I'm not the first one to write about this subject by a long shot but I'm the first one to put the thoughts of Cope Reynolds down on paper about it (believe it or not, it actually was on paper many years ago).
Between my Christian friends and family and some of the students that have been through my classes, this question has been presented to me many times; "How can a good Christian justify carrying a gun for self-defense, especially in church?", or words of that nature. In the beginning, it kind of caught me off guard and all I could do was pretty much just voice my opinion and use a little common sense but that wasn't nearly enough for some of them so I started digging. I believe that I have come up with enough scriptural evidence to support my actions and those of of my gun-totin', Christian friends. See what you think...
Let's start at the beginning... the VERY beginning!
In Genesis 4:8-12 we read about the first murder. It can be speculated that Cain may have used a weapon of some type as the Lord mentions a couple of times that Abel was bleeding. What did God do? He did not institute club control or rock control or knife control or whatever it was. He punished the one who committed the crime, as it should be.
Exodus 15:3 says “The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name." That God is not a pacifist is evidenced throughout Scripture. Even Jesus Himself, drove the money-changers out of the temple with a whip and turned their tables over (John 2:15). What does Revelation 19:11 tell us? It tells us that the Rider of the white horse does what? "... he doth judge and make war".
In Exodus 20, God implemented the 10 Commandments. There is no mention of weapons, just killing (murder)
God tells us that if a thief is found breaking into your house “and
he be smitten that he die, there will be no blood shed for him”,
meaning you are not guilty of murder. This is one of several passages
that makes it clear to me that we have, literally, a God-given right to
defend not just ourselves and our families, but our HOMES.
Likewise in Luke 11:21 & 22 we are told... 21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace and, 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.
While we're in the Book of Luke, let's skip on down to Chapter 22, verse 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".
A person's garment was a precious thing and not to be given up lightly but the possession of a sword (gun) was important enough to Jesus to tell them that if they have no sword, they should sell their garment and get one!
Deuteronomy 22:25-27 deals with rape. Now, what do you think is meant by the words "but there was no one to save her" at the end of verse 27? The implication here is that had someone been around to hear her cry out, they had a moral duty to intervene and protect her. We not only have a God-given right but in my mind, we are directed by God to defend not only ourselves, but others as well.
Numbers, chapter 1. Is this not what the Founding Fathers of America envisioned for us? An armed citizenry, the militia; not a standing army.
I Samuel 13:19-22 is a very interesting passage indeed! After the Philistines had disarmed the Israelites, no ‘smiths were allowed so that the Israelites could not make weapons for themselves, hence the first sword control had officially been instituted! So what did they do? They did the same thing that the Japanese and Chinese people did in later years. Out of necessity, they fashioned weapons from tools and farm implements.
Psalm 82:3 says that we should defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and the needy.
David said in verse 1 of Psalm 144, "Blessed be the Lord my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle". What do you think he was talking about here? Surely, David was confident that warfighting was justified in the Lord's eyes in certain instances.
Many, many people take that part of Isaiah 2:4 that says "they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks," and try to say that God wants us to disarm. Isaiah is prophesying the Second Coming of the Lord here. It is exceedingly clear to me that the "swords will be beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks" when God Himself returns to rule on the earth, NOT when some other form of government tells us to.
“Vengeance is mine” sayeth the Lord... or some such verbage can be found in several scriptures (Romans 12:19; Deuteronomy 32:35; Proverbs 20:22, et al). If we witness the commission of a violent crime, we have a God-given right and responsibility to deal with it. If it’s already happened, we have no God-given right and no responsibility to seek revenge and execute judgment upon the perpetrator. If He deems it necessary, God (or the civil authorities) will judge and avenge.
Matthew 26:51-52 Some try to say that this passage proves that Jesus was a pacifist and against guns (or swords). Quite the contrary. Where does Jesus tell Peter to put his sword when he lopped of the ear of the Roman soldier? He said put it "in its place." John makes it clearer, Jesus said to Peter "Put your sword into the sheath" (John 18:11). Jesus didn’t take it away from him or tell him to beat it into a plowshare. Rather, he told him to put it "into the sheath." The sword has its proper place. In and of itself, it is not evil. But Peter was wanting to use it in an improper manner. Jesus came to earth to die. Peter would be interfering with God's plan if he were to be allowed to intervene with the sword.
The same people that say that you should beat your swords into plowshares also say that if someone lives by the sword, they will surely die by the sword, as Jesus says. What that statement actually means is that he who uses the sword for improper purposes will likely die by the same. What Peter did was wrong. He acted on emotion. A criminal or a tyrant who uses the sword improperly, should rightly die by it. But the use of the sword in a proper fashion, to defend one’s person or one’s family or one’s country, is not condemned by Scripture, rather Scripture upholds it repeatedly.
God, nor Jesus, were or are pacifists. As Jesus said in the very next verse, Matthew 26:53, "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?" Jesus didn’t need Peter's help. The use of force simply wasn’t appropriate for the situation at the time. He was supposed to die. He did not use force because He had to facilitate the plan of our Heavenly Father.
In closing, there are some who say that "we should not have guns; we should just trust in God." My response to those who say this is "let me ask you, do you have a lock on your front door?" They always say "yes." I then ask "Do you lock it when you leave or go to bed at night?" Those who live in the city always say, "Yes." I then ask "Why do you have a lock on your door? Why don’t you just trust God?" The same could be said for motorcycle helmets, seat belts, fire extinguishers and life insurance.
Just because we have a lock on our door or a gun in our closet does not mean we are trusting in either of them to protect us in the same manner in which we’re to trust the Lord. Rather, we simply see the wisdom and prudence of having these tools in order to be good stewards of what God has trusted us with; our lives, our families, and our country, just as He intended.
29 June 2014
In Liberty, Cope Reynolds (@Desertscout1)
Colts and Kimbers are what you show your friends.
GLOCKS are what you show your enemies!