Monday, January 28, 2013

Is Jesus Against Gun Control?


Could there by anything more revealing about the American evangelical church than the energy and intransigence shown about the right to own guns including assault rifles and large magazine clips? You would assume that followers of Jesus would be unquestionable proponents of a less violent society, and even, I know this is a stretch, have some compassion for many of the criminals whose upbringing had much to do with their violence. You might think that, wouldn’t you?

Oh but you would be wrong at least within the general populace of the western evangelical community. You see, we now believe in an eye for an eye. We now believe that Christ commands us to kill someone who assaults us or threatens our property or our life. You see, we now believe Jesus agrees with the Constitution even though His teachings seem to indicate otherwise. You see, we live in the real world and the teachings of Jesus are nice sayings but many of them are impractical given today’s circumstances. I mean, let’s get real here.

The opposition to even reasonable gun control which includes a demonization of President Obama and a misrepresentation of how wide the controls suggested are, is an incredible revelation of just how deep nationalism has penetrated into the mindset and heart of the church. It is both sad and disturbing. You might be able to understand the passion behind the pro-life movement, and even the traditional marriage movement, even though the gospel is our calling. But how can we understand the pro-gun movement within the church? How can we make sense of believers who say they follow Jesus and yet in the face of widespread violence, even violence against children, and yet they remain entrenched in the archaic premise of the 2nd Amendment?

If you add up all the gun murders, all the gun suicides, and all the gun violence, and compare it with all the incidents where guns prevented those crimes, you will find some startling statistics. But when someone prevents a crime because he is armed, many hold it up as proof of the worth of guns, while they ignore the sweeping violence across the land. Of course there is no guarantee that gun control will curb gun violence, but should believers be on the wrong side of this debate? Even if you somehow believed in the 2nd Amendment, shouldn’t you remain humble and quiet and just trust God rather than join with the mindless clamor?

But this is how far the church has strayed and walked into the carnal morass as just another clamoring voice that demands what it demands. How can that be Jesus? But in this modern expression of the faith what Jesus taught is recited to children while the adults use His name indiscriminately in almost all situations. And the byproduct of such an expression is that the lost world has come to see Christianity as a set of morals and a faith which overwhelmingly supports the American Dream. And now, guns of all things, are championed by believers. Even if you are a hunter or a recreational gun owner, shouldn’t you be concerned about the spread of gun violence? And if it means relinquishing some of your guns, is that too much of a burden or an abrogation of your rights?

But even if we believe any kind of gun control will not work, we as believers should remain silent while the kingdom of darkness accuses and excuses each other and in general fights tooth and nail to defend its so called “rights”. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ you have only one right: To serve at the Kings desire. All other rights are manmade attempts to accommodate his lusts. Even earthly freedom is misused in order to create an atmosphere where man can pursue his own happiness. And that is humanism which is antichrist.

Who would have thought that the Church of Jesus Christ would become so entrenched in nationalism that it would energetically defend its “right” to own a firearm? And in fact no one is now suggesting they do away with the 2nd Amendment, only that certain more volatile weapons be restricted. And yet believers cannot even humbly acquiesce to that? This is a sad day in a long line of sad days for the church. We have sold our spiritual birthright for a mess of Constitutional pottage.

I beseech you, dear believer, remove yourself from all these earthly and fallen debates. Even if you do own a firearm remain humbly prayerful and silent. These kinds of Constitutional altercations obscure the gospel when believers get involved, and they significantly and profoundly misrepresent Christ. Nationalism and politics do much harm to the cause of Christ when the church gives voice to that which is temporal.

Col.3: If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

What we must do is separate the attributes of a Jesus follower from the attributes of a citizen of America. To begin with we must be aware how different they are, and at times how opposed they are to each other. Any attempt to create an amalgam will always result in a spiritual compromise as well as a dilution of the nature of Christ.

It is generally considered a good quality if a person stands up for himself and is aggressive in his earthly pursuits. Defending yourself when you are in the right is not only expected, it is applauded. Speaking your mind is a wonderful attribute, and a competitive spirit is encouraged from the earliest age. Having a formidable self image is an asset, and demanding your rights is wholly American. And as an American you must be proud of your country and you are taught that it is the greatest country in the world. All in all these and other self expressions are considered attributes for a citizen of America.

