Summary: As long as churches, schools, post offices, and government buildings are perceived as “soft-targets,” assailants who are intent on killing as many people as possible will continue to attack such places. Now is not the time to reject the teachings of Jesu
Are You Packin’
An elderly lady declared, “No one would ever carry a gun in our church!” These words were heard by a pastor of a mid-size church in a rural community. The pastor engaged the older lady in conversation, “There are likely several concealed handgun license holders present in the congregation and their presence [is] reassuring, should anything happen which might require a response of force.” After a few minutes of dialog, the woman gained a new understanding, it was the very people she had worked with, gone to church with, people she knew and trusted, who have taken seriously the responsibility of carrying a firearm (Luke 22:36) for defense of self and others. (The Concealed Handgun; Volume 12, Number 1 February - March 2008 – Official Bi-Monthly Publication of the Texas Concealed Handgun Association). In recent years there have been ten shooting in churches, alongside an increase of misuse of firearms and other harmful weapons – such as knives - in public places. Shootings we hear about have occurred in all parts of the country and have little in common. The common denominator in these shooting is this, they are happening in places were people are least likely able to defend themselves against those who desire to kill and destroy.
In an article written by Bill Titus, I read something that got me thinking about the times we are living in. His article was eye opening and it thrust my thoughts to think about of how bad things can get, and about what the Bible says about the end days (2 Timothy 3:1). He wrote, “Nine years ago, Larry Gene Ashbrook entered the Wedgewood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas and opened fire. He carried nine loaded magazines for his weapon, emptying three before taking his own life. Those three magazines contained enough ammunition to take the lives of four teenagers and three adults in the unarmed crowd. A peaceful Wednesday evening church service had turned into a killing field with no warning.
A different outcome in Colorado Springs, Matthew Murray entered the New Life Church carrying three weapons and over 1,000 rounds. When he began his attack, he was confronted by Jeanne Assam, a church volunteer. With help from other church-goes, Ms. Assam distracted Murray and shot him, bringing his intended killing field to an end. After being disabled by Assam’s bullets, Murray took his own life, as was his likely plan all along. Two young women were killed and their father wounded, but had Assam not acted, how many more would have died at the hands of a man who had come prepared to kill as many people as he could?” (The Concealed Handgun – Bill Titus – Volume 12, Number 1 February-March 2008)
There are some important truths that need to be considered as one thinks on the times we live in as the issue of carrying some kind of protection arises amid controversy, such as “concealed carry” in public places, even in church.
The Bible holds a teaching of Christ that prepares us to live in these present days. Luke 22:36 says, “…But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one” (Luke 22:36, New International Version). This passage of Scripture is found in the conversation of Jesus with His disciples during the Last Supper. He is about to be taken from them (Luke 22:37) and He is giving them instructions so they can carry on the work of the Lord. In Luke 9 Jesus sent the twelve disciples out saying, “Take nothing for the journey–no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic.” (Luke 9:3) However, after the Lord’s death and resurrection things were going to change.
“…But now…” what He teaches the disciples then is also for us today. They would – and we today – need a “purse” (ßa???t??? balántion), a moneybag for support to live. At this time in history ministries, businesses, and people need finances to survive. They would – and we today – need a “bag” (p??a pé¯ra) in which to carry provisions. Today, you need a bag to carry your provisions if you travel; a safe place to store tools, equipment, supplies, and important documents. Additionally, they would – and we today – need a “sword” (µ??a??a máchaira) for personal protection. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary; A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory; The Bible Exposition Commentary; Thru the Bible Commentary) A “sword” (µ??a??a máchaira), originally a large knife for killing…was a curved weapon for close combat. (Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament; Theological Dictionary of the New Testament; Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains) The sword in Luke 22:36 is not for a vigilante style of justice, but for provision and protection in this life. In contemporary society, a “sword” relates to owning a gun, or other similar weapon, to use for provision and protection of life.