Guns and God

I have enjoyed a relatively peaceful life, at least as far as physical violence is concerned. I’ve not been in a fight since childhood. I’ve never been the victim of a violent crime, thank God, nor even threatened. (I’ve been threatened occasionally over my theology, but not with being beaten up, only with losing my salvation—though I’m reasonably hopeful that those who made the threats haven’t the authority to enforce them.)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

This terminonlogy hits the nail on the head. A European (and they simply shake their heads at the US when it comes to the “PeaceMakers” which simply kill more people than anywhere in the world) couldn’t have put it any better.


Very thought provoking article. It is difficult for many to balance the practical aspects of being wise as serpents and harmless as doves. For myself, I study Thai martial arts, mostly for the mental and physical discipline it requires. It is also excellent for self-defense, but I find that the physical confidence it provides makes it less likely I will have to use it for that purpose. This is confirmed by many different martial arts practitioners and philosophies.

Of course, it will not protect me against a firearm. I do not spend much time worrying about this. It is easy to get into a constantly-escalating “what if” game. “If only you had (insert weapon of choice), you could have prevented (insert unfortunate occurrence)”. We have many tools with which to deal with our human issues, but if the only tool we value is a “hammer”, then all problems will be “nails”. Or, as Chris Rock once said, if bullets cost $5000, we’d have a lot less innocent bystanders.




Fascinating, how the picture of the marquee also includes an ad about insurance. Some say that Insurance premiums should be higher for those that own guns. Do we take insurance out on the basis of risk and possible liability? Look at how insurance companies calculate insurance rates by neighborhoods.
Do we figure out the rik in town like Flint Michigan to assigns special rates for cancer risk?

Amidst the recent political and legal challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s proposed individual insurance mandate, we argue that the purchase of health insurance as a healthy, young adult should be viewed as an ethical action. If you believe that being sick or healthy is largely a matter of good or bad luck that depends on genetics, socioeconomic status from birth, and other outside factors, being healthy is not a morally praiseworthy characteristic that should permit us – the young and healthy – to forgo insurance.

Though diluting an insurance risk pool may be less glamorous than donating to charity, it is an important action that helps keep down premiums for the less healthy participants. Regardless of whether the individual insurance mandate stands or falls, we should keep in mind that as young, healthy adults, the purchase of health insurance should be aimed at more than our personal protection against expensive medical care.

@sam, this is an insurance agency right across the street from my church. I’m puzzled about why they’d make that the message on their sign. Presumably they believe it gets them business, though it’s theologically questionable. But then again, as has been noted, American conservatives aren’t necessarily very good theologians.


Funny how the “Europeans” desperately wanted the help of American “guns” during WW1 and WW2.


It is of course merely coincidental that the U.S. has many more times the deaths by gun shots than any other civilized nation. So often a death by firearms occurs when used in uncontrolled anger and the gun is so handy and quicker. Many small children are also killed bu guns left so easily accessible to curious hands.

It is so true: the 2nd Amendment providing ownership of firearms was because a militia was needed before there were police, the National Guard, or a standing army as today. How loosely it has been interpreted has depended on the SCOTUS who has repeatedly ruled in favor of all individuals as “militia.”

The U.S. controls more than half the global arms market, Russia is second. The top 5 buyers of American weapons 200-14:

  1. Saudi Arabia (our friend and ally which supports ISIS)
  2. United Arab Emirates
  3. Australia (but has much tighter restrictions on civilian handguns)
  4. Iraq
  5. Israel

Source: Mother Jones, March/April 2016

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As Jesus never contradicted Himself, it would seem His admonition about buying swords (Luke 22:36) was not for the purpose of violence against fellow humans, but for other purposes for which a sharp instrument might be useful (cleaning fish perhaps?). Quite obviously, when Peter used a sword for violence against another person, Jesus forbade him to do so (Matt. 26:52).

