Monday, September 15, 2008

Pro-Life and Pro-Glock?


What’s up with the gun you ask? That my friends is no ordinary pistol, not by a long shot. That my fellow blogmates is a state of the art, standard issue, top of the line, combat ready United Federation of Planets Attack Phaser. In other words when needed this bad boy can do some serious damage. This is the little trick up your sleeve you want when confronted by two very big and very drunk Klingons in a dark alley on Rigel VII.  

Why a need for a weapon of this type? And why would the Federation which is dedicated to discovering and studying new life create and distribute a weapon that can easily vaporize a target at 100 feet? A couple of reasons. We at the Fed are peaceful, but not stupid. We know that not everyone shares our desire to explore the galaxy, check out new things and then cap off a hard day sipping Romulan ale in the holodeck. There are some dangerous species and dangerous beings out there. While we wish others no harm, we will if necessary defend ourselves and others who may not be able to. But the other nice thing about sassy sue (that’s our nickname for this little package) is its easy to use VPS feature. For you twenty-first century blokes VPS stands for Variable Power Setting. Simply put it means that with the press of a button I can set sassy sue from light stun to kingdom come. This gives me the advantage of instantly and completely incapacitating a potential threat without causing any lasting damage. 


While the Phaser is still a figment of science-fiction the reality of non-lethal personal defense weapons is not. I’m bringing this up to deal with a subject that frankly has troubled me for a long time. As a believer in Jesus Christ I’m convinced that each and every person is created in and bears the image of his or her creator. I’m convinced that a person is a person at the moment of conception and furthermore that the government should extend individual rights to these persons and protect them from harm. Furthermore, I’m convinced by scripture that all of humanity has a duty to protect and preserve life and that those who believe in Jesus Christ should especially take care to do all within our power to see that no harm comes to anyone. 

Those reasons contribute to my passionate anti-gun stance. I do not believe Christians should support, own, or encourage the use of these weapons of individual destruction. I realize that the Supreme Court recently ruled that citizens have a constitutional right to bear hand guns. I simply disagree with that decision as I don’t believe it promotes the culture of life that we as believers should seek to cultivate in this country. A handgun is not like an automobile. A reckless individual can misuse a car ending someone’s life. Yet the manufacturer did not make the vehicle with the intent that it would be utilized in this way. 
The handguns manufactured and sold in this country today are designed and built for one purpose and one purpose only; namely the destruction of human life. Thus in my view they have no place and can serve no constructive purpose in a society that strives to value life. 

This leads me to question how long evangelicals can continue to claim to be both pro-life and pro-Glock? I don’t believe we can convince those we accuse of promoting the culture of death if we are among the main champions of the latest version of the Saturday night special. But shouldn’t citizens be able to arm themselves in case the government seeks to overthrow our rights by force? Let me answer that in two ways. First, imagine you had a handgun, even a very good one. Do you really think you could take down the average military attack helicopter with it? The second amendment regarding bearing arms was written at a time when the government didn’t have vastly superior weapons than the average citizen. That has changed. The U.S. military now has the weapons and skills to level whole neighborhoods in a matter of hours. 

The other answer to that question goes to a deeper level. What rights do we enjoy as American citizens that are worth taking someone’s life over? Let’s imagine that the government decides that we can no longer own property for the express reason of congregating as a church. For that matter they decide that it’s illegal for Christians to gather anywhere for the purpose of worship in any sense of the term and will confiscate immediately any building whether public or private (including homes) used for that purpose and sell it to someone else. Would we take up arms with the intent of shooting and killing the police who came to seize our property? 
The issue is this: What scenario could we come up with that would justify the taking of a human life?

Ok Lance riddle me this. It’s 3 o’clock in the morning, you hear a commotion in your house and are convinced that someone has broken in and intends to rape and murder your family. Do you just sit back and let them do so just to preserve their life? Good question. Again allow me to present a couple of possible solutions. If the issue is that owning a gun is necessary to protect my family then why stop at just having one gun in my home. Why shouldn’t I arm myself and family in case we’re attacked while out? Is it more likely that I’ll be attacked at three in morning while in my home or at 9 p.m. while walking home? But let’s say I do feel the need for a gun to protect my family and possessions. How many do I need? Why must I demand that the government protect my right to own multiple firearms one or more of which might fall into the wrong hands? And why would the NRA stand against a proposed law in the Commonwealth of PA that would require me to report if my gun is lost or stolen? 

The other answer to that question goes back to the beginning of this post. Technology is developing and delivering non-lethal weapons that can effectively take down an intruder without taking his or her life. Many of these weapons are now available to the general populace. For example, the Dept. of Homeland security is working with a company that produces a flashlight that projects a beam of light directly into the eyes causing temporary blindness, disorientation, nausea and even vomiting. (okay maybe that’s a bit messy for home use) The company that’s developed tasers for police departments are now manufacturing and marketing a slightly scaled down model for private use. I’ve even seen a combination flashlight/taser that can be carried around and used to incapacitate a would be attacker. This could be carried around easily and used in little or no time for personal defense. In other words we now have the technology to obtain devices that can effectively protect our families in a time of crisis without the danger of ending someone else’s life. 

That being the case one has to wonder why is it that those who are most ardently pro-life zealously align themselves with those who are the most pro-gun? I realize that there will always be those who for the sake of investing in, manufacturing and profiting off the sale of guns will seek to protect and extend their rights by any means necessary. But must we lend a moral voice to their cause? Can we really stand and say with a straight face that we are committed to promoting and cultivating a culture of life while bolstering an industry that creates weapons specifically designed and used to end human life? And this at a time when we and the society knows of the availability of non-lethal weapons to replace the guns we felt so vital to our private security. 

It’s time for the Christian community to promote the cause of life by laying down our weapons and refusing to support those who insist on filling our society with instruments designed for the sole reason of ending the life of one who bears the image of God. It’s time for us to realize that we cannot be both pro-life and pro-gun.

To Him Who Loves Us…
Pastor lance

56 comments:

paul said...

The Second Amendment should probably be amended to something that reflects the realities of modern weaponry (or perhaps removed altogether and gun control left up to Congress). Until we do that, though, the people do have the right to bear arms, whether we like it or not.

GUNNY said...

"The handguns manufactured and sold in this country today are designed and built for one purpose and one purpose only; namely the destruction of human life."

I'm not about saying that conclusively, but I can say with certainty that not everyone who buys a handgun does so with the intention of using it for one purpose and one purpose only (i.e., destruction of human life).

With regard to self-defense, I think if non-lethal, short-term options were readily available to the general public their purchase would increase, particularly if they were deemed effective.

But, we all know the cliche' about bringing a knife to a gun fight. Pepper spray is great, but I'm thinking most would prefer something with more "umph" at 3AM when the bad guys come a raping as you mentioned.

That all being said, I think you're right in the need to seriously think through a Christian perspective on the implications of the image of God and taking the life of another.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Lance,

Here in the UK, you, the US (and Jamaica to be fair) have transmitted your gang culture to our big cities, so we have street gangs, who wear red and blue etc and some who even call themeselves crips. For us (which is relative to the US) we have somewhat of an epidemic of knife murders of teenagers. There are some guns around (many of them replicas made to shoot bullets - so there was a shooting by a school not far from me today), but if we had your gun laws we would have a blood bath ...

Anyone who thinks the US gun laws are a good idea should compare our cultures - we have 'lost' young men who I'm sure would like to get their hands on 'your' guns but because they can't, our murder rate is 'relatively' low.

Colin

Ben Stevenson said...

I cannot imagine personally wanting to own a gun to defend myself - even if I legally could here in the UK.

