Let Anyone who is Without Sin Fire the First Bullet (cf. John 8:7)

GOD’S KINGDOM FIRST!

(Matthew 6:33)

My family in Christ, shalom.

I used to have admiration for guns. I even owned an air pistol in the 1990s! It was such a life-time ago that I cannot remember what model it was, although I’m almost certain it was a Glock. But then on 13 March 1996 something happened which caused me to question those lethal bits of metal. I remember on that day hearing about a shooting at a school, but exactly where it was I had no idea. Which school? Are my loved ones ok? As I listened more closely I found out that the shooting ‘massacre’ had happened at a primary school in Dunblane (Scotland). No doubt I was relieved – none of my loved ones went there. But I honestly can’t remember feeling anything positive. My memories of that day are just the concern and anxiety of not knowning followed by the sorrow of knowning what did actually occur at that school. I am so glad that the incoming Labour Government of the following year brought in legislation to tighten this nation’s firearms laws.

About six or seven years ago I started to have an interest in gun clubs. I did go to one, and most of what I heard sounded pretty good. Then came the bombshell: I would have to keep the gun at home! Maybe this is an obvious thing which I should have understood at the research stage, but I promise you it never occurred to me. Though in those days I would have called myself a Christian, I then (like now) knew that I was still human and still prone to my emotions. I really do not like the possibility of feeling rage, feeling cheated by someone, or maybe even one day feeling suicidal, and having access to a lethal weapon. So when the gun club staff told me that my gun would have to be kept in my house, I decided there and then that my attachment to guns had to come to an end.

Sorry, some of what follows may sound offensive. I humbly ask that you remember that I make mistakes just like everyone else and that I, too, am on this journey of faith within a group of human disciples being led by Christ.

Sitting here in Britain in the midst of these ‘restrictive’ gun laws, knowing that only the most criminal citizens would possess such a weapon, I look at America and think that some of its citizens are being brought up to be blind to the obvious. The Second Amendment seems to be more of a curse than a blessing. Just like every other nation every one in the U.S. has their own opinions, their own feelings; differing views on race, society and politics which should be able to co-exist and be discussed in a calm and cool atmosphere. And thankfully, such places in America do exist – when the Second Amendment is swept under the carpet and / or ignored.

But when the Second Amendment resurfaces… that’s a whole different kettle of fish. Differences of opinion can lead to bloodshed. For example, while a Remainer in Britain may be beaten up by a Brexiteer, a similar occurence in the U.S.A. may very well end in fatalities. I am sorry if you find my views offensive but, just like you, I am a product of my culture. And this ‘cultural product’ is the starting point from which the convert has to move forward. That is, I am such and such a person; what must I cast out from my life in order for me to grow in faith and become the sort of person Christ wants me to be?

Now I’ll tell you right here and now that when I wrote about Britain’s conscientious objectors during World War One I was holding them up as my model for the Christian life. In theory (at least) I am one of God’s conscientious objectors. Any war I study I want to know about the people who refused to fight, and in all areas of life in which people can take up arms I want to look for a peaceful and loving alternative. For example, in the Dunblane Massacre I didn’t ask why there weren’t armed guards in or near the school, but was thankful for those who tried to shield others.

This blog was born out of a conversation between Ryan Callahan and Agent X that I was encouraged to read. I will gladly give you my conclusion now before I try to argue my case:

I believe that the disciples of Christ need to stop dragging their heels and throw their guns away!

I don’t like guns. I don’t like lethal weapons at all. But I will start my argument by partly agreeing with what Ryan said. Ever since the Holy Spirit revealed to me the glories of Christ I’ve wandered what actual spiritual gift I have and what role I can play in the Church (Mark 16:17-18; Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 28-30; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Peter 4:11). I think I may be found to be wanting as an evangelist so, as I like arguing points of theology, maybe I should say teacher! But one thing’s for sure, I am not an agent of God’s wrath (Romans 13:1-5) – and neither is Ryan – so I believe that I have no use for guns. Maybe if you are not in that position either then you should throw your guns away.

Ryan cites 1 Corintians 13:7 a lot and says that this is his justification for ‘protecting’ his family with a gun. He says:

“Love always protects, always, not sometimes, always.”

What about loving our enemies (Matthew 5:44)? Does “always” mean “sometimes” if on the odd occasion you are able to shoot an enemy?