I’ve always been fascinated by the argument of certain ones that the Second Amendment represents an unqualified prohibition against any state regulation of guns. Yet the Second Amendment says nothing whatsoever about guns or gun ownership. It simply says, “A well-regulated militia being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Leaving aside for the moment the question of whose responsibility it is to regulate the militia, if not the government, the Amendment’s reference to “the right to bear arms” is a far more comprehensive statement than a mere reference to firearms. If one is to apply the gun lobby’s definition of the right to bear arms to the actual language used by the Amendment, the government would have no right to regulate or restrict the use or manufacture of any weapons whatsoever, from knives and swords to nerve gases and nuclear explosives.

Did the authors of the Bill of Rights truly envision the language of the Second Amendment as permitting citizens to form their own private armies, complete with the most lethal weapons available at the time (e.g. cannons and armed naval vessels), without any government interference?

Regarding the eschatological Time of Trouble, any Adventist who stockpiles physical weapons for self-defense had best read the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy, where Ellen White is clear that God’s people at that time will be defended by holy angels—some of whom, she says, will assume the form of men of war (GC 631). Smith & Wesson, Remington, and Winchester can happily move aside!


It’s interesting that the Swiss, who have a high rate of gun ownership, do not kill each other with them at the rate we do in the US.

We don’t object to the licensing of motor vehicles, ATV’s, snowmobiles, boats, etc. And no one can legally drive a car without passing a test. Why is there so much opposition to background checks and gun registration?

Amen, Loren, amen.

I would suggest that it is a gross lack of faith in the Christ they profess to serve, that so many people put their faith in weapons.


Where to begin? I guess history.

An intelligent person wouldnt make the correlation between firearms of years past and today because that was never the intent of the founding documents. An intelligent person would recognize the level of defense the constitution allowed compared to the military of the day.

Second a semi-automatic AR-15 cant fire 800 rounds a minute. Only a fully automatic one can…except even the fully automatic really cant fire an actual 800 rounds a minute because its magazine capacity is 30 rounds. No one can fire 800 rounds and change 27 magazines in the span of a minute. In fact the military use of a machine gun with that type of rapid fire is to make the enemy hide behind cover to your men can advance or move to cover themselves. It is a fact that modern military M4A1 automatic rifles fire a 3 round burst mode because the carbine barrels are not of sufficient thickness that they wont distort when they become to hot firing fully automatic. Full auto is for belt fed machine guns in suppressive fire role. (Those are not AR-15’s or M4A1 in military jargon.) Infantry troops are basically never trained in the use of an M4A1 in full auto. And lastly ammunition is in short supply. A modern Soldier carries as many as he wants but because of weight they never carry more than 6-7 magazines.
Since your understanding of the constitution and firearms in general is what it is, it does not surprise me that your christian quotes and concepts are shall we say less than completely thought out.
Much wiser men have commented differently.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
God even gives counsel to be wise in war. Proverbs 20:18: “Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.”
It is apparent that our God-authored freedoms must be defended.
Throughout the book of Judges, God calls the Israelites to go to war against the Midianites and Philistines. Why? Because these nations were trying to conquer Israel, and God’s people were called to defend themselves.
Now I know you would like to have the bible start in Matthew or as you have demonstrated conveniently forget about the OT but no matter, God is the same always. God is not different than Jesus and what Jesus said is not in contrast with what God said.
'Since it is the NT I know you have read John 14:7
7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
Lastly if your premise was carried out in Israel they wouldn’t have had any weapons. We know that isnt the case. Your perspective seems at odds with the bible or at least the part of it that you dont pay attention too.
Did Samson really kill 1,000 men in a single battle, using a donkey’s jawbone (Judg.15)? So much for your assertion

30,000 of Joshua’s troops fit behind a hill before the ambush at Ai (Josh. 8)?
In addition to the examples given above, the
Bible says that Israel’s newly crowned king, Saul, led a force of 330,000 to respond to the Ammonite attack on the Israelite city of Jabesh Gilead (1 Sam. 11). When the next king, David, took a census of his fighting men, the total came to 1,300,000 (2 Sam. 24:9; the parallel 1 Chron.21:5 gives 1,570,000).

