Guns in Church?

In the latest edition of the Spectrum journal, linguistics professor Terese Thonus writes a personal article called "Guns in Church: No Sanctuary" about her fear of guns in churches and her campaign to convince her local Adventist church to adopt a policy about firearms.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at
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Why is it that you no longer feel safe? Certainly you are not thinking the members will shoot you. So it is that the guns are dangerous and should not be anywhere as someone can be hurt?

If there had been a gun carrying member of the church where the shooting occurred, would not that have lead to less deaths?

I am not in favor of guns, and do not own one, but know several members that do. I think it is their right to do so, and the laws have been changed so that concealing guns is no longer required in many areas.

Do you really think it is the police that are the problem with black shootings? Are you aware that almost all of blacks shot are by other blacks? Now maybe the guns in the hands of blacks should be addressed, but to think it is a police problem is to not see the real issue.

I don’t think this would be a bad idea. Or some method of helping others to do it.

I think it would be best to disallow guns in church, but there are some who would not agree. I am impressed that you would move to another state to live as you would like, but the liberal coasts are not the places were gun violence is less. And Baltimore??

You have jumped from the frying pan into the fire.

Here are stats from Baltimore in 2015 in an article published in 2016:

Blood was shed in Baltimore at an unprecedented pace in 2015, with mostly young, black men shot to death in a near-daily crush of violence.

On a per-capita basis, the year was the deadliest ever in the city. The year’s tally of 344 homicides was second only to the record 353 in 1993, when Baltimore had about 100,000 more residents.

More than 90 percent of the homicide victims this year were boys or men, more than 90 percent were black, and more than half were between the ages of 18 and 30 — reflecting an urban reality that residents and civil rights activists say is devoid of legitimate job opportunities and caught up in the often-violent drug trade.

Do you really think you are safer there? Really??

Here are the stats for Kansas City, a place that had a big up tick in homocide:

The killers, where known, were usually young — two out of three were between ages 17 and 34. Nine out of 10 were males. Three-fourths of them were black. The victims, too, were mostly young black men.

1 I am no supporter of guns. Never owned one, never will Note my statement:

  1. To Prof Kent:

He quotes me here:

Then says;

You seem to be arguing that since terrorists kill few people, and yet we worry much about that, that though white police kill few blacks, we should worry about that as well, though the number is small.

I would argue that it might be better to address the two issues where the greatest number of deaths are caused: black on black violence, at least being the one.

To James Londis:

Well, no James. See statement from my post above.


he quotes me:

Then claims i am a white supremacist:

Come on Harry. I think that whites killing whites is a problem and not police killing whites, as well as I think blacks killing blacks is a much bigger problem than police killing blacks. Thinking that black on black crime is a problem is not the stance of a white supremacist:

From the Christian Science Monitor, Sept, 2016:

But the term is not a description used only by whites. Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said in a Facebook video in April that “everyday we have black-on-black crime killing each other,” criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement for ignoring the problem.

The NAACP also talked about black-on-black crime and how it must be addressed.

“How do we give life to the narrative that Black Lives Matter when we are doing the killing?” said chairman Roslyn Brocks in the 2015 annual convention. “Let me be crystal clear black-on-black crime must end in our community as we imbue new life and meaning into the often quoted hashtag #Black Lives Matter!”

The problem is that white police killing black men is a minuscule statistic. Address it, but if you don’t do the other, you are missing the vast majority of the problem.

Baltimore and Kansas City, Ks are two of the 10 most dangerous cities in America, each having a per capita violent crime rate of about 1.7/100,000 population. Rural Kansas is much safer than Baltimore.

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It’s amazing how often we see these arguments. Their soundness can be illustrated by parallel reasoning. Here’s an example:

Almost all Americans are shot by other Americans. Now maybe the guns in the hands of terrorists should be addressed, but to think there is a terrorist problem is not to see the real issue.

And here are two more gun arguments:

We don’t need gun regulations because: (1) Guns are not a problem. The people who use them are the problem. And (2) if you are going to impose gun regulations on us, the next step you want is to take away our second amendment right to own them.

With parallel reasoning:

(1) We don’t need drug regulations because drugs are not a problem. The people who use them are the problem.

(2) We don’t need automobile regulations because if you are going to impose speed regulations on us, or seatbelt regulations, the next step you want is to take our vehicles away from us.

Certain media sources, politicians, and gun advocates have lots of “talking points.” If only they exercised critical thinking to the same extent.

FYI, annual deaths in the U.S. by the (approximate) numbers: 90,000 via alcohol; 60,000 via drugs; 40,000 via automobile accidents; 20,000 via gun suicide; 10,000 via gun homicide by other Americans; 10,000 via air pollution; 10-20 via terrorists; 10-20 via the Illuminati (okay, just kidding with the last one).

