Falwell’s Fearful Conceal-Carry Response is Not Worthy of the Gospel.

fear.001In the wake of yet another active shooter incident, evangelical leaders have been rattling the sabers, and touting the wisdom of concealed carry. In a speech made at the recent Liberty University convocation, Jerry Falwell Jr. bragged that he had a gun in his “back pocket right now.” Liberty is offering a free concealed carry class to all students because, in Falwell’s words, “If more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in and killed them.”

Why does Falwell’s argument have so much traction with evangelical Christians? Because, conceal-carry advocates like Falwell project confidence in the face of what seems to be an overwhelming threat of violence. Packing heat is a proactive response to fear, and Christians like those. But just how realistic is the fear? I was curious, so I ran the numbers.

Between 2000-2013, according to the FBI, there were 160 active shooter incidents resulting in 1043 casualties (486 killed, 557 wounded). That averages out to 80 casualties per year for 319 million people living in the U.S. This means you have roughly a 1 in 4 million chance of being a casualty in an active shooter incident. Any chance is too high, but for reference the odds of being struck by lightning are 1 in 280,000.

Still, Americans are afraid, and fearful people are attracted to leaders who will strike a Toby Keith-esque “We’ll put a boot in your ass; it’s the American way,” pose even though it has little to do with true strength, and even less to do with the gospel. Falwell’s response not only shows that he doesn’t have a firm grasp on the teachings of Jesus, but that he suffers from a lack of imagination for how Christians might lead the way toward resolving conflicts without immediately resorting to violent forms of behavior.


Christian non-violence is not built on the assumption that all forms of violence are inherently evil, but on the reality that through Christ God has made possible a new way to resolve human conflict.


 

Oswald Chambers once wrote, “The remarkable thing about fearing God is that when you fear God you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God you fear everything else.” The most rudimentary understanding of Christian scriptures involved the teaching that our future in this world does not rest upon superior firepower. When fearful people are longing for a sense of security, the mature Christian answer is not “Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition.” The answer is, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6)

Christian non-violence is not built on the assumption that all forms of violence are inherently evil, but on the reality that through Christ God has made possible a new way to resolve human conflict. The church doesn’t deny that the state does some good through violence, and we can acknowledge that our fellow Christians who feel led to police and military work are able to do so in good faith, hoping to make the world less violent. However, Christians can never take the world’s violence as an absolute. Violence does not determine our future; Jesus does. We don’t enter public space carrying a concealed weapon. We enter carrying a cross. About this, Jesus was unambiguous.


Jesus commanded his followers to carry their cross, not a concealed weapon.


 

Christians are meant to organize our common life together in such a way that we bear witness to a higher way, a more excellent way. That this way involves suffering and possibly even death seemed inevitable to Jesus. Nevertheless, he taught that the Christian response to violence involves forgiveness, love, and a willingness to persevere in the faithfulness of Christ even in the face of suffering and injustice.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven… For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?” Matthew 5:43-47

If it’s possible, the apostle Paul might’ve actually made matters even more challenging:

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves… if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:17-21

If we look to Jesus and the writings of Paul, here’s our task: Love your enemies. Bless those who curse you. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for those who persecute you & use you. Do not repay evil for evil. Live peaceably with all. Never avenge yourselves. Do not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

I don’t necessarily like these teachings, by the way. On the fight, flight, flee continuum I’m a fighter. I am all too eager to embrace violence in all it’s varieties. I’m also a hunter and gun owner. But the teaching of Christ compels me to the simple conclusion that it is impossible to defeat the narratives of violence by out-arguing them in a pragmatic sense, or out-shooting them with superior firepower. We can only tell a better story with the way we live our lives. Only when we embody the good news in our common life thru forgiveness, reconciliation, and enemy love will we offer the world an alternative to its violence and retribution.

The battle against evil is not merely spiritual. It is also a real-life physical battle that involves the rendering of our bodies to Jesus, as we become doers of the word, not just hearers, even if it costs us everything.

