2006 Hairston Handgun Firearms Training. All Rights Reserved.
2009 Hairston Handgun Firearms Training. All Rights Reserved.
|"Do not get into a fight if you can possibly avoid it. If you get in it, see it through. Don't
hit if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting, but never hit soft. Don't hit a man if you can
avoid it; but if you do hit him...put him to
The underlying argument for gun control seems to be that the availability
of guns causes crime. By extension, the availability of any weapon would
have to be viewed as a cause of crime. What does the Bible say about
such a view?
Perhaps we should start at the beginning, or at least very close to the
beginning -- in Genesis 4. In this chapter we read about the first murder.
Cain had offered an unacceptable sacrifice, and Cain was upset that God
insisted that he do the right thing. In other words, Cain was peeved that he
could not do his own thing.
Cain decided to kill his brother rather than get right with God. There were
no guns available, although there may well have been a knife. Whether it
was a knife or a rock, the Bible does not say. The point is, the evil in
Cain's heart was the cause of the murder, not the availability of the murder
God's response was not to ban rocks or knives, or whatever, but to banish
the murderer. Later (see Genesis 9:5-6) God instituted capital
punishment, but said not a word about banning weapons.
Did Christ Teach Pacifism?
Many people, Christians included, assume that Christ taught pacifism.
They cite Matthew 5:38-39 for their proof. In this verse Christ said: "You
have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But
I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right
cheek, turn the other to him also."
The Sermon on the Mount from which this passage is taken deals with
righteous personal conduct. In our passage, Christ is clearing up a
confusion that had led people to think that conduct proper for the civil
government -- that is, taking vengeance -- was also proper for an
Even the choice of words used by Christ indicates that He was addressing
a confusion, or a distortion, that was commonplace. Several times in the
rest of the Sermon on the Mount Christ used this same "you have heard it
said" figure of speech to straighten out misunderstandings or falsehoods
being taught by the religious leaders of the times.
Contrast this to Christ's use of the phrase "it is written" when He was
appealing to the Scriptures for authority (for example, see Matthew 4
where on three occasions during His temptation by the devil, Christ
answered each one of the devil's lies or misquotes from Scripture with the
words: "it is written").
To further underscore the point that Christ was correcting the religious
leaders on their teaching that "an eye for an eye" applies to private
revenge, consider that in the same Sermon, Christ strongly condemned
false teaching: "Whoever therefore breaks one of the commandments,
and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven..."
(Matthew 5:19). Clearly, then, Christ was not teaching something different
about self defense than is taught elsewhere in the Bible. Otherwise, He
would be contradicting Himself for He would now be teaching men to break
one of the commandments.
The reference to "an eye for an eye" was taken from Exodus 21:24-25
which deals with how the magistrate must deal with a crime. Namely, the
punishment must fit the crime. The religious leaders of Christ's day had
twisted a passage that applied to the government and misused it as a
principle of personal revenge.
The Bible distinguishes clearly between the duties of the civil magistrate
(the government) and the duties of an individual. Namely, God has
delegated to the civil magistrate the administration of justice. Individuals
have the responsibility of protecting their lives from attackers. Christ was
referring to this distinction in the Matthew 5 passage. Let us now examine
in some detail what the Scriptures say about the roles of government and
Both the Old and New Testaments teach individual self defense, even if it
means taking the assailant's life in certain circumstances.
Self-Defense in the Old Testament
Exodus 22:2-3 tells us "If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so
that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed. If the sun has risen
on him, there shall be guilt for his bloodshed. He should make full
restitution; if he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft."
One conclusion which can be drawn from this is that a threat to our life is
to be met with lethal force. After the sun has risen seems to refer to a
different judgment than the one permitted at night. At night it is more
difficult to discern whether the intruder is a thief or a murderer.
Furthermore, the nighttime makes it more difficult to defend oneself and to
avoid killing the thief at the same time. During the daytime, it better be
clear that one's life was in danger, otherwise, defense becomes
vengeance, and that belongs in the hand of the magistrate.
In Proverbs 25:26 we read that "A righteous man who falters before the
wicked is like a murky spring and a polluted well." Certainly, we would be
faltering before the wicked if we chose to be unarmed and unable to resist
an assailant who might be threatening our life. In other words, we have no
right to hand over our life which is a gift from God to the unrighteous. It is
a serious mistake to equate a civilized society with one in which the decent
people are doormats for the evil to trample on.
Another question asked by Christians is "Doesn't having a gun imply a
lack of trust that God will take care of us?"
