Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Biblical Response to "It's Not Christian" to Arm Yourself by Carrying a Concealed Weapon

John Piper recently wrote an article entitled Should Christians Be Encouraged to Arm Themselves?. I really respect the tone and content of Piper's article. He wrote in response to Jerry Falwell Jr., President of Liberty University, who recently said his university campus would be safer if the students were armed, and went on to encourage students to obtain conceal carry permits. I understand completely the position Piper is taking.

Piper's article has been shared by numerous friends of mine who agree with Piper's nine biblical reasons for why a Christian should not carry a weapon. Their views are not too dissimilar from Pope Francis who said, "Those who manufacture or sale weapons cannot call themselves Christians." This issue is often divisive among Christians.

My response to Christian's arming or not arming themselves is similar to my take on whether the consumption of beer or wine is permissable, or whether the Bible allows women in positions of church leadership, or other controversial issues within evangelical, Bible-believing circles. I understand both sides, and do not believe I'm called to convince others of their "error" unless someone begins saying "It's not Christian" to hold a particular view.

Thus, this article.

We who follow Jesus are called to be prepared to give a reason for our beliefs and behaviors, grant grace and freedom to those who disagree, and continue to live life based on our understanding of New Testament biblical principles. In short, it's important for me to accept unconditionally those who disagree, which is the empowering relationship principle of grace, and yet be personally unconcerned with whether or not people accept me, which is the practical implication of understanding Christ's personal and eternal full acceptance of me.

With that in mind, I'll give you the Biblical principle which grants me the freedom (from my perspective) to obtain a concealed weapons permit and carry a concealed handgun. Remember, I'm not trying to convince anyone else that the Spirit is leading them to do what I've done. I'm only sharing with you the biblical basis by which I carry a concealed weapon.

Romans 13:4 is specific:
"For (government authority) is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for (government authority) is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil."
Back in the day - before the invention of firearms - the sword was the best and most effective weapon against evil doers. Government authorities are ordained by God to stop evil through force.

The United States Constitution is also specific:
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
The United States is not an aristocracy, nor a monarchy - We the People form the government. Our Founding Fathers made it very clear that the People of the United States were the highest authority in the newly established country. God makes nations, but the people of this nation (the United States) are the authority behind the government. Listen to the Founding Fathers:
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are … endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…. That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men…. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. … Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Declaration of Independence (1776).
It was for this purpose that the Second Amendment was established - guaranteeing the right of the People of the United States to "keep and bear arms."

Contrary to almost every other nation in the world, the People of the United States of America are the highest authority and have the right and duty to abolish their government and form a new government to provide "new Guards for the nation's future security and to provide for the common defense." I arm myself as a citizen of the United States of America. I am the government.

I have often worked through my mind whether or not I would give my life for the good news and gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a question that I take seriously. Would I allow myself "to be burned at the stake," or to "have my head chopped off" because I refuse to deny Christ? Answer: Of course. I'm ready to die, and will never be ashamed to die for Christ. I will not deny Him in order to live.

However, I live in America. And as long as our founding documents remain, and the citizens of the United States are called the highest authority in the land, then I will hold a concealed weapons permit and carry a concealed weapon. I will not hesitate to use it if I'm in a mall and someone opens fire on innocent bystanders, or I'm in a movie theater and someone opens up on American moms and dads and children, or I'm in any other public forum and evil doers seek to do harm on citizens of the United States.

I'm a Baptist by conviction, so I believe in the separation of church and state. As a member of my state, I will arm myself to insure domestic tranquility and provide for the common defense. As a member of the church, I will be willing to die for Christ. But as long as I'm an American, I will defend the right of all Americans, even American Christians who give primary allegiance to the New Testament, to arm themselves if they so desire.

I realize John Piper's problem with Jerry Falwell is that Falwell was encouraging other Christians to arm themselves as American citizens. However, Piper does precisely what Falwell did; he's encouraging Christians in America not to arm themselves.

I'm doing what neither man has done. I'm telling you to follow the Spirit and do as He leads. As a Christian who lives in America, I do not have one stab of conviction from the Spirit of God that carrying a concealed weapon is wrong from a New Testament perspective. Were I to live in another country, say Germany, then maybe I'd rethink what I'm doing.