“You just can’t love an enemy with the working end of a Glock. However, you can die at their hand blessing the hand that harms you. And THAT is to display the very image of the one we follow…”

(Agent X).

Shooting does not necessarily mean killing, and I, probably like everyone else, am surprised to be corrected whenever we incorrectly assume the opposite. I just hope the shooter remembers their duty to evangelise the wounded intruder (no matter what the law may say about that).

The secular media is a really corrupting power. Although British law (at least) says that guns must not be used to settle disputes, the film industries seem to pound into people quite the opposite. When they feel threatened birds of the air can simply fly away but we are taught that guns and other weapons must be our first form of defence. I like the way that no matter what you look at on Jon’s site (NonViolent Christians) you always see Luke 14:26 – Christ’s command to relinquish our old life – in the right-hand column. I believe that guns and secular media are part of the chaff which should be cast out. Christ never resoughted to weapons and neither must we. We need to learn to continually and in all situations trust in God our Protector, hope in God our Protector and persevere in the strength that God our Protector gives (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:7). If I point a gun at someone, even for a second, I pretend to be ‘the agent of God’s wrath’ which I am not.

Guns are not as powerful as love…We must set our imaginations free from this slavery to guns and death!”

(Agent X).

It’s interesting that Jon’s college professor laughed when asked “how” the Bible “supported” (inspired? encouraged?) him to fight in the Vietnam War (1955-1975). I like the Bible, I try to read it and to follow its teachings. But admittedly I am not an expert. What I understand about its contents, though, leads me to agree with Agent X that:

“…the Bible is not a self preservation manual. It’s a crucify your flesh manual instead.”

I love Agent X’s story about stopping an intruder by making coffee. I think this sounds brilliant, and if I ever had to try it myself I would honestly be afraid of offending them. I’m a tea-drinker and I don’t have coffee in my house. Seriously though, I have never been in any situation like this, but I think that something like this really needs to be attempted in order to diffuse an already intense and frightening situation. Maybe a hug would be helpful, too. I know I am in no position to tell other people what to do, but I suggest that for a Christian shooting should never be an option.

I have touched on it briefly already but I would like to say a few more things about evangelism. For example, the Christian who carries the soldier’s pack in Matthew 5:41 is duty-bound to do it. No doubt the apostle Peter grasped the opportunity in Acts 10 to make Cornelius the (former-)Centurion understand something similar to Jon’s definition of non-violence. And I would like to think that in a household of, say four, where every member is a Christian, that means there are four golden opportunities to evangelise the perpetrators. As I said in the paragraph above, an intense situation needs to be brought under control. And I’m sorry but I have no further suggestions to help you do that.

But in those few seconds and minutes before you get to meet the intruder face-to-face I believe each of you must find a way of doing what years of being friends with Christ have taught you: do not fear. Maybe the intruder is a drug addict, maybe they just want money, food, shelter. My guess – and I can only guess – is that they will be just as afraid as you are. When the situation has calmed, try and listen to them and don’t judge. And in your own unique ways, let them know that they are still worth the price that Christ paid for their sins:

I hope I have not been too offensive, or even missed the point. In any case, I hope that I have been of some help.

Lehitra’ot and God bless you.

UPDATE 28/11/2019

Since this post was published Ryan Callahan and I have corresponded with each other and are now at peace with each other in the name of Jesus. Those of you who have read this blog, and the blog that Ryan wrote in reply to me (click here), will see that we have many differences of opinion. But Jesus led a group of twelve disciples who couldn’t always see eye-to-eye, and when the missionaries started to bring millions and billions to Christ from all around the world there was an endless amount of quarrelling between those who saw life differently from others. History testifies to that. But all of us are one in Christ (Galatians 3:28). And thanks to the Holy Spirit working in both of our hearts we are now reconciled brothers in Christ. (Yes, I am a man). To God be the glory for ever and ever, amen.

18 thoughts on “Let Anyone who is Without Sin Fire the First Bullet (cf. John 8:7)

  1. Wow. That is not arguing theology. That is pointing your finger at a brother and judging him just because you disagree with him. Sounds more like you are trying to smear my name and call into question my faith in Jesus. Similar to Agent X, you are painting me as a violent man and calling in to question my love and devotion to Jesus. That is not yours to judge.

