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Voting As a Christian: The Social Issues
The Protection of Life: Other Issues (Part 3)
The last subject that is discussed within chapter 3 “The Protection of Life” is the issue of self-defense and ownership of guns. In chapter 2 the author wrote on the issue of abortion, and continued into “the other issues” as he continued into chapter 3. The other issues, as discussed within this chapter, are based on euthanasia, capital punishment, and lastly self defense. Ultimately, what’s being asked is this: “Should governments prohibit private citizens from owning some or all kinds of guns?” This question is ever so more important due to the rise of gun crimes throughout the U.S.
In Matthew 5:38-39 Jesus tells His disciples to “turn the other cheek” if someone were to assault them. Many Christians believe that Christ is prohibiting self-defense, but in all actuality He isn’t. What Christ is prohibiting is the act of vengeance (as discussed in part 2), if we are to act on anyone’s accord it should be that of the Lord’s. 1 Samuel 19:10 describes how King Saul attacks David, instead of retaliating David fled from Saul at that exact moment. 2 Corinthians also shows Paul escaping danger without inflicting harm to anyone when he escapes King Aretas attempted capture. In Luke 4, John 8, and John 10 we also read of Jesus escaping attempt attacks instead of going into combat. Christ tells His disciples in Luke 22:36-38 that two swords are enough when He speaks of protection against robbers; in fact he encourages them to buy one (v.36). Though this does not mean that self-defense is permissible in all situations. For instance, when Peter had cut the ear of a servant to the high priest Christ said “Put your sword back into its place” (Matt. 26:52). Jesus did not want Peter to “advance the kingdom of God by force.” Grudem asks his readers: “Is it right for a person to use a weapon for self-defense?” The answer is yes, Jesus had told Peter “Put your sword back into its place” after cutting one of the high priest servants.
There are many cases that call for the use of a weapon; one could be for the protection of someone else in need. Another situation that calls for the use of a weapon is an “inequality in size or strength”. If an individual is being wrongfully attacked by anyone with an advantage, then it is justifiable. In the time of Christ a sword was the most accessible weapon available; would it still be moral if “other kinds of weapons” were used for self-defense? In some cases brandishing a gun can deter a person from committing a criminal act, the defendant could possible flee after seeing the weapon. Suppose that an elderly person who lived alone was experiencing a break-in, by having a gun he can better protect himself, all while chasing the defendant away. The author writes: “The requirement to act in love toward our neighbors, including even the intruder, implies that the least amount of force required to stop the attack should be used, resulting in least amount of physical harm to the intruder himself.”
With the rise of terrorism in this day and age it is vital that citizens not only have the right, but exercise the right to “bear arms”. Gun control doesn’t necessarily reduce gun-crime, if there was a law prohibiting guns in a city which required the turning in of all guns, would this make the city safer? No because it would be all the law abiding citizens to turn in their guns while the criminal remain with weapons. In other words, the weapons that are taken from the lawful citizens will be the same weapons that were used for protection against the criminals.
When the topics of guns come into play the 2nd Amendment does as well, as Grudem writes “The Second Amendment did not confer a new right but simply protect an ancient and basic human right: the right of self-defense. Many people object this amendment stating that it will just increase crime. In all actuality it can help reduce crime while also insuring our safety, and others also. Continue to uphold the Second Amendment and protect your right of self-defense and defend yourselves against the power of tyranny. The protection of life falls into the hands of our leaders, so as Christians we must stand up and speak out for the necessary rights.
1) Grudem asks “Should governments prohibit private citizens from owning some or all kinds of guns?” What do you think?
2) What did Christ mean when he said in Matthew 5:38-39, “turn the other cheek” How do Christians perceive this text?
3) When is it permissible to use a weapon?