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Jesus, Guns, and Self-Defense: What Does the Bible Say?

Jesus, Guns and Self Defence

A Good Read by Gary DeMar: Good Christian? Bad Christian? It all depends on who’s doing the evaluating. “Authentic Christianity” includes the whole Bible. Being loving, peaceful, just and generous, and self-giving do not nullify our responsibility to be prepared with a good “self-defense” strategy if we are ever confronted with a San Bernardino type situation. Being armed and willing to defend ourselves, our family, and our neighbors is not being unchristian or even unloving.

Self-defense can go a long way to protect the innocent from people who are intent on murder for whatever reason.

How “self-giving” should Christians in Paris or San Bernardino have been when confronted with the worst kind of human evil? Would it have been more “self-giving” by dying at the hands of murderers or would it have been more loving to stop those who were pumping bullets into people?

There’s Jesus’ injunction to “turn the other cheek” (Matt. 5:38-39). Jesus does not say to keep turning your cheek. His message is about not escalating the situation. There’s quite a difference between slapping someone across the face and someone wanting to take a baseball bat to your head or the head of your wife and/or children. Self-defense is a biblical option in such cases.

Consider this passage from biblical case law:

“If the thief is caught while breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account. But if the sun has risen on him, there will be bloodguiltiness on his account. He shall surely make restitution; if he owns nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft” (Ex. 22:2-3).

The homeowner can assume that someone breaking into his house at night has nothing but bad intentions. He may be armed or not. The homeowner does not have to ask any questions to find out. The homeowner can respond by striking the intruder “so that he dies.” If this happens, even if the attempt was only theft (unknown to the home owner), the homeowner is cleared of all guilt in the thief’s death.

Daytime is a different story because the victim can make a better assessment of intent. If two people enter a building with AR15s and other weapons, killing these people before they kill you and others is the right thing to do. Being loving, peaceful, just and generous, and self-giving do not apply. To put it simply, there’s no time.

In another passage, Jesus is teaching by analogy:

“When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own homestead, his possessions are undisturbed. But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder” (Luke 11:21).

A fully armed strong man is a deterrent to a thief. It’s the fact that the strong man is armed that protects the potential thief from being harmed. Another strong man will think twice about ever trying to rob or harm someone who is armed.

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