"The proper justification for a progressive tax system is not that God is upset about ..."

Do Things Like Income Inequality and ..."
"I have seen some indications that accepting feelings of depression can help turn it to ..."

Stanley Hauerwas: A Prayer for Our ..."
"And turn off the television!!"

Stanley Hauerwas: A Prayer for Our ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Nate

    Hey Mr. Suttle,

    I think you are off on your interpretation’s of Jesus’ teachings. The Jesus you are speaking of, who responds to evil and violence, with only love and forgiveness, I have never heard of him, and I have read the entire Bible. I could easily quote verses that would support the idea that Jesus does not propose peace, but the sword (Matthew 10:34), or I could point out Jesus’ reaction to the people selling in the temple. Driving people out with a whip is not a reaction of only love and forgiveness!

    By saying violence in self-defense is not an action a Christian can take, you are limiting God. Ecclesiastes 3 talks about a time for everything, including a time for war and peace (Ecclesiastes 3:8). Had the United States responded to Hitler with anything but violence, at the least, millions more would have died, and at the worst, the world could be under communist control.

    • Tim_Suttle

      Nate, it’s a fair point, and you could be right. But I think there is a better way to read that passage in Matthew than that Jesus is saying we should arm ourselves. Stanley Hauerwas put it better than I ever could.

      “Jesus . . . says that he has come not to bring peace to the earth but a sword . . . Not only will governors and kings hate and persecute the apostles, but the family will be fractured by loyalty to him . . . The sword he has brought, the sword that is an alternative to the peace of the world, is the sword of the cross . . . That Christians carry no sword other than the cross does not mean, however, that we are sent into the world defenseless . . . Christians are not without defense, having been given God’s word to shield us from our delusions that are the source of our violence.

      Jesus . . . is clear. Attempts to secure our lives through the means offered by the world are doomed to failure. If we are to find our lives, it seems, we must be prepared to lose our lives. But this is not a general recommendation that we should learn unselfishness–even unselfishness that may cost our lives–for the life we must be willing to lose is the life lost “for my sake,” that is, for Jesus. Self-sacrifice, often justified in the name of family or country, can too easily be tyrannical. The language of sacrifice is often used by those in power for perverse ends. Jesus does not commend the loss of self as a good in and of itself. He demands that we follow him because he alone has the right to ask for our lives.

      Too often Christianity in our time is justified as a way of life that leads to stability and order. “The family that prays together stays together”–but such sentiments cannot but lead to an idolatry of the family. “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:37) is a hard saying, but one that makes clear why Jesus must prepare the disciples for persecution . . . Not a little is at stake. The violence of nations is often justified in the name of protecting our loves–our way of life. Yet it is exactly those loyalties that Jesus calls into question as he instructs his disciples.”

    • parables118

      I would encourage you to go back and read the context of the passages you’re citing as advocacy for violence. To be clear, Jesus is illusive, I don’t claim to have clarity on everything that he said or did. However, Matt. 10:34 doesn’t seem to refer to an actual sword. Instead, if read in the larger context, Jesus seems to be talking about the subversive nature of the Kingdom of God. In choosing to be a part of this Kingdom, a person is automatically setting themselves against the Kingdom of Man. In some households, fathers & sons will be divided over their allegiances to differing Kingdoms.

      Also, Jesus drove Jewish leaders out of the temple who were using their power to exploit the poor. Please note that Jesus drove JEWS (his own people) out of the temple. Jesus anger is most often directed at men & women who claimed to have some knowledge of God & used their authority to oppress others. Today, I wonder how Jesus would respond to Americans, who are among the most privileged people groups to ever live, as we use our freedoms to oppress already marginalized people groups.
      Listen to Paul’s words on the subject of freedom
      Galatians 5:13-14, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

  • Shoobacca

    I don’t know what’s more disheartening to me, the worldviews espoused through the recent proclamations of Jerry Falwell, Jr., Donald Trump, Franklin Graham, etc. or the popularity of those ideas among professing evangelical Christians. As a faith community, we really seem to have lost the plot, and I don’t know how to help us find our way back.

