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Should Christians Shoot in Self Defense?

Published Jun 22, 2006
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I have been asked if Christians should “shoot to kill” in self-defense, No, they should shoot to stay alive! A truism very appropriate today in America is, a gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone. Courts have ruled that the police have no legal obligation to protect you.

In real, everyday life, you and your family are on your own! As Dad you are to be the provider, priest, and protector of  the family. You are the paladin “Have Gun, Will Travel” and that means you may have to shoot another person to keep the family safe.

Most Americans admit that self-defense is American but is it Christian?  I think so, although many will disagree.

In Genesis 14, some kings kidnapped Lot along with others and fled the countryside. Abraham, being responsible for his nephew, armed his 318 trained servants and pursued them almost to Damascus. He fought the enemy and brought back Lot, his family, and servants and all the bounty. Abraham believed in using force.

It is never mentioned by pacifists that Hebrews 11:34 highly commends Abraham and other famous Old Testament men who were very aggressive against wrong. In fact the writer says they “waxed valiant in fight.”

In Exodus 22:2 God permits the defense of your home. If you are awakened during the night by a thief in your house, you have every right to kill the invader without any sense of guilt. However, if it is daylight you do not have the right to kill the intruder unless he tries to kill you.

All right, but what about the New Testament teaching? First of all, no Christian has  a right to retaliation or personal vengeance; however, he does have a Scriptural and constitutional right to defend himself, his family, and his property.

In Luke 19-11-27, Jesus describes a king who killed those who opposed him. According to many authorities, the king in the parable represents Jesus Himself when he returns to set up his kingdom on earth. If killing is always wrong, then why would Christ use a parable wherein one representing Himself kills someone?

In all the examples in the Gospels, Christ or His disciples never told a soldier to not fight or not kill in time of war or self-defense. They had many opportunities to make the point if they wanted to make it.  They did not.

Those who boast of not believing in self-defense are almost always inconsistent. They will use seat belts, locks on their autos and homes, take flu shots, etc. but balk when it comes to protecting themselves with guns. Evidently they believe in a “little” self-protection but not “big” protection. Or do they believe in protection against “things” but not against people? Or do they know what they believe?

What pacifists do know is that they have the freedom to espouse their illogical talk because brave, aggressive men like General Patton kicked down the tyrants’ doors to maintain the freedom for pacifist doves to fly around cooing “peace, peace;” when they did nothing to produce that peace. National  defense, like self-defense is not wrong—it is right.

Quakers and others opposed to weapons point out the absence of swords or their use in the New Testament after the Book of Acts, but so what? The Bible doesn’t refer to sandals  after the Book of Acts, but does any sane person believe Christians did not wear them?

Swords were common in those days, so if it was wrong for believers to own or use swords, we can expect Scripture to clearly say so; but it doesn’t.

My critics point out that Jesus told Peter to put up his sword when he cut off the servant’s ear during His arrest in the Garden; however, Christ was clearly saying that His time had come for Him to die for man’s sins, so Pete was not to attempt to stop what must take place.

But self-defense is so unlike the gentle and mild Jesus” says someone; however, let me point out that the “gentle and mild Jesus” drove the moneychangers out of the Temple with a whip.

One of Christ’s last commands before going to Calvary was to tell the disciples to sell their cloak and purchase a sword! (Luke 22:36)  The meaning is, let him procure a sword at any expense, even if he is required to sell his clothes for it, intimating that the danger would be very great, and a sword would offer protection from wicked men.

My critics say that Christ did not mean to purchase a sword; He only meant that they would face many battles as they preached the gospel. Not so, because in verse 38 the disciples said, “Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.” No figurative language there. Christ told them to possess swords as they traveled the world preaching the gospel, although two swords would be sufficient.

Why did He  tell them to purchase a sword? Because shotguns had not been invented yet! A used shotgun will be much more practical than an extra suit. Have you obeyed His command?

If you permit a murder or rape of an innocent child when you could have stopped it, then you are morally responsible for it. Go sell your suit and buy a gun, learn to use it, and be willing to use it when necessary. However, remember if you carelessly shoot the Avon lady or paper boy, you will have to take the responsibility.

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8 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.