But I don't live in Germany. I live in America. I carry a concealed weapon as a follower of Jesus Christ who loves my country and the principles upon which it was founded. In America, citizens are the authority mentioned in Romans 13:4, and we "do not carry the sword (weapon) in vain."


Debbie Kaufman said...

My problem is that with the mob mentality among Christians that all Muslims are terrorists, there is going to be a mob mentality with guns given to people who are going to end up murdering innocent non-violent Muslims and not just to get rid of terrorists, since to them all Muslims are terrorists.

Falwell's statement was in my opinion, not right, and encouraged this mob mentality. It's going to lead to more disaster in this country. If one can carry and use their head, I don't have a problem. But I predict that is not going to be the case as more and more Amen Trump's statements. Or Jeffries statements.

Wade Burleson said...

In my experience, Debbie, those who are licensed to carry are responsible citizens. I do appreciate your concerns - and they are legitimate, but the alternative (disarming American citizens) in my opinion, is far worse than dealing with the bad apples who should be in jail for irresponsibly firing a weapon.

Christiane said...

There is a 'fearfulness' in the land that was not there in past years. If responsible people are legally allowed to arm themselves, and they treat the weapons with respect (keeping them out of the reach of little ones), it is our American right to do so.

Christians fight against the ancient evil using the weapons described in sacred Scripture . . . but that is a spiritual warfare, perhaps more dangerous and more 'real' than the world of guns and knives . . .

as to those who fan the flames of fearfulness, there is enough of evil loose in the world to keep them in business, but in our Christian world, we first seek the protections from evil that are provided to us by the mercy of God

I think Debbie is right about the atmosphere of fear that threatens our Muslim citizens. I believe that, as Christians, we must defend our law-abiding Muslim brothers and sisters against those who would harm them as a result of the fanning of the flames of hatred by certain entities. To be a Christian means that we stand with the innocent in solidarity.

Experience242 said...

Muslims are not our brothers and sisters. They do not Follow the one true God. They follow a msn made up god called Allah. Muslims are also commanded to practice the deception of their true beliefs toward non Muslims. Don't be fooled by them.

Wade Burleson said...


A Muslim may not be a brother in Christ, but many are fellow citizens of the United States of America.

That's why, were I at a mall and some religious nut opened fire on my Muslim American fellow citizens, I would not hesitate to protect my fellow Americans (Muslims) and put my life in danger on their behalf.

Of course, the reverse is true as well. If a Muslim jihadist opened fire on my fellow Americans, I would do the exact same thing for the common defense of Americans.

Bob Cleveland said...

Christiane's right; there is indeed a "fearfulness" in America, today. And I do not recall it in years past, at least not since WWII .. I do recall Air Raid drills and blackouts and rationing ... or the days immediately following, when Russia had The Bomb, and we knew it.

In fact, it was the last thing which God used to bring salvation to me ... Lying in bed at night and hearing the faint drone of bombers overhead (they were our B-36's, but we didn't know it) got me thinking of, and afraid of, dying.

I too have a concealed carry permit. And I'm about to find a new home for my S&W #13, which has only fired about 40 rounds since 1976, so I can get one that conceals & carries more easily. Unlikely as it may be, I don't want to be sitting in church or standing in a marketplace and be that poor guy who wishes he'd brought his weapon. Which he had specific permission to do.

Anonymous said...

I am a CC holder. I carry. I am not against defending yourself at all. Not against guns. But I just wish more Christian leaders were calling for churches to reach Muslims. Maybe if churches would seek to take the gospel to Muslim's here in America we would not even be having this conversation. How great would it have been if Falwell Jr. would have told the 10,000 convocation students to take the gospel to the street instead of a gun.

Nik Ripken states that we are having to fight wars in places where the church has refused to take the gospel for the past 100 years. Maybe if we send missionaries we will not have to send soldiers?

We have a partnership 10 miles from Syria reaching refugees. I sat last summer and spoke to several refugee families about their escape from Syria. They want something different than Islam. They were hungry to hear about Jesus. They are open to the gospel. Yet few churches are seeking to take it to them. Meanwhile we are bringing home 600 missionaries from strategic places and Falwell's challenge is for more guns? Something is screwed up.

