Guns and Church

From WaPo:

Derek Melton is the assistant chief of police in Pryor, as well as senior pastor at Pryor Creek Community Church, a congregation he describes as Baptist, but not Southern Baptist.

“We follow the 1833 Baptist Confession,” Melton said. “We are an historically evangelical church.”

The confession is better known as the New Hampshire Baptist Confession of 1833, and there are very few churches around the country that subscribe to it. They answer to no denominational headquarters, no bishop, no overarching authority, except the Holy Spirit as mediated through the congregation.

Pryor Creek Community Church is also one of a few dozen churches around the country that are offering concealed carry certification classes as a way to reach out to non-Christians and attract new members. Melton sees no conflict between being a Christian and possessing weapons.

“The disciples carried weapons,” Melton said. “Peter cut a man’s ear off. I believe if more honest citizens were armed, the safer our communities would be.”

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • James Petticrew

    “Pryor Creek Community Church is also one of a few dozen churches around the country that are offering concealed carry certification classes as a way to reach out to non-Christians and attract new members” ….. Don’t know whether to laugh or cry, what do these people do with Jesus command to turn the other cheek? In this pastors opinion was Jesus wrong to rebuke Peter for using a sword? He sounds more like a disciple of the wound be messiah barabbas than Jesus Christ.

  • Joshua Wooden

    “The disciples carried weapons,” Melton said. “Peter cut a man’s ear off.”

    For which he was rebuked by Jesus, who said, “Put your sword back in its place, for those who live by the sword will die by the sword” (Mt. 26.52).

  • http://scilla.org.uk/ Chris Jefferies

    If we are to obey Jesus and love our enemies, why would we need guns? Jesus loved unto death. If necessary so must I.

    And I’m sorry. I really do not understand how a country could be safer with more guns than with fewer. It makes me feel glad I don’t live in the USA!

  • http://thekingsfellowship.com Steve, Winnipeg, Canada

    “…as a way to reach out to non-Christians and attract new members.”

    So, I was a little late to the whole ‘missional’ thing but this is ‘missional’, right?

  • Bob Becker, Missourri

    The above discussions make me think of another item that Jesus referenced as evil. Money. But the Bible doesn’t condemn being wealthy, only to idolize money i.e. greed and putting the lust of money and things before our Lord, but yet is all uses of money evil? The above comments point out the evils of gun ownership, but I ask is all gun ownership evil. I think not in both cases. We collect wealth in our weekly contributions to the church and if private ownership of weapons were exercised among the faculty of Sandy Hook Elementary School the death of twenty 6 & 7 year olds may have been averted. Is our military also to be condemned? What nation past and present has ever been in existence without the presence of an armed defense?

  • Dean

    Gun ownership as a means of personal defense (but not as a means of food provision) and a massive powerful military as a means of national defense are essentially positions of fear. The persistent argument that I hear coming from those who support unlimited gun and ammunition acquisition is to be able to defend oneself against powerful government forces within the nation and from external threats from abroad. No, the taking up of weapons is not a position of strength, it is a position of weakness and fear. We are not safer or at less risk by the increase of weapons of physical warfare; we only increase the likelihood they will be used. The early Christians appeared powerless against the mighty Roman empire but by the time this empire executed Jesus, the beginning of the end of that empire was in full swing. It took time, centuries in fact, for it all to play out, but the Roman empire is no more. Make no mistake, a trust in such tools of death for defense can reach no other final conclusion. As one above has stated, the Scripture is plain…those who live by the sword die by the sword. I’m not at all surprised by secular proponents of unlimited and expanded gun proliferation; I am, however, completely baffled by those who claim to follow Christ taking such a supportive posture of increasing the number of guns in an American culture that has been bred and presupposed to violent dominance. I am fully confident that God will allow such a national culture to have no brighter future than that of the Roman empire. For whatever a people sow, that will they also reap. Are we really surprised at the gunfire in the streets and schools of the nation? Really?? It will certainly increase unless those who adopt the name of Christ in this land begin to practice the ways of the Prince of Peace and the power of doing good in the face of evil. A response to increase the number and presence of guns is an invitation to greater evil. Let’s not get caught up in and contribute to such a culture of fear. For what shall it profit a person if he manages to hold onto his life but loses his soul in doing so?

  • Joshua Wooden

    @ Bob Becker,

    Thanks for contributing to the discussion, but Jeffrey Goldberg’s “case for more guns” as a solution, rather than an accelerant, of the problem is, I believe, widely rejected by most social scientists, including criminologists.

    I did a round-up of a good deal of articles at my blog. The one that I think is relevant is “The Answer is Nor More Guns,” as well as “Twelve Facts About Guns and Mass Shootings in the United States.”

    You can check it out here: http://joshuawooden.blogspot.com/2012/12/a-round-up-on-gun-control-debate-for-now.html/

  • Karen in AZ

    @ Joshua Wooden – Thanks for the collection of articles! Some great reads! I would recommend the one on the original intent of the Second Amendment to all! What is being done now is a far cry from the original intent.

  • Joshua Wooden

    Thanks Karen.

    I noticed a typo above, though. Should read, “The Answer is NOT More Guns,”


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