Please not I am not saying there isnt a place and a time for your perspective since I do recognize that God is always the same and value both the OT and NT. Its just that turning the other cheek is great if all the guy wants to do is slap you and take your shirt. You wouldnt respond with a pistol to those attacks.
Is it ironic that you would leave gun ownership to policeman and soldiers. as if every encounter that had with the public was correctly implemented? Are you wholly unaware of the number of people Cops shoot every year that range from kids holding water hoses with spray nozzles to people holding 3-4" knives 20-30’ away from them and walking away from them?
Become educated.


The pursuit of education is indeed a worthy goal. Some of the fruit of careful study would consider whether one really wants to argue from the Old Testament in the manner suggested (the unintended consequences being a rationale for executing children for disobedience to their parents, a set of guidelines in how to treat the women you might capture in wartime - which even very conservative literalists would be unlikely to support- or the practice of polygamy, or a whole host of other things that could be argued from what one might find in the Old Testament. This could be why, perhaps, Jesus helps us in the New Testament, particularly the sermon on the mount, to understand what the laws were trying to get at, rather than suggesting that we return to how things were done in a particular context or at a particular point in time or understanding. Rather than Siebold’s position being at odds with the part of the Bible you assert he is not paying attention to adequately, it seems that he has indeed looked at it at more than a superficial level, which I find helpful. And, while some of the technical information on how certain assault weapons operate, or the exact number of rounds they can fire at a given point of time, may not reflect the knowledge of someone who spends a lot of time contemplating just how to use them, the over all point it seems, still remains. But when everything is said and done, we still need to grapple with the reality that the Marine Corps Hymn (while I doubt the composer/writer probably meant for us to take it literally) actually gets it quite wrong - the security of heaven really is not dependent on them guarding the streets.


I have found that a majority of American Adventists no longer trust in God for protection. They have thrown aside the belief, held since the Civil War, that Adventist Christians should be non-combatants. They have instead made the cult of the gun their fortress and strength. I too have been labeled as an idiot, fool, etc. and labeled as being unAmerican.

Instead of trusting in the LORD, they bow in homage to the “:Gun God.” I have no intention of ever changing my belief that God does not want me to kill; therefore I will never have a firearm. If I am killed, or my family, I trust in the LORD who is the Resurrection and the Life.


I had never heard of firearms and religion tied together in a single thought until Barack Obama made his famous “cling to guns or religion” statement in a speech in San Francisco:

“You go into these small towns [that have been de-industrialized by international trade, and where blue-collar wages were relentlessly forced downward by the constant in-flow of cheap immigrant labor] And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

I can scarcely imagine anything less surprising than that a utopian Leftist like Obama is hostile to both guns and religion, because a religious people and an armed populace are two of the biggest obstacles to the havoc that utopian Leftists so dearly want to wreak upon the United States. I think religion and guns are becoming connected in the minds of Christians because guns and religion have already become so publicly connected in the thinking of anti-religious utopian Leftists–as obstacles they face in trying to re-make America along lines more congenial to them.

The Second Amendment has nothing to do with sport shooting, or hunting, or even defending self and others from ordinary criminality. Its sole purpose is to ensure that the people are always sufficiently armed to deter a federal government bent on overreaching its strictly limited powers. The Second Amendment is in the Bill of Rights just after the provisions forbidding the federal government from abridging freedom of speech, of the press, of religion, and of assembly, and just before forbidding the central government from making warrantless and unreasonable searches and seizures, pursuant to “the right of the people to be secure [against intrusive government] in their persons, houses, papers, and effects [e.g., cell phones].” The entire Bill of Rights, all of the first ten amendments to the Constitution, were written and passed by our liberty-loving founders with one goal in mind: to restrict the power and reach of the new central government. The need for the Second Amendment has not diminished with time, but rather has grown, especially during the last 40 years, as one of the two major political parties has progressively abandoned the American tradition and been taken over by radical Leftist utopians.

