Rob Schenck, a pastor who chairs the Evangelical Church Alliance, sent a strong message about gun control to fellow Christians, telling them in no uncertain terms in a Washington Post opinion piece those who profess a belief in Jesus should not own firearms.
His piece was bluntly titled, “I’m an evangelical preacher. You can’t be pro-life and pro-gun.” And that’s pretty much how the message went.
Yet other pastors say differently.
As Carl Gallups, author of “Be Thou Prepared: Equipping the Church for Persecution and Times of Trouble” and pastor of Hickory Hammock Baptist Church in Milton, Florida, said in an email to WND: “Christians not only have a right to defend themselves, but we also have a biblical responsibility to do so under normal, everyday circumstances,” even if those forms of defense include guns.
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But Schenck was steadfast in his view.
He first spoke of gun rights’ groups that advocate for even Christians to own guns, and said “for most of my adult life, I agreed” and “I agreed that we had a God-given right to defend ourselves.”
But then the scenes of gun violence changed his mind, he said.
“The gospel begins with God’s love for every human and calls on Christians to be more Christ-like,” he wrote, in the newspaper. “At no time did Jesus use deadly force. Although he once allowed his disciples to defend themselves with ‘a sword,’ that permission came with a limitation on the number of weapons they could possess.”
Schenck said he can understand those who want to buy guns, “especially after terrorist attacks,” but made clear: Christians ought not do this if they want to stay in line with biblical teachings.
But as Breitart pointed, Schenck’s view is conflicted, by both his own admission and a passage of Luke where Jesus says, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.”
So the news outlet’s assessment?
“So in the midst of a contention that Christians have no right to defend themselves with a gun, Schenck admits that Christ ‘once allowed his disciples to defend themselves with a sword’ and also suggests Christ posited one as the limit on the number of swords that could be owned,” Breitbart’s Awr Hawkins writes. “In other words, Schenck’s own proof text betrays him.”
Schenck also wrote in his column of the need to dismiss much of what the National Rifle Association advocates.
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“I disagree with my community’s wholesale embrace of the idea that anyone should be able to buy a gun,” he said. “For one thing, our commitment to the sanctity of human life demands that we err on the side of reducing threats to human life. And our belief in the basic sinfulness of humankind should make us skeptical of the NRA’s slogan, ‘the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.’ The Bible indicates that we are all bad guys sometimes.”
His column comes at the same time a mother of four children was forced to confront three armed home invaders in Ohio. The family’s lives were in danger until the mother grabbed her gun and opened fire on the intruders, ultimately killing one.
As Breitbart noted: “Would Schenck rather have seen the mother unarmed and left to the whims of the three invaders? What about the children?”
Gallups asked similarly, in his emailed statement.
He said: “Whether or not an individual Christian wants to own and/or carry a firearm is certainly their own choice. I do not advocate that every Christian arm themselves. However, to say the Bible or Jesus does not give us that choice is simply not doing justice to a contextual understanding of the scriptures.”
Gallups went on: “A Christian who says, ‘The Bible does not allow us to arm ourselves,’ I would ask this question: If a gang of thugs broke into your home tonight with the intent of destroying your life and brutalizing your small children, would you meet them at the door with milk and cookies and ‘turn the other cheek,’ or would you defend your little ones with your life and a weapon if you had one? I think the answer should be obvious. I beg Christians to not let radical political correctness to get the best of them in this issue. If God’s word forbid God’s people from defending themselves, Christians and Jews would have been exterminated 2,000 years ago.”