Sunday, May 15, 2016

Guns, Government, God and bacon

A friend of mine asked my views on Christians, guns and government.  He's inviting me to give a biblical view.  This is a task that would take tomes to accomplish, but let me briefly address these incendiary issues of our day. (But I do wonder if my friend is just trying to get me in trouble.  He does like a good argument!)

Each of these topics is divisive no matter what your views...except for bacon.  

Each of these create passion, opinion, anger and conflict...except for bacon...although it does create passion for me.  

(I'm adding bacon because everything is better with bacon.) 

As I address these topics I will find those who agree with me and others who will sharply disagree.  They are difficult topics if you are a Christian in this culture, but let me try to address them from a biblical view.  You may disagree, I only ask that you give these thoughts consideration.

The primary question with all of these issues (except for bacon) is this-  How big is your God?  Is your God the God of Daniel? The God of Esther?  Is your God as big as Paul's God?  

OR....does he need your help?  Are you safe in his hands, can you trust him to care for you, or must you do that yourself?  Does he need your help?

I know many who are pacifist and many who are "packin'" all the time.  One dear Christian brother carries a small backpack with a desert assault pistol in it.  He carries it everywhere he goes!  I told him once, "I bet your biggest regret will be carrying that thing all these years and never getting to use it."  He is former military and told me, No, he hopes he never needs it, but just in case....he's ready.

The other reason many carry guns and build an arsenal is to "defend themselves against the government."  But I would Jesus respond to that?  What would he say to your trust in enough guns verses your trust in Him?  (And, when you're talking about government are there ever enough guns?)

This is such a difficult issue to discuss and there are so many passions and passages that deal with it, but let me just focus on one.  
This passage deals with a biblical response to God, guns (self-defense) and government.  It's the story of three men who trusted God in a pagan culture and found opportunity, by trusting God alone, to change the culture they lived in.  Here's a portion of their story....but I will skip to the end because most know it so well.  It's found in Daniel 3.

Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”

This response of the king is a complete change of direction for him and the kingdom.  It wasn't because they were "packin'" or defending themselves, it happened because they trusted God risking their own lives to do it!  

In one act of faith, being willing to give their lives for what they believed, they changed the course of the nation they were living in.

So, again I have to ask, how big is your God?  Is he the God who made heaven and earth and rules everything or does he need your help? Are you safe in His hands or do you need a little extra protection?

Paul addressed our attitude towards government in Romans 13.  It's a very clear and demanding chapter for a Christian. It's a chapter that tells us governments are in place by the hand of God.  They are HIS servants and therefore we are to be submissive to them.  Most Christians I know would reply,  "Yeah, but...." and what would follow would be all the problems of the government they refuse to submit to.  No ruler could be worse than Nebuchadnezzar!  No nation had more apostate rulers than the one Paul wrote these words from.  The Roman Caesars were wicked rulers demanding the subjects of the nation bow to them as gods.  We have not lived in a country as bad as either of these in our lifetime.

So, should you carry a gun?  Yes, if you wish. That's a freedom you have, but make sure it isn't compromising your faith in God. Personally, I choose not to own a gun.

Should you obey the government?  Yes, until it goes against the word.  At that point you have a decision to make....and once more it involved the size of your God.

But never forget that this life is only the beginning of your life, the shortest part.  If, and it has happened to many, you must give your life for your faith, trust a big God to take care of you.  Martyrdom is not the worst thing that can happen to any of us.

And what about bacon?  Eat all you can and trust a big God to care for you.  May your God be as big as the God of Daniel and his friends.  May you trust the God Paul trusted and stand for your faith in him...even if it costs your life.

Oh, and I can't forget the bacon....

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