Wade Burleson said...


You make a great point. However, the conversation in America (at least right now) is on national security, not the gospel.

There will come a time - I believe this with all my heart - when the people of America will be calling for taking the good news of Jesus Christ and the dignity of human life, created in God's image, to people in all countries. You are absolutely correct. It is ultimately the gospel that is the solution for the world's ills.

I understand your point is that evangelical leaders MUST put a priority on the gospel. I do not disagree.

However, a priority on the gospel does not necessarily mean American citizens should be forbidden from carrying guns in a climate where evil is blossoming. Government carries a sword to stop evil doers. We have to understand we citizens of America do double duty - citizens of a country and citizens of an eternal Kingdom. The latter has priority for me, but the a priori nature of the Kingdom does not negate a secondary responsibility as a citizen of a nation.

God makes the nations.

Wade Burleson said...

An interesting comment on a Facebook comment regarding my post - from John:

"As a Christian I totally agree. Years ago I was put in a place where I had to use deadly force to protect my aircraft and everyone on it, I did my job to the best o my ability. I hope to never to have to use a weapon against anyone again, it's hard to live with. But, to defend others as well as myself I know I am prepared to do so to the death."

Those words, in my experience, represent the spirit and solemnity of American gun owners. Thanks, John.

Unknown said...

We are in a fallen world. Were it not the case we would not be having this conversation.

As a carry concealed man who has spent a majority of his life in the military I have been a student of such things on large and small scales. In the simplest terms there are wolves, there are lambs and there are sheepdogs. Many may well have heard this before and immediately understand the imagery and what each represents. It is not a position of arrogance with which I say I hold the position of a sheepdog, nor should I hold an attitude of judgment on those who would be sheep (in this case meaning very peaceful people who would rather not engage this way) I understand many of the reasons why. But I have made a specific and purposeful choice.

In choosing to be of the sheepdog clan (as it were) I am also aware of the increased responsibility that comes with it. Training, knowledge of use of force in situations, de-escalation techniques and more should all be part of the repertoire of a person standing in that clan. While I fully respect and believe in the right of any under our republican form of government to have and to carry a firearm I do believe that this is a minimum you SHOULD do as an honorable citizen displaying care and due regard for all others.

Then there is the hardest part. The choice to engage or not. A decision that should be made long before one would do so. If not done long before you will most likely place yourself in a position you are not prepared for and the end result worse than imagined. My door is locked at night, I have made the purposeful choice in that for the protection of...OTHERS. I am not worried about me or my family. I have already made a choice and if your choice is to come through that door I know what I will do. This is in no way shape or form a rote approval of violence, killing or anything else. It is the required thought process for the fallen world we live in that may or may not require my engaging.

I am very fearful of having to take a life, not in that I would not do so, as I said I have made a choice already, but in living with the fact that someone had to die in the first place. Regardless of being right in any situation I still, like I believe Jesus wants me to be, feel deeply for that person. I would find myself living and second guessing, but I am overcome with the fact that the innocent has the right of that self-protection. While Jesus did say turn to the other cheek He never one time said you are to be a door mat for others to wipe their feet on or to be murdered.

I also disagree with constant braying of the left in this nation fabricating and constantly advertising the false narrative that all who are like me see ALL Muslims as terrorists. It could not be more false. However, that MUST be promoted by them because it fits their anti-gun narrative as painting all such owners (85+ million of them) as hapless reactionary red-necks itching for a fight.

God wants us to live in peace and harmony with each other. We ought to try and do that at every opportunity. It does not mean that it will happen. Having lived in a foreign land with desperation driving many in so many places I understand how many default to the gun. Its not my primary reaction folks...neither is it that of millions like me.

Unknown said...

5 Star Comment, Dave Panzera.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Wade. You present a strong argument. I do concur with your thoughts. Further, I an reminded that Jesus instructed his disciples to sell a shirt and buy a sword (Luke 22:36)because society turned from hospitable to hostile. There is a war not of flesh and blood but there is also a war beyond the spiritual. This battle is not initiated against US because of the gOspel but because of our Judeo-Christian based Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Ramesh said...