But are those the fruits of the Spirit? Are those the attributes that Jesus taught? Jesus taught a life of humility, even a humility that reflects the cross. The New Testament teaches us to refrain our tongues from unwholesome speech and a critical spirit, as well as speech that demands our rights. Our speech is to be filled with grace and mercy, and we are to consider the plight of others more important than ours. We are to consider our earthly life as completely subservient to the life in the eternal. And when we are mistreated or persecuted, we are to take it humbly, patiently, and with a sense of joy since we have been counted worthy to suffer for His sake.

Now there are two portraits, two outlines, and two images. One captures what is considered a healthy and prosperous life here on earth, while the other draws a picture of what a life that follows Jesus should look like. Can they be any different? But yet believers so quickly shrug off the spiritual and put on the earthly. We demand rights and we fight fire with fire. We are offended when we are persecuted, and in fact we take some interpretations of the Constitution as spiritual persecutions. We have created man made labels and now we see people as liberals and conservatives. No longer do we see people as lost and in desperate need of redemption because the earthly issues have clouded out the eternal vision.

And so now we have professing believers, members of evangelical fellowships, clamoring forcefully for their rights to carry guns, and even assault weapons and large ammo clips. Can there be anything more profoundly against the teachings and nature of Christ? And even if you are a hunter or a recreational shooter, how can you make this debate your own? We are living sacrifices and if it comes to turning in our guns so be it. Let the world see that this means nothing to us; ours cause is Him.

No guns? But still Christ! Higher taxes? But still Christ! Gay marriage? But still Christ! Illegal immigrants? But still Christ! Taken to jail? But still Christ! Led to the gallows? But still Christ!

Brothers and sisters who believe in and follow Jesus, do not fret! Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever! Let the kingdom of darkness have their disputes. Let them argue among themselves. Let them demand rights or take away rights. What concern is that to we who are dead to this world?

Step back and lift up your eyes. We see Jesus! Let the Spirit lift your mind and heart up from this present world and open your eyes to the world to come. Rejoice! Our fate is settled in heaven, and no man can take away our rights in Christ. We have been grafted into God’s eternal family, and the freedom we have in Christ Jesus cannot even be compared with any earthly freedom.

Rom.8: 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Look for the glory which is from above, and patiently endure all things for His sake.


Lorena said...

If, "an eye for an eye', was still in affect I would have been put out of my misery 50 years ago. Thankfully to Jesus it is not and grace abounds.

I also get the impression that we watch way too much TV or play those stupid video games, and we're taking on the 'image' of the world and the way the world settles situations and not how Jesus did, our wonderful Saviour, Who had and has such patience and love for sinners.

The way we think and react one would wonder if we're all acting in a Hollywood movie with Sly Stallone...and oh how violent that can get.

And I'm not perfect either...

Mark said...

'What we must do is separate the attributes of a Jesus follower from the attributes of citizen of America. To begin with we must be aware how different they are, and at times how opposed they are to each other.'

Wow! Old school prophecy.

michael said...

Rick, in other words, as Jesus taught, Luke 9:
59 To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father."
60 And Jesus[fn] said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God."

Now to another point. You write: "What we must do is separate the attributes of a Jesus follower from the attributes of a citizen of America. To begin with we must be aware how different they are, and at times how opposed they are to each other. Any attempt to create an amalgam will always result in a spiritual compromise as well as a dilution of the nature of Christ."

Wow! Excellent!

I'm reminded Jesus' definition of "Eternal Life" when reading that.

It seems this Gift from God is being glossed over and weakened so one's spirit finds it more strenuous to have deep refreshing fruit full communion and fellowship with our Maker.

Also these verses seem to flow up from my soul to my mind when reading this article today:

2 Cor. 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
15 What accord has Christ with Belial?[fn] Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?
16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you,
18 and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty."

Anonymous said...