However, I think I can understand why people might want to have guns. I think the Bible permits people have a right to use force to defend their homes, although their aim should be to use the minimum amount of force necessary (Exodus 22:2-3).

Also, having a gun could be justified on the basis of it being a deterrant. The knowledge that a home owner is likely to have a gun may deter someone from attacking a home. I don't think anyone can guarentee that reducing the number of guns would reduce the number of murders.

Anonymous said...

Ben,

I see from your blog info you are from Liverpool and Leeds ?

Why are there not more gun murders in those cities (1 or 2 a year ?? - not more than 5 anyway?) There are not many guns available to those who if they had them would use them ...

So I would argue .. less guns ... less gun murders

Colin

GUNNY said...

Collin, I would suggest there are many factors that go into murder rates and it would be overly simplistic to infer causation based merely on less guns.

For example, here in the US, for example, in Texas, I could compile statistics of rural Texas towns where there might be 2.9 guns per capita with zero murders and compare that to Houston with far fewer guns per resident yet murders are off the charts.

I'm not saying your thesis is necessarily wrong, but it does seem you're assuming the conclusion.

Incidentally, when I lived in England the bobbies didn't carry guns. But I understand (secondhand) that now they do. Is that correct?

Sean Gerety said...

Can we really stand and say with a straight face that we are committed to promoting and cultivating a culture of life while bolstering an industry that creates weapons specifically designed and used to end human life

Yes, absolutely. Your argument assumes that all killing is somehow sinful, but not only does this not follow it lacks all biblical support as well. Your argument is similar in form to those who oppose the death penalty based on the faulty reasoning found in the “fabric of life” argument. The foolishness of your position is that gun ownership is to “protect and preserve life.” When guns are banned that doesn’t mean that no one has them, just honest law-abiding citizens who then live at the mercy of tyrants and thugs.

I suspect the countless examples of how gun owners have protected and preserved life will mean nothing to you. I also suspect all the examples, most recently those killed in the Virginia Tech slaughter, where a disarmed populace were left open to the murderous whims of a madman will similarly fall on deaf ears.

Since neither logic or Scripture informs your argument, even though you invoke Jesus’ name in support of your position, I imagine anecdotal evidence won’t make any difference either.

Anonymous said...

Gunny,

I agree it is a simple thesis, and of course the gun culture in respective areas is very important, I'd suspect in Houston there are nos of disenfranchised young men who care nothing for life and fetishise guns (I am old enough to remember the geto boys, who seemed to write alot of songs about them).

But if they could not get their hands on guns, I maintain the murder rate would drop.

The police in the UK do not routinely carry guns, however not far from my home (and in areas like this) when there is a rise in tensions between gangs they will deploy armed police to the area, as they did a few weeks back.

Colin

Rattlesnake6 said...

Paul & Anonymous,
As a former tank commander and current PCA pastor I find your remarks more than disturbing and quite off the mark.
If the Second Amendment were amended it would have to be through the proper channels and it will never happen. Leaving up to Congress? They are supposed to represent "We the People." Since Congress under Pelosi currently has about a 9% approval rating, I would be rather loathe to leave anything up to them, especially when, where, and how I may defend myself and my loved ones as a free man. How will Congress regulate criminals and their weapons.

Since the state of Florida passed a "shall issue" permit for concealed carry the crime rate has dropped precipitously since the mid-1980s. Take comfort in the fact that yesterday 66 million gun owners killed no one.

I strive for the peaceable Kingdom of Christ as much as I can, knowing that there are some who, because of total depravity, do not want peace or to live peacefully. As a Christian man, it is my duty to defend myself and my loved ones.

Lance, I don't know you. You have every right to write a post as you did. It's a free country. What disturbed me most was the misinformation that you disseminated and, quite honestly, that you want us to believe that it is somehow Presbyterian and Reformed to hold such a view. It isn't. Check the Westminster Larger and Shorter Cats as well as the Heidelberg--for starters.

Sean Gerety said...

But if they could not get their hands on guns, I maintain the murder rate would drop.

When did Britain institute its regressive and draconian handgun ban? Let’s see, that would be 1997, yet according to this morning's Daily Express, “statistics released last night show a 14 per cent increase in murder and manslaughter in England and Wales between 1998 and 2007.”

The piece continues:

“There was also a 28 per cent increase in deaths from bladed weapons. Those killed by shootings increased by the same figure.

. . . Separate figures out last week showed there were 9,967 gun-related crimes, a rise of 373 on 2006, although gun deaths fell from 56 to 49.”

In short, you're wrong Colin.

Sean Gerety said...

I stand corrected the statistics cited above were reported yesterday, not this morning.

Maybe the murder rate in Britain dropped since then.

Aaron said...

The greatest problem I have with the comments is the one by Sean...

First of all your "matter of factness" is ridiculous and laughable.

Then you want to bring up the death penalty as if there is no grey area here and that anyone who opposes it is "un biblical."

Since you say that then tell us where you think the Bible promotes the death penalty. Please do tell but let me warn you... If your going to use the Old Testament (which was a theocracy not a democracy which we are in) then you are going to really shoot yourself in the foot.

So sean please do tell us why the death penalty is biblical and those who oppose it are "foolish" as you put it.

I am waiting to hear your answer in a matter of fact tone.

Anonymous said...

Sean,

We can swap stats and interpretations -

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2007/jan/26/ukcrime.immigrationpolicy


http://micpohling.wordpress.com/2007/10/10/homicide-trend-1970-2005-for-us-uk-and-sweden/

Green Baggins posted this - the rates look pretty steady to me - the high one in 200 and something is due to a terrorist attack.


Again the homicide rates look fairly steady to me (with a slight increase).

And 1997 doesn't seem to be that much of a watershed.

Maybe not so wrong ...

If only we would all stand for the truth of the gospel and be as bold in our witness as those who worry about their guns being taken .... and I've only suggested less guns would be a good idea.

Colin

Anonymous said...

Sean,

sorry to come again ..

again the reasons for the rise in murders in the UK include

Year 2005/06 includes 52 victims of the 7 July London bombings.
Year 2003/04 includes 20 cockle pickers who drowned in Morecambe Bay.
Year 2002/03 includes 172 victims of Dr Harold Shipman.
Year 2000/01 includes 58 Chinese nationals who collectively suffocated in a lorry en route in the UK.

Nothing really to do with guns and knives ... The Daily Express is not the best place to get your statistics..

Colin

Sean Gerety said...

I'm very familiar how this game is played Colin. When confronted with a set of facts that contradict your basic premise you look for something that better fits your assumption no matter how strained. We can certainly trade statistics if you like. Admittedly, your response was predictable.

The point remains that there is no biblical warrant for disarming the populace. OTOH WLC 135 & 136 permit the taking of life as a matter of "necessary defense" even in defense of property (see Exodus 22:2-3). Further, there is no contradiction whatsoever between being "pro-life" and "pro-Glock." Although a strong case can be made that being anti-Glock is to be anti-life. See the Confession, specifically the clause concerning the sinfulness of "neglecting or withdrawing the lawful and necessary means of preservation of life." Sometimes the preservation of life requires a Glock, or at very least a Ruger. Meanwhile the Brits in their wisdom continues to ban even cap guns. Seems our PCA Reverend here would approve. Pathetic.

Sean Gerety said...

Then you want to bring up the death penalty as if there is no grey area here and that anyone who opposes it is "un biblical."

Aaron, it is un-biblical and un-confessional to oppose the death penalty.

Answer (WLC 136)

What are the sins forbidden in the sixth commandment?

