Local hero Jack Wilson reminds Americans why a good guy with a gun is the strongest way to take measures against a bad guy with a gun, but maybe not in church
Last Sunday, just before the New Year began, a gunman opened fire in a church service being held, and live streamed, at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas. Fortunately, a local armed hero named Jack Wilson was prepared with his legally owned firearm to fatally shoot the gunman, who should not be named.
As is typical of America, this has caused yet another upstir with regards to questions about the second amendment and its place in modern society. Republicans argue that this shooter was limited to only two fatalities because of Wilson’s ability to carry a gun, while Democrats are focused on why the shooter was able to obtain a gun in the first place.
An ex-wife of the shooter said he “is a violent, paranoid person with a long line of assault and batteries with and without firearms. He is a religious fanatic, says he’s battling a demon.”
The shooter also apparently had a long criminal history, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Ultimately, it seems that Texas’ lax gun laws are what contributed to his ability to obtain a gun, although there is still no known motive for the shooting.
However, a further question that this specific incident has sparked is whether or not it is appropriate to bring a gun to church. In lieu of this incident, I would argue that it is silly to think you shouldn’t be able to.
There are, however, some precautions and interesting points that need to be discussed before evangelicals across the nation call for every church to be armed.
To present the initial argument for allowing citizens to have guns, the most obvious reason is safety. The only reason this gunman only took two lives and not 52 is because an armed individual, and many more behind him, were ready to take the steps necessary to protect the lives of others.
That said, an article released by beliefnet asks, “Would Jesus stand up for the innocent. Certainly. Would he kill someone to protect the innocent? I’m not so sure.”
This is an important thought to consider. The church in the 21st century occupies a different world than the first churches, but3 is the mission of disciples and all Christians not the same as it was then? Are the orders to protect lives different because we now have the power to kill an individual with a single bullet?
As a Christian I have to believe that God knew about the future when he made the laws then; therefore, he made them with the intention that they would survive throughout all time.
That said, the most important thing to remember when having these conversations is the point of going to church. Church is where the people are; it is not the building itself. Matthew 18:20 reads “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them,” suggesting that wherever Christians are is God’s church.
All this to say, everything we do should be for the Glory of God, and carrying a gun may distract from that. This decision needs to be left up to the individual churches, and they need to make the call if everyone can still make their main focus the Lord.
If they so choose, carrying guns may be a church’s best option, but maybe having metal detectors or choosing to hire armed security, instead of individuals is the easier route to take.
While I am as supportive as the next person for limiting casualties, it seems like there is something morally dishonest about worshipping while carrying a gun on your hip.
Christians must remember their main mission, and not get swept up in the political chaos of the day. Taking lives to save others may not be the answer, while higher awareness and preventative measures might just be. Regardless, this conversation must be had not only by churches, but all religious institutions. While we may not come to the same conclusion, we must remember our main calling.