    You might not agree with me, but who are you to say that a person who owns a gun can’t call themselves a Christian? Are you serious? That is absolutely ridiculous, not to mention over the top judgemental and condemning, and I disagree with you. I have been following Jesus for 23 years and I am out here every day preaching the Gospel because the Lord called me to do so, but you are telling me that I am not a Christian. I’ve just about heard it all now! So are the brave Christian cops protecting our streets every night not Christians? Are our brave Christian soldiers protecting our country not Christians? You are way off and it is disturbing.

    Do you understand that protecting your family is not violent? Protecting your family is loving. I am not violent if somebody attacks my family and I protect them. The attacker is violent and I am being loving. I never said I was an “agent of God’s wrath” either. I was making a point that the police are agents of God’s wrath and they carry guns. A criminal man will reap what he sows and God will punish him accordingly. God will not be mocked. He has police and soldiers for a reason. We need brave warriors to fight evil and protect the innocent. Should Israel not have an army for example? Yes, they should and God goes before them and fights for them. God goes before me and fights through me for my family. He is my fortress and my rock, my loving God!

    Let me ask you this. Would it be loving to your family to just let someone attack them? Is that loving your enemy? No, it is not and it would be in direct violation to 1 Corinthians 13:7. I can love my enemy by stopping the threat, and preaching to him while I hold him for police. It is not loving to let him attack my family and hide behind some misunderstanding of a verse like a coward. I am not a coward, I know God’s Word, and I will protect my family out of love. Should we have let Hitler annihilate England instead of helping you? Maybe you would have rather the American military just let Hitler kill everybody, based off your misunderstanding of love your enemy. I bet if a man was attacking you and I ran up and stopped him, you would be very thankful for the love I showed you.

    Yeah, I do quote 1 Corinthians 13:7 a lot because it is God’s Word and that is what it says! You can be sarcastic about the verse I quote, but that is what it says. You point the finger at me as if I am cherry picking verses, but how is it that you disregard 1 Corinthians 13:7? Does it not say in regards to love that it always protects? Yes it does.

    Who are you to judge how I protect my family? You are not an American, so you have been raised to believe that people who have guns are bad. You have been taught to submit to the state. You also do not have the rights that we have, so you don’t understand the Second Amendment, what it means to us, and how passionately we will defend it. The Second Amendment is not just about owning guns. It is about having the right to defend ourselves in the event our government ever turns tyrannical on us. People forget that. We put that in our Constitution because of the tyranny of the English king that we defeated. We made sure we had rights and could fight back.

    Somebody from the UK is not going to understand Americans and I completely disagree with you about my rights as an American. The Second Amendment is not a curse. It is a blessing. What is a curse is the Islamic invasion, secularism, and socialism in the UK. That’s the curse. You should stand up for yourselves before it is too late. There are powerful forces who are pushing for a one world government in Europe and I’m not having any of it. I am not throwing away my guns and I never will. I am not a slave of some socialist right stripping nanny state. I am a free American and I will stand up bravely in defense of my neighbors, my country, and my family because I love them and Jesus tells us to love our neighbor and love each other. As I told Agent X, I love Jesus with all my heart and I submit to Him.

    By the way, if you want to know true statistics, guns are used millions of times per year in America to stop violent threats without a single shot being fired. Usually the presence of the gun stops the threat pretty quick. Protecting your family is not violent, it is loving. God calls a man to be strong and courageous and I am ready to put myself in harms way for my family because I love them.

    You can judge me if you want to, but that is between you and God. Jesus knows my heart and you don’t. You might want to think twice before condemning a brother.

    Grace and peace to you

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are absolutely right and I should have toned down my language. I am sorry, I was just trying to give my testimony in the light of what I had read and ended up taking it too far. Jesus is the One Who leads and if He can accept a disciple with a gun, what is that to me (John 21:21-22)?

      I have no doubt about the debt we owe to history and the way that things happened in it. Would we Christians be suffering gladly and bearing each others sorrows if Hitler had won World War Two? History cannot be changed so what is the point in hypothesising like that? Where are where we are. I think there are three power blocks – the U.S.A., Europe and China – and by God’s grace there will be no one world government prior to the end times. Politically, my main concern is for the poor. But just like you I am certain about what will happen in the future, that Jesus Christ will return and all sense of nationalism and politics will vanish (Matthew 6:19-21). When Jesus is enthroned as King in the new creation there will be no need of such divisions.