I understand Wade's logic of carrying heat, though for me I would not want to do it. There are other sides to this issue. As in addressing the paronia in settler colonial cultures here are two short posts of Chomsky ...

Noam Chomsky: Zombies are the new Indians and slaves in white America’s collective nightmare

Oppression is not a law of nature

Also most of the gun culture appears to be only for whites. Hard to imagine a mass movement of colored doing open carry or even concealed carry.

Given how the police are similar to RoboCops and how they shoot and tase people even in unthreatening situations, hard to imagine people carrying guns resisting the police let alone the US military and its death machines that can kill a person around the globe and simultaneously monitoring all their thoughts, social interactions via all electronic media. Hard to imagine anyone resisting them with guns.

My personal view is a pen and a sharp mind are better instruments to combat oppressive governments. More in the line of satire and humour to make oppressive governments look silly. That hurts them more than wounds caused by weapons.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Dave Panzera: I really like your statement and agree except for one paragraph: " I also disagree with constant braying of the left in this nation fabricating and constantly advertising the false narrative that all who are like me see ALL Muslims as terrorists. It could not be more false. However, that MUST be promoted by them because it fits their anti-gun narrative as painting all such owners (85+ million of them) as hapless reactionary red-necks itching for a fight."

I am sure the Left is using this for their own political gain, but it's statements like Steven Paul has made that perpetuates the narrative and so maybe it's not so false. If more would state it as you and Wade have, I could relax and agree. I want to be protected against evil and am glad to have someone with a concealed weapon to protect us, I won't lie about that. But I also don't want the bloodshed and atrocities that our country's history is famous for as far back as our beginning to the present during wartime. Racism and xenophobia being the reason.

Wade Burleson said...


I understand where you are coming from in your concerns, and I share them. I do not wish to speak for Dave, but I also see what he is saying in that there seems (and I emphasize the word "seems") to be an agenda from folks who hold a particular political view to rid this country of guns - using straw man arguments as their reasoning. The straw man argument they use is that "guns cause crime," and as both you and I know (as well as Dave), it isn't the gun that causes the crime, it's the heart behind the hand that holds the gun that is the root of all evil in our country. Responsible gun owners, like Dave Panzera and myself, would no more think about pulling out a gun to hurt an innocent person than a doctor would pull out a scalpel to kill an innocent bystander. A gun is a tool, and in places like western Oklahoma where we live, people are as comfortable carrying a gun where they go as Christians carry a Bible to church. Dave (and I) see behind an agenda that removes guns from the citizens of the United States (the authority behind government) and on the basis of our understanding of the democratic republic in which we live, we oppose such an effort. On the same token, we understand and recognize the equality of human life, even those who believe differently than we, live differently than we, and yet enjoy the freedoms of our country as fellow American citizens. We will protect their rights too. Thanks for your comment!

Christiane said...

It's not easy to live in a world where people judge and label one another mercilessly. And watching it unfold this year has been the worst year I've lived since that time in the 60's where I saw a white man spit in the face of a black girl at a 'white only lunch counter demonstration in Norfolk VA. It's not hard to sort out that the depth of hatred within the human heart only needs a 'label' to express itself and to hide behind while doing it.

There are no guns that can 'fix' things where hatred is concerned . . . the guns may offer reassurance for the fearful, but that which is needed to heal the hate in our land is not going to be found in the wearing of guns, or in their use.

Today I read about a school 'lunch lady' who fed a hungry child who had no money and was fired for 'stealing school property' . . . one commentator accused her of being a supporter of Bernie Sanders by virtue of her generosity to the child who had no money and was hungry . . . and it was not a surprise to me to read that comment . . . not a surprise anymore. I'm used to hearing such things spoken openly now by angry people. Nothing shocks. The new 'normal' is a harsh reality. It's not the wearing of concealed weapons that I would call 'Christian' or 'not Christian'. . . but I would look at people who are raging with anger and venom towards those who are different from them and I would wonder how such people could call Christ 'Lord'.

Ramesh said...


