In Kentucky, there are reports this past week of a “Second Amendment Celebration:” churches giving away guns to attract more people to the pews.  Its funny because as far back as I can remember, there has always been this odd connection between pastors, churches and guns in Kentucky.  I first blogged about this back in 1997 when Kentucky’s rural clergy; fearful of armed robbers stealing the collection money, were given permission from the courts to carry concealed guns in church. They even had a special law passed to protect their “right” which passed the Kentucky House 76-9 and was signed into law by then Gov. Paul Patton.

I find it hard to imagine that the Apostle Paul would instruct the early church leaders to defend their offering by killing people. I was always under the impression that the mission of the Church was to spread the gospel of salvation, not kill the people who need to hear it.

On the other hand, I wonder if these gun laws and giveaways will help create a new market for clergy-wear? Maybe pastors will carry specially-anointed holsters with little crosses on them that say,

“God forgives, Pastors pack heat!”

“For God so loved the World, he gave us guns.”

Maybe there is a special blessing pastors can pray over the would-be-thief as they pump ’em full of lead? Some possible blessings might be,

“God created us to have fellowship, now its time to meet your maker!”

“Faith comes by hearing, but its too late for you”

With these gun laws and giveaways, do you agree there should be special warning signs at the entrance to the Church?  Here are a couple suggestions.

“God can’t protect us all, that is why we have Smith & Wesson!”

“We preach the gospel according to AR-15”

The above is not about getting a cheap laugh, but hopefully will spur the Church to think about the message we teach through our actions. We, the Body of Christ, must ask ourselves…

  • What kind of theology produces a pastor that needs the power of the pistol over the power of the Gospel?
  • Do we no longer believe that God is able to protect His Church against the wrath of the world?
  • When God called the Church to preach a gospel of peace, do we really believe He did not take into account what our world would be like today?

A theology that leads pastors and parishioners to carry concealed weapons to Church is rooted in a radically defective view of God’s sovereignty, love, and our mission on earth.  As Americans, we certainly have a right to bear arms, but maybe if these pastors and their congregations spent more time on their knees, they could spend less time on the firing range?

Dr. Joe Miller (aka JR) is a Professor of Applied Theology and Leadership & Dean of Online Learning at Southern California Seminary. In addition, he is a church planter and coach for emerging leaders. Dr. Miller has a diverse educational background and authored multiple books on church history, biblical theology, and Leadership. Joe and his wife Suzanne enjoy the sun and surf with their 3 sons in San Diego, CA.

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