The sins forbidden in the sixth commandment are, all taking away the life of ourselves, or of others, except in case of public justice . . . .

The proof for the above is found in Numbers 35:31,33

"Moreover, you shall not take ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death. And you shall not take ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to live in the land before the death of the priest. So you shall not pollute the land in which you are; for blood pollutes the land and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it."

Sean Gerety said...

Oh, yeah, I guess you noticed Aaron the prooftext for the Westminster Larger Catechism, the same one Rev. Lewis publicly professed conformity to, is from the OT. Did the Confession writers shoot themselves in the foot? If so, did they use a gun? :)

Anonymous said...

Ok Sean,

I'll try not to be predictable.

Can I tease out your point about the UK homicide stats..

Are you linking the banning of handguns in 1997 with the increase in murders (in general or just gun murders )?

And by extension did the ban of the handguns cause an increase in the murder rate ?

Colin

Ben Stevenson said...

Colin,

I believe that gun crime as well as murder have increased since 1997.

Page 41 of http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs07/hosb0207.pdf has crime figures involving guns. Between 1997/98 and 2005/06, the number of offences roughly doubled, but the number of homicides stayed about the same, although it was higher in some of the years between 1997/98 and 2005/06.

http://www.albertmohler.com/radio_show.php?cdate=2006-07-10 this worth listening to on gun control.

Anonymous said...

Ben,

I accept that there may have been some increase in the murder rate since 1997, but how is this linked to the banning of hand guns in 1997? and part of this anyway is due to the 'big' events I mentioned in one of my posts to Sean.

'the number of homicides stayed about the same, although it was higher in some of the years between 1997/98 and 2005/06.'

Doesn't this make my point ??

Colin

Anonymous said...

Interesting discussion. It is great when christian men can debate topics like this... "iron sharpens iron".

That being said I do have to agree with Aaron, Sean your tone is a bit matter of fact and almost insulting. Is that how believers should discuss a topic?

Contrast your words with rattlesnake6 and you will see what I mean. He may have disagreed and called remarks disturbing, but never did he call someone words foolish as you did. Or that someone is lacking in scriptural knowledge and logic.

Come, come now believer is that how we should discuss issues? I don't think the problem is your disagreement as much as your tone.

Keep the discussion going, I find it very intriguing... let's just have the discussion in a manner that is befitting of believers.

To God be the Glory,

Louie Chism

J. Kru said...

Read 1 Samuel 13:16-22. Israel is not allowed weapons because the Philistines were worried they would make swords or spears. Thus, "on the day of the battle not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or spear in his hand."

Oppressors always want to make sure the oppressed are unarmed.

Aaron said...

Sean,
I noticed you didn't deal with the theocracy vs. democracy thing? So America is modern day Israel and we are to hold to all Biblical laws in the OT?

That means Jesus messed up too when he spoke against the religious folks who were just "keeping the law" when they were going to stone the woman caught in adultery? Or maybe when Jesus healed someone on the sabbath?

Do you eat pork? If so then to be consistent with your death penalty stuff don't you think you shouldn't.

Also you act as if the WCF is infalliable. It was written by a back of very flawed Europeans.

Man your matter of factness is funny because you keep saying things that really hold no weight.

So again tell me how you have come to these conclusions about the death penalty? Quoting the Mosaic Law does not work unless you are going to carry it out to its fullest which Paul says couldn't be done and that the law actually brings death and judgement.

- Is America modern day Israel?

- Is this a theocracy where the OT laws applies?

- Is America God's chosen nation?

- Did God make the same promises to America as He did the Hebrews?

I think you get where I am going with this. I could quote many OT verses that say a lot of other things as well. My bible professor once told me that "90% of interpretation is context." I don't think you are doing good sound interpretation here.

By the way as a pastor I love the WCF and hold to it on a lot of levels (I am pretty reformed in my thinking as well) but in no way do I think it is the "gospel" and that it should be added to the NT cannon of scripture.

Come on Sean...lets us reason together homie! NO hard feelings just good dialogue man.

Grace and Peace,

Aaron said...

Sean,
I probably shoud add that I am in no way disspensational and just write off the NT as "then" and don't think it applies. I believe like most Reformed folks, in the "continuous strand" scripture. I love the OT and believe it is "God breathed" just like the NT.

I just think you have a very unhealthy view of the OT law.

Pastor Lance said...

hey all, sorry I couldn't get back to you sooner but we here in Philly were just a little busy last night.

thanks for the encouraging discussion. in keeping with brother Louis' exhortation let's keep our words and tone in line with Paul's command in Eph. 4:29 - Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

with that in mind please forgive me if I've used offensive words or tone as that was not my intent.

so let's dive in.

Paul, it's true that people have the right to bear arms, but the post wasn't addressed to the general populace. My aim was to encourage believers to consider non-lethal weapons as a way of emphasizing the value we place on human life and thus be a witness to our culture.

Gunny thanks for pointing out that not all those who own handguns do so with the intent of harming someone. Also a good point re: the effectiveness of non-lethal weapons. Before investing in one I'd probably ask local law enforcement about one. apart from that it appears that the technology is likely to improve to the point that within the next five to ten years we could have effective, reliable non-lethal weapons if we don't already have them now.

hey C, sorry for the export of our gang culture. it seems that we've done a job on merry old England with that and prosperity theology. I do wonder what the effect would be in Philly if guns were illegal though.

sean, the post didn't address the distinction between killing and murder. I did say that scripture endorses the protection and preservation of life and I stand by that position. Does scripture make a distinction between killing and murder? Yes it does. In fact Exod. 22:3 makes such a distinction. That passage releases from guilt anyone who kills a thief breaking into his home during the night. However it also mandates that such a person is to be caught if the incident happens during daylight. If he is killed during the daylight that killing is viewed as murder. In my view (others are certainly welcome to chime in) this passage underscores the point that scripture pushes mankind in general and God's people specifically to preserve life if possible. Whatever one's view regarding the distinction between killing and murder there is no doubt that killing someone ends a life created in God's image. Re: your other comments I'm willing to listen to whatever logic and insight anyone wishes to offer my brother and you're welcome to offer yours here. I only ask that you do so respectfully.

rattlesnake, I did not put forth my view as the Reformed or Presbyterian view on this subject. I wrote that 'as a Christian', not as a reformed or Presbyterian Christian. I suppose you'll have to let me know the exact example of misinformation you're referring to. You could also let me know what parts of the confession and catechism you want me to read. and once again I do not question your responsibility as a man to defend your family. I simply wonder if believers like yourself who value life would consider doing so using non-lethal weapons.

The position of the post isn't whether or not anyone has the right to defend themselves or their families. The post argued for doing so using non-lethal as opposed to lethal weapons. And at this point none of the comments have addressed that particular argument(aside from Gunny's real issue of effectiveness). The post did not address repealing the second amendment nor did I advocate that Christians or anyone else undertake an effort to ban handguns. I did express my opinion by saying "I do not believe Christians should support, own, or encourage the use of these weapons of individual destruction". However you simply cannot deduce from that opinion that I advocated for repealing the second amendment. I also stated that in my view the Supreme Court was wrong by ruling that citizens have the right to carry handguns. However that doesn't mean I'm against a well regulated Militia. How such a Militia would fare against a well-equipped, well-trained regular army is a subject for a different post.

To conclude let me ask the following questions: If believers could effectively defend ourselves and families using non-lethal weapons why wouldn't we?

Someone mentioned how the oppressors always want to make sure the oppressed are unarmed. With that in mind I ask again, what rights are we willing to kill someone over?

Thanks again all for your contributions, I appreciate your insight.

peace
LL

Sean Gerety said...

