LifeFeb 27, 2018 by Alyssa Duvall
In a Time Magazine editorial outlining a Christian approach favoring gun control, author Belinda Luscombe quotes an evangelical pastor in support of her thesis: guns are not Christian.
"Here’s one thing all Evangelicals — and Christians of every stripe, actually — hold to be true: humans are sinful. They cannot stop being sinful. They will always be sinful...The sinfulness of all humanity is one of Christianity’s foundational beliefs," Luscombe says.
With that in mind, she wonders, why do so many Christians, particularly those on the right, "so steadfastly oppose any kind of meaningful gun control?" Of course, she adds, guns don't kill people by themselves. "People kill people. But since Christians believe that people cannot be perfected this side of Glory, why not limit the harm we fallen people are able to do? We can only change one side of the equation, and that’s the gun side."
"Traditionally, Christians believe in the tithe. That is, they give up 10% of their income to the church or some godly purpose," Luscombe continues, drawing upon biblical principles for her argument. "The thinking behind this is that since everything humans have comes from God, they are merely returning to God what is God’s. To hoard money is to rely on something other than God. To give it away is to acknowledge that God is the ultimate provider. So why do Christians rely on guns for protection at all times? Do Christians believe guns are stronger than God?"
"Why not then give up even 10% of the access to guns — say, just the semi-automatics?" she asks.
“I would call it the libertine loophole,” says Rev. Rob Schenck, a Washington D.C. -based evangelical pastor whom Luscombe describes as anything but a liberal with "robust" anti-abortion credentials and staunch support of Roy Moore under his belt.
“You get to do anything you want when it comes to a lethal weapon. Everything else you restrain. You watch what you drink, what amusements you go after, what relationships you pursue, even what you do with your money, your time, the words you employ and don’t employ. There are all kinds of restraints and constraints. But [owning guns] is an exception to all the rules and the question you have to ask: why? Why would we make this exception?”
Luscombe reports that, about five years ago, Pastor Schenck "began to question whether his commitment to life and his commitment to guns were mutually exclusive. If one believes in the sanctity of human life, how could one countenance the idea that everybody has the right to a tool that can end life so fast?"
Although the Constitution gives Americans the right to carry guns, the Bible sees rights differently, Schenck argues: “The scripture says, ‘All things may be lawful, but not all things are helpful.”
“[Dietrich] Bonhoeffer would say we’re creating a fantasy,” says Schenck. “It’s a serious separation of the gospel from reality: ‘I’m creating a new world where people are saved by guns.’ It’s a theological disaster. This issue is terribly, terribly, terribly important for the existence of American evangelicalism. You can’t understate the magnitude of this crisis.”
"Protestors who stand outside abortion clinics with medical-looking photos or models of fetuses, as Schenck has done, like to say that if they only save one life, it’s worth trying," Luscombe concludes. "Why can’t the same also be said of gun control? Many young lives could have been saved this week if we had already found a way to keep semi-automatic rifles out of the hands of people who have no need for one."
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