And since the Second Amendment exists to deter an out-of-control central government bent on tyranny, I cannot imagine a more appropriate weapon than the AR-15, a civilian version of the military M-16.


Sociology trumps religion (almost) every time. The two pillars of American ideology—“You can’t make me” and “Where’s my stuff,” translate into 2nd amendment (and other) issues and taxation and the Gospel of Prosperity. Pastor Siebold has done an excellent job at getting this across. Eventually, we might come to understand that not all Adventists, as not all Christians, Jews, or Muslims, or any other members of multi-cultural religions, are alike.


It wasn’t my .22 rifle, or your whatever, they wanted. It was the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force.


The gunnists are always ready to be insulting, I’ve noticed, to blast others for their stupidity. I will answer as best I can, though I suspect it will not make a dent.

First, of your basing your gunnism on the Old Testament, there is little that I can say. It is an unChristian choice, given all that the OT says that we no longer follow, but it is yours. My logic not thought out? I believe I have a far more consistent hermeneutic of the OT and what in it is set aside by the NT than you do. You’re pulling out violent stories at random and claiming that justifies your guns under the ignorant principle that “God never changes.” If so, you have a lot to answer for that the OT asks you to do that you’re not doing. You and your multiple wives and slaves will have to work this out amongst yourselves, perhaps as you’re offering your sacrifices at the temple in Jerusalem, how you are going to be a follower of Jesus but also maintain that the teachings of the OT (a world, I might add, where it appeared that God gave the military orders directly) justify vigilantism. I will also observe that every time the “turn the other cheek” passage is mentioned, people like you never give a New Testament answer.

About the 2nd amendment, I made it clear that I was addressing the originalists, who maintain that the intent of the constitution was what the founders had in mind. An intelligent person would, first, not insult my intelligence, since this is an argument that has been made by better legal minds than yours. But then, an intelligent person would realize that the founders never, ever imagined a gun that could shoot multiple shots in a second, that could pepper a room with bullets in an instant. What, then, did they have in mind? Do you know? If, in fact, they had no reasonable limit on what constituted a personal weapon, then what prevents you from having a nuclear bomb?

I have heard the argument (among these postings, in fact) that the 2nd amendment is to prevent a repressive government. Well, frankly, I don’t want you and your guns deciding what a repressive government is, and overthrowing it. I don’t trust you to do that. That’s what votes are for. Who are you to decide, just because you have a gun? And, by the way, as great as your AR-15 is, it’s not going to be much match for even a small force of federal troops. This is the gunnists most frightening argument.

You suggest that my whole piece is wrong because according to you, I got the stats wrong on the AR-15. I can (and did) find numerous sites by gun nuts bragging of this 800 rounds number (one claimed 900). Other sites talk about the availability of a part for your gun that overrides the semi-automatic feature so it becomes, essentially, an automatic weapon. Others show magazines that hold many more than 30 rounds for the AR-15. But suddenly you’re all, “Oh, that’s an exaggeration!” If it’s an exaggeration, it is one that your fellow gun enthusiasts take great pride in bragging about, because you’ll find such claims for the AR-15 all over gun sites, whether they’re true or not. So get off your high horse on that one.

I agree fully that police (and soldiers) don’t always make good choices. But they have something you don’t have: the authority of law and order behind them. They are not only trained with firearms, but empowered to enforce laws, and backed up by and regulated by courts. Do they do it right all of the time? No, but I trust them more than I trust you, for all kinds of reasons having to do with checks and balances and oversight and judgment. Yes, cops shoot people unnecessarily. But so do private gun owners. Something gunnists have never been able to answer effectively is the fact that we have more accidental gun deaths in the US than anywhere in the world, and more suicides by guns than anywhere in the world. Guns may not kill people without people behind them, but the fact is that people are stupid, and they use guns badly and carelessly, and without guns careless and stupid people wouldn’t cause as many gun accidents as they do now.

