Should a Christian Carry a Gun?


Should a Christian carry a gun? It’s not an easy answer for many, and for good reason.

Many sincere Christians wrestle with this issue due to their upbringing, bible interpretation, and host of other issues. But whether you should or should not carry a concealed weapon for self-defense or, more nobly, to defend the lives of others, is something each Christian must be convinced of personally.

While the consideration of carrying a gun is understandably a very personal decision, it is important to rightly divide the Word of God on this issue and answer the question of whether it is permissible by God or not. If it’s a matter of clearly breaking one of God’s laws and going against the will of God, than the answer should be simple: “Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”, just as Jesus taught.

Most believers will concede that the use of deadly force is a controversial issue that depends heavily on how one interprets key verses. But for the sake of brevity, we can all agree that the Lord not only tolerated weapons but commanded his earthly servants to use them, at times. God also made provision for civilians to use deadly force to stop intruders to protect their loved ones and even their own life, as we see in the very practical Mosaic law (Exodus 22:2) that protected the rights of an individual to use deadly force to protect against home invasion:

“If a thief is caught in the act of breaking into a house and is struck and killed in the process, the person who killed the thief is not guilty of murder.”

Furthermore, the scriptures do not command us not use weapons to save other peoples lives. And it is dangerous to speak from relative silence and come up with a command against the use of CCW for self-defense.

The pacifist will object, citing these common verses: “don’t resist evil”, “don’t render evil for evil”, “don’t avenger yourself”, and “love your enemies”.

At first glance, it would appear simple enough. But as one begins to understand the context of Jesus’ statements in the backdrop of the Old Testament Law, these teachings of Christ take on a much deeper application. For example, when Paul writes to the believers in Rome (Romans 12) about not avenging oneself, he is quoting from the Old Testament when God’s people righteously used weapons, engaged in warfare, and had civil capital punishment – all with God’s permission and even by His direct command.

You see, Jesus didn’t come to abolish the Law. He never contradicted the Old Testament Law. He fulfilled and magnified the Law and made it honorable. Paul also appealed to the Law and Prophets to make his apostolic decrees.

It’s very understandable that one’s interpretation along with other external influences could lead some sincere Christians to believe that carrying a weapon and/or discharging a weapon to defend a life would be a sin and go against the teachings of Christ. Weapon or no weapon, the will of the Lord is not to be reactionary but redemptive.

“Weapon or no weapon, the will of the Lord is not to be reactionary but redemptive.”

In order to redeem one innocent person from an evildoer, the redemptive solution may call for the evildoer to be stopped using deadly force. Simply put: to stop evil is not evil. Putting an end to evil is a righteous act, grounded in Christian love.

Jesus Told the Disciples to Buy Swords

Jesus told the disciples to buy swords, and they did. We also know that Peter had a sword with him in the garden and Jesus didn’t seem surprised. In fact, Jesus did not rebuke Peter for having the sword, nor did Jesus tell Peter to throw it away. Instead, our Lord told Peter to put his sword back in its place. This would akin to saying today, “Holster your gun, Peter!”


Jesus did not rebuke Peter for having the sword, nor did Jesus tell Peter to throw it away. Instead, our Lord told Peter to put his sword back in its place. This would akin to saying today, “Holster your gun, Peter!”

The rebuke was because Peter used the sword for the wrong reasons, at the wrong time, with the wrong attitude. Jesus had already explained to His disciples that He would suffer at the hands of the leaders, and be crucified. This mission-of-all-missions had to take place, and Peter’s use of deadly force to try to stop what Jesus had already determined to do was hindering His work. And because not every occasion in life mirrors the divinely orchestrated night of Jesus’ crucifixion, we should be very careful to apply Jesus’ response to Peter in our day to day encounters with murderous thieves, rapists, crazed meth-heads, serial killers, and terrorists. Furthermore, comparing Peter’s misguided use of the sword — attempting to thwart Jesus’ redemptive path to the cross — to law-abiding citizens’ prudent use of guns for self-defense against those who are intent on harming our loved ones is not a fair comparison.

What’s the difference between those in the world who take up arms and those in Christ?

Those in the world often seek to first save their own life and will usually run from the danger of saving another’s life. They fear death and what man can do to them. And you know the types: they are either brazen, arrogantly confident, and almost looking for a fight, or they are ruled by fear which leads to paranoia. These groups are carrying concealed weapons for all the wrong reasons, with the wrong attitude, and at times regrettably resulting in unnecessary shootings.

