The angst around “gun control” among many of my fellow Christian friends honestly amazes me. But let me start by stating clearly that I don’t have a problem with a Christian owning a gun or guns.
Let me also state that I understand all of the arguments from those against gun control legislation and some of them do seem to make sense from a logical standpoint.
However, what doesn’t make sense to me is the implied advocacy for violent resistance among some of my Christian friends.
I am continually surprised by the apparent obsession with the issue of gun control in some of the evangelical*** community. This phenomenon of speaking out against gun control is even more stark when it is compared to other important social issues that aren’t spoken about as nearly as often or as fervently within the evangelical community.
But that is another topic all its own.
Some of the social media posts I’ve seen by Christians I know personally have implied, or even directly stated that one of the reasons for owning guns is to protect personal freedom, as per the second amendment and the implication of certain statements by our founding fathers.
I think I would agree that there is a strong argument for thinking that many of the founding fathers saw the private ownership of guns partially as a safeguard against governmental tyranny. Private access to weapons was at least a small factor that contributed to success in the American Revolution.
But my question is, “Why do Christians see the ownership of guns as a potential safeguard against tyranny?”
When Christians imply that the ownership of weapons is a safeguard against tyranny they, by correlation, seem to be implying that violent resistance or even violent revolution is an appropriate way to combat governmental tyranny.
To be sure, our country was established partly through violent resistance to the British Monarchy and Parliament, which were perceived by some colonists as tyrannical and despotic. This reality is certainly a part of our American history and culture.
But should violent resistance to the government be part of the Christian heritage?
I want to be clear as to what my main point is. I’ll start with what my point is NOT.
My point is NOT that it is not okay for a Christian to own guns.
My point is NOT that it is not okay for Christians to defend their family against violence.
My point is NOT even that there is absolutely no such concept as a “just war”.
These are all great topics for another discussion, but they have little to do with the intended focus of the point I’m making here.
So, the essential point is that I have noticed some of my Christian friends implying their support for the idea that the private ownership of guns-based on the second amendment-is a proper safeguard against tyranny from the government.
The implication then is that these Christians also believe that violent resistance-apparently with their guns-is an appropriate Christian response to governmental tyranny. Violent resistance is certainly a part of our American heritage.
But is the advocacy of violent resistance against governmental tyranny congruent with the teachings of Jesus Christ?
I think you would be hard-pressed to find that to be the case.
***It certainly isn’t only evangelical Christians who have presented this viewpoint, however this is the group I want to address because I’ve been so surprised by the seemingly one-sided view and I desire to offer a differing view. This is largely because I have yet to notice a differing view among my particular group of evangelical acquaintances.