On July 25, 1993, Azanian Peoples’ Liberation Army cadres attacked St. James Church in Cape Town, South Africa; I returned fire to protect innocent lives.
I have been criticized as having used the St. James attack to justify my personal theology – that Christians must defend themselves.
I argue that this is most definitely not my “personal theology” but is historically the theology of mainline Christianity. In fact, it is those who do not support the individuals’ right and responsibility to self-defense who are neglecting the theology of the Bible.
It is interesting to note that countries whose leaders have been influenced by biblical or Christian teachings and who have applied principles gleaned from the Bible into their socio-political structure have seen the right of protection, by means of weapons, as an unalienable right. It is a God-ordained right over which man has no say.
Would you be prepared to defend yourself and other innocents in a surprise attack? Find out what one courageous churchgoer did to protect others in the DVD: “Shooting Back: The Right and Duty of Self-Defense.”
A group of English Protestants of the 16th and 17th centuries, known as the Puritans, had a decisive role in influencing society. They believed that the Bible was applicable to all areas of life. In 1686, James II of England ordered the militia to search for and seize muskets and other guns. This proclamation was selectively used against the Protestants – he was Catholic.
England’s Parliament enacted the English Bill of Rights (1689). One of the main provisions of the bill was a guarantee of the right of citizens (including Protestants) to own arms for their personal defense, and not just for the common defense of the nation.
In 1630 many Puritans crossed the Atlantic to the New World. People seeking freedom from oppressive governments formed these settlements. They wanted to establish an ideal state based on biblical principles. Puritan morality and theology had a great impact on the culture of future generations.
Ultimately the American War for Independence resulted in the 1789 U.S. Constitution being adopted. This was followed in 1791 by its Bill of Rights. The Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights declares:
“A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed.”
When God blessed the children of Israel for their faithfulness, these blessings included a strong national defense and peace. An example of this is during the reign of Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 17). The Israelite army was a militia army; each soldier went to war with his own weapon. When Nehemiah rebuilt the walls and gates of Jerusalem, it is noted that even the servants of the Israelites were armed with their own swords.
The Old Testament of the Bible gives a concise historical record of the nation of Israel. It is interesting to note that under the reign of King Saul, the kingdom was lost to the Philistines. The Israelites were put into bondage by their victors. The Philistines would not allow them to have blacksmiths in Israel in case they made swords or spears. Visits to the Philistines had to be made to have their ploughshares, axes and sickles sharpened. This all happened as Israel turned away from God and wanted to be ruled by a man rather than God. (Read the account in 1 Samuel 13.)
When the Israelites were oppressed by the Philistines during the rule of the Judges, the Bible tells us that they chose new gods and when war broke out there were no spears or swords amongst 40,000 Israelites. The Bible links disarmament with the judgment of God.
In London in 1562 the whole clergy of the Church of England agreed upon the 39 Articles of Religion. Article 37 includes, “It is lawful for Christian men to carry weapons and serve in wars at the command of the civil ruler.”
David used a sling, the apostles of Jesus Christ had swords and David Livingstone carried a firearm. Many of the Christian reformers of the 15th century were men who carried and used weapons.
Countries that have been influenced historically by mainline Christianity and its belief in the right to own and use arms include England, Switzerland and the U.S. Red China, Nazi Germany and Rwanda come to mind as those who have chosen gun control as their agenda. Where would you rather live?
Christians have historically taught that weapon ownership for the common man is an unalienable right.
(Editor’s note: Charl van Wyk will be the guest speaker at the Virginia Citizens Defense League monthly membership meeting at the Mason Government Center, 6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale, VA 22003 on March 29, from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Fellowship begins at 7:30 p.m.)
Charl van Wyk is the author of “Shooting Back: The Right and Duty of Self Defense”.