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5 Reasons Why My Faith Compels Me To Carry



My love for justice and humanity is founded by my love for God, and my love for God demands that I NOT yield to passivity when His image-bearers are being slaughtered. So while I do not wish for this circumstance to arise, I do hope to be present, courageous, and effective if and when it does.

I have no desire to kill anyone– ever. Even if it is completely justified. I hope I am never in a position where I have to take another's life. But I intentionally used the words "have to" because I firmly believe in circumstances where a Christ-follower should feel compelled to do just that.

My love for justice and humanity is founded by my love for God, and my love for God demands that I NOT yield to passivity when His image-bearers are being slaughtered. So while I do not wish for this circumstance to arise, I do hope to be present, courageous, and effective if and when it does.

The discussion of Christians' involvement with violence has seen a steep increase in popular media platforms. John Piper recently spoke up in opposition to remarks made by Liberty University's president, Jerry Falwell Jr., regarding the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, CA. Falwell shared his thoughts that if more good citizens carried firearms, then mass shooters would be taken out before their agenda was complete (read more here). Falwell and Liberty University's senior pastor, David Nasser (a former Muslim), announced that Liberty will be granting full scholarships to the children of those killed by the ISIS-fueled attack in San Bernardino. Falwell encouraged his students and staff to take advantage of Liberty's free firearm training course that meets the requirement for a state-issued conceal-carry permit. Students and staff who possess a permit are permitted and encouraged to carry on Liberty's campus. (Check out Students at Liberty for Gun Rights)

I was very surprised at Piper's position on the issue of Christians and guns, though I will admit he was far more gracious in his delivery towards Falwell than other Christian media platforms like Relevant, Sojourners, and others who twisted Falwell's words well-past the point of manipulation and into dishonesty, but I digress. I respect Piper greatly, I really do. That said, my surprise was very great to see his position of borderline pacifism.

So why do I feel so compelled to carry as a Christian?

1) I value human life as image-bearers of Creator God.

As I previously alluded to, those being murdered are God's creation. But while I don't believe I have to be God's "watchdog" I do believe that when our hearts turned towards the Cross we automatically subscribed to a life where our hearts would break for the same things that break God's heart. I understand that in the circumstance of a mass shooting God's heart breaks for two reasons; one for the victims and one for the shooter who has fallen into the influences of evil. But the evil doer isn't going to stop without being stopped therefore the only thing to do is to put an end to rampage and reduce the innocent casualties.

2) I believe that evil exists.

God commands us to hate evil. This isn't only a command, it is a righteous hatred towards all things sinful that develops in us through our sanctification process. The more we fall in love with the Father (holiness) the more we will hate evil. But in order to hate evil we must first be able and willing to identify it. If we continue to pass off all shootings as mental health issues, and I admit some of them are, then we will soon become numb to the reality of evil, accountability will be a thing of the past, and evil will nestle its way into our society more than it already has.

Not on my watch.

3) I am called to stand up for the oppressed.

"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness, and to walk humble with your God?" –Micah 6:8

This verse sums up the life of a Christ follower so well. It's a perfect blend of God's attributes of justice and love. As I stated at the beginning of this post, I do not wish to kill anyone, ever. But in the circumstances where the vulnerable are being oppressed I will, out of love and obedience to God, destroy the tool of evil being used against God's children.

4) I hope to be an example of courageous, godly obedience to the next generation.

Our examples today serve as a tremendous indication of how tomorrow's generation will live. If we're weak, they will be weak. If we're immoral, they will be immoral. If we're bold, they will be bold. We, Christians, have not been given a spirit of fear. We've been given a spirit of courage and holiness that all combines into a passion for truth. If defensive violence was wrong then why would God use battle gear (including a sword) to describe the posture of a Christian? You don't see God using an analogy of prostitution or thievery. We serve a God who told Joshua to be strong and courageous as he led God's people through battles, through taunting oppression, and into the Promise Land.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." –Edmund Burke

5) Jesus

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." –John 15:12-13

Jesus didn't have to die but He knew it was the only way to save humanity from the curse of evil. Jesus loved humanity, His people, and so He chose to die in their place as the appeasing sacrifice for evil. We are commanded to love likely. Anyone who carries with the intent to protect knows that in the event where they engage the enemy they may lose their life in the process. Carrying and engaging the enemy is among the most loving thing a person can do. Jesus did not sit by passively hoping things would get better. He engaged. I can't think of a better example of Jesus then to combat evil in order to save lives even at the expense of one's own life.

For the gospel //

JWR


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