Carrying a Gun in Church

This is a guest post by Scott SylvesterGetting Ready for Church

Shepherding the Flock  – Carrying a Gun in Church

Whether you are in law enforcement or a civilian with a concealed carry permit, you have earned the right to carry a firearm with you to most places. We all decided to carry because we want to be prepared to stop a lethal threat if it presents itself. We know from personal experience, facts, statistics and the evening news that bad things happen almost everywhere you go… but there is one place millions of Americans go every week and it is the one place gun owners usually do not carry their guns into: Church.

It is a sad state in America when we have to consider arming ourselves to go to a place of worship, but the facts remain, and despite what we wish was true, a church is a target of evil doers.

Carrying a firearm into church is certainly a controversial one. I’ve had this conversation in the past with a group of people who argue that there is no need to carry or have a gun in God’s house. Common arguments are, “God will take care of his own,” or “Don’t you have any faith,” or “Nothing bad is going to happen here,” and “God would never approve of that.” I usually translate that into, “I’m complacent,” or realize that my fellow believer forgot even Jesus’ disciples carried swords from time to time. It is not a lack of my faith in a Higher power, it is my lack of faith in mankind. To prevent, overcome and combat sin is one of the reasons we visit church in the first place. So we already acknowledge evil exists and has to be addressed. Finally, God’s approval is His to give, and I doubt a well-meaning follower is qualified to deny it should I decide to carry a gun into church.

If you look at active shooter situations, the one thing they all have in common is a larger gathering of people that are unarmed and in a confined area. A church is no different than a shopping mall, theater or school. In fact, just outside of the main Sanctuary of most churches, Sunday school is taking place. A large gathering of undefended children usually supervised by a well-meaning person who believes several of the arguments I listed above.

Please understand that I am not trying to demean my fellow believers, but tactics, security and personal safety is not usually high on the list of parishioners in America. Churches in more volatile countries have no problem posting men with AK-47s at the door to ensure worshipers are uninterrupted as they commune with God. But if America acted more like Israel, we wouldn’t have some of the domestic security issues we have. Besides, we’ll have plenty of time to talk to our attacker about God while we wait for the ambulance and police.

Think about your local place of worship. Is there a security person on site? Does your church have an active shooter plan? Have they shared that plan with the congregation? While the adults are in the congregation, who is patrolling the perimeter of the church or is watching the doors? Who is watching over the kids tucked away by age group in Sunday school classes? Like David who watched over his sheep, you are the shepherd of the flock? Just like the mall and the theater, you are the first responder.

If you are a concealed carry or law enforcement professional… you are the Shepherd. Consider what God says about our ‘brothers.’ 1 John 4:21 tells us that, “Whomever loves God, must also love his brother. Remember in Genesis when God asked Cain where Abel was? Cain replied, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” God asked Cain because he had an expectation that Cain was supposed to be watching out for and ‘keeping’ his brother in good welfare.

In the 23rd Psalm, God talks about being a shepherd and in verse 4 we are comforted by the rod and staff, the tools the shepherd used to guide, discipline, and defend the sheep. In Jeremiah 31:10 we are advised to gather those who are scattered and watch over the flock like a shepherd. I also like Luke 12:37 – It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watchful…” As a servant of God, we will have to give an account and we are to remain watchful over our brothers. John 15:13, one of the most popular verses for warriors tells us – “Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his brothers.” Finally in Acts 20:28, “Keep watch over yourselves and all of the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own Blood.” (Also look at Titus Chapter 1:8- While it is talking about a church leader, it is a good description of what a concealed carry holder or a cop should be.)

I am not one to pass judgment on someone who has the right to carry a firearm and chooses not to. It is a personal choice and it is a choice that requires a lot of thought and soul searching. It will require additional thought and soul searching when carrying your firearm into a house of worship. Should you decide to carry, please take the extra time to make sure it is deeply concealed and you have trained to draw under these circumstances. I would never advertise that you are carrying or risk printing a gun, especially when picking your kids up from Sunday school. Ultimately, it’s your decision, I have made mine, pray about yours. Consider King David, and other warriors in the Bible. I bet they had a sword or spear in the temple. I’d be willing to bet, there are more guns in your church than you think.

I want to close by again making you think… If ne’er-do-wells decide to target your church and you stand and defend your flock like a shepherd defends his sheep, are you going to be heralded or scorned? You could save a hundred sheep from the lion, but that may not change the opinions of the sheep. Like every defensive shooting, there is an aftermath and not all of them are pleasant or well received. So consider this as well when you are deciding to carry or not to carry. Being a shepherd is a big responsibility, be ready.

Until next week, be safe, Godspeed!

Scott Sylvester is the founder of One Weapon, Any Tool. Upcoming classes are posted on his Facebook page and at the web site:

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