If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him. If the sun be risen upon him, there shall be blood shed for him; for he should make full restitution; if he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.
Using a Biblical Worldview on the Self-Defense and Firearms Debate
When I was twenty years old, I was driving to a job interview in Los Angeles. I couldn’t find the building where a hiring manager was waiting for me and so I parked my car to walk to a phone booth to call for clearer directions. Within seconds of hanging up the phone receiver, two individuals assaulted me and took my money. A passerby saw the car in which my assailants fled and took a partial plate number. I called the police and they came right away and took a report. I never pursued that job interview after that.
Months later while I was studying at UC Berkeley for the summer, I got a visit from the Berkeley Police Department at my friend’s house, who was hosting my stay. I wasn’t present for the visit from the police, so the officer left his card for me to call at my convenience. When I called, the officer asked me to come in to identify my assailant in a photo line-up that was wired to his office from the LAPD. At the office, I pointed to the assailant from the photo lineup without hesitation. Days later, an LAPD officer would inform me that the assailant was detained and had a pattern of violence and theft in that general area where I was assaulted.
It was comforting to know that the system didn’t fail at that time.
Now, as a mom and a believer, my views of justice and rights as a citizen appear to be very unpopular with the common Christianity of today, which cries a bleeding heart against gun ownership and all those who stand to preserve the freedom to bear arms.
Only a few uphold the views I do—only a few.
However, I don’t mind the disagreements, but I do have to pause when commentaries with no logical—or biblical—foresight are expressed. Examining the self-defense and weapons debate utilizing a Biblical worldview is unpopular in a day when Christianity is a culture, not a conviction. I read in a Christian publication:
The right to bear arms, for example, is neither a God-given command nor a divine right, and Christians are free, therefore, to withhold from exercising those rights for the sake of the common good.
Now my question is, who defines the common good?
I know what informs my worldview, so that is what I will apply whenever I answer or comment on the subject that is mobbing the news media today. When we see these factions, these distortions of truth and law, we need to look to the Bible for wisdom. It’s necessary, for such a time as this, to pursue God’s word in all things, to seek the whole counsel of God.
We have a duty to defend ourselves and to defend the defenseless. The Bible is very clear about this and moreover, the Bible is heavy with commanding the Israelites to defend themselves, to destroy their enemies. (See these Bible Verses About Self Defense).
God protects His own and His own are sanctioned to defend and protect themselves. When confronting the enemy, we need to be ready. Just as we are admonished to give an answer to everyone for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15), we need to also be ready to offer a defense for when we are under attack, be it spiritually or physically.
Weapons manufactured in Biblical times were obviously not engineered as the weapons we see today. But they are weapons nonetheless. Swords, sling-shots, bows and arrows, spears, and darts are visible in the Bible. The word of God does not forbid the Christian to defend and protect, and even hunt wild game by utilizing weapons.
We read in Luke 22:35-38: “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. 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.”
This passage, as spoken by the Lord himself, couldn’t be clearer.
Mary Fairchild in her article, What Does the Bible Say About the Right to Bear Arms? states: “In the New Testament, Jesus sanctioned the use of weapons for self-defense. While giving his farewell discourse to the disciples before going to the cross, he instructed the apostles to purchase sidearms to carry for self-protection. He was preparing them for the extreme opposition and persecution they would face in future missions.”
The Old Testament also demonstrates the sanctioning of self-defense:
“If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him. If the sun be risen upon him, there shall be blood shed for him; for he should make full restitution; if he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.” (Exodus 22:2-3)
The Bible gives us permission to protect our families and ourselves.
A careful study of the Bible will answer the concerns a believer has about firearms. For a more thorough and comprehensive look at the Bible and what it says about arms, weapons, self-defense, and protection, I recommend the important Bible study found at the link below. It taught me how to bring to bear a Biblical world-view in response to another believer who would otherwise be adamantly against weapons of any kind, a believer who would rely on the philosophies of the world to inform her view on life matters.
Seeking God’s word in earnest is the right response on any matter. We are to anticipate push-back when, oftentimes, our unpopular view may result in finding ourselves standing alone, standing apart.
More on this topic: What Does the Bible Say About Self Defense?