As a person who has lived their whole life in Australia (almost 40 years) I once (or twice) commented on Pastor Rick's writings regarding this issue. Since then, I have changed my mind, and was hoping that Pastor Rick would somehow reopen this issue for discussion. Not that I've really changed my mind as such, I have merely 'blanked' my mind on this issue. I begin to think that Americans/life in America is so much more complicated than I can ever comprehend. My well travelled british friends confirm that your country is like a different world. I forgo the right to have an opinion on this.

Rick Frueh said...

I agree with you on this: The American life is very complicated. However, the life of a follower of Jesus is profoundly simple: We serve at the desire of the King.

mrs k said...

You have written about this many times,Rick, but it bears repeating. Probably the foundational delusion on which all these others are built is the idea that America is a "Christian nation" because our founding fathers were "Christians." Some of them may have been, only God knows. But the evidence suggests that they were deists not followers of Jesus. Big difference.

Cherie c. said...

no mrs. k. non of the founding fathers were Christian. My atheist son tried to tell me, but my former Christian Patriotism had me denying it with ferocity.

I had to admit to him a while ago that he was right. Pretty sad when a worldly person has to set a follower of Jesus straight on some facts. Then I realized that I had to examine myself.

Chris Pinto is a Christian historian/discernment speaker. ( I do not endorse this website or the people of similar websites, it just has some good information on this topic)

On his website; you can Youtube it too; he has a video called Founding Fathers by Chris Pinto which tells us some of the facts regarding their very lack of God in our countries formation.

If what we do is as filthy rags, how much more are our rights. God allowed me to breathe today, does not mean I have a right to it. He sets the parameters of my life. It is His Grace that keeps me breathing, and His Grace is sufficient.

Gun control, capital punishment were big sermon topics at my former church. Shows you just how much Gospel was taken away to allow for sermons such as these. During the 2008 Presidential Elections during the service we were handed a small booklet with both candidates and their history and other information. No, really. How a Christian ought to vote. I was furious about it. It was not the place for such things, but it was only a glimpse of what I was to see happen at that church.

Not surprised that American Christianity is a proponent of the Constitution. Not surprised that the world views us as odd people too. We've made our the saying goes.

I can only hope that now that I have been called out that I can stand out for the Lord. Be ye separate, saith the Lord!

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

Victoria, Noel and Anonymous, thank you for your love and encouragement. =D

Rick Frueh said...

I cannot say with absolute certainty that none of the founding fathers were Christianis. What is very clear that the nation called America was formed as a pluralistic nation and not in any way a Christian nation. President John Adams made the first treaty with what was then called the Barbary Coast and in that treaty he said,
"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

That is from a founding father who was there.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what these anti-gun-control people think will happen when the last days' prophecies start to be fulfilled. Wicked men will increase and mental illness will increase, no doubt because of the godless society. Do they think that living in that kind of society will protect them from other kinds of threatening human behavior?

I read in 1 Tim: chapter 3 that perilous times will have all kinds: "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come; for men will be lovers of themselves, lover of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to paents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lover of God, having a form of godliness but denying it's power".

I think these christians have not left their rebel-rousing sin at the altar, or their need to prove their toughness, or their need to brag and enjoy throwing their 'rights' in other peoples faces. It's not enough that they just own weapons, they need to look for a 'fight'. They refuse to submit that one small need to control their lives to Jesus.

Cherie c. said...

Amen Pastor, the evidence speaks for itself.

Cherie c.

Anonymous said...

Yes to all that Brother Rick has written here! Thank the Lord that someone has preached the glorious liberating faith-engendering truth of our eternally secure position in Christ! Has He not given to us EVERYTHING that pertains to LIFE and godliness, by His pure and precious promises, which are toward us yes and amen? What can man do to me? I am His, blood-bought, in the Father's house, welcome at His table. Praise and thanks to the Lord who sought me and saved me when I was lost!

We are rescued out of the pig-sty--why should any of us wallow in fighting and striving there (among the worries of mere mortal men still in darkness who are without hope in this world.) Help us, Lord, to come up to Your high calling and to apprehend the things for which You have apprehended us. (And it's not gun-rights...)


Cherie c. said...

Amen, and Amen!

Cherie c.