Gun Ownership & Christian Values

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Part
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Gun Ownership & Christian Values: Part 1 of 3

'Bring your Guns to Church' Sunday, Pistol-Packing Christians, and Christian, get your Gun, are examples of articles that highlight Christian beliefs and values that back up the use of guns. Bible chapters like Exodus 22, Luke 22, Proverbs 24, and Nehemiah 4 are drawn upon by these articles to make apparent where in the bible it discusses the rights that Christians have to defend themselves.

PACKING IN THE PEWS: THE CONNECTION BETWEEN GOD AND GUNS

The article explains the importance of Christians having guns for protection. It shows that Christians believe that God protects them, and part of the way to protect them is by providing them with skills to handle guns responsibly and only use them when their life and the lives of other Christians are threatened. People who use their guns to protect others are viewed as Good Samaritans among the Christians who support gun ownership. They use their God-given skills to protect the lives of threatened Christians. 41% of White evangelists have guns, and 65% of them carry the guns most of the time. In the First Baptist Church of Dallas, one-quarter to half of the congregation carry guns to church for protection from potential shooters. Evangelical leaders support the Second Amendment but are saddened by the use of guns to take away innocent lives.

CHRISTIAN, GET YOUR GUN

The article supports the ownership of guns to protect Christianity, which is under attack. Examples of attacks on Christianity include ordering college students to remove their cross necklaces and removing Christian cross decals from the helmets of college football teams. Jesus would not want Christians to lose their lives when they can protect it, and this shows that the Bible supports the Second Amendment to protect the lives of Christians. The article quotes verses such as Exodus 22 that tells Christians to avoid feeling guilty for striking a thief who attacks them at night and Proverbs 25:26 that advises the righteous people against supporting the wicked. Christians are supposed to be righteous and protecting the lives of innocent people by dealing with the wicked is a way of upholding the righteousness.

PISTOL-PACKING CHRISTIANS

The article explains that guns are biblically mandated and an important part of the Christian faith. It uses the Christian belief of loving one's neighbor, and the love should also involve protection. Good Christians are those who love their families, love their neighbor and can protect them too, and guns help to protect families and neighbors. Self-defense is a God-given duty and right for every Christian. Inasmuch as the Bible teaches peace, it allows people to defend themselves. The ultimate goal of the Second Assessment is to ensure that people can defend themselves, and this is similar to the right to self-defense in the Bible.

DOES THE BIBLE ENSHRINE A 'GOD-GIVEN RIGHT' TO SHOOT IN SELF DEFENSE?

It explains that the right to own and carry Guns was endowed by God. Self-defense is a natural and Biblical right for everyone, and there is no place in the Bible where Christians should allow people to kill their families. The belief that Christians deserve self-protection is the foundation of the article. It cites the book of Esther where Christians were allowed to kill, destroy, and annihilate any army that attacks them including the women and children in that army. The disciples of Jesus had swords, and this shows the importance of self-protection. In Luke 22, Jesus advised his followers to get a sword even if it meant selling their cloaks to acquire one. This portrays the importance of self-defense and places a good example for Christians seeking to arm themselves.

'BRING YOUR GUNS TO CHURCH' SUNDAY

The article explains that the idea of an armed Christian population has historical roots. The Deuteronomic laws of kings were against a standing army, and this resulted in the development of militia for national defense. It uses the Christian belief in Ecclesiastes 3 that explains that there is time for everything including time for war. Therefore, Christians should adapt to situations presented to them and can resort to war if it is the only solution. The belief was followed by a Lutheran pastor known as John Peter Muhlenberg when President George Washington asked him to use his pulpit to raise troops and Reverend Thomas Allen who participated in the Battle of Bennington. Therefore, when there is a need for war, Christians should protect themselves and their property. Biblical chapters such as Exodus 22, Proverbs 24, and Nehemiah 4 support the use of force in preserving life. This emboldens the Christians to use their guns in accordance with the Biblical teachings.

CHRISTIANS TAKING JESUS’ ADVICE AND ARMING UP NEXT SUNDAY

The article explains that congregational security teams and pastors are using the Bible as a foundation for their training on the use of guns. It uses the belief that the words spoken by Jesus are the guidelines the Christians should follow and that Jesus has more authority than any doctor, priest, apostle, prophet, or pastor. Since Jesus is the truth and the way, anything he says can guide Christians in uncertain times, and the church shootings is an example of the uncertain times. In Luke 22, Jesus urged his followers to arm themselves with swords and, therefore, Christians can arm themselves whenever they feel unsafe.

ARE CHRISTIANS BIBLICALLY JUSTIFIED TO DEFEND THEMSELVES USING LETHAL FORCE?

