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Archive for December, 2015

JESUS’ CALL TO SELF-DEFENSE

TERROISM PHOTO 2

A RESPONSE TO A PIPE DREAM

John Piper has suggested that Christians should not procure conceal carry permits in order to defend themselves against criminals, the insane, terrorists, and those who would persecute Christians. Apparently Piper’s edict is a response to Jerry Falwell’s encouragement for the students at Liberty University to consider securing CCW permits for their own protection. I will agree with Piper on one count. If while preaching that Jesus is Lord or sharing the gospel someone attempts to insult and/or assault me, then as a Christian I am called by the Lord to receive that person’s aggression with love, humility, and endurance. If such occurs and I bear it well, then the scriptures teach that I am blessed and that God is pleased with me (Matt. 5.10 -12). The Lord and the Scriptures are clear on this point—Christians are called to suffer unjust persecution for the cause of Christ. However, Piper is wrong about the Christian’s right to defend him or herself from the other three possibilities, which are the brutal attacks of violent criminals, the insane, and terrorists. Criminals, the insane, and militant radical Islamic jihadists are not seeking to maim and kill people because they are rightly practicing the Christian faith. For the most part they simply do not care what we are doing or why we are doing it. In the case of the insane (e.g., the massacres at Aurora Colorado, and Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut), these sociopaths are not thinking rationally in the first place; therefore, no amount of empathy or Christian persuasiveness will deter them during an active shooting incident. These murders will not stop until they are out of ammunition or dead. Likewise, rapists, serial killers, murders, and drug-crazed criminals that daily attack and kill innocent people are not concerned about what faith anyone is practicing. They simply don’t care whether their victims are atheists, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, or agnostic. They only want to immediately satisfy their godless desires and carnal greed irrespective of who they defraud and maim. And lastly, militant radical Islamic jihadist (911; Fort Hood, TX; and San Bernardino, CA; OR terrorists of any stripe for that matter) are not persecuting individuals for living out the Christian faith. Instead they are murdering innocent civilians of all faiths simply because they have not converted to the terrorists’ peculiar twisted interpretation of the faith they profess.

Consequently, concerning these realities Piper is void of common sense, as well as lacking biblical support. Jesus himself clearly told his disciples to arm themselves (Luke 22.36), and to do so at their own expense. He didn’t say “And if someone attempts to rape or murder you, or is in the process of massacring dozens of innocent school children, then you should wait until the proper authorities arrive.” Neither did he say, “Before arming yourself go and check with the authorities and see if you can get permission.” Although this particular verse may be the most unknown or politically incorrect verse in the Bible; nevertheless, it is the clear instruction of Jesus—and no amount of theological, rhetorical, or intellectual gymnastics is going to dissolve this clear biblical fact.

Moreover, in a world where horrific violence and massacres occur and are increasing at an alarming rate, it is irresponsible to call any people of any faith to not take advantage of the legal opportunities of self-protection simply because someone has an elevated view of what it means to be a passionate Christian—especially of those who live in a free society that fosters the God given right to self protection. If Piper chooses not to arm himself for the purpose of protecting himself, his family, or the people around him, then that is his privilege. If he wishes to encourage others to do likewise out a false sense of security in the government’s capacity to protect its citizens, then he has that right as well. But please, don’t imply that other law abiding Christians who disagree with such positions are some how less then authentic in their faith, or less trusting in the Lord, or lacking biblical understanding if they choose to take advantage of their constitutional right to arm and protect themselves, as well as others who can’t. It is simply indefensible to assert that simply because one person puts on a uniform and another does not, then that necessarily means that the one with the uniform will be able to protect everyone at all times, and will always be there when you most desperately need them. Such is demonstrably not the case.

Furthermore, Jesus also said that it is a supreme display of love that one would lay down his or her life for a friend (John 15.13). And the fact is that it is no longer an uncommon event in which armed civilians (both Christian and non-Christian) successfully save the lives of others at the risk of their own. Moreover, James the brother of Jesus also taught that if anyone knows to do what is right and does not do it, then it is sin (James 4.17). Consequently, if we have the freedom to arm and adequately train ourselves in order to protect the children who attend our Christian schools, Day Care centers, and Sunday schools during these troubling times, then there is nothing unbiblical or unChristian if we choose to do so. And if we chose not to do so, whether for conscious sake, or a lack of physical and/or emotional capabilities, then it’s time for us to consider hiring those with the proper training to protect those who attend our events. To do otherwise is to simply ignore the reality of our times. I will not be surprised if there are some living in peaceful upper middle class gated communities in the suburbs who agree with Piper; nevertheless, it is inappropriate, if not elitist, to belittle the sincere devotion of law abiding Christians that live in the drug infested gang ruled streets of America’s urban centers because the chose to arm and defend themselves. However, if pagans, atheists, secular humanists, or Muslims wish to come and challenge what we believe, then so be it. As far as I am concerned they are more than welcome to come and give us their best shot—but they must do so with their minds. But, having made this invitation, if they plan to do so with firearms and weapons, then let it be at the risk of their own lives.

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