Fact-checking a comparison of gun deaths and terrorism deaths

Though the above fact check is quite shocking, guns issue is only on the surface. The underlying problems are much worse than what is openly acknowledged. In some ways we are all sleep walking.

On a more positive note, a merry Christmas and a happy new year to all.

Ramesh said...

Sorry the above link is messed up. Here is the good one:

Fact-checking a comparison of gun deaths and terrorism deaths

Ramesh said...

I wanted to add that the shocking aspect is NOT the larger number which more or less has been the same for the last 40 years. The smaller number is the shocker and the response to it. Even including 9/11 over the years it averages to fairly small.

In Europe terrorism was lot higher in the 70's than now. But disproportionate response.

All this leads to fear and the actors flaming this.

There are lot more interesting underlying causes that on the surface has no connection to guns, crime and terrorism. But that is for another day to be drawn out.

Rex Ray said...

I remember 24 people being killed at Luby’s Cafeteria in 1991. One woman reached in her purse for her gun to stop her parents from being killed but she had decided to leave it in her car.

As of January 1, 2016, licensed Texans will no longer be forced to conceal their revolvers or semi-automatic handguns.

Unknown said...


It’s hard for me to accept that on the basis of very scant examples that the impugning of so many could be so easily done. I do not doubt there are many people who would say and do even worse than the example that you provide. The sensational aspects of their opinions and or actions is what is carried forth and used as an example to paint all who would own a gun let alone use one or carry one. It is specifically why I posted the number associated with gun owners and that number is a lower estimate. The number of times someone may spout such vitriol is statistically insignificant in this case. It is the same when we look at how the left in the nation (and when I say the left I mean the leaders of the left who are very aggressive liberal progressives with a definitive goal and or objective) treated the tea party...for months we were subjected to story after story of racism and more. Casual, yet purposeful, linking to KKK, and other such organizations, in an overt attempt to thwart their momentum and influence was done routinely for a while. Not only was there no evidence of it whatsoever, the times that were considered evidence were exposed as fraudulent and in most cases completely made up.

I have no doubt there are people lacking both the maturity and expertise to carry a firearm, even some who are absolutely good people with no legal reason to deny them. I also have no doubt whatsoever in that there are many with a hate-filled heart about certain peoples and groups or religions or (fill-in-the-blank) existing all over the country. Like those who would obtain and use guns for criminal purposes their actions do not govern mine nor should their actions govern how the government then restricts or advances my rights. Their number is very few, but the number who would act responsibly is overwhelmingly large.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know why Switzerland was not invaded in WW2? Most think because of the Alps or secret banking. Switzerlands homes were armed. It would have meant a home to home battle with huge losses.

Rex Ray said...


It’s true about every home was armed. Also every male was trained for fighting. But Hitler knew the many tunnels and bridges had explosives that could be destroyed at any time. (Preferable with Germans using them.)

Switzerland let any German train inter except soldiers or weapons. It was a safe heaven for the German’s spoils of war.

After Hitler concurred the world, he would have taken Switzerland, but he was like that engineer who forgot his goal was to drain the swamp because he was hip-deep in alligators. (U.S., Russia, England etc.)

Rex Ray said...


conquered the world...

Nancy said...

I have several firearms, and it has nothing to do with Muslims or terrorism. I was raised in a rural area where almost everyone owns firearms and almost everyone hunts. My husband spent 24 years in the military, we live on a farm in a very rural area, and I've spent countless nights alone. The nearest law enforcement is a 20 minute drive from our farm. Our area is rampant with meth labs and break-ins. My daughter's ex-boyfriend is doing time for a robbery gone wrong that resulted in murder. The wife of the man that was murdered ran to the bedroom, got her pistol, and shot and injured the man who killed her husband. I believe her actions saved her life.

The area I live in has an abundance of poisonous snakes, bobcats, coyotes, foxes, etc. I have shot many snakes, as well as raccoons, opossums, and skunks that were nosing around the chicken house and the livestock feed. Even my 69-year-old mother shot a rattlesnake that was on her front porch!
When I leave my yard or go for a walk in the woods, you better believe I'm carrying! My daughter also has several firearms.

CB Scott said...

Late to the party, but just want to say: Good post.