Indeed, God will take care of us. He has also told us that if we love Him, we
will keep His commandments. (John 14:15)
Those who trust God work for a living, knowing that 1 Timothy 5:8 tells us
"But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his
household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." For
a man not to work, yet expect to eat because he was "trusting God" would
actually be to defy God.
King David wrote in Psalm 46:1 that God is our refuge and strength, a very
present help in trouble. This did not conflict with praising the God "Who
trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle" (Psalm 144:1).
The doctrine of Scripture is that we prepare and work, but we trust the
outcome to God.
Those who trust God should also make adequate provision for their own
defense even as we are instructed in the passages cited above. For a
man to refuse to provide adequately for his and his family's defense would
be to defy God.
There is an additional concern to taking the position that "I don't need to
arm myself. God will protect me."
At one point, when Satan was tempting Jesus in the wilderness, he
challenged Jesus to throw himself off the top of the temple. Satan
reasoned that God's angels would protect him. Jesus responded: "It is
written again, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God'" (Matthew 4:7).
It may seem pious to say that one is trusting in God for protection, and we
all must, but it is tempting God if we do not take the measures that He has
laid out for us in the Bible.
Role of Government
The Bible records the first murder in Genesis 4 when Cain killed his
brother Abel. God's response was not to register rocks or impose a
background check on those getting a plough, or whatever it was that Cain
used to kill his brother. Instead, God dealt with the criminal. Ever since
Noah the penalty for murder has been death.
We see the refusal to accept this principle that God has given us from the
very beginning. Today we see a growing acceptance of the idea that
checking the criminal backgrounds of gun buyers will lessen crime but we
should seldom execute those who are guilty of murder.
In Matthew 15 (and in Mark 7) Christ accused the religious leaders of the
day of also opposing the execution of those deserving of death --
rebellious teenagers. They had replaced the commandments of God with
their own traditions. God has never been interested in controlling the
means of violence. He has always made it a point to punish, and where
possible, restore (as with restitution and excommunication) the wrongdoer.
Control of individuals is to be left to self-government. Punishment of
individuals by the civil government is to be carried out when
self-government breaks down.
Man's wisdom today has been to declare gun free school zones which are
invaded by gun-toting teenage terrorists whom we refuse to execute. We
seem to have learned little from Christ's rebuke of the Pharisees.
Nowhere in the Bible does God make any provision for dealing with the
instruments of crime. He always focuses on the consequences for an
individual of his actions. Heaven and hell only applies to people, not to
things. Responsibility only pertains to people, not to things. If this principle,
which was deeply embedded in the common law, still pertained today
lawsuits against gun manufacturers would be thrown out unless the
Responsibility rightly includes being liable for monetary damages if a
firearm is left in a grossly negligent fashion so that an ignorant child gets
the gun and misuses it. The solution is not to require that trigger locks be
used on a gun to avoid being subject to such a law suit. Some might argue
that this is nothing more than an application of the Biblical requirement
that a railing be placed around the flat rooftop of a house where people
might congregate. But trigger locks are to be used with unloaded guns
which would be the same as requiring a railing around a pitched roof
where people do not congregate.
Surely in protecting against accidents we cannot end up making ourselves
more vulnerable to criminal attack, which is what a trigger lock does if it is
in use on the firearm intended for self protection.
The firearm that is kept for self defense should be available in an
emergency. Rooftop railings have no correspondence to the need for
instant access to a gun. On the other hand, guns that are not intended for
immediate use should be kept secured as a reasonable precaution. But to
make the owner criminally or monetarily liable for another's misuse violates
a basic commandment of Scripture: "the righteousness of the righteous
shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon
himself" (Ezekiel 18:20b).
Self Defense Verses Vengeance
Resisting an attack is not to be confused with taking vengeance which is
the exclusive domain of God (Romans 12:19). This has been delegated to
the civil magistrate, who, as we read in Romans 13:4, "is God's minister to
you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword
in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who
Private vengeance means one would stalk down a criminal after one's life
is no longer in danger as opposed to defending oneself during an attack.
It is this very point that has been confused by Christian pacifists who would
take the passage in the Sermon on the Mount about turning the other
cheek (which prohibits private vengeance) into a command to falter before
Let us consider also that the Sixth Commandment tells us "Thou shall not
murder." In the chapters following, God gave to Moses many of the
situations which require a death penalty. God clearly has not told us never
to kill. He has told us not to murder, which means we are not to take an
innocent life. Consider also that the civil magistrate is to be a terror to
those who practice evil. This passage does not in any way imply that the
role of law enforcement is to prevent crimes or to protect individuals from
criminals. The magistrate is a minister to serve as "an avenger to execute
wrath on him who practices evil" (Romans 13:4).