But a Christian walks in humility, not cocksure pride. A son or daughter of God no longer fears death. A follower of Jesus Christ no longer fears what man can do to us because Paul reminds us that is it “better to be absent from the body and present with the Lord”. And Jesus says that “All who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution”. Lastly, we know that perfect love — actionable love (meeting others needs) — casts out fear. And so a Christian looks to stand in the gap for others, in prayer and by action, even using deadly force if necessary to lovingly protect them.

But Aren’t We Commanded NOT to Return Evil for Evil?

To be clear, a Christian does not carry a concealed weapon (or any other weapon, for that matter) for the fleshly, sinful purposes of “avenging ourselves, retaliating for unjust treatment, handling hostility, advancing the Christian cause by force, returning evil for evil, or resisting persecution” as a popular pastor misguidedly asserted in response to another Christian leader’s comments.

The wicked heart’s intent and subsequent physical action of raping, murder, abduction, pedophilia and the like are the very embodiment of evil. And yes, Christ also died for these evildoers. Yes, we must be reaching out to a dark world to shine the Light of Christ and proclaim the Gospel so that evildoers will be saved, redeemed, changed, and forgiven and receive Eternal Life.

But let’s be clear about this: stopping rape, murder, abductions, pedophilia, and physical abuse flowing out of a heart of love is holy, righteous, and Christ-like.

But let’s be clear about this: stopping rape, murder, abductions, pedophilia, and physical abuse flowing out of a heart of love is holy, righteous, and Christ-like. Stopping evil is obviously not the same is returning the initial evil act to seek vengeance.


  1. “Jesus Told the Disciples to Buy Swords” – that’s some of the worst understanding of Luke 22 I’ve ever heard. It shows how gun-worshipping Christians love to mangle Scriptures. The point of this passage isn’t about buying guns… it’s about Jesus explaining to his disciples that his divine protection at that point was over. If you read a little bit further in Luke 22:38 “The disciples said, “See, LORD, here are two swords.” “That’s enough!” he replied.” Jesus is responding in EXASPERATION that they don’t understand what He was saying. That’s enough = drop it! They didn’t get what he was talking about, much like this blog post.

    Think about it this way: 2 swords among mostly fishermen against the collective might of Imperial Rome. Oh yeah, that makes a lot of sense. How would that be “enough”? It isn’t if you read it as a shallow instruction to arm themselves, but makes a lot of sense if you read “enough!” as “cool it, you don’t understand what I’m telling you.”

    Don’t make guns your golden idols.

    • Neo, thank you commenting. We can debate this issue vigorously, but we are commanded to do so with love and gentleness. When you throw out insults and pejoratively label those who sincerely disagree with your interpretation as “gun-worshipping Christians” claiming guns are our “golden idols”, the points you are trying to make lose much credibility. There are people on both sides of this debate that truly love God and want to do His will, but are also seriously searching the scriptures and attempting to better understand God’s will.

      If a Christian reluctantly shoots someone who is about to rape their wife or kidnap, abuse, or murder their children, that person is showing the utmost love toward those whom God has entrusted them with. This is Biblical stewardship. I say “reluctantly” because we as God’s children desire all come to repentance and escape eternal condemnation, just like our Heavenly Father, but even He struck people down in their sin to save others, and He commanded His people to do the same. And God has not changed!

      Concerning your criticism of the article and use of Luke 22:36, you wrote: “that’s some of the worst understanding of Luke 22 I’ve ever heard. It shows how gun-worshipping Christians love to mangle Scriptures. The point of this passage isn’t about buying guns…”

      Help me out, then. Did or did not Jesus tell the disciples to buy swords in this passage? “He said to them, ‘But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.‘” (Luke 22:36)

      1. Jesus is instructing His disciples in very practical matters, such as a moneybag and a knapsack. He isn’t spiritualizing these items.
      2. Jesus tells the disciples to sell their cloak and buy swords. There is no allegorical language here reminiscent of “the Kingdom of God is like unto buying a sword.”
      3. And if, as you say, Jesus was exasperated with them for doing exactly what He just told them to do, that would’ve been very cruel on the part of their Teacher and Lord. I believe you are reading more into this text than is there. It is much more plausible to read the intent being “two is enough.”