I did not put forth my view as the Reformed or Presbyterian view on this subject. I wrote that 'as a Christian', not as a reformed or Presbyterian Christian.

You may not like the tone of this reply either. So for sensitive souls like Louie above, please do not continue reading.

The problem, Pastor Lewis, is that you ARE, or at least pretend to be, a Reformed and Presbyterian Christian, even a minster of the Gospel in the PCA. Therefore, when you write and speak -- particularly in a public setting such as a blog -- your actions reflect on the PCA, and in this case very badly.

Yet, even more disturbing is your claim that when calling for the disarming of Christians you are writing 'as a Christian' and that this is somehow qualitatively different from being Reformed or Presbyterian or even a minister in the PCA, as if there were two separate standards; two different hats.

I think another PCA elder writing on another blog in response to your piece nailed it when he wrote:

I’d like to say that Lance Lewis’ post is unbelievable, but after Federal Vision and people wanting to ordain or commission women as deacons I guess I can’t say anything is unbelievable anymore in the PCA.

I can smell the apostasy from here. Your post was indeed helpful because it provides more evidence why Christians -- particularly Reformed and Presbyterian ones -- should leave the PCA.

Sean Gerety said...

I just think you have a very unhealthy view of the OT law.

You're right Aaron. Who needs those annoying Ten Commandments anyway, much less what some long dead white and flawed Europeans -- especially old dead Brits and Scots -- had to say about them.

Besides, while their views on the subject used to have some bearing on the public statements of Reformed and Presbyterian men, particularly ordained ministers of the gospel in Reformed and Presbyterian denominations (sort of like what the PCA used to be), I can understand why such views would be useless to 'Christians' like you and pastor Lewis.

Good points. Thanks for the exchange.

Sean Gerety said...

With that in mind I ask again, what rights are we willing to kill someone over?

The right to life, obviously.

Sean Gerety said...

How such a Militia would fare against a well-equipped, well-trained regular army is a subject for a different post.

Maybe in that post you can examine the efforts of the Mujahadine or even our own revolutionaries. Would going back and considering Joshua and his little group of men be asking too much? You might recall what God said to him when he was facing extraordinary odds, "Do not fear them, for the LORD your God is the one fighting for you."

Pastor Lance said...

so sean, let me get this straight.

I'm guilty of apostasy for encouraging Christians to use non-lethal force to protect their families, is that your position?

on another (though related note) why do you insist violating God's word by disrespecting me and others who are seeking to have a good, forthright and perhaps encouraging discussion.
Was it necessary to demean our brother Louis with the sarcastic use of the word sensitive? Was it necessary to accuse me of hypocrisy by saying that i pretend to be a pca minister?
Can't you argue your position without resorting to words and tone that demean and belittle others?

Let's say that I'm categorically, utterly and totally wrong and off base. Wouldn't it be wiser and more godly to follow Paul's words to Timothy "The Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will". 2 Tim. 2:24-26.

sean, take a look at your comments and ask yourself honestly if your words and tone have been in line with that passage.

finally, please answer my question. If you had the means and opportunity to defend yourself and your family using non-lethal means why would you choose not to?

peace
LL

Lionel Woods said...

Lance,

Two great discussions brother. Both gracefully convyed. I would want people to explore the Sarah Palin piece a bit more though. It seems that Conservative HomeSchooling, Complementairans have punted that conviction in order to get a Republican in office! Hmmm...... this is quite "mysterious" as some would say.

Sean Gerety said...

I'm guilty of apostasy for encouraging Christians to use non-lethal force to protect their families, is that your position?

First, and as PCA RE Bob Mattes makes clear in his piece, Firearms, Theology, and Fantasy, there is no such thing as non-lethal force only less-lethal. Worse, and as Mattes points out, such less-lethal technologies while useful in crowd control or subduing criminals resisting arrest, are completely ineffective in protecting families - that is unless you and your wife are black belts.

Second, arguments such as the one you offer does indeed encourage apostasy. You wrap your argument in pietistic drivel claiming to be speaking wearing your “Christian” cap while leaving your Reformed/Presbyterian one at home, yet you seem to take some umbrage when it’s pointed out that your entire argument for disarmament lacks all Scriptural and Confessional support.

on another (though related note) why do you insist violating God's word by disrespecting me and others who are seeking to have a good, forthright and perhaps encouraging discussion.
Was it necessary to demean our brother Louis with the sarcastic use of the word sensitive? Was it necessary to accuse me of hypocrisy by saying that i pretend to be a pca minister?
Can't you argue your position without resorting to words and tone that demean and belittle others?


Admittedly your arguments and those of your other anti-gun defenders are as dumb as they are misinformed, but I don’t think I’ve belittled anyone nor have I disrespected you, unless you mean it is belittling and disrespectful to point out that your arguments are irrational and anti-Christian. And when I say Christian I mean according to the standards you as a PCA pastor publicly vowed to uphold. FWIW I don’t differentiate between Christianity and the system of doctrine outlined in the confessional standards. They’re essentially one in the same. So, yes, your Christian vs. Reformed/Presbyterian argument is hypocritical and if you consider it disrespectful of me to point that out then perhaps the problem is with you.

Let's say that I'm categorically, utterly and totally wrong and off base. Wouldn't it be wiser and more godly to follow Paul's words to Timothy "The Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will". 2 Tim. 2:24-26.

Of course, when confronting hypocrisy of the religious leaders of their day Jesus and Paul used some very harsh words that were certainly appropriate and fitting. Nothing I’ve written so far rises to that level even by a long shot. If you are also one furthering the false gospel of the Federal Vision, men who make similarly constructed albeit even more deadly arguments, then following Jesus’ and Paul’s example would certainly be warranted.

The irony of you citing 2 Tim is that your call for Christians to disarm implying that it is somehow hypocritical to be both “pro-life and pro-Glock”is that it is you who is supposed to be “The Lord’s servant” leading men to a knowledge of the truth, not away from the truth thinking it somehow Christ-like to surrender our lives and our families to predators all on some false notion that killing in self-defense is somehow immoral. Your very post is the epitome of what it means to be quarrelsome. Your argument is, by its very nature, contentious and unbecoming of one who is an ordained servant of the Lord charged with instructing and protecting Christ’s sheep. So, have I been a little too harsh with you and some of your other anti-gun supporters? Perhaps. And if I have cross the line on the basis of Scripture and not your own personal assessment of my “tone,” then I apologize. But I also recall something in Scripture about logs and specks that might be more fitting (see below). As another PCA TE put it, “there is very little logic in Rev. Lewis’s post” and, I would add, even less Scripture.

finally, please answer my question. If you had the means and opportunity to defend yourself and your family using non-lethal means why would you choose not to?

Your very question smacks of the very moral superiority that I have been objecting to. Since you’re so concerned with tone, you should check your own. I find it offensive for you or anyone else to imply that it would be somehow more “Christian” or “Christ-like” to shy away from the use of lethal force if such force is warranted. So, to answer your question yet again, and since I don’t live in the fantasy world of Sarah Brady and other anti-gun radicals, I think it appropriate to defend myself and my family by any means necessary. If you’re uncomfortable with handguns or just guns in general and want to advertise to the thugs in West Philly that you and your wife are, in essence, disarmed and open prey, that’s your business. But that gives you no right to even suggest that law-abiding Christian gun owners are somehow less Christian for not following your lead.