Finally, let me make it clear that my intent in this piece was to address the making of guns a fetishistic expression of American Christianity. I understand why people like guns. I understand their need for them in some cases. I say again, I don’t understand how Christians can make guns so centrally important, to essentially fuse them in as an element of their faith, in light of the New Testament and the teachings of Jesus. I cannot argue against your legal right to have your guns at this point in time. But to maintain the vengeful, militaristic attitude that most gunnists have, you have to flat out ignore Jesus.


I was expecting all kinds of things, but blaming Barack Obama for the fusing of guns and Christianity is probably about as out of left field as I could imagine.

The interpretation that the 2nd amendment exists for the purpose of being able to defend against a repressive government is the most frightening hallucination that right wing believers have come up with. I don’t want you to overthrow the government just because you have a gun. That’s what votes are for. Leftists trying to take your guns away so they can make society into some kind of communist utopia? Please, David. You’re smarter than that. You have to be somewhat out of touch with reality to believe that your AR-15 is going to do anything against the federal government. The far greater risk is that someone is going to come out shooting on behalf of their own version of what the government should be, and it may not be what either of us want.

There appears to be a fantasy on the right that we’re about to descend into a civil war. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, because they’re preparing for it. It comes from fear, not love, and certainly not from the teachings of Jesus. I fear for the stability of American society, because of the number of people who believe in violence more than votes.


I’m not hallucinating, just interpreting the Secondment Amendment as the founders did. James Madison, in Federalist 46, noted that in contrast to Europeans, Americans were armed, and also had their own local governments, both of which made it unlikely that the proposed new federal government would usurp the people’s liberties:

“Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of.”

St. George Tucker, a U.S. District Court judge who fought in the Revolution and was appointed to the bench by Madison, wrote that the 2nd Amendment:

“may be considered as the true palladium [safeguard] of liberty … The right of self-defense is the first law of nature; in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Whenever . . . the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.”

Justice Story, appointed to the Supreme Court by James Madison, wrote of the 2nd Amendment:

“The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. . . . The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium [safeguard] of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”

Then there is the fact that the 2nd Amendment appears among the first ten amendments, which are principally guarantees of individual rights against federal usurpation. The right of the people to keep and bear arms is an individual right.

That it has a military purpose, and not principally a sporting, hunting, or self-defense purpose, is indicated by the clause “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state . . .” Militia has the same root as military for a reason: a militia is a war-fighting army. The people are guaranteed the right to keep and bear arms because of the need to come together and form a fighting army in the face of any threat, including, as specifically enumerated by the founders, a threat to liberty posed by a usurping “ambitious” central government. Don’t forget that these men had just fought free of the strongest empire in the world of that day, which they would not have done had they been disposed to abide tyranny, and could not have done had they not been armed to the teeth. That the founders would have deemed overthrowing a government by armed conflict as some sort of hallucinatory fantasy is as counter-historical as any assertion I can imagine.

That my AR-15 might not be sufficient to ward off federal tyranny is obvious, but as of 2012 (before the latest round of frenzied gun-buying provoked by Obama’s gun-grabbing rumblings) there were 112 firearms for every 100 citizens in this country. That this fact poses a deterrent to the likes of a Barack Obama is indicated by his own repeatedly expressed desire to abrogate the Second Amendment, and he just nominated an enemy of the Second Amendment to the Supreme Court.


I guess only “certain people” are allowed to comment here.

Two of my comments just “vanished”.

Read the commenting policy. - webEd

It’s also strange to blame Obama because there has been exactly zero change in laws respecting guns in his presidency. I think paranoia about Obama is a much more likely culprit.