At the outset of the American Revolution, many of the early colonials didn’t struggle to connect their faith with their moral obligation—as they understood it—to secede from England through war. With a gun in one hand and a Bible in the other, the American militia fought and won independence.
Many today do not understand how some of the most committed followers of Jesus can be, at the same time, some of the most ardent second amendment advocates. Indeed, the news media routinely portrays the caricature of back-woods, out-of-touch, gun-clinging, Bible-thumping, Red State hillbillies and Christians aren’t sure how to respond.
When I was being interviewed to pastor a church, I was asked if I supported the second amendment. Without hesitation (and to their relief) I said, “Absolutely.” I even have a license to carry. But there seems to be a great disconnect and confusion over why a Christian—especially a pastor—would support the right to bear arms.
Why do guns and Bibles go together? And I’m not talking about obeying the command to “Rise, kill and eat” (Acts 10:13) through modern weaponry, though I love fresh game! The answer to why guns and Bibles go together is simple: to make peace, protect the weak, end suffering, and promote the freedom of religion. Now before you’re up in arms over this, let me explain.
Obviously, guns aren’t the real issue; people are. This is the absurdity of promoting stricter gun laws, as if criminals will naturally obey them. However, some people are so corrupt not only in their thinking, they have also been given considerable power and authority to exercise their corruption in the form of tyranny and oppression over a populace.
If a school bully is beating a young girl on the playground and you, as a teacher, walked up on the act, would you sit on the bench and watch? Of course not. You might ask the bully to stop his blows, but what if he doesn’t listen? Some bullies don’t. I hope, for her sake, you would become a peacemaker, protect the weak, end the suffering, and provide the girl’s freedom. For a bully on a playground, you don’t need a gun. But there are some circumstances that might necessitate such action.
Obviously, you and I don’t have the means and resources to stop all oppression and tyranny worldwide, nor is that our responsibility. But we are to make peace, protect the weak, end suffering, and promote freedom among those in close proximity to us relationally (i.e., family and friends) and spatially (i.e., neighbors and community). If we can make “world peace” along with beauty contestants, let’s do it. But it’s not this Tennessean’s moral obligation to make peace in New Delhi, though I might volunteer!
The right to bear arms is a right of protection against corruption, a right to end suffering, and a right to preserve freedom, especially when tyrannical corruption translates into intentional oppression for the establishment and preservation of the tyrant. And we don’t look to the poor example of the Crusades, which actions certainly didn’t find legitimate justification in the Bible.
The church militant—which fights against the (spiritual) world, the flesh, and the devil—has the right to bear arms. Individual Christians are members of both church and state and when a government repeatedly oppresses a people to establish and maintain its own depraved power, at the repeated expense and affliction its people, we have the right—as Bible-believing Christians—to bear arms for the purpose of making peace, protecting the weak, ending suffering, and promoting freedom.
Supporting the second amendment is not an expression of fear of man or government; it’s an expression of care, preservation, and freedom against corrupt dictators and shooting rampages alike. And if you say, “That’ll never happen,” read your history.