It’s not always easy to be a Christian in America, as award-winning journalist Cheryl Chumley knows.
“Christianity of course is under attack in this nation,” Chumley said in an interview. “If you dispute that, then you’re just not paying attention to what’s going on, and you have your head in the sand. If you look anywhere in the news on a daily basis, you will see examples of Christianity under attack.”
The examples seem to be on the increase: College students have been ordered to remove cross necklaces, college football teams have been forced to remove Christian cross decals from their helmets and LGBT activists have attempted to force all Christian universities to allow transgender athletes to compete on their sports teams
And yet while those expressions of Christianity were deemed unseemly, middle-school students have received “Fifty Shades of Grey” word search puzzles containing sexually explicit terms.
It’s not happening only to students. Chumley, a WND staff writer and author of “The Devil in DC: Winning Back the Country from the Beast in Washington,” pointed to a couple of prominent examples of the war on Christian expression.
“If you look at what happened to the Kentucky court clerk (Kim Davis) who just didn’t want to sign off on gay marriages because it went against her Christian beliefs and the chaos that befell and what she suffered – Christianity is under attack,” Chumley said.
“If you look at what happened in the Supreme Court just recently, granting gays the right to marry, as if that was something the American people actually voted for and wanted all across our nation – Christianity is under attack. So to dispute the fact that Christianity is under attack is denying the reality of what our nation is facing right now.”
Of course, Christians face far worse types of persecution overseas.
The most recent reminder came on Easter Sunday, when a suicide bomber in Pakistan targeted Christians in Lahore, killing 69 people and injuring more than 340 others. According to Open Doors USA, more than 7,000 Christians were killed because of their faith last year, almost 3,000 more than the previous year.
With Christians facing danger all around the world, should they arm themselves? Many Christian leaders have argued Christians should shun the use of guns. For example, leading evangelical preacher Rob Schenck argued in a Washington Post opinion piece that Christians should embrace stricter gun controls because “you can’t be pro-life and pro-gun.”
But Chumley, who is a Christian, has doubts about such a view.
“If you’re an innocent person in your home and you have an intruder who’s carrying a gun and is going to do harm to, say, your daughter, and you have a gun in your bedroom, are you supposed to stand by and let that intruder kill your daughter?” Chumley asked. “Is that something that Jesus wants? I don’t think so; I think the Bible is compatible with the Second Amendment, and it’s compatible with Christian Americans owning weapons for self-defense.”
Charl van Wyk fully understands the importance of Christian gun ownership. In 1993, he was in the congregation of St. James Church in Cape Town, South Africa, when terrorists burst in loaded up with shrapnel-coated grenades and automatic weapons.
The terrorists killed 11 people almost immediately in the congregation of about 1,000. But Van Wyk, sitting only a few rows from the back, pulled out his snub-nose .38 revolver and fired two shots at the attackers. They soon fled the scene in a vehicle. One of the terrorists whom Van Wyk hit later admitted their intention was to kill as many people as they could.
Van Wyk, who chronicled his experience in the book and video “Shooting Back: The Right and Duty of Self-Defense,” told WND the civil authorities can’t always be there to protect innocent people at the right time, which is why Christians need to take defense into their own hands.
“The state cannot be everywhere all the time,” said Van Wyk, whose Christian mission work focuses on Africa. “You cannot have a policeman at every home looking after it, and so the initial response is on our side. The state’s response is the whole idea of justice. They can only clean up afterwards and punish those who have done wrong. But if somebody enters your home with a gun, the only person who can defend the home from somebody attacking with a gun is a good guy with a gun, and so the homeowner needs to protect his family.”
The Bible is entirely compatible with the use of guns and other weapons for defense, according to Van Wyk. He pointed to Exodus 22, which tells God’s people they may avoid guilt for striking a fatal blow to a thief who breaks in at night. He also cited Proverbs 25:26, which reads, “Like a muddied spring or a polluted well are the righteous who give way to the wicked.
“We’re not called to be doormats,” Van Wyk asserted. “We need to protect the innocent and we need to stand up for righteousness and truth, and those are areas that we sometimes struggle in as Christians because we often prefer cowardice to Christianity and standing up for righteousness and showing our love to others by protecting them.
“So it’s not just a matter of having a right to self-defense; it’s a responsibility we as Christians have, and whether you’re going to use a baseball bat or a firearm, either way we need to protect the innocent.”
Carl Gallups, a prominent Baptist pastor and radio host, said he disagrees whenever anyone tries to tell him owning a firearm is “not the Christian thing to do.”
“The right to defend one’s own life and/or to protect those around you who are depending upon your intervention in the advent of extreme danger is a God-given right and God-expected responsibility,” Gallups told WND.
“Evil is real,” Gallups said. “Satan’s desire to utterly destroy the people of God is real as well. It was for this reason that Nehemiah, while doing God’s Kingdom work of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, ordered his men to arm themselves and to guard the gates with the ‘firearms’ (bows, spears, swords) of their day (Neh. 4).”
It’s not just the Old Testament that condones the use of weapons, he said.
“In the New Testament, we find Jesus himself instructing his disciples (Luke 22:36) to ‘buy a sword,'” Gallups noted. “The indisputable context of that passage was that Jesus was telling His closest followers that they may need to defend their lives, and the lives of their families, in the tough days ahead after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.”
The pastor assured WND that owning and carrying a gun is a matter of personal preference, and he has no problem if some Christians feel uncomfortable with guns and choose not to own them. But he made it clear that gun use is fully compatible with the Bible and Christian faith.
“The Scriptures are full of admonitions for believers to prepare themselves, and to provide for their families and loved ones,” Gallups said. “Of course, a huge part of making ‘provisions’ for yourself and your family or church family is to be prepared to adequately protect yourself and those innocent ones around you in the event of an attempted deadly assault. To claim that the Bible does not ‘allow’ Christians to protect themselves, by whatever legal and available means necessary, is patently absurd and untrue.”
And Christians should own guns not merely because they are Christian, but because they are American citizens with Second Amendment rights, according to Chumley. She asserted the Second Amendment was created to allow citizens to protect themselves from an intrusive, overbearing government.
“Right now in Washington, D.C., I have no doubt there are politicians who would run even more roughshod over Americans’ God-given rights if the Second Amendment wasn’t intact as it is,” Chumley said. “And that right there is the whole reason for the Second Amendment, is to send a subtle, or maybe not-so-subtle message to politicians: ‘Hey, we’re armed. So don’t come in my house and don’t send police knocking on my door or barging into my home because I have weapons that are lawfully granted.'”