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God really changed my heart from that of a man prone to violence to a man who sought to express the love of Jesus to my fellow man. I read the Bible carefully and concluded that a Christian should not kill. Young Christians are like young people, they lack maturity and the wisdom that comes with it. Eventually I gained a better understanding of what God teaches on the issue as a whole and now I am very much a believer in non-pacifism and I wholly support the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.

A major reason of my change was marrying and having children and realizing my duty to protect my family. I have not tried to articulate in writing my thoughts on the subject so I have placed below some excerpts from what others have written. I can not say it any better.

Karl Priest


Christians who believe in pacifism, or at least pacifism on an individual level, focus on the fact that Jesus is the "Prince of Peace" and said in his sermon on the mount (Mt 5:39) to " turn the other cheek " when slapped. They further focus on mount Gethsemane, where the mob comes to take Jesus and Peter drew his sword and cut a man’s ear off. In a powerful and oft repeated verse, considered wisdom by even non-believers, Jesus says to Peter (Mt 26:52), "Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." (commonly translated to "he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword").

Christians who believe in self defense use the same story from Gethsemane, and point out that not only was one of the twelve Apostles carrying a sword, but though Jesus warns against living by the sword he did not tell Peter to cast his sword away or admonish him for having it; he told him to put it back in its place. He rebuked Peter, not for carrying a sword or attacking the man, but because he "cannot avoid the cup" he has been chosen to drink and thus it is wrong for Peter to stop what is happening.

And it is just before the confrontation on Gethsemane, during the last supper, that Jesus commends his disciples to (Lk 22:36) sell their cloaks and buy a sword if they don’t have one. The disciples answer that they have two (one of which was presumably used by Peter at Gethsemane) and Jesus tells them that two are enough.

Jesus never carried a weapon, though at least one of his disciples obviously did. But Jesus was not weak or afraid to confront the wicked with force. To defend the temple of the Lord (Jn 2:15), He made a whip of out of cords and drove the money lenders out. A whip is not a deadly weapon, but neither is it a feather boa. It causes pain or draws blood (how much Jesus did or didn’t do of either is not spoken of) and using it against fellow humans is not a peaceful act.

Jesus spoke to at least one career soldier (a Roman centurion, Mt 8:13) and never admonished him for being a soldier. He actually complimented him on his faith.

Jesus forbade his followers from using violence to answer indignities, even violent indignities (such as a slap on the cheek).

Jesus forbade us from answering a legal attack with violence (if a man sues you for your tunic, give him your cloak as well).

The Bible was meant as a book for all times and leaves many things open for us to figure out for ourselves. I find no place in the Bible where it forbids individuals from defending themselves, and it is the God given nature of men to defend their families. And whether we choose to support the availability of tools for such defense (such as guns) is left to us.

In reality, while inviting people to love and mercy, Jesus never said that individuals have no right to defend themselves. Even less did he say they should not defend their feebler brothers when such are in danger. A person might decide to offer no resistance to aggression if he risks only his own life, but he can’t shirk the moral duty to help others. As Jeff Snyder has written, "Although difficult for modern men to fathom, it was once widely believed that life was a gift from God, that to not defend that life when offered violence was to hold God’s gift in contempt, to be a coward and to breach one’s duty to one’s community." (Nation of Cowards, Accurate Press, 2001, page 16.)

As Larry Pratt notes, "While Christ told Peter to ‘put your sword in its place,’ He clearly did not say get rid of it forever. That would have contradicted what He had told the disciples only hours before. Peter’s sword was to protect his own mortal life from danger. His sword was not needed to protect the Creator of the universe and the King of kings" ("What Does The Bible Say About Gun Control?").

Years after the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, Paul writes to Timothy: "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever" (1 Timothy 5:8). "This passage applies to our subject because it would be absurd to buy a house, furnish it with food and facilities for one’s family, and then refuse to install locks and provide the means to protect the family and the property," Mr. Pratt wrote.

Many Christians believe that they have a right to call a policeman to protect them from a home invader, using lethal force if necessary. How can one delegate to government a right that one doesn’t have himself? We cannot give what we do not have! Many Christians believe that killing the enemy overseas is commendable, but killing the enemy here at home is wrong. What twisted reasoning arises among God’s people when the study of Scripture is neglected for a generation and replaced with music, drama, psychology and lectures on "How to Feel Good About Yourself." Back to The Book. It is not a pacifist book. God is not a pacifist God. Pacifism allows terror to reign and good people to perish!

Someone can use violence to rape a women. Or someone can use violence to stop the rape of said woman. Look, if someone’s being raped, please use a gun on the rapist. In one case (rape) violence is evil. In the other, stopping the rapist and saving a life, violence is virtuous. Yes, violence can be virtuous…Dropping a would-be murderer is different than capping your coworker because he told you he doesn’t like your Grumpy Cat calendar…(W)hen Jesus says “those who live by the sword will die by the sword” he was talking about people who live through violence motivated by evil…(T)his passage demonstrates the principle of not attacking someone out of anger/hate/etc…(Regarding “turning the other cheek”) Jesus never said “If someone shoots your child, offer to him your other child.”

Also see:

'Dodge my bullets!' Church-massacre hero pushes self-defense

Why Christians Don’t (and Won’t) Support Gun Control