- - Thursday, December 24, 2015

By now, you’re probably familiar with the fact that Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, “Called for an armed Christian campus” at a recent chapel service. 

Following the San Bernardino shootings, which left 14 dead, Mr. Falwell said he began carrying a .25-caliber handgun in his back pocket. He said he’s had a permit for more than year.

During his address Friday, Mr. Falwell mentioned the weapon and reached around seemingly to fetch it.

“Let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show up here,” Mr. Falwell told an estimated 10,000 of the campus community at convocation Friday in Lynchburg. While his call to arms was applauded, his remarks also seemed to target Muslims.

“I’ve always thought if more good people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in,” Mr. Falwell said. 

Mr. Falwell told The Associated Press on Saturday he was specifically referring to Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the husband and wife who shot and killed 14 people at a holiday party in San Bernardino on Wednesday.

In response to Falwell, influential Christian theologian John Piper wrote, “Should Christians Be Encouraged to Arm Themselves?” Here is an excerpt:

As chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary, I want to send a different message to our students, and to the readers of Desiring God, than Jerry Falwell, Jr. sent to the students of Liberty University in a campus chapel service on December 4.

…Does it accord with the New Testament to encourage the attitude that says, “I have the power to kill you in my pocket, so don’t mess with me”? My answer is, No.

I asked a friend to respond to Piper and Falwell. Ken Graves, Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel in Bangor, Maine, is known for his deep voice and even deeper convictions in the truth claims of the Bible. He is also an advocate of concealed carry gun laws and the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“A response to John Piper’s Response to Jerry Falwell Jr.

by Pastor Ken Graves

Our brother John Piper is an honorable Christian scholar and gives a thorough defense of his reason for his conviction.

However, I can only agree with some of it.

Piper believes that the call to love our enemies and to patiently endure persecution precludes self-defense—and even more importantly, the defense of the defenseless.

But I do not believe that it is one or the other (either love enemies or protect others).

I find a place in between the spirit of our brother Falwell’s statements and Piper’s convictions. There is a balance between these two brother’s words.

Christians have a duty to be loving and patient “toward outsiders,” like sheep among wolves (Colossians 4:5). But there is also a duty for us be willing to bravely protect others.

To the question of “May I shoot my wife’s assailant?” I would say the Scripture commands us to not avenge ourselves. Therefore, I must NOT shoot the assailant simply because he did assail. However, it is quite another matter altogether if I am in the position to prevent the assailing from happening. Then, it is then my DUTY as a Christian husband to shoot that assailant. Again, not to avenge but to prevent.

Further, I also disagree with Piper’s attempt to nullify the position that we, as American citizens, are “those in authority” in what GOD has given us here.

Piper writes: “For example, any claim that in a democracy the citizens are the government, and therefore may assume the role of the sword-bearing ruler in Romans 13, is elevating political extrapolation over biblical revelation.”

I would argue that in Romans 13, the Apostle Paul discusses the duty and rights of the government over its citizens, these verses neither prohibit nor dismiss the duties and rights of individual citizens, the “We the people…”

On the other hand, Falwell’s words stand for some critique as well. I think it is unwise and inconsistent with Biblical thought and Christian character to say that if Jihadists ever come here, we’ll teach them a lesson.

It would be wiser and more consistent to say (even as I have said to the loving Christians that I pastor) that although Jihadists see us as their enemies, we are commanded to love them, pray for them, and seek every opportunity to do them good. Though it is politically incorrect to say such things, our goal is to win them out of the deception they are in and win them to the Lord Jesus Christ. The love of Christ compels people to convert and call on His name; the sword has no place in Christian proselytization.

Our duty to spread the Gospel, however, does not mean that we have a Christian duty to allow them to come to our homes and take our daughters as slaves, or for them to enter our churches and prematurely dispatch to Heaven our brothers and sisters or their children. In that situation, I for one –while not called to hate or to avenge—am called to defend. And to defend violently, if necessary.



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