Professor (my occupation, not my ranking) Kent


I may have missed it. Is the article saying that members can bring concealed weapons to church? And was Shep saying that would be a good thing if someone bent on murder brought his concealed weapon in and started shooting? Or are the weapons out where everyone can see them? It appears that members who feel unsafe at church without concealed weapons being around them are having their feelings respected far more than the members who do not want concealed weapons around them because they feel unsafe, or they feel it violates the spirit and teachings of Jesus. I for one would not even attend an SDA church that voted for concealed weapons.


I have heard several church pastors here in Macon state that they KNOW there are a
few of their members who have Carry Permits, and DO CARRY 7 days a week.
HOWEVER, these Carry Permit recipients DO NOT talk about it. NOR do they
carry their weapon in such a way that is is obvious to anyone.

So if I was a pastor, I would ASK – 1. Do NOT talk about your Carry Permit.
2. Your weapon MUST be carried in such a way that it is NOT noticeable in church.
3. Otherwise – No ASK, No TELL.

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It is funny if this is about safety, first she should have her son go through an NRA gun safety program if he is that interested in guns. Second is the simple logic that if someone decides to bring a gun to kill people they will likely choose a so called gun free zone. It is not like they think that they will get into more trouble if they kill people in a gun free zone, they already know they are going to break the law, but they will likely not be shot by a citizen with a gun in a gun free zone. Someone moving from Kansas to the per capita murder capital of America, Baltimore, must not be thinking too clearly if safety is a concern!


These questions, and this statement, are based on such woefully white supremacist conceptions that one is dumbfounded on how to address conclusions so misinformed and inartfully stated.

Are you aware that, in America, almost all of white people are shot by other white people? Now maybe the guns in the hands of white people in America should be addressed, but to think it is a police problem is to not see the real issue.



i totally share terese’s feelings on this subject…if i knew my home church allowed people to carry concealed weapons, i’d change churches, or stay home…the thought that someone sitting next to me in a church pew could be carrying a firearm, and could decide to use it, is terrifying…


Contrary to the quote used in the authors article, I do not carry a weapon in preparation to take another’s life’s. I do it to be prepared to protect my life, my family’s and others around me from someone seeking to take another life.


“Guns in Church”, a matter of taste or a matter of security. One is subjective (taste), while the other is not. Or is it?

Consider how safe you feel once you settle into the seat on your next airline flight. TSA has finally released you from it’s clutches and you breath a sigh of relief knowing that your seat mate is unlikely to instigate an unsurrection under threat of handgun or boxcutter. After all, 7.2 billion $US Was spent this year on your air passenger safety.

Truth is, reports reveal that TSA somehow manages to intercept about 5% of routine contraband. So 95% of the guns, knives, pepper spray, explosive devices, hairspray and water bottles seem to be a part of the air passenger’s flying experience as well.

I feel safe. And for the most part I am. I feel safe when I fly.

But what about church? Shall we arm or shall we disarm? To truly disarm, we may need scanners, body searches and k-9 helpers to ferret out the most resistant patriot church members. Sounds redicullus, no? But so does 7.2 billion at only just 5%.

In truth, I was surprised to hear some time ago that my pastor carried a concealed weapon. He carried it every day, everywhere. Even though two close friends in my Sabbath School had carried to church for years, the pastor was somehow another story.

What was my SDA home church coming to? Did I feel safe with my children roaming the halls on their own? Was it more likely I would one day be struck down by “friendly fire” rather than a fiendish sharpshooter?

What would Jesus do?

First He would point us to the Father. The Father who showed us best how to love most. To love not just the lovely occupants of our houses of prayer but the unlovely as well. If guns make one unlovely, than carriers qualify. As do all other real or perceived threats to our Sabbath morning comfort, safety and good taste. These may well include latecomers, lazy Sabbath School attendees, child abusers, fornicators, adulterers, thieves, murderers, homosexuals, carnivores, gluttons, smokers, alcoholics, the uneducated, the homeless and the unclean.

Next Jesus would seek balance. Like God did. Recall, Sodom and Gomorrah, Noah and the flood, Israel and the wilderness, Jonah and the whale, sin and salvation? He asks how we would balance the threat of death over life where random violence in society is emerging as the tragic norm.

TSA can isolate about 5% of the threat of violence in air travel. Likely guns in church can do little better. In the end, as long as we have bad people using manmade tools to orchestrate chaos, mayhem and death we will continue to have just that. Take away all the people or take away all the guns and then we can talk.

