A Biblical Case for Gun Violence Prevention
Luther says: “Those who believe obey, and those who obey believe.”
We are to believe and obey the will of God.
The will of God is nonviolence.
GENESIS 1-2: God’s creative activity is creating order out of chaos. Eden is described as a time and place of SHALOM: peace, harmony and balance.
GENESIS 12: God’s call to Abram was to be a “blessing” to all nations. Characteristics are divine good will, happiness, justice and peace.
EXODUS 20: The Fifth Commandment says “You shall not murder”. (Nuance: Earlier translations used “kill”. Also, in Exodus 22, we read: “If a thief is found breaking in, and is beaten to death, no blood guilt is incurred.”-vs. 2) Violence is defensive.
ISAIAH 9: The coming Messiah is described as “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”. We are to imitate Christ.
ISAIAH 11: In the Peaceable Kingdom of God, “The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid,…the cow and the bear shall graze….” We are to reflect this inclusive vision.
MATTHEW 5: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” We are called to be peacemakers.
MATTHEW 26: “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” Guns can kill in the wrong hands. (Nuance: one of those with Jesus had a sword) The sword was only to be used for defense.
MARK 12: “Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
LUKE 22: “It is enough.” (Two swords not 12) and “No more of this!” in response to one of his disciples cutting the ear off a slave of the High Priest. (Nuance: At least two followers had swords) Swords were to be sued only for defense. Also, “sword” could be a metaphor for “evil”.
ROMANS 12: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God-what is good and acceptable and perfect.” We are called to be counter-cultural.
ROMANS 13: The duty of government is to keep order. This text is book- ended by enjoinders to love. Government is to create a culture of love. The government may impose “wrath” only for the sake of order tempered by love.
2 CORINTHIANS 10: “Indeed, we live as human beings, but we do not wage war according to human standards; for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they have divine power to destroy strongholds.”
GALATIANS 3: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” Gun violence is the product of me vs. them, the justified me vs. the enemy you. Jesus includes all.
GALATIANS 5: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” The fruits are the antithesis of gun violence.
EPHESIANS 6: “Therefore, take up the whole armor of God…and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace….take the shield of faith… the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.” God’s Armor is nonviolent.
I JOHN 4: “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God.”
REVELATION 21: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth….Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more.”
Scripture begins and ends with nonviolence.