      Thank you for the statistics on guns being used to diffuse heated situations in America without a single shot being fired. I am very pleased to hear this, and it shows that my research skills are lacking. I am also thankful that for the most part people with guns can resist the temptation to pull the trigger. But I am also aware thhat the minority can’t. We both know that there is a powerful adversary who can and will tighten his grip on the gun handler who shows the slightest hint of weakness. We all live in a fallen world and I admire you for having such a strong faith that can resist that temptation whilst protecting your family. Me, my faith is still growing and in need of spiritual nurishment (2 Corinthians 12:9). I would hate to be in a situation where momentarily giving into temptation could result in the death of one of our Creator’s creatures.

      Whatever way Jesus wants you to live is between Him and you, and I sincerely and most humbly apologise for making you feel that I was judging you. When I voiced my understanding of 1 Corinthiand 13:7 I recognised that you have every right to interpret it differently from me and didn’t mean to belittle you. Teaching or evangelism, I will always strive for the latter. Christ saved me in order to spread His Word and to enable it to be understood that God loves people the way they are, no matter how bad. (Whether they respond to that is ultimately up to them.) From my study of history and of the present global situation I strongly believe that guns are a hindrance to the evangelical movement, and yes, I lean towards the teachings of Jon and Agent X.

      But you and Agent X have something that I don’t – EXPERIENCE. I can only theorise about shedding blood, and in every hypothesis I work with the starting point is that Christ’s sacrifice is enough. I have no doubt that you and other (Christian and Messianic Jewish) family men and women feel the same way. As I say, you and Agent X have experience of intruders and I don’t. Both of you are in a position to teach a humble student like me – and I ask you to please forgive me if I forget my place at times.

      I will accept that Jesus accepts some disciples to own guns. BUT I honestly cannot see how guns helps and I would conscientiously object to owning or handling one again. Even so, I ask you to please accept me as a fellow disciple, not for my views on love and protection which differ to yours, but for the sake of Jesus Christ Who died for you and me, and Who gave His life as a ransom for many (Galatians 6:14).

      Grace and peace to you.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. P.S. In all the time I’ve known you I don’t think I’ve ever known whether you are my brother or sister in Christ. I’ve just known your blogging name. Just wondering for proper fellowship. How should I address you, as a brother or sister? And thank you, Happy Thanksgiving!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wanted to let you know that I wrote a quick update at the bottom of my post titled “Love Always Protects” letting people know that you and I are at peace with each other in Christ. I let them know you posted a kind reply to me here on your post. I don’t want anyone to think we are against each other, so I posted the update. God bless you!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Let me get this straight. If you throw away your guns you’re a *non-violent* Christian, right? The inference being if a Christian does have a gun and believes in self defense then he’s one of those odious *violent* Christians. Right? Humruppph… A man has a God-given right to defend himself. In my country we are given the constitutional liberty to possess a gun. So yes, God forbid, I’ll use my gun if I have too. I don’t hunt. I don’t particularly even like guns. But in this wicked world? You need to get real. No qualms here, brother. I feel no Holy Spirit conviction whatsoever about owning a gun for self protection. None at all. You’re off-base on this one. “When guns are outlawed, only the outlaws will have guns.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, I am say I do not want to own a gun for the reasons that I have stated. I cannot tell you what to do because, as you state, you have an (earthly) constitutional liberty to possess a gun. Yes we do need to get real and be aware that there is an outlaw with supernatural powers who can make a temptation very tempting! God bless you.

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      1. “An outlaw with supernatural powers who can make a temptation very tempting.” What?! Huh?! Say What?! You would be referring to the devil there. Obviously handguns and shotguns will be no help in that regard. But the Holy Spirit gives us the weapons of warfare to fight against the wicked one. That is a totally out of context statement (a subtle slur). You seem to be making an undertow of an accusation that I have been tempted by Satan since I possess a gun?? Will Rogers, where are you when we need you? I think that you’re the one who’s been tempted, buddy: tempted by all the new-age foofaraw swirling around yo’ head. I rebuke you, Charlie Brown. You’re off base on this one, Mr. introvert. Way off base.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sorry, but no I do not think its sinful to buy a guns, just as the disciples carried swords. Had I bought one I would be worried about the temptation to use it (or that someone else might break into my house, steal it and use it) for sinful means, like when Peter cut off the guard’s ear. I admit, maybe I have been watching too much of The Purge and unrealistically fearing that it could become a reality. I just know that at one time the early Church was as new to the Roman Empire as the Wild West would one day be to America. God bless you.

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