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A Little Ocean Ambiance
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Doctrinal Writings
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Dr. Richard Flanders
Juniata Baptist Church
Vassar, Michigan
With the rise of violence in American society, an hysterical attitude toward privately-owned guns has developed and spread. A growing number of citizens want to see firearms registered and controlled or even banned altogether. The blame for murders is being shifted from the killer himself to something or someone else, and often the blame is being put on the weapon he used. Our country's new attitude toward guns, which threatens to negate the Second Amendment's guarantee of the citizens' right to bear arms, is sadly mistaken. Part of the problem is a mistaken religious point of view that suggests God's disapproval of guns. What does God think about people owning guns? The Bible indicates that the viewpoint of our gun-toting forefathers was quite close to correct.

The Use of the Bow

The Second Book of Samuel makes this statement in Chapter one, Verse 18:
"Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow. . ."
"He" in this verse is David, one of the Bible's great heroes, called "a man after his [God's] own heart" (I Samuel 13:14). The occasion of this command was the defeat of the Israelites in the battle of Mt. Gilboa, with the death of King Saul and his sons (I Samuel 31). At the death of the king, David became the leader of the tribe of Judah and ordered that his warriors learn "the use of the bow." An archer had shot Saul, and the knowledge of archery seemed to have been the immediate cause for the triumph of the enemy. Until this time, the Hebrews had been armed with spears and swords, but beginning now the men of Judah would know the use of the bow. A new weapon would bring peace and security and victory to a defeated people. Every indication is that God approved of the new policy.

The enemy of Israel in those days was the nation of the Philistines. I Samuel 13 records for us the plight of Israel during a time when they had almost no weapons, and Philistine domination of the Hebrews was virtually complete.

"Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears: but all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock. Yet they had a file for the mattocks, and for the coulters, and for the forks, and for the axes, and to sharpen the goads. So it came to pass in the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan: but with Saul and with Jonathan his son was there found.. ." (verses 19-22)
Because of a shortage in weapons, and problems in the making of weapons, the poorly-armed Israelites were practically enslaved by the well-armed Philistines! The Americans who gave us the Bill of Rights understood that, in this wicked world, disarmed people will soon be enslaved people. This is why they guaranteed us the "right to keep and bear arms."

Thou Shalt Not Kill

But weapons are made to kill people. Isn't the Lord against killing? You will read in Exodus 20:13 the command, "Thou shalt not kill." Yet in the next chapter, Exodus 21, God authorizes the taking of life in capital punishment (Verses 12-16). In Exodus 22, God tells the Israelites that it is not murder if a man kills a burglar breaking into his house (Verse 2). In Exodus 23, God approves the fighting of wars (Verses 20-33). Taken as a whole, the teaching of the Bible about killing is that the deliberate first-degree murder of a human being for private, selfish purposes is a terrible sin punishable both by society and by God, but that killing in legal executions, in war, or in self-defense is justified. Capital punishment is a divinely-authorized act of human government to curtail violence in the land. The responsibility for killing in war is that of the state and not of the soldiers who are called upon to fight. When somebody threatens another person's life or property, he forfeits his right to live. These are principles of God's Word, and they represent the only reasonable and practical attitude toward killing. Because killing can be justified in certain cases, the making and keeping of weapons is justified, and often even necessary.

The Lord Jesus Christ

The night the Lord Jesus went to Gethsemane with His disciples, He told them about the dangers of the times they were entering. "And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. 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." (Luke 22:35-36) When the disciples asked about taking weapons with them to the garden, Christ approved of the proposal.
"And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough." (Luke 22:38)
God never said Christians shouldn't have guns. The Bible gives us reason to believe that we oughtto own some weaponry. The Bible also teaches that violence is not caused by the weapons used in murderous acts. The cause of murder and of all evil acts is to be found in the human heart! Jesus said,
"Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. . ." (Matthew 15:19)
Murder is in the heart, and the choice of weapon is merely a secondary matter when one man decides to murder another. Guns don't kill people. People kill people. The registering or banning of guns will not restrain violence. Neither would the registration of knives, clubs, poisons, or other murder weapons! The problem is in the human heart. See what the prophet said in Jeremiah 17:9.
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

The Heart

Because of the sin that Adam committed, every descendent of Adam has been born with a morally depraved and sinful heart. Read about it in the words of David.
"Yea, in heart ye work wickedness; ye weigh the violence of your hands in the earth. The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies." (Psalm 58:2-3)
"Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." (Psalm 51:5)
Sin in the heart will not be removed by new laws or by gun control. The remedy is in the salvation God provided for us in Jesus Christ.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (II Corinthians 5:17)
Those who trust in Christ for their salvation are given a new nature that, according to Ephesians 4:24, is "created in righteousness and true holiness." When we admit to being sinners, and turn to Christ for the salvation of our souls, we are saved, and the Lord gives us a new heart. Christians are people who have been "born again" (John 3:3).

No, the taking away of guns will not give us a peaceful society. The truth is that guns in the hands of decent people often serve to control killers! When they know you might have a gun, they think twice. Remember it was the Colt .45 that tamed the Old West. If Nicole Simpson had had a handgun, she would probably be alive today! Taking guns out of homes is not the answer to a violent society. Taking sin out of hearts is!

Monthly Article
Thur, 10, June 1999
by Dr. Rick Flanders
currently Pastor of
Juniata Baptist Church
Juniata Baptist Church
5656 Washburn Road
Vassar, MI 48768
(517) 823-7848

Dr. Rick Flanders Biographical Data

Converted in 1963 through a radio ministry.
Earned B.A. and M.A. degrees from Bob Jones University.
Honorary D.D. from Pensacola Christian College.
Pastor at Juniata Baptist Church since 1973.
On BCPM Board, (Baptist Church Planting Ministry)
and also MACS. (Michigan Association of Christian School)

Articles published in the;
Sword of the Lord
Baptist Preacher,
Christian View of the News,
Pulpit Helps,
Maranatha Watchman
Church Bus News,
and other national periodicals.

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