    • Tacitus

      Did we ever have it? American conservative Christianity has had a muscular mean streak a mile wide for as long as I remember. Before the Muslims were the target of their ire, it was the Catholics, and before that Southern Baptist leaders were among those leading the charge against integration.

  • http://davidbrush.com mrdcbrush

    To find a non-violent response requires that we practice and prepare ourselves to react in a counter-intuitive and kingdom of heaven oriented way. So much of what Falwell plays into is not a kingdom mindset, but a common-sense humanistic response that our world endorses. I doubt Falwell would consider himself a humanist, but he is responding from within the blinders placed on him.

    I think where we (as peace oriented followers of Jesus) often struggle, especially in America, is putting into action non-violent initiatives that confront the evils we see and face. Peace takes work, it takes action, it takes resources and investment. It isn’t passive by any means. How much money does Liberty invest in peace studies? How much time do they spend exploring how to confront evil in non-violent ways? It’s easier to get mad and react emotionally than actually seek justice.

  • JD

    Liberty is offering a free concealed carry class to all students because, in Falwell’s words, “If more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in and killed them.”

    The New American Christianity: ‘Shoot to kill now, pray later.’

  • tsgIII

    We live in a veritable fenced in garden. Within are people who resemble all the beasts. I fully believe that the child in a manger is a picture of hay, and we are all, everyone, called to taste. To do so is a transforming experience, I say from beast to man. My perspective, and many don’t agree. I truly am called to love all within the garden, and as such cannot in good conscience respond with violence. It is perfectly true that Christians do not need sword for themselves and are not subject thereto( subject to the Holy Spirit).

    But there are without doubt, and history bears it out, those who act beastly.But before governing the world in accordance with the Gospel, first we must make the attempt at giving us a world where there is but true Christians. You can ask, demand, pass laws on all in the garden to turn the other cheek, but you are pronouncing death on the sheep in the garden. This is the horns of the dilemma of pacifism. And we are pinned to it. This is the statesman’s dilemma. Falwell is no statesman. And frankly neither is Hauerwas. It breaks my heart when discussions about the beastly behavior of mankind turns to a divide between those calling for pacifism and those calling for defense. Neither solves.

    It is statesman who solve. Leaders who know about the hard work, the principles, the real education beyond nationalism, tribalism, religion, team, gang, clique. They differ from sophist and philosopher in terms of their knowledge. A true statesman knows how to get the aggressor and the defender to go to opposite corners. There the true statesman does the real work necessary to turn the violence toward creative solutions of differences. They know at heart the mimetic desires of us all and the violence it produces and the scapegoating it promotes.

    Our real problem today is the obvious lack of statesman. Within every era of mankind, there have been individual men and women you could name as aggressors, defenders, philosophers, sophists, and statesman. Statesman have included Buddha, Plato, Jesus, Francis of Assisi, Wilberforce, Jefferson, Tolstoy, and recently even King and Tutu. There probably is a child with the creative ability to grow into person capable of the knowledge and skills necessary to turn our current violence toward creative solutions. Notice how the statesman are usually subjected to extreme resistance. I count Jesus death by his Father as necessary to create His nation( the question about Abraham is can a father kill his own son and create a nation seeming as large as the stars of heaven?)

    • Snowman8wa

      Well said @tsglll; I am reminded of the Cold War de’tante between US and the Soviet Union. I have weapons for protection, the aggressor has weapons to do me harm. We both, are aware of what the other holds and as long as each of us are fully aware that there is no fear from either side in the use of the weapon, there is a “peace” or “truce of mutual respect”

      However, there comes a time where one must defend themselves. normally because of the works of the aggressor. You cited Tolstoy, well Tolstoy sums it up quite nicely:

      “A man cannot be placed against his will in a situation opposed to his conscience. If you find yourself in such a position it is
      not because it is necessary to anyone whatever, but simply because you wish it.”

