lobby for less gun control in Canada would come close to the passion gun proprietors have inside US culture. Even the question Should Christians own a gun for personal security? feels very American. (And that statement of mine feels really Canadian. )

It wouldn’t occur to me for our Christian household to own a gun specifically meant for individual safety. If we did, and we followed the particular laws of the land (which we believe that we are compelled to follow because believers), that gun would be unloaded, locked up, plus stored separately from the ammunition. So , generally speaking, an arrangement not very helpful for personal protection, no matter one’s theological position.

Australia | Sam Chan, evangelist along with City Holy bible Forum in Sydney:

In Australia, you can very own a gun, but you must have a license and sign up the weapon. But you can’t buy automatic or semiautomatic weapons.

I’ve stayed on a farm and watched the farmer shoot feral animals. I also have friends who else shoot guns as a hobby. But , by and large, gun ownership is not a large part of Australian culture.

An Australian might feel the need to possess a car or even home, but not a gun for personal safety. It’s just not a thing in Australia. It is the lack of weapons in Australia that makes us feel safe, rather than their availability.

Content continues below

Nationwide we prioritize communal protection, and we expect the government to make this happen. I think we were the first country to bring in laws and regulations for mandatory seat belts intended for cars, helmets for bicyclists, and random breath-testing to get drivers.

To that end, we’ve limited our rights associated with gun ownership for the basic safety of the community. There has not really been a major mass capturing since 1996.

Paul also appeals to this particular in 1 Corinthians 10: 23–24: “I have the right to do anything, ” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to perform anything”—but not really everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the great of others.

Paul says that we have individual rights, yet we also have personal responsibility to do what exactly is best for the community.

Honduras | Miguel Álvarez, president of Central United states Biblical Pentecostal Seminary in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala:

In Honduras, people can carry guns, but in order to do it they must register, complying with the requirements demanded by condition security. Unfortunately, even in this well-intentioned process, there may be signs of corruption. Nevertheless, the law is tough on those who choose to carry guns.

I do not believe that believers in Christ should carry weapons. Bearing arms will be contrary to the particular gospel message. There is no theological or biblical reason that will justifies the use of weapons. The particular vocation from the believer within Christ is peaceful, not really belligerent. God has provided us the ability to dialogue since civilized beings about our own differences in order to resolve the controversies simply by peaceful means. Every believer who carries weapons obviously doubts the spiritual strength that is in him or her.

According to James 3: 17 (ESV), “the wisdom from above is usually … peaceable, gentle, open to reason, filled with mercy plus good fruits, impartial and sincere. ” Furthermore, according to Romans 12: 18 (NIV), “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at serenity with everyone. ” Lord calls us to peacefulness. The presence of weapons is contrary to peace. There is no biblical or theological justification for the use of weapons.

People who insist on bearing hands do not know God’s peace, nor can they understand God’s justice. Therefore , it is important to declare ourselves against war and the usage of weapons to resolve human conflicts and declare ourselves in favor of peace plus justice.

Philippines | Emil Jonathan Soriano, pastor associated with Church @ No . 71, San Pedro, Laguna:

In the Philippines, people can own guns lawfully, though it’s difficult. The government has extremely strict requirements. Nevertheless, Personally, i know Christian believers who have this license to carry weapons for recreational purposes.

I do not think Christians should own guns for personal safety. God’s work in the world is to bring forth life in all its fullness (John ten: 10) and conquer death (1 Coloração. 15). Weapons go against God’s work as they are tools of death that are designed to kill. Within the Philippines, loose firearms are used for crimes plus extrajudicial killings, which has led to vigilante-style assassinations in the past. Bible verses asserts that tools associated with death should be dismantled and converted instead to tools of production and livelihood (Isa. two: 4; Mic. 4: 3).

More importantly, Jesus exemplified the particular ethic of nonviolence, which usually he showed through a self-giving, co-suffering love that calls to give our lives away so that others might live (Matt. 5: 38–48; Rom. 12). In Christ, we see that one does not need weapons to defend oneself and be safe. The early Christians followed his example; they did not seek to protect themselves by picking up arms but instead willingly laid lower their lives as a witness to the gospel. This does not mean that Christians should look for martyrdom and not take precautions., Christians are invited to reside in knowledge while working to transform the entire world into one that is grounded on peace. As Clement associated with Alexandria, an early Church father, once stated, As simple plus quiet sisters, peace and love require no hands. For it is not in battle, but in tranquility, that we are usually trained. ”

Write-up continues beneath

Singapore | Edric Sng, founder and editor of Salt& Light plus Thir. st :

Inside Singapore, the usage of guns is definitely tightly controlled under the Arms Offences Act. Beyond our police and armed forces, it is nearly unheard of for anyone to be seen carrying or even using a gun. The rare instances would immediately make front-page headlines.

Simply put, this means we within Singapore can go about life never once worrying about the threat of gun violence.

In Luke 22, just after the Last Supper, Jesus prepares his disciples for the impending season when they will have to carry on the mission without their particular teacher. “If you don’t have the sword, sell your cloak and buy 1, ” Jesus tells all of them in verse 36. The sword in those days would have been useful for many things. To hunt. To harvest. As a multipurpose tool.

And, yes, it was a weapon—but that was evidently not Jesus’ intent. If Jesus had meant for the particular disciples to carry arms pertaining to war, he would not have informed them that will two swords between the lot of them was enough (v. 38). He would have told them to load up! The more the safer!

But it is clear the particular swords had been neither meant for attack neither for self-defense. Within hours, in Lomaz 22: 49–51, Jesus can be arrested. Peter draws their sword to fend off the delegation led by the traitor Judas. But instead of a commendation, he draws Jesus’ rebuke: “Put your own sword away! ” (according to Steve 18: 11).

Is it foolish to be defenseless in a hostile world, exactly where everyone else is certainly carrying a weapon? By man’s reckoning, probably. Yet would it be any wiser in God’s reckoning to hold a tool that can so easily take the life associated with another, even in self-defense? Why imagine the life of one—you or your family—be worth more than that of another?

If the world is armed, must we therefore follow—or might that make all of us just like the globe?

With reporting help through Jennifer Park

  • Home delivery of CT magazine
  • Complete access to articles upon ChristianityToday. possuindo
  • Over 120 years of publication archives plus full entry to all of CT’s online archives
  • Learn more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *