A Biblical Case for Gun Violence Prevention
LUTHER SAYS: “ Those who believe, obey. Those who obey, believe.”
PRESUPPOSITIONS: 1) The will of God is nonviolent love.
2)People activate the weapon. The weapon does the killing.
3) If the OT weapon narrative is so consistent with the will of God, why was Jesus Christ necessary?
4) By the grace of God we are free to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we may discern what is the will of God. The will of God is nonviolent love.
- The Word begins with creation. The place is Eden. The culture is of SHALOM: harmony, balance, peace. Nonviolence.
- Violence happens through humankind’s sinful choice. Cain chose to kill Abel.
- The Ten Commandments are nonviolent laws for community and connection with God and each other.
- Personal acts of murder and suicide are not justified.
- Violence in conflicts between tribes and cultures are political decisions with frequent theological justification. We must ask: Is God justifying or national leadership justifying these violent actions in the name of God?
- Scripture validates legal, societal and moral permissions of weapon use for hunting, sport, and defense of home and tribe/culture.
- Sinfulness and repentance are always part of the weapon reality. In the words of Paul: “The good I want to do, that I do not do. But the evil I do not want to do, that I do.”
- Isaiah speaks of the coming Messiah as “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace,” with strong nonviolent images.
- The “Peaceable Kingdom” in Isaiah speaks of the “Wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid,” all nonviolent images.
- The foundational ethic of Jesus was nonviolence. There is no account of Jesus using a weapon.
- Jesus’ strongest words regarding weapons are: “Blessed are the peacemakers….” “Those who live by the sword shall perish by the sword,” “Enough!” and “No more of this!”
- Strangely, it appears some of Jesus’ disciples carried swords. Yet, Jesus’ above words tempered the use of these swords.
- Paul says the duty of government is to “ensure good conduct,” implying it may be necessary for the government to use weapons or force to maintain peace. Significantly, this exhortation is preceded and followed by the command to love. Weapon use is tempered by nonviolent love. Furthermore, what does it mean that there were no Christians in leadership roles? Was Paul being a practical realist?
- Paul tells the followers of Jesus to prepare for difficult times in spreading and living the Gospel. So, “Put on the Armor of God: helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, belt of truth, shoes of peace and sword of the Spirit,” all nonviolent pieces of “armor.”
- Paul presents the Fruits of the Spirit (expressions of Christ) as: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, generosity, faithfulness and self-control.” All are nonviolent expressions of Christ which the followers of Jesus are given.
- Revelation concludes with nonviolent promises of a “new heaven and a new earth where death will be no more, mourning and crying and pain will be no more.”