      I am not going to seek the evil, but I am going to DESTROY it when it comes for me.

      Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis

  • Deborah Kukal

    Thank you for that balanced perspective, that timely word.

  • Robert Conner

    I certainly agree. We don’t need the fundamentalist loons of two Abrahamic faiths building pipe bombs, arming themselves to the teeth, and spreading fear and hate. That’s what we have evangelicals for.

    • charlesburchfield

      oh?…the IRONY! =|°-)

  • http://www.ethicalmusings.com/ GMClifford

    Finding our way back to the Prince of Peace begins by renouncing our gunslinger culture and advocating repeal of the Second Amendment, positions that I explain more fully at http://blog.ethicalmusings.com/2015/12/the-san-bernardino-killings-crime-or.html.

  • scott stone

    We’re all such hypocrites. We wonder how it is that so many Muslims can pervert the Koran and then walks in Falwell and the silence from evangelicals, for the most part, is deafening.

    • Concern

      “is deafening” , Because most evangelicals are gun loving Christians first. It is an idol to most evangelicals …but none will admit.

      Anything you can’t give up is an idol. Even self, can become an idol.

  • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

    What I gleaned from Falwell’s comments was that he was specifically referring to the two Jihadist killers in San Bernardino. Had evil radicals Farook and Malik (or two others like them) entered the Liberty campus with the intention of killing as many as possible, and Liberty students were carrying guns, many lives could have been saved. He is realistically concerned about a similar incident occurring at Liberty, and wants to be prepared ahead of time to meet such a challenge, so there will not be more innocent lives lost due to Islamist ideology brought to fruition. Would it not be reason to celebrate if someone had been prepared ahead of time for the possibility of a murderous situation taking place like occurred in San Bernardino? Would it not be reason to celebrate had a prepared individual saved those innocent lives lost instead of the two with murderous intent being free to slaughter them?

    • Mack

      The problem is a practical one. No active shooter has ever been stopped by a civilian with a gun. Even in heavily armed contexts, like Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune, Norfolk Naval Base, Washington Naval Yard, Fort Hood, the Gabby Gifford shooting…owning a gun made no difference to the people whose lives were lost. there’s a point at which we have to take responsibility for our culture. Cultivating a culture of fear and distrust hasn’t helped us to become better Christians and hasn’t saved lives.

  • charlesburchfield

    what?…a SHAME! */8•0

  • Robert Conner

    Christians have been waging holy war for 1700 years. Read Gaddis’ book, There Is No Crime for Those Who Have Christ (UC Press), for an introduction. After centuries of pogroms, crusades, inquisitions, the Thirty Years War, ghettos, the Holocaust, witch hunts, public burnings, and internal schism that has resulted in an estimated 40,000 Christian sects, how can any mentally competent human be even slightly surprised by the raving of Jerry Falwell, Jr? Or do none of you recall how Falwell the First chortled about the deaths of AIDS patients? This loon’s father publicly mocked dying people. Wake up and smell the hate. It’s what your religion runs on.

  • Snowman8wa

    I agree with what Oswald Chambers states; we have our power through GOD. However, it is not my opinion but TRUTH in that It is Written in Luke 22 where Jesus INSTRUCTED his disciples:

    Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.

    It was for defensive purposes, because Jesus knew what was coming down the pipe regarding the “WORLD”. It was to warn them of days of hatred and opposition in which self-defence might become a daily necessity, though not aggression..

    The reference to us picking up our Cross is regarding our “Personal WALK” with our Savior. If you cannot address those things that must be “cruxified” by bearing your OWN CROSS, how can we be disciples of Jesus Christ?

    That Scripture in Matthew 10 is reiterated (cf. Matthew 16 and 27; Mark 8 and 10; Luke 9 and 14; and in John 19)

    In either example the odds cited may be astronomically in your favor, but as one person said about that proverbial “BIG ONE” earthquake, “If a 1.1 hit and a brick dislodged and struck you dead…Well, THAT was the Big One for you.”

    Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis

    • Shoobacca

      Thanks for sharing your understanding of the Luke 22 passage, Snowman8wa. Are you open to wrestling with any alternative interpretations of it, particularly one which doesn’t believe that Jesus is advocating the use of swords in self-defense?

      • Snowman8wa

        Oswald Chambers is quoted in saying:

        “Be careful of BARTERING the Word of GOD for a more suitable conception of your own.”

        Jesus Christ tells us, and I quote:
        “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his
        house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

        And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” [Matthew 7:24-27]

        Interesting how your question ties to these two of many instances, a plethora of which can be found in Proverbs regarding the contrast of Wisdom and Foolishness.

        In all cases, including Matthew 5 and especially Revelation 22. Not one jot, not one tittle shall be changed, added or removed.

        Given the fact that today’s generations listen with their eyes and think with their feelings, as compared to scholars who would put today’s scholars to shame.

        No……………GOD does not CONFORM TO MAN, HE conforms us to His needs. Everything in the Bible from OT History to the Gospel and subsequent Apostolic teachings has a purpose and it is our RESPONSIBILITY to seek the original purpose GOD has in store for us. Jesus’s Church is in the turmoil for the EXACT reason you asked me of “ALTERNATIVE Interpretations. It’s even documented in Every book after John, we just have to accept that DOGMA is POISON.

        Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis

        • Shoobacca

          Snowman8wa, I was just wondering if you saw this as a very clear, cut and dried, black and white, non-debatable passage or not. I’ll take your response as a “No” to my question about your mindset.

          I’ll just be over here with the rest of the bartering fools thinking we just might not have it all figured out.

          • Snowman8wa

            You’re correct in that my answer is “NO”. So, why are you shocked that I do not accept modern re-interpretation of what has been studied by ancient theologians, far more intelligent than today’s “scholars” who have dissected this time and time again to come up with the same outcome?

            Do you just read the Bible and take the Word at the face value of modern day English; which has been perverted to meet the needs of an AGENDA? Or do you, when you have a question, go back to the Greek and the Hebrew to see what that word actually means and in what context the word/passage was used? Not being condescending, just seeking how you interpret GOD’s Word.

            I cited what I did for a reason; THAT is where the Church is today. Agree, Like it or not; WE as “Christians” have returned BACK to being Corinthians, Ephesians and other early Christians who either didn’t get what Jesus has to offer or, as Paul cites in Romans 1, refused to surrender their fleshly lives to Jesus. They wanted to keep “The World” in their walk, accepting sins as “normal” ACCEPTABLE CHRISTIAN BEHAVIOR

            TRUTH………thus the bartering. We have a saying in our Church. “If Scripture bothers you, then there’s a good chance what it says IS FOR YOU.”

            Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis

          • Shoobacca

            Damn modern re-interpreters …

            Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers
            by Charles John Ellicott (1819 – 1905)
            Luke 22:36 — If the words had stopped short of the “sword,” we could have received their literal meaning without difficulty. They would have seemed to counsel the prudence which provides for want, instead of a simple trust, as before, in the providence of God, and so would have sanctioned all equitable forms of Church organisation and endowment. The mention of the “sword,” however, introduces a new element of thought. Our Lord’s words to Peter (Matthew 26:52) show that the disciples were not meant to use it in His defence. It is not likely that He would teach them to use it in their own, as they preached the gospel of the Kingdom.

            Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
            by Albert Barnes (1798 – 1870)
            Luke 22:36 — There has been much difficulty in understanding why Jesus directed his disciples to arm themselves, as if it was his purpose to make a defense. It is certain that the spirit of his religion is against the use of the sword, and that it was not his purpose to defend himself against Judas.

            Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
            by Matthew Henry (1662 – 1714)
            Luke 22:36 — Our Lord gave notice of a very great change of circumstances now approaching. The disciples must not expect that their friends would be kind to them as they had been. Therefore, he that has a purse, let him take it, for he may need it. They must now expect that their enemies would be more fierce than they had been, and they would need weapons. At the time the apostles understood Christ to mean real weapons, but he spake only of the weapons of the spiritual warfare. The sword of the Spirit is the sword with which the disciples of Christ must furnish themselves.