Ed Roy
Oct 26, 2008 10:15pm [ 1 ]

Finally a who preacher/evangelist who understands Luke 22:36! I have argued with others and said that this is not a parable or a request. JESUS told his followers to buy a sword, but as usual the nay sayers and false prophets would muddy up the waters with the worldly cry for peace at any price. I would not let my family pay the ultimate price for my lack of understanding and or cowardice. How can you share your faith in a violent heathen country such as, India or Indonesia, if you are dead? Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and communists do not respect people who will not even defend themselves. Thank you for your courage in the midst of flesh-eating heathen ministries.

Jan 17, 2009 5:08pm [ 2 ]

I am a Christian, and if we “Christians” have THE truth then we are the true hypocrites. When God or Jesus comes back to establish His Kingdom He WILL wipe out all the UNBELIEVERS. Not Christians. In the Bible.. or should I resay that for the simple minded..?

IN GOD’S WORD (much better) it says, love your enemies. Said by Jesus Himself. BAM!!! There you go. And one more thing my friend Jesus threw the people out of HIS temple. God is Just, Jesus is God. And the Holy Spirit is God as well, all 3 are the trinity. If you were God (hopefully not lol) wouldn’t you feel a bit PO’d at the thought of your Holy House being used for taxes and a market place and not for true worship? Jesus/God/Holy Spirit all the right to wipe all of us off this tiny planet but they don’t because God wants our love. So anyways, self defense, although tempting, is not the way of a True Christian, it is the way of a True Hypocrite because it IS US, Christians who are the true hypocrites for we have the truth but do not act upon it. We just ignore it and live our pathetic lives thinking we’ve already bought our free ticket to Heaven where, when we get to Heaven God will just ask, “Who are you?” and send you down where you deserve to go.

Please do no take this personally, this is just my opinion but I believe that self-defense and violence is not our weapon, it is LOVE.

Dan Haws
Mar 10, 2010 3:06am [ 3 ]

Thank you for your thoughts and helpful insight.

Mar 31, 2010 3:24pm [ 4 ]

I am for self defense, however I think you may be taking that verse out of context. I am a Bible College student in OKC and am currently studying for a debate in which my team has to defend the argument that a Christian should never end another person’s life. I believe that Christ might be using an allegory in this passage. The apostles were not to prepare for a physical war, but a spiritual war. Just a thought from an ignorant sophomore Bible college student. No disrespect at all. Just to reiterate, I am for self defense even if it means ending a person’s life. I am simply being forced to play devil’s advocate in this situation.

Michael Wright
Sep 4, 2010 4:03pm [ 5 ]

Sir, Your study is correct according to the context of scripture. The swords Yehshua commanded his disciples to acquire were in fact literal swords for the purpose of self defense.

Mar 14, 2014 3:49pm [ 6 ]

Thou shalt not kill. It’s one of the 10. Now, if someone was going to kill another person and I could kill him to save them, that commandment would be very difficult to heed.

Psalm 149
Oct 2, 2015 9:17pm [ 7 ]

When the Bible says “love your enemies”, you can love your enemies and still dish out punishment. Just as you can love your child and still punish him for doing something bad. Also, what is the definition of “your enemies”? Even in the Old Testament it says to give your enemy drink if he’s thirsty. Is the enemy you’re giving drink to is at that moment trying to kill you or is your enemy the next door neighbor who hates you and makes your life miserable?

Speaking of Old Testament, “thou shalt not kill” is in the Old Testament along with plenty of cases where God told the Israelites to kill everything in sight in some cases. Also “thou shalt not kill” is enforced with if you do kill, your life would be taken by MAN. “Thou shalt not kill” means thou shalt not murder in context. In my opinion, anyone who quotes that passage in defense of no defense is either not thinking at the time he type or say that, is ignorant of the Bible in general, or is purposely ignoring the rest of the Bible trying to promote their view. In short, they’re setting themselves up for a easy target by those who studied the Bible.

Oct 14, 2015 12:09pm [ 8 ]

Ive been studying this and its a difficult subject. I don’t see shooting someone the same as using a seat belt or locking a door. Its self preservation, but its protecting yourself without taking another life. taking another life is taking something that has a soul. I don’t know all the answers but I don’t think that’s the same

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