My first degree (B Th) was from a Bible college in the American Mid-West. One of the things I wasn’t prepared for was how many church people owned guns and said they would use them to protect themselves.
Guns are a big topic in the US, so it’s refreshing to see some good scholars engaging this debate. Two professors from Fuller Theological Seminary have collated the work of seven others in a new book called God and Guns: The Bible Against American Gun Culture published by Westminster John Knox Press in November 2021.
Now another NT scholar is blogging his responses. Ben Witherington III is someone I consult regularly (most recently 2 days ago). His understanding of how rhetoric functioned in the social setting of the New Testament is second to none. That’s why it was such a thrill to tour Israel with him back in 2014.
So, if you’re interested in how some good American Bible scholars think about this topic, Ben’s blog posts are your way in:
A godly response to violence is a huge topic for anyone interested in the cross. Ben’s posts are not just about what to think, but how to think: how to handle Scripture well and engage on issues that can be divisive. There’s wisdom here. Enjoy.
Update 2022-01-24: final links added (above).
Update 2022-02-12: Ben in dialogue with the book’s author:
2 thoughts on “God and Guns”
The culture of guns in America predates the pilgrims in that hunter-trappers came over to the New World from mostly Europe to gather beaver pelts, kill their dinner as well as protect themselves especially from Indians. The pilgrims did not believe in killing humans but brought guns for hunting food. Guns continued to be necessary for every family living in the new frontier for both protection and food and especially when the revolutionary war broke out.
As a teenager in the 60’s I owned 3 rifles for hunting and target practice. During the summers in Stockton CA, a small group of us kids would gather at one of our friends house and head out to the distant fields. We were armed to the teeth as we rode our bikes through the neighborhood but nobody cared.
My guns are now gone. Gave them to an avid hunter friend. As a believer in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior I read passages that said to obey your government rulers. Love your enemies. In the world you’ll have trials and troubles, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. I am a living sacrifice. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed. I don’t know what the future holds but I do know Who holds the future. I do take precautions to protect my family as I love them dearly. So any potential intruder will be on camera and probably get really soaked. Otherwise I trust the LORD for for my security.