            We have a saying in our church too, Snowman8wa. “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” Proverbs 17:28 (KJV)

          • Snowman8wa

            Ahhhh a “SHOPPER”…..stopping Jussssst SHORT of what is stated to make you point. let’s share with everyone else “THE REST OF THE STORY”…..

            Albert Barnes continued in his commentary after the word Judas…….stating:

            “But it should be remembered that these directions about the purse, the scrip, and the sword were not made with reference to his “being taken” in the garden, but with reference “to their future life.” The time of the trial in Gethsemane was just at hand; nor was there “time” then, if no other reason existed, to go and make the purchase. It altogether refers to their future life. They were going into the midst of dangers. The country was infested with robbers and wild beasts. It was customary to go armed. He tells them of those dangers – of the necessity of being prepared in the usual way to meet them. This, then, is not to be considered as a specific, positive “command” to procure a sword, but an intimation that great dangers were before them; that their manner of life would be changed, and that they would need the provisions “appropriate to that kind of life.” The “common” preparation for that manner of life consisted in money, provisions, and arms; and he foretells them of that manner of life by giving them directions commonly understood to be appropriate to it. It amounts, then, to a “prediction” that they would soon leave the places which they had been accustomed to, and go into scenes of poverty, want, and danger, where they would feel the necessity of money, provisions, and the means of defense. All, therefore, that the passage justifies is:

            1. That it is proper for people to provide beforehand for their wants, and for ministers and missionaries as well as any others.

            2. That self-defense is lawful.

            Men encompassed with danger may lawfully “defend” their lives. It does not prove that it is lawful to make “offensive” war on a nation or an individual.”

            “He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him. The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty. A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.
            A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

            [Proverbs 18]

            If you are trying to tell me that the word sword means Weapons of spiritual warfare, then share with us, how exactly do you BUY the Weapons of Spiritual Warfare? How do you take your purse and sell your cloak to buy The WHOLE Armor of GOD (Ephesians 6)? You cannot…..You can shed your old self and put on a new robe of righteousness, I would agree with that. But no man can BUY weapons of spiritual warfare.

            If in fact you are correct then what is the sword in v.38?

            “And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords.G3162 And he said unto them, It is enough.”

            G3162

            μάχαιρα

            machaira

            Thayer Definition:

            1) a large knife, used for killing animals and cutting up flesh

            2) a small sword, as distinguished from a large sword

            2a) curved sword, for a cutting stroke

            2b) a straight sword, for thrusting

            Part of Speech: noun feminine

            Look, I don’t subscribe to HOW Falwell’s comment was put, but We have a duty to protect ourselves. Yes he was crass, and Yes you have the FREEDOM to not defend yourself with a earthly weapon. But there will come a time when you’d wish you’d sold that cloak for a sword.

            Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis

          • Shoobacca

            Would you care to apply your obviously formidable intellectual prowess to the Henry and Ellicott comments as well?

            I’ve provided only three here, but could point you to many other non-modern New Testament scholars who are less than sure that Jesus is advocating the use of weaponry in self-defense in this passage. Would you like to refute them all? If so, it would seem that at some point one would have to acknowledge that good and godly people can have differing opinions on ambiguous Scripture.

            Thank you for the conversation. Please feel free to comment further if you would like, but I think it best for this to be my final reply.

  • Dennis Barr

    The question that is begged by this and other utterances from the Evangelical side is, how much firepower is needed before people begin to lose their fear. How many guns must be amassed before fear departs? How many armed citizens must there be to quell the anxiety? What’s the total caliber of all available weapons needed to feel secure? The answer I see hinted at is that there is no upper limit to the armory, there is no level of readiness – on the part of citizens – that will make us all feel safer. Fear God, or fear others – that seems to be the choice before us.