This point is reflected in the legal doctrine of the United States.
Repeatedly, courts have held that the government has no responsibility to
provide individual security. One case (Bowers v. DeVito) put it this way:
"there is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being
Self Defense in the New Testament
The Christian pacifist may try to argue that God has changed His mind
from the time that He gave Moses the Ten Commandments on Mount
Sinai. Perhaps they would want us to think that Christ canceled out the
Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 or the provision for justifiably killing a
thief in Exodus 22. But the writer of Hebrews makes it clear that this cannot
be, because "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever"
(Hebrews 13:8). In the Old Testament, the prophet Malachi records God's
words this way: "For I am the Lord, I do not change" (Malachi 3:6).
Paul was referring to the unchangeability of God's Word when he wrote to
Timothy that "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable
for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every
good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Clearly, Paul viewed all Scripture,
including the Old Testament, as useful for training Christians in every area
We must also consider what Christ told his disciples in his last hours with
them: "...But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a
sack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one"
(Luke 22:36). Keep in mind that the sword was the finest offensive weapon
available to an individual soldier -- the equivalent then of a military rifle
The Christian pacifist will likely object at this point that only a few hours
later, Christ rebuked Peter who used a sword to cut off the ear of Malchus,
a servant of the high priest in the company of a detachment of troops. Let
us read what Christ said to Peter in Matthew 26:52-54:
Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the
sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will
provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the
Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?
In the companion passage in John 18, Jesus tells Peter to put his sword
away and told him that He had to drink the cup that His Father had given
Him. It was not the first time that Christ had to explain to the disciples why
He had come to earth. To fulfill the Scriptures, the Son of God had to die
for the sin of man since man was incapable of paying for his own sin apart
from going to hell. Christ could have saved His life, but then believers
would have lost their lives forever in hell. These things only became clear
to the disciples after Christ had died and been raised from the dead and
the Spirit had come into the world at Pentecost (see John 14:26).
While Christ told Peter to "put your sword in its place" He clearly did not
say get rid of it forever. That would have contradicted what he had told the
disciples only hours before. Peter's sword was to protect his own mortal
life from danger. His sword was not needed to protect the Creator of the
universe and the King of kings.
Years after Pentecost, Paul wrote in a letter to Timothy "But if anyone
does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he
has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever" (1 Tim. 5:8). This
passage applies to our subject because it would be absurd to buy a
house, furnish it with food and facilities for one's family, and then refuse to
install locks and provide the means to protect the family and the property.
Likewise it would be absurd not to take, if necessary, the life of a
night-time thief to protect the members of the family (Exodus 22:2-3).
A related, and even broader concept, is found in the parable of the Good
Samaritan. Christ had referred to the Old Testament summary of all the
laws of the Bible into two great commandments: "'You shall love the Lord
your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and
with all your mind,' and your neighbor as yourself'" (Luke 10:27). When
asked who was a neighbor, Christ related the parable of the Good
Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37). It was the Good Samaritan who took care of
the mugging victim who was a neighbor to the victim. The others who
walked by and ignored the victim's plight were not acting as neighbors to
In the light of all we have seen the Scriptures teach to this point, can we
argue that if we were able to save another's life from an attacker by
shooting the attacker with our gun that we should "turn the other cheek
instead?" The Bible speaks of no such right. It only speaks of our
responsibilities in the face of an attack -- as individual creatures made by
God, as householders or as neighbors.
National Blessings and Cursings
The Old Testament also tells us a great deal about the positive
relationship between righteousness, which exalts a nation, and self
defense. It makes clear that in times of national rebellion against the Lord
God, the rulers of the nation will reflect the spiritual degradation of the
people and the result is a denial of God's commandments, an arrogance
of officialdom, disarmament and oppression.
For example, the people of Israel were oppressed during the time of the
rule of the Judges. This occurred every time the people apostatized.
Judges 5:8 tells us that, "They chose new gods; then there was war in the
gates; not a shield or spear was seen among forty thousand in Israel."
Consider Israel under Saul: The first book of Samuel tells of the turning
away of Israel from God. The people did not want to be governed by God;
they wanted to be ruled by a king like the pagan, God-hating nations
around them. Samuel warned the people what they were getting into -- the
curses that would be upon them -- if they persisted in raising up a king
over themselves and their families. Included in those curses was the
raising up of a standing, professional army which would take their sons
and their daughters for aggressive wars (I Samuel 8:11).
