Rethinking Christian Gun Ownership

When I first became a Christian my orbit changed. I accepted the teachings of Christ with zeal and vigor. I was a new creation in Christ and I certainly enjoyed the privileges that came with my new found salvation. Political views changed simultaneously with the change in crowd.

As I started a fledgling walk with Christ, the thing I most remember about my early tutelage from the other men in the church was that along side the counsel to read the bible, pray, and meditate on the goodness of Christ, I was advised to follow an additional path. One I found strange, but accepted nonetheless. So many people told me the same thing that I melded these thoughts into my Christian theology.

“Buy Guns.” It was the mantra that I heard over and over again. It was soon to be followed up with the statement, “Stock pile ammo, you’ll need it when they come to get us”- I heard it everywhere. I didn’t think too much about it. I just did what every one else was doing- buying guns. It was exciting- I’d never owned a gun before, and it was kind of novel to have one. Over the next few years, I amassed a small arsenal, just like the ones my friends in the church had.

The funny thing is that my church was, and is to this day, filled with regular, normal people. There were no weirdoes, no freaks. What is it in Christian theology that lends to this type of thinking? Every church in America is permeated with this ideology- that we need to protect ourselves from the great evil, the revokers of the Second Amendment. Over the past decade, my thoughts moved from being in a constant frenzy over the gospel according to the National Rifle Association to the dust that had settled upon my gun collection. You know the ones that were supposed to protect my family when “they” came to get us.

I started to think about how “they” came to get Christ, and how he was led, as a lamb, to the slaughter. If Christ had followed through on Peter’s actions, I wonder where we would all be now. The gospel is filled with messages of peace, and yet these ideas of self protection have crept into our collective church thinking & popular theology.

This past month, I sold my guns. Strangely, I felt a burden leave my household, as the icons of personal preservation slipped from my grip. Today’s troubled world made the decision all the easier as threats become more pervasive, sinister, and harder to define. I don’t live under the law, as my Savior came to fulfill the law- Christ wasn’t hung on a cross because he said an “eye for an eye…” but rather “turn your other cheek”. By liquidating my gun cabinet and its contents, I transferred the protection of my family and of my rights to Jesus Christ. Believe me; my future is in far better a place in the hands of Christ than it would ever be in my own. It is when man charts his own course that he finds himself hopelessly lost in the quagmire that draws down the world.

How is it that the church is more unified on the issue of gun ownership than it is on the subjects of homosexual rights, or even abortion? Talk about the great commission to a room full of Christian men and we’ll (yes me included) mope around and state that it an issue best left to the evangelists in the crowd. Talk about the Second Amendment and we’ll (again me included) all be engaged in a passionate discussion.

Perhaps the greater issue is that the American church has gotten so far away from the true teachings of Christ that skewed ideals are more prominent than those that are scriptural. As we Christians struggle to preserve the way of life that our country was founded upon, I suggest that we jettison the millstones that keep us trapped in the bastions of our own power and follow the simple Gospel.

So I sold my guns. I’ve been told I’m now a subject rather that a citizen. If I hear again that I have forfeited my citizenship because I choose to trust in Christ rather than the trigger- I’ll puke.

Stephen A. McDonald

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