Let me start by saying that if you are coming here looking for a political soapbox, you’re in the wrong place. This is not a political discussion, and I have no intent of going down that road (now or later).
This world is a cruel place. The events of the last month have proven it. First we had the senseless shooting at the Burnette Chapel church of Christ in Antioch, TN. That incident sent shock waves through the Lord’s church, and it initiated many congregations to quickly improve or implement security protocols at their congregations. Then Las Vegas happened. I don’t even know what to say to it. Not only do I question my family’s safety and the safety of others that are gathered in large venues, fearing the actions of a “copy-cat”, but it’s like my mind hasn’t been able to process it yet. I had no personal connection to either situation, but we are all connected as a human race. It affects us all. I simply prayed as earnestly as possible a few days ago, thanking God for his promise to never again destroy the earth with a flood. I can only imagine that the state of our world today is heading the direction that it was in Noah’s lifetime.
But that’s not the intent of this discussion, either. Something has bothered me deeply over the last couple of weeks that I simply can’t ignore. As expected with these two shootings, and as it happens any time there is a tragedy such as this, the talking quickly turns to that of gun control and whether or not laws should be in place to restrict partial or complete access to firearms.
Now I’m sure that each of you reading this has an opinion over how that discussion should go. I have my opinion as well. If someone asks, I’ll be happy to share my opinion and the reasons for it (though not on this blog). You are welcome to do the same, whether it be in a face to face conversation or on social media.
Here’s what is bothering me. I don’t know any better way to say it other than to be blunt, so pardon my directness.
Some of us need to decide whether or not being a Christian means more to us than being a republican or democrat.
I’m serious. My news feeds and timelines on most of my social media accounts have been inundated with debates about gun control. That is fine. Like I said earlier, there is absolutely nothing wrong with discussing politics. However, I have seen posts and comments from Christians in the past month, and in times past, that go something like this: “If the government wants to take my guns, they will have a fight/war on their hands,” or “It is my God-given right to bear arms.” I have seen discussions from members of the Lord’s church indicating that the Scriptures give us the right to have guns, and that if the government wants to take or ban them then we have the right to break the law.
Let’s think about a few things.
The Scriptures do teach that we should protect ourselves and our families, even if that means to arm ourselves (I Timothy 5:8; Acts 10:7; Luke 22:35-36). It does not mandate that you arm yourself (with any physical weapon), but we have examples that show it is allowed.
However, there is one passage that no one ever seems to bring up that is CRITICAL to this discussion.
“Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.” [Romans 13:1-5, NASB]
I am as American and patriotic as anyone else. I love the freedoms that this country allows us to enjoy, and I truly believe we live in the most blessed country in the world. However, I also know that God did not dictate that a country has to operate the way that America does. While I don’t want my freedoms to be taken away, I understand that they could be at any time. Christ lived in a time of Roman rule and Caesars. David and Solomon had monarchies. People have had varying levels of personal freedom throughout history, including Christians. That did not change the fact they were still expected to act like Christians!
I appreciate and love our country’s Bill of Rights, and I am grateful that our founding fathers and previous leaders have had the foresight to enact amendments to the Constitution (including the 2nd Amendment). However, I also understand that our government has the right to pass additional laws that may change those rights. I have the right in America (according to the 1st Amendment) to be a part of that discussion and to propose a solution that I believe would be best. However, whatever decision is made by our government, so long as it does not violate the law of God (Acts 5:29), I am under obligation by scripture to obey that law. That includes speed limits, taxes, curfews, and gun control.
I own multiple guns. They are safely stored at my house where my kids physically cannot access them. I want to keep them. My children enjoy shooting sometimes, and some of them are family heirlooms that I would like to pass on to future generations. However, I also understand that if the government requires that my name be added to a “list” in order to keep them, then I have a scriptural obligation to have my name added to that list if I want to keep them. If the government decides that the 2nd Amendment is removed and everyone must hand over his or her firearms, then I have a scriptural obligation to hand them over peaceably.
I urge everyone, please be cognizant of the way you approach discussions about gun control (and any other hot topic political discussion, for that matter). We have a right to voice our opinion, and I encourage you to do so when the time is right. However, any indication that we will refuse to accept the decisions made by our government, so long as they do not contradict scripture, is a clear violation of Romans 13 and is sin.
We are Christians first. Our allegiance is to Christ. Never forget that.
“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” [Luke 14:26-27, NASB]