Armed Christians

I was wondering the other day about what people think about gun / weapon control and how it applies to Christians.  To give a little bit of background, I carry a pocket knife almost everywhere I go, especially at school.  I know its not considered a ‘deadly weapon’, but in the right hands, anything can be lethal.

So, i posed the question to some solid Christian guys and girls around campus and asked people what they  thought about weapons and Christianity.  Not surprisingly, most people brought up Ephesians, saying things like “Never leave home without the Sword of the Spirit” and “I carry one with me everywhere I go, its called a Bible.”  While at first, i laughed, then i got serious and began thinking about it.

Throughout history, Christianity is associated with violence (the Crusades of the middle ages and the Persecutions of and from both Catholics and Protestants are two that people constantly remind me of).  After being adopted as the ‘official’ Roman religion, Christianity became served on a sword. 

But did Jesus ever preach about weapons and violence?  What about his followers?  What examples can we find in the Bible, through the testimonies of the disciples?

One of the guys pointed out that Paul, one of the leaders of the early church, carried a sword.  He even drew it out, striking the high priest’s servant (Malchus) and hacking off his ear (John 18:10, Luke 22:50, Mark 14:47).  Jesus rebukes him, as we see in Matthew 26:52 when he tells him “Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” 

I think there were plenty of disciples and followers of Jesus who thought that drawing a weapon to defend the Messiah was a better idea than allowing Him to die.  He was surrounded by Zealots and people that were unsavory in nature (aka: sinners).  I’m sure many of his followers carried weapons at their sides.

Another translation of Jesus’ rebuke states “Those that live by the sword, die by the sword.”  So, what does this mean to Christians that live in a world where a lot of us still carry a weapon of some type by our side (or in our pockets)?  Does Christianity condone violence?  What about defending those weaker than you? 

In the ‘Midevil Age’, Knights were a select class of warriors that pledged their allegance to a code of valour.  They lived to defend those that could not defend themselves, to fight only when necessary, and if you look at the process of pledging oneself into knighthood, the pledge was to God first, the lord of the land second. 

When I asked, I got a response back from a police officer and a member of the armed forces, both of whom are Christian men.  They said that a weapon is a tool, only to be used in extreme cases.  As a new Police Officer, my friend hopes that he will never have to fire his gun, but knows that one day he might have to to defend himself, his fellow officers and all the people that he serves. 

I do not see anything wrong with Christians carrying weapons, as long as they understand that it is not a toy, but a tool of death.  Simply put, all weapons are designed to kill.  But i must ask, why do you want or need to carry a weapon?

It is my belief that if you carry a weapon, be it a simple pocket knife or a sophisticated handgun, you must know how to use it effectively.  If you do not know how to wield what you carry, then you are just another accident waiting to happen. 

I also believe that if you are willing to carry one, you must be willing to use it.  This is in extreme cases only.  The only reason i would ever pull my pocket knife is in the defense of another, after all other avenues have been exausted. 

Jesus didnt call his followers to be pacifists, not defending themselves (he constantly slipped out of situations without violence, thus avoiding bloodshed).  He doesnt call us to stand asside while injustice happens right in front of our eyes.  He calls us into action. 

A weapon, like all tools, should only be used if you know how to use it, and only when necessary. 

Just a thought…

God Bless and PEACE

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