No Guns in Church!

Smith and Wesson may soon be joining your local church.

Locally in Charlotte, NC, the local NBC news affiliate has covered a story in which the pastor of New Outreach Christian Center, has announced their decision carry a firearm in church as a result of the deadly church shooting that recently happened in Charleston, SC.

Pastor Brenda Stevenson said from the pulpit:

"We need protection... I want them to know 'Have no fear. God is here,' but we got two more members. Smith, and Wesson."

As a patriotic American who supports the Second Amendment right to bear arms, there is a part of me that wants to say "Amen!"  But, I am troubled by such a feeling, as I know it conflicts with the Holy Spirit, who tells me that pastor Brenda Stevenson and what she is thinking is wrong.

It's wrong because it's fundamentally out of step with the teachings of Jesus.  Such a thought might be fully American, but it is not exactly Christian.

Jesus taught us not to be afraid, for He is with us.  Jesus taught us that those who live by the sword will die by the sword.   Jesus taught us that instead of taking up our right to bear arms, we need to take up our cross.  Jesus taught us that though we die, we will yet live again.

As a people who believe that Jesus Christ was crucified, buried, and rose again, I simply don't see how in good conscience we can even think about arming ourselves for the purpose of self-defense.

The idea of being shot to death is a terrifying one.  It actually happens, and we see it play out in the news every day.  But as a people who believe that death doesn't have the final answer, and that though we die, Jesus Christ will come again and raise us back to life one day, we should accept the real possibility that somebody might actually violently kill us one day.  And, instead of seeking to preserve our lives, we need to be a people who are always ready to give our lives.  Even if that means falling prey to a world full of madmen.

The late Art Katz used to frequently say, "You are far too American" in his preaching. And in instances such as these, I cannot help but think time and time again how right he was.

We would rather be American than Christian.  And the idea of packing heat in a church service betrays everything I know about being a Christian and shows where our heart and our thinking really is.  It is fundamentally wrong, and grounded in the thinking that rules this world.

But sadly, many of us can't see it, because our values more align with the stars and stripes than it does the cross of Jesus Christ.  And in the process, we lose the opportunity to be a powerful prophetic voice to our generation, and be like those saints who gave their lives in the church shooting in Charleston, SC.

Let us refuse to take up arms.  Let us be willing to give our lives as a people who believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, knowing that as He lives, so too shall we one day.

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