      To my last point above, and addressing your assumption that these swords were to be used “against the collective might of Imperial Rome,” the context of this scripture and Jesus’ teachings to the disciples never suggested that they try to overthrow Rome. Peter rashly used the sword at the wrong time, with the wrong attitude. But it is more likely that Jesus was graciously providing them with some basic self-defense weapons against the widely known thieves and murders on the streets of Jerusalem. Yes, He would be leaving them. And what a loving act, to allow them now to have the basic necessities. Compare this with His original instructions: “Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road.” (Luke 10:4)

      I do appreciate your contribution to this discussion, but please do so without name calling and without judging the intent of other believers’ hearts.

        • Greetings, Albert. Welcome to Christian CCW! You bring up a good point and something many Christians have thought about. And I appreciate your sensitivity to God’s Word. Allow me to offer my thoughts.

          Even though one of the ten commandments is translated as “Thou shalt not kill” in the King James Version, many other versions translate the commandment as “You shall not murder”. This commandment is a specific prohibition of murder, which is a sinful condition of the heart, not merely the act of killing. For instance, the priests of the Old Testament who offered up the sacrifices had to “kill” the animals in obedience to the Lord. If the prohibition meant not killing anything, the priests would have been in willful disobedience to God and the Lord would have been asking them to go against His Word, which He never does. Nor would God have led King David, a man after God’s own heart, to kill the enemies of His people. Nor would God have led Joshua to kill the enemies of God and His people during Joshua’s many battles.

          But let’s look at the intent of this commandment by examining Cain’s murderous heart. Cain murdered Abel out of anger. He not only killed Abel, but he murdered him out of a seething anger. This is the spirit of the commandment as John writes in 1 John 3:15 “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer”. Love would not kill another human being simply because one is upset with another. But love would also not hesitate to kill, if necessary, those who out of anger and pure evil seek to rape and abuse children, mothers, and other innocent people. Love seeks to save and protect lives! And sometimes, sadly, to protect another is to stop the one intent on bringing harm others. Rather than the command being “never kill anything or anyone,” the original language prohibits the murderous, hatred-filled, unjust taking of another’s life.

          The best place to resolve the meaning or intent of a word in the Bible is the underlying original language. The Hebrew word used in Exodus 20:13 for murder (or kill in the KJV) in “You shall not murder” is ratsach (רצח), which means “to dash to pieces, that is, to kill a human being, especially to murder” (Strongs H7523). There is a Hebrew word that generally refers to killing without murderous intent, but that wasn’t chosen.

          And when we go to the New Testament and examine Paul’s quotation of this commandment in Romans 13:9, where he writes “for the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder…’ are all summed up in this saying, namely, ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself'”, what greek word did Paul use in quoting this Old Testament commandment? He chose phoneuo (φονεύω) which means “to be a murderer” (Strongs G5407). If the commandment was a prohibition on any and all killing, Paul could and would have used apokteino (άποκτείνω), which means “to kill outright, to destroy – put to death, kill, slay” (Strongs G615). Furthermore, if we look at the Greek Old Testament (the Septuagint, LXX) we see that the Jewish scholars who translated the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek chose the same word for murder that Paul chose. They too could have chosen a greek word that generally refers to killing rather than including murderous intent, but they — through the work of the Holy Spirit — carefully chose a precise word with precise meaning.

          Without even going into the Greek, Paul clarifies the intent of this commandment by pointing to the second greatest commandment, which is rooted and grounded in love. If you have love for even an obnoxious neighbor, you would not show him love by murdering him. No, but if that obnoxious neighbor is being stabbed by a violent offender, love would look like you stepping in to stop the attack and to save your obnoxious neighbor — even if it meant using lethal force to stop the attacker.

          What does this say to us today, who desire to walk in love (Eph 5)? We should NOT be trigger-happy, gun-crazed cowboys just aching for a fight. Rather, God’s will is that we intercede for others, especially those who can’t defend themselves. We should be willing to risk our life that others could be saved. And sometimes that might mean exerting lethal force to stop evil people from killing innocent bystanders, some of whom may not yet know the Lord.