This curse is not unknown in the United States. Saul carried out all the
judgments that Samuel had warned the people about. His build up of a
standing army has been repeated in the U.S., and not just in terms of the
military, but also the 650,000 full-time police officers from all levels of
Saul was the king the Israelites wanted and got. He was beautiful in the
eyes of the world but a disaster in the eyes of the Lord. Saul did not trust
God. He rebelled against His form of sacrifice unto the Lord. Saul put
himself above God. He was impatient. He refused to wait for Samuel
because God's way was taking too long. Saul went ahead and performed
the sacrifice himself, thus violating God's commandment (and, incidentally,
also violating the God-ordained separation of duties of church and state!)
Thus was the kingdom lost to Saul. And, it was under him that the
Philistines were able to defeat the Jews and put them into bondage. So
great was the bondage exerted by the Philistines that "Now there was no
blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines
said, 'Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears.' But all the Israelites
went down to the Philistines to sharpen each man's plowshare, his
mattock, his ax, and his sickle;...So it came about, on the day of battle,
that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the
people who were with Saul and Jonathan..." (1 Samuel 13:19-20; 22-23).
Today, the same goals of the Philistines would be carried out by an
oppressor who would ban gunsmiths from the land. The sword of today is
the handgun, rifle or shotgun. The sword control of the Philistines is
today's gun control of those governments that do not trust their people
It is important to understand that what happened to the Jews at the time of
Saul was not unexpected according to the sanctions spelled out by God in
Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. In the first verses of those chapters,
blessings are promised to a nation that keeps God's laws. In the latter
parts of those chapters, the curses are spelled out for a nation that comes
under judgment for its rebellion against God. Deuteronomy 28:47-48 helps
us understand the reason for Israel's oppression by the Philistines during
Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of
heart, for the abundance of all things, therefore you shall serve your
enemies, whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in
nakedness, and in need of all things; and He will put a yoke of iron on your
neck until He has destroyed you.
The Bible provides examples of God's blessing upon Israel for its
faithfulness. These blessings included a strong national defense coupled
with peace. A clear example occurred during the reign of Jehoshaphat. 2
Chronicles 17 tells of how Jehoshaphat led Israel back to faithfulness to
God which included a strong national defense. The result: "And the fear of
the Lord fell on all the kingdoms of the lands that were around Judah, so
that they did not make war against Jehoshaphat" (2 Chronicles 17:10).
The Israelite army was a militia army (Numbers 1:3, ff.) which came to
battle with each man bearing his own weapons -- from the time of Moses,
through the Judges, and beyond. When threatened by the Midianites, for
example, "Moses spoke to the people , saying, 'Arm some of yourselves
for the war, and let them go against the Midianites to take vengeance for
the Lord on Midian'" (Numbers 31:3). Again, to demonstrate the Biblical
heritage of individuals bearing and keeping arms, during David's time in
the wilderness avoiding capture by Saul, "David said to his men, 'Every
man gird on his sword.' So every man girded on his sword, and David also
girded on his sword" (1 Samuel 25:13).
Finally, consider Nehemiah and those who rebuilt the gates and walls of
Jerusalem. They were both builders and defenders, each man -- each
servant -- armed with his own weapon:
Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens loaded
themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with
the other held a weapon. Every one of the builders had his sword girded
at his side as he built (Nehemiah 4:17-18).
The wisdom of the framers of the Constitution is consistent with the
lessons of the Bible. Instruments of defense should be dispersed
throughout the nation, not concentrated in the hands of the central
government. In a godly country, righteousness governs each man through
the Holy Spirit working within. The government has no cause to want a
monopoly of force; the government that desires such a monopoly is a
threat to the lives, liberty and property of its citizens.
The assumption that only danger can result from people carrying guns is
used to justify the government's having a monopoly of force. The notion
that the people cannot be trusted to keep and bear their own arms informs
us that ours, like the time of Solomon, may be one of great riches but is
also a time of peril to free people. If Christ is not our King, we shall have a
dictator to rule over us, just as Samuel warned.
For those who think that God treated Israel differently from the way He will
treat us today, please consider what God told the prophet Malachi: "For I
am the Lord, I do not change..." (Malachi 3:6).
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With a blended family of five I
have become increasingly aware
of the danger in the day and age
in which we live.
Protection of myself and those I
care about has become
paramount in my daily activities.
In the law enforcement arena it
is commonly said that the
authorities will not and can not
be there when most violent
crime takes place. It is time for
us as law abiding citizens of
these United States to take
responsibility for our own
protection and security. Are you
mentally and skillfully prepared
to face the challenges of today,
head on? Get an edge over your
enemies (murderers, rapists,
burglars, muggers, kidnappers
Hit ‘em Back First !
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