When We Give Away Guns In Church: Bad Idea, or Really Horrible Idea?

It seems there’s a growing trend in some churches of giving away free guns in order to promote church growth. Back in March, a church ironically named “Grace” Baptist Church gave away a free AR-15 as part of an evangelism outreach dedicated to “hunters and gun owners who have been so viciously attacked by the antichristian socialist media and antichristian socialist politicians the last few years.”. (And who had a mocking use of scripture in their promotional image, above)

Or, there’s this example from Kentucky where the pastor states that the amount of men who will attend will be in direct correlation to the type of weapon they’re giving away that day:

So my question becomes: is this a bad idea? Or, is it a really, really horrible idea?

I could go either way.

Seems like bait and switch to lure people in with a gun and then teach them about the founder of our religion who famously taught to “put away your sword”, and “love your enemies”.

Well, I take that back– somehow I’m doubting these groups actually teach some of the key things Jesus taught, so there’s probably no bait and switch.

I find stories like these especially sad, because I appreciate the root intent: use creative ideas to introduce people to Jesus. I’m all for it. I would even be supportive if a church had a small group community based on a love of hunting together, and gave away a hunting rifle or a bow. That, it would seem, would be an appropriate use of contextualization.

But assault weapons designed to kill people in mass quantities? Turning the Gospel message into a 2nd Amendment rally? (see video above)

That one is either a bad idea or a really, really horrible idea.

I’ll probably plant my flag in “really, really horrible idea”.

What do you think?

About Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey is a cultural anthropologist and public theologian. He is a two-time graduate of Gordon-Conwell (theology & missiology) and received his Doctor of Intercultural Studies (DIS) from Fuller. He is the author of Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, which is available wherever books are sold.

He is currently signed to HarperOne and is represented by the Daniel Literary Agency in Nashville, Tennessee.

You can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.