    • Neo, your private interpretation of Luke 22 is interesting, but reveals a lack of Biblical understanding. Everything our Lord taught reflected a enlightened and illuminated summation of all Biblical teachings. Throughout the Bible, God teaches that his true disciples (or saints) are his children, and thus our brothers and sisters; for we are one with each other in Christ’s Holy Spirit. Thus, God’s commandments were handed down as guidelines on how we are to lovingly treat and deal with each other. Our Lord God himself considered the non-believer as one who is already eternally dead in spirit. For example, God commanded, “Thou shalt not kill!” However, if there is no divine distinction between the disciple and the infidel, then God was commanding the children of Israel to break his own commandment every time the children of Israel took up arms. This is illogical and suggests hypocrisy. God is truth and there is no hypocrisy in him! Thus, we have a divine distinction between the children of men and the children of God. God has always commanded his children to protect themselves against the evil that exists in the world. This can be traced back to the Old Testament and God’s commandments to the Children of Israel. Progressive teachings of modern Christianity have misinterpreted many original teachings of God. A weapon itself is not evil. The evil resides in the hearts of mankind. The Biblical bottom line is this; As God’s children, we must protect ourselves, both spiritually and physically, against the evil that increasingly exists in the world. Satan’s attack, both spiritually and physically, comes in many forms, shapes and sizes … and uses many different vessels to accomplish his goal. Our Lord Jesus Christ protected himself from harm by fleeing from situations. Our Lord Jesus Christ trashed the commerce tables in the temple. Our Lord Jesus Christ cursed the fig tree for not producing fruit in its season. Our Lord walked through crowds of people healing only the few who truly believed in him. Does this reflect poorly upon him and his teachings? No! It reflects the Godly teachings throughout the entire Bible. When our Lord returns, weapons will then be melted down and turned into tools for producing food. However, until then, we need to protect ourselves and each other.

  2. I appreciate the article. It helps me to be more clear on my thinking that have been a bit cloudy on the justification of having CCW as a Christian. Thanks.

  3. God is all powerful, regardless if I carry a weapon! If someone breaks into to my home, they shoot first and I’m killed that was God’s will. We are forgetting that Christ reminded us, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”(Matt 5 17 KJV). So the old testament God is the same now and forever, as is his laws.If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him. Exodus 22:2 Jesus did not rebuke Peter for using the sword,when cutting off the ear of the centurion, he spoke, “Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”(John 8 11 KJV) If it was wrong of Peter to defend Christ for righteousness sake,Jesus didn’t say so. Christians seem to think the the new covenant did away with God’s laws and that clearly isn’t right, according to scripture. “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”(Matthew 5 29) Does this mean that we are to stand by and let our child or our mother be harmed if we can help It? If you think so, then you saying the evildoer’s life has more value than your child or mother’s life. And God clearly imparts to us that all life is of value. But the most important thing to remember God is in control no matter what the circumstance. I pray ever day that I not my husband will have to use our weapon. But if God allows for that situation the I trust in him to intervene, so that righteousness will be done. GOD’S WILL BE DONE! Dying a martyr for Christ is not the same thing as letting someone kill you and you family, which is a senseless crime. And we are not Jesus’ twelve chosen. But if I’m marched up to the guillotine to die for Christ, because I refuse to deny him then I become a martyr. And yes I would encourage my family to do the same. If you think God wants us to stand by and let someone be murder in a senseless way, then He wouldn’t be a just God. Think more about what being a martyr for Christ is! I have a responsibility to my family, to protect myself, in accordance with my faith. So I can be here to encourage the list in my family. If God brings me face to face with evil, and He says no you must die to save the evildoers soul, then do trust God to intervene. God knows my heart and that i wish no harm on anyone, but I do carry and believe in the death penalty.(If the person isn’t put to death for vengeance sake). Just remember, Jesus himself said he did not come to make void God’s laws, but to make true His prophetic words. I would also like to add Romans 12:17; (“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men”)and say, this verse speaks truth to those who understand. Also, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man”.(Matthew 15:8) This too is pretty clear cut and simple and words of truth to live by.

    • Greetings, Natasha! Very well-reasoned and balanced. I, too, hope to never have to use a weapon to harm or kill anyone. But I also will not just sit by allow evil people to abuse children, women, elderly, my wife, my family, etc. We are called to be courageous and those who step in to stop oppressors and abusers from doing evil. I appreciate how you have delineated between martyrdom and righteous defensive intervention using force. This is a difficult area due to many factors: our theology, our interpretation, our family values, and if we make an inanimate object (a gun) take on animate and moral attributes (ie. “guns are evil”). When we carefully examine God’s Word in context it becomes clear that there is a time, as Solomon would say, for inaction (martyrdom) and time for action (defensively intervening to save life). Lastly, thank you for the kind tone with which you have offered your point of view. I hope you continue to engage in the conversation. Blessings!