The article provides Bible verses that encourage Christians to make informed choices and not be afraid to use their guns for noble purposes. Proverbs 16:16 explains that God hates people who shed innocent blood, and Psalms 106:3 encourages Christians to do what is right at all times. Therefore, Christians can use their guns as long as they are not shedding innocent blood and if it involves protecting people who do not have any protection from the wicked.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, Packing in the Pews, Does the Bible Enshrine a 'God-Given Right' to Shoot in Self Defense, 'Bring your Guns to Church' Sunday, Pistol-Packing Christians, Christians taking Jesus' Advice and Arming up Next Sunday, Are Christians Biblically Justified to Defend Themselves Using Lethal Force?, and Christian, get your Gun, are all articles that use Christian values to discuss and also support gun ownership. Luke 22, Exodus 22, Nehemiah 4, and Proverbs 24 are some of the bible chapters that are used by these articles to provide evidence and support of the need for Christians to defend themselves.

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Gun Ownership & Christian Values: Part 2 of 3

In this overview, I have included four articles about organizations that support gun ownership through a Christian lens. These articles are from religious groups, organizations, churches and individuals who specialize in religious reporting. They are broken down by title; a short summary of the relevant beliefs that justify support of gun ownership; and the specific, Biblical references these organizations use as citations. These Biblical references include Exodus:22, Luke:22, Matthew 26:52-54, John 18:11, and Revelations 2:27.

The Second Amendment and the Bible

(A YouTube video clip of the summarized sermon is included with the link) Relevant Tenet of the New Convent Baptist Church
The New Convent Baptist Chuch believes the King James translation of the Bible is the infallible, providentially-preserved Word of God in English and this Bible is the final authority on all matters. Sermon Thesis
The United States government has limited powers granted solely by the permission of the people seeking to preserve their God-given rights. A current push for the U.S. government to enact gun control is part of a new world order master plan to disarm Americans and lead them to submission, and eventual slavery. Biblical references
In Luke: 22, during the Last Supper, Jesus instructs the apostles to take precautions, going so far as to sell their garments and buy swords. This church believes that the modern equivalent of a sword would probably be a 9mm semi-automatic, a .45, or an AR-15 assault rifle. The New Convent Baptist Church also believes they need to take practical steps to protect themselves and their families.

God and Guns: What the Bible Says About the Second Amendment and the Right to Life

The right to life, and one’s right to protect it, is clearly stated in both the Bible’s Old and New Testaments. God created laws to restrain evil and protect good. The judicial court system Moses established included laws for self-defense. Biblical reference
Exodus 22:2 informs homeowners they are not guilty of murder, (prohibited by the Sixth Commandment) if they kill a thief who is breaking and entering into their home or stealing his property. Using a weapon is for self-defense is a recurring Biblical theme. Exodus 22:2 is the basis for U.S. law known as the Castle Doctrine. In twenty-three states, this doctrine includes “Stand Your Ground Laws.”

Guns — What Does the Bible Say about the Right to Bear Arms?

Mary Fairchild has worked full time in Christian ministry since 1988. Since 2005, she has authored numerous articles on biblical topics and edited several Christian books. Biblical arguments/references In Exodus 22:2, NLT (New Living Translation) God sanctions self-defense: "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." In the New Testament, Jesus sanctions the use of weapons for self-defense. While giving his farewell discourse to the disciples before going to the cross, he instructed the apostles to purchase side arms for self-protection. Conversely, in Matthew 26:52-54 and John 18:11 as soldiers seized Jesus at his arrest, he warned Peter to put away his sword: "For all who take the sword will perish by the sword." As interpreted English Standard Version of the Bible, Jesus told Peter to "put your sword back in its place." Mike Wilsbach, a church security manager interprets this as, "That place would be at his side. Jesus didn't say, 'Throw it away.' Jesus knew Peter was carrying a sword. He allowed this, but forbid him to use it aggressively."

Is Gun Ownership a God-Given Right?

The Universal Life Church Monastery promotes freedom of religion and to "do that which is right." Biblical arguments/references

Tim Elder, director of world missions from the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary, an affiliate of the Universal Life Church Monastery, believes that rifles such as the AR-15 symbolize the “rod of iron” that appears in Revelations 2:27.

CONCLUSION

Groups that use Christian values to support gun ownership believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible. In particular, they frequently refer to the Old Testament: Revelations and Exodus, to buttress the belief that guns for self defense has a Biblical justification.
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Gun Ownership & Christian Values: Part 3 of 3

There are numerous Christian nationalist groups (sometimes labeled Christian identity groups) who have expressed support for gun rights and have specifically linked that right to religion. A frequent argument made by these groups is that America (Christian America) is under attack and that guns are the way that they can defend it. Even non-religious groups like the National Rifle Association have used language that seems to pit white, Christian Americans against unnamed others who would seek to disarm them.

