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Our Saviour Lutheran 56 Cleveland Dr. Croton on Hudson, NY 10520 

Disturbing Theology

I’ve only shot a gun once in my life. I visited my grandfather in Missouri when I was 12 or so and as part of the entertainment, my grandfather and brother went out into a field and I was handed a gun to shoot as well as a rifle and a shotgun. I had no training, no instructions, and was told to begin shooting. I honestly didn’t want to hold the thing, even at that age.

I am sharing this because it was one of the first times I came face to face with a different world view regarding guns. Growing up in the city, guns were for police, military, and criminals. The only time I physically saw guns was when a police officer came to our door after our apartment had been robbed. Guns were not really part of my world.

In Missouri, my grandfather was retired military and a police officer. He had a number of guns and a drawer full of bullets. To him, it was normal for guns to be in the house and for everyone to shoot one for fun.

Two very different world views within the same family.

I write this because I have seen a disturbing trend within Christianity defending the use of guns. The point of this isn’t to get into a pro or anti gun debate, but rather how the Bible is being used to justify weapons. It comes from two places- one Peter cutting the ear off of a servant and the second comes from Peter’s charge to protect the sheep.

During the final hours of Jesus, a group of men come to arrest Jesus and Peter immediately draws his sword and cuts the ear off one of the men. Here is where the theology takes a turn. There are some preachers proclaiming that the sword is the modern day gun and since the disciples carried swords and used them to protect Jesus, we must carry guns as protection. When examined, it becomes pretty flimsy, but this is a real and honest justification for carrying guns. It completely ignores that Jesus scolds Peter following this incident and heals the man who came to arrest him. It also ignores passages where Jesus tells his disciples to carry no weapons and this was Peter breaking Jesus’ rule. It becomes a disturbing trend in theology.

The second is of a similar vein in that Jesus charges Peter to protect his sheep prior to the ascension. The theology gets transformed that protection means carrying guns to protect other Christians. Again, this theology ignores passages such as God proclaiming he will turn swords into plows and the goal is peace, not weapons.

We have two very different world views within the same family so to speak. To me, the trend of transforming Jesus’ vision of a world of peace into a place where guns are needed is a disturbing theological trend which twists the Gospel message of “do not fear” into “do not fear as long as you have a gun.” What would you do with this?
Pastor Justin Johnson
Our Saviour Croton on Hudson
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Our Saviour Lutheran Church · 56 Cleveland Dr · Croton on Hudson, NY 10520-2751 · USA

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