Guns in church are simply guns in church. To deny their presence is to deny who and what we are. We are simply flawed. Take away the guns, and we still have flawed people. Bring in the guns and we are still just as flawed. Flawed with the blemish Christ came to eradicate.

Guns in church are simply a symptom of our true selves. As such, this particular symptom leads us to the cause of our spiritual illness. Carry or not.

His Gospel is the only cure for what ails us. Carry or not. But strangely I think, He is calling. For each of us to pickup and to carry, His Word to each who carry or not.


My, how times have changed. I recall a time when no Adventist would even own a gun unless their family depended upon venison to supplement their food supply, much less carry one for self defense. Now, it seems, we have self proclaimed “mainstream” Adventists promoting the carrying weapons, even to church. Low, how the mighty hath fallen!

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Jan Paulsen states: “When you carry arms you imply that you are prepared to use them to take another’s life, and taking the life of one of God’s children, even that of our ‘enemy,’ is inconsistent with what we know to be sacred and right”

It just feels wrong to be preparing oneself to take another’s life. But we must not form our theology on feelings but on God’s Word. So, what does the Word of God teach on this volatile topic? As a pacifist pastor, I decided to find out and the linked document is what I discovered:

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Guns…American problems… The rest of the world doesn’t have these issues. From an outsider (Australian) looking in, you guys (Americans in general) are nuts when it comes to guns, concealed carry permits etc.


Vienna is getting he more insecure - immigrants import an atmosphere of violence.

But, believe me, I am glad NOT and never owning thsi fascnating gun of Glock. I am not trained, I am not taught to evaluate : shoot for killing immediately or shoot just stopping further violence or dont shoot, jsut giving the messsage " "I have the power to - - ".

Sorry to mention it : What were we accused of infidelity because our SDA, in Wehrmacht did nor theatrically reject the acception of infantry rifles ! - , while millions of bullets were spread over Europe never aimead at a human target ! (every realized that ?) - Other the artillery : Just two or three grenates at a little fortification, and those there wre DEAD!- Nearly the same wth the macine gun the machine guns.

But we were / are conscious objectors.

Now you do not care for security by having two uniformed cops or securities in your church, bearing automatic guns for a security severely endangered ?- But evereybody shoud be his own policeman, jury and judge !

Noo, I stay at home here !.

Between Luke 22:36 and Simon Peter nicking Malchus ear, the responses of Jesus to people being armed seems completely at odds with this article. Seems keeping your guns holstered as biblical principle has more support in writ than eschewing any/all possession.

Now, I do understand how and why people have what sometimes appears as irrational fear of arms (even in the hands of trained, God fearing honest citizenry) but in reality the fearsome thing is the evil person (often with multiple weapons) who is hell bent and intent on inflicting harm in any way possible. I’d wager that protecting the helpless from the mad acts of such madmen rates high on Jesus spectrum of permitted vs prohibited behaviors. Sadly this article plies on emotional fear of guns in order to shame the legal and rational carry option.

I’d suggest that “carry” should be in the same category as sexual choice-keep quiet about it, it’s nobody elses business. Sadly, we can’t seem to help ourselves, and make it everybody elses business-and then try foreclose anothers legal choice.


I have a dilemma: I have never owned or carried a gun, and was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. BUT: I personally am not opposed to policeman or the military carrying arms to keep the peace. This seems rather hypocritical of me. How do I logically / philosophically hold such a view of arms?

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Good guys with guns only shoot bad guys with guns shooting the unarmed innocent. Not only does our church have qualified volunteer security my pastor let’s it be known that his church has the highest % conceal carry congregation in the county. Greater chances are bad guys will go somewhere else to attempt to kill the innocent.

Further discussion/replies in Lounge.

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This article, and the fact that The Editors of Spectrum find its logic compelling enough to print, demonstrate another reason why I have no confidence in people who claim to have faith in God. So what if the person next to you in church has an Uzi in his arm pit? And if another “evil” man is in The White House, rather than a not quite as evil woman, how is that a problem, rather than being absolutely laughable? In fact, isn’t the worst case scenario of utter annihilation of the human race good news for Adventsts because it would mean that they were reunited, en masse, with their beloved creator? What happened to fearing no evil, even if it is sitting right beside you in church? Or is the election of Trump so vile that God can’t possibly use it to His advantage or make it work out for good?
Someone said, (and I don’t care if it was Jesus, Paul, EGW or the man in the moon) that in the end there would be those who claim to love God but deny the power thereof. To my mind this is the most apt description of almost every theist and/or religious person I’ve ever met.
And BTW, I spent years living and working in The Greater Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area and if you feel safer in downtown B’more than out on the wide expanses of Kansas due to the gun laws in these respective locations, I’d submit that all of your education and educating has done little to improve your survival skills or sense of self preservation.