Another popular argument in favor of the Second Amendment among Christian nationalists is that the right itself is given to Christians by God, regardless of its status in law or the constitution. These groups cite numerous passages from the Bible that they claim show that it is the will of God that his followers arm themselves.

America's Promise Ministries

This church, located in Sandpoint, Idaho, combines conservative Christianity with new world ideology, noting that, among their beliefs, the most important ("especially") is that:

"...the United States of America and Canada uniquely fulfill the prophesied place of the regathering of all the tribes of the Israel of God."

As part of that belief, they champion the ownership of firearms, specifically quoting Luke 11:21-22

"21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:
22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils."

Fellowship of God's Covenant People

The far right FGCP is mostly concerned with Christian morality. However, in an article on the mass shooting in Orlando in 2016, they were particularly dismissive of attempts to link the killings to the availability of guns. "They can never erase Christ telling His followers to sell their coat and buy a sword (Luke 22:36)." They further cite Jude (verse 4) “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into promiscuity and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” as not merely justification, but obligation for Christians taking up arms against the "ungodly people" who are "designated for... condemnation".

Mission to Israel

This group takes the point of view that rights conveyed by the constitution are subject to change because they are the laws of man, but that the right to bear arms is actually justified by scripture. Specifically, they cite Psalm 149:6-9

"Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written: this honor have all his saints."

Their argument is that the laws of God can be revoked by God alone, and therefore that Christians should not see the Second Amendment as their principal justification for bearing arms (nor should erosion of it make them feel morally obliged to conform to the new laws).

Yashua Dual Seed Christian Identity Ministry

This ministry also presents the right to bear arms as being sanctioned by God, rather than by the State. Their leader cites several passages to back up his claim, including Luke 22:36 ("Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one."), Exodus 22:2 ("If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him.") and 1 Timothy 5:8 ("But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.")

The Godcast

Although the term "godcast" is used generally to refer to podcasts or other internet broadcasts with a religious theme, the one that bears the name "The Godcast" has a clearly American nationalist focus, describing itself as being for "Truth, Justice and the Christian Way". In early 2018, critics noted that the show's hosts seemed to praise Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, for his violent resistance to modernity and its trappings, citing Ecclesiastes 2:

"I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also was vanity. I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?” I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine–my heart still guiding me with wisdom–and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life."

The hosts acknowledged that Kaczynski was not a Christian, but opined that this might have been because he felt the modern church had been denigrated and was now "infested with Leftists". They believe that his rejection of technology was rooted in the idea that such things are a distraction, much like the "vanity" cited in the passage above. Their argument is based on the notion that, where one finds degenerate or distracting behavior, there is a moral imperative to fight against it and to reveal it for what it is.

Scriptures for America Worldwide

Among the resources on their website, this group features a sheet with two prayers: the Pistol Prayer and the Rifle Prayer. The prayers specifically reference the curtailing of the American government ("DC") through the use of guns and invoke Christ as the inspiration. This hearkens back to the writings of the Mission to Israel, where the right to bear arms is linked to the right to defend God's law (where necessary) against man's.

NON-CHRISTIAN GROUPS

National Rifle Association

Although they are not an explicitly Christian group, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has increasingly linked their defense of Second Amendment rights to theology. At the 2018 meeting of the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC), NRA leader Wayne LaPierre specifically invoked religion, claiming:

"The brilliance of America is that all of our freedoms are for every single citizen...[these freedoms are] not bestowed by man, but granted by God to all Americans as our American birthright."

His argument is that constitutional rights are "an expression of God’s grace bestowed upon a chosen people". He contrasts those rights with the specter of "European socialism", referencing a political system known for its rejection of organized religion.

Gun Owners of America

This group is competitive with the NRA and has the reputation for being more hard-line. Like the NRA, they do not make religion a part of their platform explicitly, however, they have incorporated its ideology. In the wake of the Oregon shooting in 2015, they penned a response to President Obama arguing that the Second Amendment was a right given by God, not the state.

National Policy Institute

A group that has received much media attention through its leader, Richard Spencer, and his high profile support of the candidate and President Donald Trump. While they do not adopt a specifically pro-Christian viewpoint, they are dedicated to the "heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States and around the world". Spencer has specifically identified "guns and steel" as crucial to the success of white Europeans in the new world, which he, in turn, links to their innate capacity for leadership. Like the NRA, his arguments are predicated on the idea that the advances made by whites (Christians) of European descent are inherent to their nature rather than acquired through circumstance or law.

CONCLUSION

There are many Christian nationalist groups in America that explicitly support the Second Amendment, and which encourage their members to take up arms as a sign of their faith. Popular arguments in favor of doing so include the idea that Christianity and its adherents are under attack in contemporary America, and that the right to bear arms is given by God, in the Bible, which this supersedes any man-made law.
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