        • Hi Albert, I deeply appreciate your desire to obey the teachings of Jesus. So thank you for bringing up Jesus’ command to “Turn the other cheek”. Yes, I have heard of that. I’m very familiar with the Sermon on the Mount and believe that Christ intended on His teachings to be practiced by His followers while on earth — now! I would encourage you to be slow to judge others as “UN-Christan” when sincere Christians who earnestly desire to please God interpret the scriptures differently than you. But specifically to your point, the most Christian thing to do is to withstand insults and persecution without reviling, just as Christ gave us this example (cf. 1 Peter 2:21-23 “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: ‘Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth’; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;”)

          For one to have the ability to fight back, shoot, or otherwise harm another but choose to restrain one’s self is the fruit of the Spirit. And you will find that most Christians who carry a weapon do so with a great sobriety and deep care for others. When someone taunts, harasses, insults, reviles, etc., Christ was very clear: “turn the other cheek” – don’t be so rash to start a fight. In ancient Israel, when someone wanted to insult another, they would slap their cheek. This is the intent and context: personal insult or persecution. But when it comes to protecting others from murder, rape, and the other violent crime, God’s will has always been clear: step in and help the victim, using lethal force if necessary. From Exodus 22:2, where there is no blood guilt for killing an intruder at night, to Jesus telling the disciples to buy swords, God has always allowed for self-defense.

          Your concern for obeying Christ’s commandments is admirable. I hope you can also see that the context of His teaching of “turn the other cheek” does not address self-defense against violent criminals. God bless you!

  4. An excellent example of bible verse mining – the same what “Christians” did 100 years ago to justify slavery. Leaving out verse 3 that is clearly related is just too revealing. Use the bible for what you want it to say instead of allowing the bible to inform you about God’s will. Hipocricity at is finest at work here.

    • Greetings, Quietsch. Thank you for joining the conversation and sharing your thoughts.

      Are you speaking of verse 3 of Exodus 22? Exodus 22:3 in no way undermines the truth of the article. The meaning of the passage in whole is: if a person kills a thief in the middle of the night, mistaking the intruder as a murderer or rapist because of the darkness, the defender is not guilty of a crime. But if the person knew (because it was light enough to discern the intruder’s intent) that the intruder was a common thief, merely taking some food — maybe to feed himself or his family, they would be guilty of the intruder’s blood because the defender’s life was not in danger.

      But don’t miss the greater truth here. Killing those who wish to do you or your family harm was allowed for and justified under God’s Law. We should be protecting our spouses, children and neighbors from those who are bent on perpetrating evil.

      What we should never do is settle the score. Vengeance is the Lord’s, and also by extension, the government’s role. Either God or the government can repay with a fitting consequence. But we should never look to inflict evil upon others, only to stop evil doers from doing more harm to others.

  5. I find everyone’s opinion very informative. I do dislike when when Christians questions another’s faith or belief based on biblical interpretation. We all in our walk in Christ is very dependent on how we are diligently seeking his will and where we are spiritually intimate with our father. You see living a God centered life and living a self centered life separates true believers from the rest of the world. God says that we should be hearers of his word and doers of his word. Spiritual understanding and sanctification is vital when we as Christians are staying connected with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit by diligently seeking them daily, praying, worshipping, singing, thanking, and reading his word. By this we are with God in his Kingdom spiritually. Unbelievers observing Christians causing divisions and strife is a terrible way to be a witness to them. We should encourage one another and not be a stumbling block for our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus . We are the salt of the world and should not be as Lot’s wife and be a pillar of salt with no purpose or use. Salvation is only 18″ away, confessing with your mouth and believing. A pure heart . Now that being said, I myself believe in my heart that being a responsible armed Christian citizen is biblical. Having a pure heart in Christ Jesus and becoming knowledgable in firearms safety, self defense, gun laws pertaining to your state, and proper training and familiarization of your fire arm make you the most responsible person than the average worldly gun owner. Because God values the sanctity of life and you should too, emulate Christ Jesus, our teacher. When I ever have a concern , I always ask myself ” What would Jesus do ” ? Then I wait upon the Lord. He always answers my prayers .

