Just when you thought you have heard the last from me on the subject of guns and Christianity, I come back with yet another post. Ok, this isn’t quite “my”post, but it is instead a reference to another post that has recently come to my attention on precisely this issue.

I should warn you, the post is slightly more polemical and provocative than what I’ve been offering here by way of commentary, but the sentiment and hermeneutic lens is the same. Bottom line: individual ownership of firearms is simply not compatible with the Gospel. One may chose to sidestep that dimension of Christian life, but that is something that needs to be acknowledged as a personal choice to do one’s own thing (free will is a kicker, huh?) without claiming that “Jesus would say it’s ok.”

I am still waiting for someone to offer a compelling and theologically grounded argument to support this claim of compatibility. Most of the negative comments posted in response to Ben Witherington’s post are simply angry diatribes with little substance beyond expressing one’s personal frustration at the possibility of having his or her guns taken away.

Here is a snippet from Ben Witherington’s post on his regular blog at Beliefnet.com, titled: “Guns and Religion — Enough is Quite Enough.” Witherington, I should add, is a professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary and on the doctoral faculty at St. Andrews University in Scotland. So, presumably, he knows a thing or two about Scripture.

To my fellow Christians that like to think guns and Christianity go well together—  enough is more than enough.  You are living in denial of the Gospel, and its time to grow up.  ‘Thou shalt not kill’  does not have a codicil of addendum to it which reads ‘except in self-defense’ or the like.   But let’s deal with the gun issue itself.    We need to clear away some of the ridiculous rhetoric of the gun lobbyists.

To read the full blog post (which has more than 100 comments already) go to: http://blog.beliefnet.com/bibleandculture/2011/01/guns-and-religion—-enough-is-quite-enough.html



  1. “I am still waiting for someone to offer a compelling and theologically grounded argument to support this claim of compatibility.”

    Brother Dan,

    Peace and All Good! According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, individuals have a right and a duty to protect their own lives when in danger, and someone who “defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow.” The catechism clarifies that repelling the aggressor must be done “with moderation” in order to be “lawful” in the eyes of the Church; using “more than necessary violence” would be unlawful, it says. The Vatican’s justice and peace council’s 1994 document said, “In a world marked by evil and sin, the right of legitimate defense by armed means exists,”
    The comment from Ben Witherington’s post, “‘Thou shalt not kill’ does not have a codicil of addendum to it which reads ‘except in self-defense’ or the like” is nothing short of absurd, unless the author consistently holds fundamentalist views of all scriptural texts, in which case his assertion is only seriously misguided.

  2. After reading several/enough post to know I didn’t want to bother, I return to you, Dan. Any caution based on a misreading of the the Shalt not Murder isn’t worth bothering with.
    People using guns kill people. It all isn’t a violation of the commandment.
    Police killing armed perps don’t murder, and by their actions the perps devaluue their lives in the eyes of God. If they get killed trying to murder, God cries for their loss, but I can’t believe God would rather have them alive if they were going to murder someone.
    The only absolute I can think of is God. Everything else is a relative. We have Free Will, Reason and Conscience. Those who misuse those God given gifts are responsible for the consequences they suffer.
    I get no pleasure from the Catholic Supreme Court. We did much better when there were no Good Catholics there.

    george – evening division ’76

  3. Good stuff, and I admit I struggle with this myself (Diffs Fault lol). Several things come to my attention though concerning Ben Witheringtons statement above. To deny the Gospel is to say it is not the truth. To say “its time to grow up” is simply antagonistic and serves no purpose. I have sadly broken most commandments at least in my heart including the “You shall not commit murder” one (Thank You Father for Your Grace). Finally the second amendment to the constitution of the United States has nothing to do with self defense. I would challenge Mr Witherington to do a little more research and present facts, both scriptural and historical, rather than knee jerk reactions.

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