In the wake of the shameful growing legacy of mass shootings in America, one of the saddest realizations, is that the loudest, most vehement voices championing the cause of weapons of brutality—have come from professed Evangelical Christians.
The cognitive dissonance of supposed followers of Jesus choosing the side of violence and opposing the movement of mercy is staggering, exceeded only by the contention that Jesus says they can pack heat.
It’s nonsense and heresy and it’s a full bastardization of his life and ministry.
There simply aren’t any theological gymnastics wild enough to make it work.
Not with the Jesus who preached that those following in his footsteps would turn the other cheek to violence.
Not with the Jesus who spoke of the blessed nature of the peacemakers.
Not with the Jesus whose benevolence and lack of force were ever-present.
Gun-loving Jesus followers love to point to a passage in the Gospel biography written by Luke, where Jesus speaks about his impending unlawful arrest by Roman soldiers and instructs them to “bring a sword.”
This, they claim is their God-given gun license.
The problem is, they stop reading at this point, close the book—and run to their gun shows and NRA rallies.
They fail to stick with the same story for a couple of paragraphs; when the Romans arrive, and one of Jesus’ students named Peter, takes out one of said swords, and cuts off a soldier’s ear. Jesus verbally tears into Peter, heals the solider’s ear, and tells those with him that this will not be their way.
He then allows himself to be taken into custody, beaten, and ultimately murdered by his captors.
This is the full story, and it is bad news for those wanting to be cowboys.
This narrative isn’t helpful for the gun-toting followers of Jesus.
This narrative doesn’t give them a God who consents to their weapon-lust.
This narrative doesn’t let them have Jesus and NRA membership at the same time.
This narrative actually tells them to drop their weapons and to beat them into plowshares, and to be those who live differently than the fear-bringers.
Christians straining to hold on to their guns, talk about the story of Jesus fashioning a whip to drive money lenders out of the temple, as some half-baked gun blessing—which again is such a perversion of the story that it would be laughable if it weren’t resulting in so many dead school students two thousand years later.
Jesus chases the corrupt people out of the temple because they are profiting from the manipulation of religion. Jesus is driving out the modern-day NRA lobbyists, corrupt politicians, and religious hypocrites. He is running the vipers off and they are the vipers. (And by the way, he doesn’t kill or strike any of them in the process.)
This is why people outside Christianity think that followers of Jesus picking up the cause of tools of mass murder and rapid carnage is a blasphemous disconnect—because it is.
They’re seeing it all perfectly clearly.
They can see people trying desperately to make God in their own fearful, insecure, bullying image, and they reject it all.
They know enough about Jesus to know that his finger would never be on a trigger—and there’s simply no way to get around that.
In a last-gasp attempt to hold Jesus at gunpoint, these folks love to quote him talking in Matthew’s Gospel about his mission, “not to bring peace, but a sword.”
Again, they desperately want those words, but not their context or their intention. Jesus is speaking about the way his teachings will cause turbulence between people; the way interpersonal conflict will arrive when they endeavor to do his work of love, compassion, and justice: that it will drive a wedge, it will cause a rift—it will bring a sword. He isn’t saying he wants us to lay waste to our family members. He isn’t saying he came to bring people to hand-to-hand combat. (Yes, gun advocate Christians actually try to go here, to this ridiculous place.)
Those professing to take such words literally, may also be prepared to gouge their eyes out for looking at a woman lustfully—though I imagine this would leave a vast army of blind faithful folks in churches this coming Sunday.
No Christian, Jesus wants no part of your gun lust. He wants nothing to do with your seething nationalism and your 2nd Amendment shield and your tough guy bravado behind a trigger.
He told you to love your enemies.
He told you to turn your cheek.
He told you not to resist an evil person.
He told you to be foot washers and wound binders and compassion givers.
He told you to care for the least and to feed the poor and to welcome the refugee.
That is what he said clearly.
You can love your guns.
You can open carry in department stores.
You can champion the cause of assault weapons.
You can cover your bumper in tough guy propaganda.
You can oppose any sensible gun regulations.
You can glory in your amassed arsenal.
You can do nothing while thousands of people die every year in America.
Just don’t try and pretend Jesus is okay with it.
He weeps at it all.
And so do those of us who realize it.
126 thoughts on “No, Christian, Jesus Didn’t Say You Can Have Your Guns”
Thank you! Tired of gun loving Christians and their idiotic stance on gun control. They are simply interested in conforming the Bible into their likeness and not the other way around.
Jesus never said anything. Just a whole lot of people who never lived during his time pass on what they want him to have said.
This is by far one of my favorite writings from John. It expresses what I, and many followers of our Savior, Jesus Christ have been thinking.
I think much of what you say is true. Christian theology does not support the attitudes that I see some Christians have about guns.
I do perceive your bias going towards to other extreme. That guns are the problem. I don’t think guns are the problem. The real problem is man. Mankind is under the conditions of the fall (including many Christians who are spiritually immature). If it were possible to absolutely and effectively banish and destroy every gun in existence, the problem would not be changed. People don’t seem understand that we as Christians believe the problem is not some external tool or weapon; the problem is sin. This problem is not solved by insignificant issues, like gun banishment. The problem is only solved by what Jesus did on the cross and the new creature in Christ that salvation brings.
Cain had no gun, but he was infected by the real issue. Gun violence is just a symptom of the disease. We don’t get well by treating the symptoms, though that appears to be the popular treatment in our contemporary culture. We would rather take a pill to lower our blood pressure, than to curb our overeating and lose weight.
Generally speaking, I don’t fear Christians who like their guns, because they try to follow the law (even though some of their attitudes towards gun ownership is not a Christian attitude). Those following the laws are not the problem. It’s those who have no respect for the law that I fear. They are irresponsible. They have no regard for the sanctity of life. I think these people are willing to break any gun laws we make, to prevent them from legally possessing a firearm. Chicago would be a good example of this paradigm. Very strict gun laws which the law abiders follow. However these law breakers disregard the laws and cause a staggering lose of life by firearms.
I don’t have guns for self-defense. As a Christian, I don’t think I could kill someone and I wouldn’t want to harm even my enemies. I dislike all the violent movies and TV shows from Hollywood. I think it is hypocritical for those actors portray the kinds of roles and then stand against gun ownership.
I do think sport shooting is fun and has many benign benefits. those who follow the law deserve to have the benefits of gun ownership and should not be shamed because they want to preserve their rights.
Here’s another example of a low testosterone male scrambling to find support for their preconceived notions. See an Endocrinologist, honey. You will feel better and may even become a man.
Wonderfully said! Be encouraged there are other Christ followers who beleive the same as you!
So, you just got everything wrong in this post. Jesus did in fact, instruct his followers to own assault weapons. The sword was the assault weapon of its day – it wasn’t used to butter your toast or work in the garden – it was meant to kill people. Jesus said you should own one.
Not all Christians are required to be prepared to defend the koinonia, but some must be. Every sheep dog guards many sheep. That’s why Jesus said that three swords were enough for his 12 disciples. But someone must be prepared to defend the flock.
By the way, do you think the disciples found these swords on the way to the to the Mount of Olives? Do you suppose they were just lying there in the garden and the disciples happened to notice them as Jesus gave his command? Or is it more likely (and it is) that three of the disciples had carried them for some time, and Jesus was OK with that?
Carrying a weapon and being prepared to defend oneself and others is not “choosing the way of violence”. You can disparage those who take the Lord’s instruction seriously – but you deny Christ if you do.
I’m sorry John, but your exegesis sucks. Still, thank you for playing.
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