    • Roy, I appreciate your measured, respectful, and thoughtful response. Yes, one can be a Spirit-filled, holiness seeking, deeply abiding Christian and carry a weapon precisely because the love of God has been poured out into our heart by the Holy Spirit! But another may decide not to carry and also be walking in the Spirit, guided also by divine love. You are correct to point out that God values life and uses human agency to protect other lives. Being armed is not a sin. Being armed and angry (ie, trigger happy) is a grave sin that starts in the heart. Most of all, we should respect the reasons sincere Christians may decide to differ. The point of this site is to offer help for those earnestly wrestling with this difficult issue. God bless you!

  6. Is killing someone for any (incl lawful) reasons a sin? I believe it is, however there are times when a believer is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Rendering any choice one makes a sinful act. Let me explain. Anne Frank lied to the Gestapo about the locations of Jews. She lied, sinful act #1. She also disobeyed her civil authorities sin #2. She used her judgement to say that I would rather answer to God and seek forgiveness for this act than to sit by and allow people to be murdered.

    If “you” choose not to carry a firearm that’s your choice. The likelihood of a civilian ever using one in defense is infinitesimally small. Judging someone else’s choice as sinful or as being some gun worshipping lunatic is much more of a symptom or your own weakness in the faith than the one who chooses to be armed.

    • Welcome Jeremy! I appreciate your thoughtful response. You are right to bring up one’s motive. One may choose not to carry “as unto the Lord”, and another TO carry a concealed weapon also “as unto the Lord”. If each one is doing what they believe they are either being led to do or feel is the Lord’s will, we must be careful to judge. I do not believe it is a sin to regretfully kill someone who is attempting to kill my wife, children, neighbors or even bystanders, but merely a hardened angry heart of hatred is more murderous that the one who reluctantly kills someone to protect another. John said it well: “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer…” 1 John 3:15. Thank you for respectfully adding to the discussion.

  7. I know for me I find this topic very interesting. I extremely enjoy firearms. I myself tried to conceal carry at one point and just felt to heavily convicted. In my studies Scripture does not really offer a clear black and white answer.
    For Luke 22 many scholars take the Greek of “sword” used here and believe it was highly likely “knife” could have been a correct translation: Which would fit with the list of everyday items that fit the theme of daily provision as Christ was addressing. This coupled with Scripture like Ephesians 6:12 or Matthew 10:28 lead me to take more of a passive view. I am not a pacifist due to Romans 13 when it comes to other focuses. So in whole I do not see a certain one way or the other. So I fall back on the logic of “What did Christ do, What did the disciples do? That’s probably your safe bet; and I just don’t see the justification of defense by lethal force being displayed in their lives.
    Additional line of thought I have discovered and find extremely Biblical is that I am not afraid to die for I know I will see heaven and not meet condemnation. But for the person (assaulter, murderer, rapist) harming me or others they are probably not right with God yet and Lord knows I didn’t deserve any breath I had so extending that grace God gave me when I was his enemy is the least I can do.
    I’m not saying don’t defend, I’m just highlighting “living by the sword” here. I acknowledge these are my own convictions and do not hold others to them even though I find them heavily Biblical.

    • Ryan, I commend you for having a tender heart and sensitive conscience. As I’ve written elsewhere, there are many reasons many sincere Christians fall on either side of this issue, so we should be respectful of each other. Either way, a true Christian, like you have said, does not fear death nor what man can do. I have coined the phrase self-less defense for precisely this reason. I don’t “carry” because I fear death. Paul said it is better to be absent from the body and present with the Lord! I “carry” to protect others: my wife, children, neighbors and even strangers from one-off criminal activity, mass shootings, and terrorist threats we all face today.

      While I am very concerned about the eternal state of the one harming others, I’m equally concerned about the multitudes of unbelievers being murdered by one unbelieving evildoer. Is it better to let one unbeliever (the shooter) live while he or she takes out 5, 10, or 20 unbelievers? I have come to the conviction that God would have us make these tough, messy decisions to save the non-agressors, even if one unbeliever dies as a consequence of their own decisions. The Bible is consistent in that we are commanded to step in to stop the oppressor (evildoers willfully acting against the innate Law of God, cf. Romans 1 & 2) that we might protect the innocent (those who are not trying to take another’s life). I think this is the primary reason other Christian’s would decide to carry: for the love of others.