Pastor Lance said...

sean,

I don't speak for reformed presbyterians or all reformed Christians on any issue. For that matter I don't think any reformed or presbyterian believer can claim to do so at all times and on all issues. that's one of the reasons we still have so many conservative reformed denominations. the fact that one group of reformed presbyterians holds to a particular view on something doesn't mean that another group will see it exactly the same way. and speaking of the pca, a few years ago we made the decision to officially allow ordinates to take exceptions to the wcf and ordain them as long as they held to the system of doctrine taught in the confession and their exceptions didn't strike at the vitals of the faith. consequently we have good, God fearing men in the pca who hold to a literal six day creation and those who hold to a day age view of creation. if i were to share my position on that issue in this forum i would not be speaking for the pca, presbyterians or all reformed believers. and if someone decided to take it that way then he'd be wrong since good brothers differ on the issue. i am not being hypocritical or trying to hide from you or anyone else.

secondly, I never challenged anyone's Christianity on the basis of gun ownership or usage although you felt quite free to question mine. I did ask if we could continue to promote a culture of life and be pro-gun and i think that's a legitimate question worthy of discussion. I'd hope that good brothers and sisters could discuss and even disagree without calling into question each others sanity and fidelity to Christ. Perhaps I was wrong.

You accuse me of being unbiblical and against Christ because I advocate using non-lethal (deadly: certain to or intended to cause death) weapons as a way to emphasize that Christians value life. Once again I never said or implied in my post that men were supposed to surrender their lives or the lives of their families to predators. But I guess you just don’t want to see past that. Nor did I ever state that the government should confiscate or ban all guns. But once more I suppose you just don’t want to admit that. I did say (and will say again) that if the means exist (and I believe they do) to defend ourselves without taking a human life then we should do so. Now if you want to disagree with that fine. But please don’t intentionally misread what I wrote, and then accuse me of denying a confession that I do indeed subscribe to and declare that I’m anti-Christian.

Back to the confession. You cited wlc 135 and 136 as support for the taking of life. Q 136 reads "The sins forbidden in the sixth commandment are, all taking away the life of ourselves, or of others, except in case of public justice, lawful war, or necessary defense; the neglecting or withdrawing the lawful and necessary means of preservation of life; sinful anger, hatred, envy, desire of revenge; all excessive passions, distracting cares; immoderate use of meat, drink, labor, and recreations; provoking words, oppression, quarreling, striking, wounding, and: Whatsoever else tends to the destruction of the life of any."—Westminster Larger and Smaller Catechisms

Could you tell me how my position which advocates using non-lethal force violates this question? In my post and subsequent responses have I ever said that all killing is always murder and thus always sinful? Did I write that men do not have the right to take life if defending themselves or families?

Re: Q135 which reads "The duties required in the sixth commandment are, all careful studies, and lawful endeavors, to preserve the life of ourselves and others by resisting all thoughts and purposes, subduing all passions, and avoiding all occasions, temptations, and practices, which tend to the unjust taking away the life of any; by just defense thereof against violence, patient bearing of the hand of God, quietness of mind, cheerfulness of spirit; a sober use of meat, drink, physic, sleep, labor, and recreations; by charitable thoughts, love, compassion, meekness, gentleness, kindness; peaceable, mild and courteous speeches and behavior; forbearance, readiness to be reconciled, patient bearing and forgiving of injuries, and requiting good for evil; comforting and succoring the distressed, and protecting and defending the innocent."  —Westminster Larger and Smaller Catechisms

Once again please tell me how advocating for non-lethal forms of defense violates this point of the catechism? I recognize that you believe that using a gun is the only way to engage in just defense against violence. However I do not. Also I don’t believe you can use this to mandate that believers must use guns or declare that those who don’t own or wish to own or use guns are in sin.

Finally, please forgive me for offending you by implying that believing gun owners are less Christian for owning guns. That was not my intent and I never meant to call your or anyone else’s faith in Christ into question.

Peace
LL

J. Kru said...

IF non-lethal means were as effective as lethal means, I would completely agree with you. You have a situational problem more than anything else... non-lethal means are simply NOT as effective as an actual gun. Pepper spray does not incapacitate. If you miss with your tazer (or there is more than one assailant) you've blown your one shot. Rubber bullets and sandbags do not stop a determined assailant, particularly one on drugs. (I've been in law enforcement) And if THEY have a gun, you are guaranteed to be less of a threat to them than they are to you.

I certainly don't advocate executing thieves in your living room. But if I hear 2 whispering male voices downstairs at 2am, someone rumbling around downstairs, I'm calling the cops. If I hear them start to come up the stairs toward my family, I'm racking around on my gun. If the start charging up, I will shoot them before they get near my kids.

Pastor Lance, what would YOU do in that situation?

Anonymous said...

Sean,

You can spin it whatever way you want, but your tone and language are condescending at best and destructive at worst. Your referencing of Jesus’ and Paul’s rebuking of the Pharisees and religious leaders to justify your antagonism is off base and honestly, demonstrates a lack of depth in your treatment/understanding of the Scriptures. First of all, Jesus and Paul (as you correctly stated) were rebuking the Pharisees and religious leaders—not brothers in the faith. Being that Rev. Lewis has stated (and, through many years of faithful service to his flock and community, demonstrated) his faith, who are you to call that into question. You do not know the brother personally, which renders your assessment moot. If you do believe that he is a Christian (and perhaps in error), then your appropriate response should look something like this: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.”—Matt. 18:15. Maybe an email??

Rather, your method and response was and is thoroughly disturbing. You are targeting Rev. Lewis, but your ultimate aim is the multitudes that espouse or sympathize with the Federal Vision. It is clear that your hatred for all things FV/New Perspective on Paul has muddied your sense of prudence and charity. In fact, how did that even get into the discussion? You read that into brother Lance’s writing, which is also disturbing. Is it possible that Pastor Lewis can be both anti-gun and anti-FV? Apparently, you don’t think so. It is such presumption and prejudice (and I use the word in a very broad sense) that will ultimately spell the doom of the PCA.

Butch

Sean Gerety said...

speaking of the pca, a few years ago we made the decision to officially allow ordinates to take exceptions to the wcf and ordain them as long as they held to the system of doctrine taught in the confession and their exceptions didn't strike at the vitals of the faith.

I have no doubt that you can express your above stated exception to the confessional standards with complete impunity and I’m very familiar with the so-called “hermeneutic of trust” that now dominates ersatz-Reformed denominations like the PCA. Along with multiple interpretations of the doctrine of creation, virtually all other doctrines are open to similar mutations all of which contradict the confessional doctrine of Scripture which asserts that the meaning of Scripture is not manifold but one. Also, the one exception concerning the “vitals of the faith” is also laughable given that those promoting the false gospel of the Federal Vision remain free to express their exception to the doctrine of justification with impunity as well. As I said, can’t you just smell the apostasy?

secondly, I never challenged anyone's Christianity on the basis of gun ownership or usage although you felt quite free to question mine.

Hogwash. Among other things you wrote that you are “convinced by scripture that all of humanity has a duty to protect and preserve life and that those who believe in Jesus Christ should especially take care to do all within our power to see that no harm comes to anyone.” It follows that those who do not believe as you do, specifically that “no harm comes” even to those who would kill our children or rape our wives (after all, murderers and rapists fall in the class of “anyone”) are somehow being unfaithful to the commands and duties imposed on us by Scripture and are somehow being unfaithful to Jesus Christ.

