Saturday, January 19, 2013

Do Christians Love Guns?

...that's the title of a recent blogpost and newsletter by Andrew Strom. Find it here.

My first comment on it was, "I agree with you 100%, but I’m afraid you’re in for an avalanche of email every bit as big as the one you got for “Tea Party”"

When I went to hit the "Post" button, the site hung. I thought that was my prediction suddenly coming true, with the sudden avalanche of comments coming in. I finally got mine in later, and proceeded to view some of the comments. It's quite clear to all that just because one receives Andrew Strom's newsletters and frequents his website, isn't an indication that one agrees with him 100%. In fact, predictably, even though "Pasivism" wasn't mentioned in Andrew's article, nor even alluded to, that quickly became a hot topic on the comment stream. Here's one:

A question for all you pacifist Christians. If you were in that grade school, there was a gun on the table next to you and you heard the screams of people and gunshots. Would you leave that gun on the table and say, “violence is not Christian!” and continue to let dozens be killed?
The way to stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun
 The one just before that was a very long one, probably worth reading to get the jist of the anti-pacifist view. However, all that wasn't the point of Andrew's post.

Here was my longer post:

I posted my comment above, and THEN looked at some of the earlier responses…

I don’t think Andrew is saying that it’s wrong to stand against injustice with use of force. It’s just not the Christian mandate. The police and the military, after all, use force to do many of the same things mentioned above. They’re not in violation of God’s laws. Even a revolution might be in order at times, but don’t mistake it for the advancement of the Kingdom of God.

As for the example of David and Goliath, above: The Jewish people had (or still have — depending on your theology) the mandate of maintaining a nation in the land God had given them as a part of God’s covenant with Israel. Christians, under the New Covenant, didn’t receive such a mandate. We’re called to support those in power, especially those who enforce justice.

Now, as to the question, what should we have done during the early Nazi period in Germany, or whether to use a gun to prevent a greater disaster etc etc. …

Is having an easy answer a mark of Truth? Is any one approach automatically the right one for every situation?

I see, in the reigns of King David and King Solomon, a scriptural basis for both passivism and non-passivism. David fought many wars to establish the Kingdom of Israel all the way to the borders God had promised to Moses. He was 100% in God’s will in doing so. However, in doing this, he was a “man of blood”, and therefore wasn’t granted the privilage of building God’s Temple. King Solomon, a “man of peace”, was called to do that, and Solomon’s reign, in stark contrast to David’s, was an era of peace.
Picking up a gun to shoot someone, even to stop a school shooting spree, is a position I hope I’m never thrust into. We could, for the purpose of argument, say it’s a sin. However, the rabbis have an argument based on the degrees of sin — the breaking of a lesser commandment instead of a greater one. A destitute woman has a child who is starving to death. To allow the child to die when it’s possible to save his life, would be a sin equal to murder. The commandment prohibiting murder is one of the greater commandments, whereas the commandment against stealing is one of the lesser. Therefore, the woman would be justified in stealing food, thus committing the lesser commandment, in order to keep from committing the greater one — allowing the child to die.

We’re called to be perfect, even as He is perfect, in a world that is anything but perfect. There are, therefore, no easy answers.

So, to sum up, I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong for Christians to own guns, and engage in politics, but not as a part of the Christian mandate. Neither do I believe pacifist are out of order.

In fact, I’d say I’m a pacifist.