      What would the apostles do? That’s a very good question. I have studied this at length because it IS important to understand the apostolic example. Having done so, I don’t think they provide any examples of how they dealt with common thieves, rapists, or murderers outside of persecution, which is another topic of this debate. Since we have Jesus appealing to the Law in how we should be loving our neighbors, and in the Law God allowed for and sanctioned lethally protecting your family from criminals, I don’t see God’s will changing in that fathers and mothers (all) are to protect those to whom the Lord has given to steward and keep safe. But I do respect your position and appreciate your reasoning. Thank you for your thoughtful response!

  8. I look at it like this…if I see a woman getting raped in an alley, I’m not gonna speak out and say “hey man, God bless you but you need to stop doing that.” I’m going to go over there, yank him off of her and commence to neutralizing the threat until it’s no longer a threat. If the dude had a knife or a gun, all the more reason to carry your own gun. No, I don’t carry to avenge myself or anyone else. I don’t carry to intimidate or extort anyone into doing anything. I carry to protect the sanctity of life and restrict evil if ever I’m put in that situation. As a christian I love all people to include people who would do evil. I can love them without being passive if it means stopping innocent people from becoming victims. I have a mandated responsibility from God to protect my wife and my children…I don’t carry just for my own protection…I carry to protect others.

    • Hi Dale, your question is important and something Christians need to answer before difficult situations present themselves. First, a Christ follower has an obligation to be as lawful a citizen as possible to show that we honor God. Both Paul (Romans 13:1-7) and Peter (1 Peter 2:13-17) speak clearly on this matter. In as much as possible, we should be model citizens.

      However, Christians also have an equally pressing obligation to protect the lives of those who are being abused, victimized, terrorized, oppressed, raped, beaten, and under threat of murder, to name a very few of the very real scenarios that everyday people are increasingly faced with. Furthermore, we have an obligation to protect ourselves so that we can continue to be stewards of those who are depending upon us, such as our spouses, our children, our aging parents… even our neighbors. And in keeping with Jesus’ rhetorical rebuke “Who is your neighbor?”, a faithful Christian even protects those we may not be familiar with but are in immediate danger or under threat of harm.

      So, to your question, what if authorities pass an executive order or law that leaves helpless or defenseless those we are obligated to love by stepping in to protect, what should a Christian do? What if those who would do bodily harm to your wife and children illegally carry lethal weapons and are out on the streets because of gross injustice perpetrated by the so-called Justice System? We can look to God’s Word and the example of the apostles. What did these faithful believers do when the authorities commanded them to stop saving lives by telling others about Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of sins by His blood? They even beat these God-loving and peaceful disciples of Christ. And for what? For risking their lives that others might be saved. So how did they respond?

      Acts 5: 27-31
      And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!” But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. [Emphasis added]

      But the most important question is this: were the authorities commanding a lawful or unlawful restriction? The apostles were very clear in this matter: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” Since the authorities were disobeying a higher authority, the apostles would be unlawful in obeying the authorities unlawful demands. In other words, a law that is unlawful before God is not a law. If earthly laws go against the laws of God, we are obligated to to what is right and what is good in God’s sight! Can man overrule God? Of course not. God is Lord of all! Jesus Christ is enthroned, King of kings, and is the One a Christian obeys. And someday, unrighteous and evil authorities will give an account of their ungodly deeds.

      So we must be sensitive to discerning the will of God through study and prayer. But we must obey God over man when man’s laws are in conflict with God’s laws. And we must do whatever is necessary to keep the commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves. We know that if someone was attacking or threatening to inflict bodily harm on us or our family, we would want someone to step in with a weapon to stop the evil-doer. We would want the defender(s) to have weapons more powerful than the criminals possess.

      So what can we do? Pray. Continue to pray for God’s intervention, for His righteousness. Then, make sure you do all you can do to protect yourself and your loved-ones. Train often, and educate yourself. Practically, you can get involved in voting in candidates who will fight to retain your God-given rights to keep and bear arms. You could also run for these offices yourself. And if someone tries to convince you that the authorities will protect you as they seek to remove your means of protection and self-defense, study recent and ancient history. And ask yourself how long it would take law enforcement to get to your house as someone is raping, shooting, abducting? Even most sheriffs urge citizens to keep a gun at home, learn how to use it, and be prepared to use it if someone threatens your life because they can’t get there in time.

      Remember Nazi Germany and ask yourself why so many Christians do nothing while guns were confiscated and then the Jews (and others) were exterminated.

      We must do what is right in God’s sight.

      Micah 6:8
      He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?


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