And, if there were any question, you said; “I do not believe Christians should support, own, or encourage the use of these weapons of individual destruction.” Supporting, encouraging or even owning guns are things you are convinced by Scripture that Christians should not support and are things contrary to our duty as Christians. You then ask rhetorically; “how long evangelicals can continue to claim to be both pro-life and pro-Glock?” The clear and unambiguous implication is that being pro-life and pro-Glock is contrary to what it means to be an evangelical; a Christian. And, if there was any question as to your meaning (even though you falsely accuse me of putting words in your mouth), you end stating:

“It’s time for the Christian community to promote the cause of life by laying down our weapons and refusing to support those who insist on filling our society with instruments designed for the sole reason of ending the life of one who bears the image of God. It’s time for us to realize that we cannot be both pro-life and pro-gun.”

Again I say hogwash.

I did say (and will say again) that if the means exist (and I believe they do) to defend ourselves without taking a human life then we should do

That’s your choice, but it is hardly something you derived from Scripture, despite your claim above, and if it is, where is your exegesis?

Could you tell me how my position which advocates using non-lethal force violates this question? In my post and subsequent responses have I ever said that all killing is always murder and thus always sinful? Did I write that men do not have the right to take life if defending themselves or families?

If you want to use a Louisville Slugger to defend your family that is your choice. FWIW that was my weapon of choice a number of years ago, but then one night creeping downstairs with Louis in tow to investigate a noise with my wife and first born asleep in bed, I started to wonder what I would do if I found someone? Ask him to pitch to me? But, yes, implied in your remarks is that killing – even someone who would do violence to either ourselves or our families is sinful. There is no other way to read your remarks as noted above. Again, you said (among other things) that you are “convinced by scripture . . .that those who believe in Jesus Christ should especially take care to do all within our power to see that no harm comes to anyone.” But where is this imagined biblical imperative found? How did you arrive at this “duty” for Christians to take special care that no harm comes to *anyone*? Which leads nicely to your next question:

Once again please tell me how advocating for non-lethal forms of defense violates this point of the catechism?

"The duties required in the sixth commandment are . . .avoiding all occasions, temptations, and practices, which tend to the unjust taking away the life of any; by just defense thereof against violence . . . .” Notice, it is our duty to avoid the “unjust taking of life,” etc. Nothing about those who believe in Jesus Christ being required to “especially take care to do all within our power to see that no harm comes to anyone.” Unjust taking of life is forbidden which necessarily implies that the just taking of life, i.e. in “defense against violence,” etc., is permissible. Your position is in direct contradiction with the Confession. But you’ve already suggested above that you take exceptions to it anyway, so I guess contradicting the Confession on this point is similarly moot.

greenbaggins said...

Lance, Rev. Lane Keister here (Green Baggins). Your traffic on this blog post is largely due to me. In the spirit of iron sharpening iron in a (hopefully) gracious way, I was wondering if you would like to interact with the two blog posts on my blog that are in response to your post:

http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2008/09/15/are-guns-inherently-against-life/

http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2008/09/17/firearms-theology-and-fantasy/

I assure you (having sat under your preaching several times at Tenth) that I respect you deeply as a brother committed to bringing the Gospel to African-Americans in Philadelphia. So, my disagreement on this issue should not be seen as an attack on you personally. Indeed, I think that most of the issue is not theological (though there are some biblical areas) but rather pragmatic. Your brother in Christ, Lane

Matthew Bradley said...

I may have missed it, but I didn't see anyone answer Aaron's question about the death penalty.

Aaron, Paul teaches in Romans 13:4:

"for he (the ruler appointed by God) is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer."

The reference to the sword here is a reference to the authority to inflict the death penalty. Caesar didn't tickle with that sword, after all. :^) Seeing as how this is Paul, post-resurrection, does it qualify as an evidence for the appropriate use of the death penalty in the current age?

Pastor Lance, I can't help wondering if you've ever lived in a place that had a healthy gun culture. Being from Texas and having lived in Alaska, I can assure you that it is quite possible to own a handgun with non-murderous intent. In fact, I am quite certain the vast majority of owners aren't itching for the chance to use it on a person. This would seem to undermine your argument. If they can be owned for legitimate purposes, and are being used for legitimate purposes, (by the majority in both cases) then on what basis, biblical or otherwise, might the government encroach upon our freedoms by banning them?

To the gentleman from England arguing the statistics, I couldn't help but notice that you seem to have missed the point. Again, apologies if this has been covered, I may have overlooked it. You seem to agree that murder rates have not DECREASED since guns were banned. You see, it isn't sufficient to your argument to prove they didn't increase. The fact that they have not decreased undermines your argument. And arguing the gun murders decreased misses the point. We are concerned about life, no? If murders stayed flat and gun murder decreased, then murder by other means must have increased to keep it level. Banning guns apparently did nothing in England to change the determination of those with murderous hearts.

Thanks for the post Rev Lance. I think it was over the top, and I disagree wholeheartedly, but the mental exercise appears to have done at least several of us some good.

Keith L. Tolbert said...

Pastor Lance,

As a former policeman, I must ask, what should Christian policemen do? Or Christian military personnel? Refuse to carry a weapon?

I definitely support the right to own a firearm. I believe a Christian should excercise the most discretion in using one; but I find no conflict in being pro-life and pro-gun. Being pro-gun doesn't make one pro-killing.

As for the gentleman who requested Biblical support for the death penalty. In addition to Romans 13 which has already been mentioned; Genesis 9:5-6 is pre-Sinai and states:

" And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.'Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed,for God made man in his own image".

And let us not forget Ecclesiates 3:1,3

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven . . . a time to kill, and a time to heal . . . "

Also, in response to the question about what should a Christian do if an attacker is in his home and threatens the lives of his family?
Whether it is by gun, baseball bat, knife or lawn mower; in my case, He's a dead man.

Anonymous said...

Matthew,

Thankyou for referring to me as a gentleman.

I have realised in the course of this discussion, that the blog is not a good way to pursue a debate … and again I concede I may not have been clear and I am having a debate I would be unlikely to have in the UK, with people who are well versed in debates around guns.

I do agree the murder rates have not decreased since the gun ban in 1997. But the ban is not a factor in the increase in the gun murders.

Remember in the UK there were not the same no of guns around as there are in the US – the big argument here as I remember it against the gun ban was it’s effect on sports, not its use in self defence. That is a US argument (exactly because of the large no of guns in circulation). There was one famous case of a farmer shooting a burglar some years ago, but that is the only time I can remember guns being used in ‘defence’ (it was claimed that he shot him as he was leaving – but that is another discussion).

My point is that with lots of guns in circulation in the US, makes it easier for those who wish to use them to kill, find it easier to get them and use them.

I am arguing this from my experience in the UK, where ‘real’ guns are harder to get, hence whilst the murder rate is rising, this is not due to a vast increase in gun murders. So whilst we have sinful men who want to kill they cannot get there hands as easily on the sort of weapons, your sinful men can in the US. This is why I believe we have not had school students going into their schools murdering groups of students and pupils (and yes we have had people go in with knives and try it – but it is harder to kill lots of people this way – and tragically I am not saying someone will not attempt those things here)

For example – nos of our shootings are with re commissioned weapons and imitations made to fire bullets – these still kill, but surely not as effectively as the weapons the street gangs in the US can get there hands on.


‘Banning guns apparently did nothing in England to change the determination of those with murderous hearts’ – For all who answer me, can you grant me that I hold to the sinfulness of man and we cannot legislate away sin.

Lastly, I make this point I made on green bagggins… I am a middle class white professional man. I spend time (for reason of my work, church and cultural activities), going to some of the most gun crime affected areas in the UK. I believe I am very unlikely to be threatened by a gun (to such an extent I go with my family) … Can you say this about similar areas in the US ? (that you would go there and take your families – and feel confident you would not be threatened by someone carrying a gun) That is the difference in the UK.

Colin

Pastor Lance said...

