About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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    Guards Armed With Assault Rifles?


As our western world becomes more anti-Christian we will  encounter situations and issues  that will demand our serious attention.  For example, how will Christians deal with severe persecution?  How will a church respond to the government relinquishing its charitable status?  Will churches be able to afford paying property taxes?  Will pastors quote Romans 1:24 to 28 after it is legislated to be hate literature?  Will a minister be willing to lose his government credentials because he refuses to perform same sex weddings?  How will a congregation respond to an armed attack, either by government or by a terrorist inspired mentally challenged individual?            


Carl Galups, in his book entitled "Be Thou Prepared," supports the growing trend by American churches to hire guards armed with assault rifles who are prepared to shoot and kill an intruder.  Is this Biblical or is it a matter of the constitutional right for Americans to bear arms?  Is this motivated by common sense or by fear? 


Christians suffering severe persecution in Islamic nations approach this issue differently than some Christians in America .  They do use their common sense.  They meet in small groups to avoid drawing attention to their gatherings.  They don't meet in the same place two times in a row.  They communicate where and when to meet via secret codes.  What they do not do is shoot their persecutors with assault rifles.  They don't aspire to be martyrs, but they also don't fear being martyred. 


I believe the majority opinion among persecuted Christians has always been that martyrdom is the ultimate witness for Jesus.  As Jesus said; "Except a grain of wheat die, it abides alone, but if it dies it will bring forth much fruit (John 12:24 NIV).  This agricultural analogy tells me that the martyrdom of one Christian is a spiritual seed that sprouts into the salvation of many. 


In his book entitled "Answering Jihad," former Muslim, now Christian, Nabeel Qureshi, clarified that the 21 men ISIS videotaped being executed in 2015 for the world to see were not all Christians as the news media reported.  Twenty were Christian.  One wasn't.  As each Christian confessed Jesus as Lord, one by one, each one was beheaded.  The last to be executed was previously not a Christian, but, after seeing the others dying for their allegiance to Jesus, he confessed Jesus to be his Lord as well.  He was immediately beheaded.  Martyrdom led this man to Jesus, as it is doing throughout the Islamic world today, thus confirming the validity of Jesus' statement in John 12:24, as mentioned above.  


Note how the Apostle Paul dealt with this issue.  When he was being attacked he escaped by being let down over the city wall in a basket (Acts 9:25).  There were no armed guards with swords who were prepared to slice the heads off Paul's attackers.  Paul wasn't seeking to be a martyr, but neither was he interested in making martyrs out of his attackers.  He was willing to die and burn in hell if that meant their salvation (Romans 9:3).     


The Apostle John said something that may be relevant to this issue.  "There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear" (1 John 4:18 NIV).  The word "love" is translated from Greek the word "agape," meaning, "a selfless love that puts others above one's own interests."  The word "perfect" is translated from the Greek word "teleios," meaning, "the end of a thing or something that is complete."  Both verbs in this statement are Greek present active indicative verbs, meaning, "right now in real time, it is a certain fact that complete love drives away any fear."  This tells me that the more we love Jesus and those He places before us at any given time, the less we will fear anything.  Perfect love produces a trust in Jesus that drives away fear.  Should we then minimize fear with assault rifles?  Psalm 20:7 might provide the answer.  "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the LORD our God" (KJV).   


I realize that many people will not find guards protecting Christians with assault rifles as disturbing as I do.  However you view this, it's one of many issues Christians in a progressively anti-Christ western culture need to think through.  We can't push the debate over this and other issues into the future.  The future has already arrived at our door and is beginning to kick the door down.             



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