"If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him, 3 but if the sun has risen on him, there shall be bloodguilt for him. He shall surely pay. If he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft. Exod. 22:2-3.


I’ll try to answer some of the latest comments in light of the passage listed above:

J. kru - yes, if necessary I would use lethal force on two men charging upstairs with the intent of harming my family. (although I do find it interesting that though I never mentioned pepper spray it has become the straw weapon in this discussion)
Also, it seems that most all of us are assuming that effective non-lethal weapons do not exist now nor will they exist anytime in the near or far future. But is that a realistic assumption? Just 20 years ago how many of the over 40 crowd would have thought that a portable device that fits into your pocket could make phone calls, play hundreds of songs along with FM radio, access a thing called the internet and in a pinch record an hour long sermon?

Lane, unfortunately the discussion has not proceeded in a gracious way. I’d too hoped that those who claim to be Christians could discuss this issue using the parameters set forth in passages like 1 Cor. 13:4-7 and Eph. 4:29. However that has not been the case. Being that my post has already been the subject of at least two other posts I have no assurance or belief that I will be spoken to with the respect. And since we are talking about the issue of self-defense I’m going to invoke my right to defend myself against those who would verbally attack me, not by trading insult for insult but by simply refraining from joining that kind of discussion.

Matthew, I’ve already responded to the issue of those who own guns without murderous intent. Also I never advocated that we entreat the gov’t to ban them. And since we do live in a country where all too many guns are used to kill all too many people I still believe that Christians should at least consider exploring the idea of using non-lethal force as a way to protect our families and upholding our claim that life is valuable.

Keith, once more I never addressed law enforcement or the military. (although I did notice that some police departments are making use of some kinds of non-lethal weapons and the military is exploring their use for crowd control and individual combat)
Your last comment however brings me to the passage listed above.

1. I do not believe that God MANDATES that I kill an intruder of my home. He may be killed in the process of breaking into my home or attempting to harm my family, but the fact that he’s there doesn’t give me a LICENSE to kill him.

2. The passage goes on to say “but if the sun has risen on him, there shall be bloodguilt for him.” Again this stresses that even the life of the thief has value and isn’t to be taken just because he broke into your home.
If that weren’t the case then the scripture could have just as easily stated that once a thief breaks into your home his life is forfeit period.
Now we know that there is a vast difference in the living situations of those who received this command first hand and those of us who seek to observe and practice it today. But though the passage declares that it’s permissible to take a thief’s life it doesn’t declare that it is mandatory. Furthermore the passage declares that if he can be caught without being killed then that is the course of action that must be taken so that he can make restitution or in the case of this country be imprisoned.
I happen to believe that this passage can apply to using non-lethal force to disable and incapacitate someone who intrudes my home with the intent to harm my family. I further believe that scripture warrants serious consideration before taking life and as such if I have the means to preserve life and protect my family that I am scripture bound to do so. Scripture does not command me to take a life in defense of myself or family. To hold a position that mandates that I kill an intruder when I may not have to treads a very, very fine line that all of those who claim to value life must be quite wary of treading.

And in my view this gets to the heart of the issue as expressed by brother Keith. It seems to me that there are those who would simply rule out incapacitating someone even if they could do so just because scripture gives a circumstance where we may kill someone. And I simply wonder why that is the case.

peace
LL

J. Kru said...

Lance - Yes, I'm assuming pepper spray does not provide the effectiveness you need. I used to be in Federal law enforcement, and I have been sprayed with pepper spray as a part of training. After being sprayed, I had to control an aggressive subject. Pepper spray did not stop me from doing so, and it won't stop someone with evil intent, and it certainly won't stop someone on drugs, it will just make them mad. And before you go blasting pepper spray in your house, remember that in a small space like a hallway or a corner, the pepper spray is going to splash all over if it hits a wall, into your face, etc.

Remember, too, that you can't practice shooting pepper spray. I suppose if you have $30 a pop, you could. But you need to practice, practice, practice, because God forbid something does happen, you are going to work off instinct and adreneline, not logic. You're going to be panicked, anyone would. So you need to train enough to make your pepper spray almost second nature.

Reliable, easy, usable non-lethal means simply do not exist in present form. Maybe in 20 years the "knockout" bullet will come out, and I would be happy with that. But that would really be an issue for 20 years from now, wouldn't it? We're dealing with TODAY.

Finally, I don't think that anyone claims that you can simply execute someone for breaking into your house. You can defend your family. You're trying to make the debate from a "pro/anti gun" into a "pro/anti vengeance" debate, and in doing so, you're changing the terms of the discussion. We're all against vengeance. We're all against playing judge/jury/executioner.

In changing the discussion, are you are tacitly acknowledging the failure of your anti-gun argument?

greenbaggins said...

Rev. Lewis, if you do not wish to engage in a discussion with me, I will understand completely, and will honor that. However, I do not want you to have an incorrect impression of me in the process. You say that the discussion has not proceeded in a gracious manner so far. If I have offended you, or you feel attacked by me, then I apologize profusely, as that was not my intent. My intent was simply to attack an argument (not a person) that I thought was fallacious. Yes, some people who read my blog have come over here with less than gracious attitudes (including some people who have been banned from my blog, like Sean Gerety). I think I can speak for Bob Mattes as well when I say that the intent was to contest the argument, not to attack a person. I just wanted to make that clear. Thanks for your time.

Keith L. Tolbert said...

Pastor Lance,

It is true that many police departments are introducing non-lethal weapons; however, police are taught the principle of "escalating" force or violence.

If the criminal is empty-handed the police man is allowed to use his hands and /or nightstick. If the criminal has a knife the officer is allowed to ecalate to a gun (or possibly one of the non-lethal weapons), etc. The point is, meeting force with the next step of force is always permissible.

Additionally, policeman are NEVER taught to "shoot to wound". It's always "center of mass". You don't want to get shot don't become a burglar. Simple

I never ruled out incapacitating an assailant and I never said that it was mandatory that one be killed. Let's face it; however, in the dead of night confronted by a possibly armed attacker are you really going to count bullets and aim for the parts of the body that you are least likely to hit?

Lionel Woods said...

I guess Pro-Life doesn't include adults in this convesation. Its funny that Paul talks about being in danger to robbers while simultaneously exlcluding any mention of the sword. I guess I fall more on your side on this one Lance. Maybe I am wrong. But I have seen the violence of this nation reach new heights and the manufacturing of these weapons somehow make it from the manufacturing factory into the hands of those with no liscences with great ease.

Hey for giggles let me ask, if a Muslim walked into your house to take your life because of the Gospel do you guys believe it is okay to shoot them in defense of your life also? Just to take the convesation a different way.

Keith L. Tolbert said...

Lionel,

You should also note that none of the attacks on Paul that you mentioned occurred at his home.

God's protections of the boundary lines and the sanctions listed for moving the boundary stones indicate a certain sanctity of the home. It's one thing to be in school or at work and stare down the barrel of an assailant offering the ultimatum of denounce Jesus or die. It is entirely different to be in one's home with the means to deter the assailant and practice piety.

The home is a haven and is worthy of necessary force to defend. As for me and my house; I'll witness to the assailant in the ambulance as they rush him to the hospital.

Notice, I even called the ambulance.

I'll quote Ecclesiates 3:1,3 again:

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven . . . a time to kill, and a time to heal . . . "

Keith L. Tolbert said...

Lionel,

"But I have seen the violence of this nation reach new heights and the manufacturing of these weapons somehow make it from the manufacturing factory into the hands of those with no liscences with great ease".

How does the firearm I legally purchase, properly register and responsibly secure contribute to this problem?

Pastor Lance said...

hey brothers, sorry I haven't gotten back to your comments. I have my thoughts but have been a bit more busy than usual. thanks for keeping up the discussion and even more thanks for doing so in a respectable manner.

holla at you soon.

LL

Lionel Woods said...

KT,

The problem is that there were thousands of Christians who attacks did happen at their home and are currently happening at their home.


Throught the ruthlessness of the Roman empire, believers didn't respond with the sword (the equivalent of your "legally" purchased fire arm). They responded with passivity in order to reflect their master who "for the joy set before Him, endured the cross". It also seems this what Peter is referring to when He speaks of Christ by saying "as a lamb led to the slaughter".

The Thessalonians and the Phillipians had seem to be under extreme persecuction also, do you believe this was "outside" of their homes? I can give you a few direct testimonies of such events.

So to say the home is a haven, may be a stretch, because our home isn't here, its in Christ. Secondly to use Eccl as a proof text is suspect brother. LOL. Come on KT I can't let you make it on that one brother.

Keith L. Tolbert said...

Lionel,
Well what worked (?) for the Roman empire doesn't necessarily go for the US.

As men, we are the priest, prophet and kings of our homes. As king we are charged with the protection of our families. King David, for example, as king protected his homeland with the sword. As king and lawful citizen of the US I am authorized to own and if necessary use a weapon in the defense of said home.

You are forgetting that we are citizens of two kingdoms. And as far as this earthly kingdom is concerned, whatever is civilly lawful AND NOT expressly restricted by Holy Scripture: I am at liberty to use and or hold.

As far as your Roman Empire believers, how do you know whether they had swords or not? Persecution for the faith is entirely different than a burgular entering for the purpose of theft and or harm.

I can't allow you to spiritualize the home either, my brother. If the earthly home is unworthy of defense, why do you have locks on your door or why bother living in one? Let's take to the streets and wait for the sweet chariot to take us home.

And because the early saints did or did not do anything: when did that become Scripture?

Keith L. Tolbert said...

Lionel,

P.S.

"But I have seen the violence of this nation reach new heights and the manufacturing of these weapons somehow make it from the manufacturing factory into the hands of those with no liscences with great ease".

How does the firearm I legally purchase, properly register and responsibly secure contribute to this problem?

Keith L. Tolbert said...

Lionel,

And one more thing,

Exactly what time do you believe Eccl 3 is referring to?

Pastor Lance said...

j. kru - in the post i mentioned three kinds of non-lethal weapons none of which were your garden variety pepper spray. i chose the three based on their availability and technology but mainly technology. though i have no experience with pepper spray i would not have advocated using it as a primary form of self/family defense. the weapons i did list make use of technology in such a way as to allow you to be several feet away from an intruder. re: whether or not these weapons exist now i suppose we'll just have to disagree. for instance the flashlight i mentioned is under contract with the dept. of homeland security with plans to deploy it in 2010. other weapons including taser rifles and shotguns are either available now or will be by next year.

it wasn't my intention to turn this into pro/anti vengeance debate. i was responding to those who claimed that an intruder into the home earned an automatic death sentence. i could have misread them, but it seemed to me that this was the sentiment of a few.

and that's the reason i still advocate using non-lethal weapons in the place of guns. i've never argued against defending yourself or family. the argument is for using non-lethal weapons to do so. and these weapons are available now and becoming more and more sophisticated. and it seems to me that if we as a group are going to promote a culture a life in our society then we have to seriously consider using non-lethal weapons instead of guns.

lane - thanks for understanding why i wouldn't wish to continue the discussion on another forum. and while i have no problem with people challenging an argument and have not been offended by your personally it seems that this particular issue raises the kinds of passions that can easily push folks to move from dealing with arguments to attacking people. perhaps you and i can exchange emails regarding this in a private discussion some time.

Keith - re: the dead of night intruder scenario. this is where i think the new non-lethal weapons can be a great advantage to those who don't want to get to close to an intruder. the issue is this: if you had the capability to disable an intruder in the dead of night without having to get close to him and without having to kill him why not do so?

and even if i did have a gun that doesn't automatically guarantee my safety. i get the impression that many gun advocates seem to think (and i could be wrong) that criminals are deterred once they believe or know that potential victims are likewise armed. and yet many of the shootings in Philadelphia are done by individuals who probably know that those they shoot or intend to shoot are also armed. that's one of the reasons we have multiple shootouts in the city. and beyond that we know that there are some determined criminals who will even challenge police. guns are an effective weapon for self-defense ( i've never denied that) but they are not a foolproof weapon.

what's up brother lionel? we almost had the cowpokes a couple of weeks ago. we'll see ya'll up at the Linc soon enough though. good question about the Muslim though it does take the discussion in a different discussion. though that may be a good discussion to have it wasn't the focus of this particular post.

thanks again brothers for your questions and comments. and may the the Lord's peace remain with you.

peace
LL

Keith L. Tolbert said...

Pastor Lance,

Please describe for me a non-lethal weapon that doesn't reqire being close to the attacker. All the ones I'm familiar with require you to be much closer than a handgun.

And if the attacker has a handgun, a non-lethal weapon is basically like bringing a knife to a gun fight.

Again, this scenario revolves around "escalation of force". If the attacker is unarmed, I'm not advocating killing him (a nice kneecapping might help him to understand that robbery is not a good thing). Chances are; however, if he is bold enough to break into your home when you are likely to be there he is probably not going to comply to the warning. "stop, I have a spatula!"

If the attacker is armed in anyway, my answer is . . . "center of mass and I pray he survives and changes his ways".

J. Kru said...

Pastor Lance -

As to the issue at hand, I guess we will have to disagree as to effectiveness. There may be some who are out for blood, but I don't think that the ability to execute and intruder is the concern of most responsible gun owners. There is simply nothing as reliable and effective. As I said, if there was such a thing as "tranq bullets" that would put anyone to sleep, I would use that.

Also, if we're talking about gangbangers shooting one another, of course they all have guns. But if we're talking a home invader, trying to steal your TV to buy drugs, they will go to the house without the rack-around shotgun sound coming from the bedroom upstairs.

Heck, an UNLOADED shotgun will still make the sound; I'd probably take a shotgun w/o ammo over some flashlight any day.

Finally - the Constitution defends our right to bear arms so that some day, should the need arise, we can raise a militia to fight against the government. Does the government have superior weapons? Sure they do. But the US government has better weapons that insurgents in Iraq, but they're getting quite a run for their money there. You'd be amazed what a group of angry people with rifles can do.

Pastor Lance said...

first of all brothers thanks again for your thoughts on this issues. it's good to know that we can disagree while recognizing that we're still God's people.

thanks for your thoughts J Kru, I appreciate your sentiments.

Keith, first of all a brother needs to know if Michael Turner can run against a decent NFL D.

there are a number of long range non-lethal weapons on the market now with more on the way. on the cheaper end is a small pistol that fires a stream pepper spray up to about 25 feet. along the lines of pepper spray there are several pepper gun rifles and pistols available. these weapons are similar to paintball rifles only they fire with more force and use a pepper ball that explodes on impact. apparently the pepper used in these weapons are three to five times stronger than existing pepper spray. these weapons have a range of 50 to 150 feet and can be used easily against multiple targets.
there are several models of tasers that fire from about 15 to 25 feet. however one company is developing a wireless taser projectile that may be matched to a taser type shotgun. the effective range would be about 150 feet or so. it seems that this projectile represents a significant leap in taser technology with the possibility of instantly immobilizing a target from a long range and for a significant amount of time.

thanks again brothers and enjoy a blessed week in the Lord.

peace
LL