Well the thread hasn't been locked yet, and I've been thinking hard about trying to answer Ted's question regarding the teachings of Jesus. And since "gun control" is on-topic in this off-topic and unfortunate thread, here goes.First we have to establish some important hermeneutic (Scripture interpretation) principles
2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is inspired by God and useful…”
The words of Moses, David, Isaiah, Habakkuk, Jesus, Peter or Paul are equally authoritative, but some Scripture is obviously of greater importance and application to us today (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
Application of Scripture requires some understanding of context:
What did these words mean in the original language?
What did these words mean to the original hearers ie. what issue/problem was being addressed?
What do other passages of Scripture say about this issue ie. “Scripture interprets Scripture.”
Understanding the context requires understanding the time period (Dispensation) of God’s revelation.
Abraham did not have the Law of Moses
The Law of Moses was given to specific people at a specific time ie: the purity, health, and sanitary laws are no longer applicable. The temple worship directives ended with the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D., and the sacrificial system of atonement ended when Jesus the Lamb of God became sin for our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21) and as our substitute willingly suffered, bled and died on the cross (but that was not the end of the story hallelujah!)
And many of the individual and community behavioral laws no longer apply. Even the Ultra-orthodox Haredim of Israel no longer stone a kid who talks back to his parents.
But the 10 Commandments are eternally applicable, as are the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (a good place for Ted to start).
Just because a 21st century issue is not specifically addressed in Scripture, God has provided every guide that we need to make God honoring and glorifying decisions.
The words “Only Fans” are not in the Bible, but there is plenty of warning about “guarding our eyes” and the dangers/consequences of sexual sin. Proverbs 23:26,
Job 31:1aSo what does the Bible say about defense of self and others?
Leviticus 19:6b (KJV)
Thou shalt not stand against the blood of thy neighbour.Lo taamod al dam réakha.
“Thou shall not stand idly by the shedding of the blood of thy fellow man.”
God commands us to prevent the shedding of innocent blood. And when life is involved, all Sabbath laws may be suspended to safeguard the life or health of the individual, the principle being pikkuah nefesh doheh Shabbat
– [rescuing a] life in danger takes precedence over the Sabbath.
Moses rescued the Midianite women in Exodus 2:17
Deuteronomy 10:18, Isaiah 1:17, Psalm 82:3, Proverbs 31:9 command us to defend those who are unable to defend themselves; widows, orphans, the poor and needy, and the oppressed.
Jesus referenced this principle in Luke 14:5 when he was criticized for healing a man on the Sabbath.
Then he asked them, “If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?”Self-defense and defense of others requires weapons
In OT or NT times, as today, whoever had the power chose who could have weapons.
When the men of Israel were faced with the overwhelming force of the Philistines in 1 Samuel 13, only Saul and Jonathan had swords, but by Jonathan’s boldness and an act of God, Israel was rescued.
When Nehemiah was building the wall (of protection) after returning to Jerusalem he and his men did have weapons, and were fully prepared to use them in self-defense:
We prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.
From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked.
Neither I nor my brothers nor my men nor the guards with me took off our clothes; each had his weapon, even when he went for water.
When Rome conquered a people group, they (usually) killed the leaders (often by public crucifixion), disarmed the populace, sent some as slaves to Rome, and gave the remaining people the choice of submitting to Roman rule, keeping the peace, and paying taxes…or dying too.
Jesus referenced self-defense – but as a parable and in the context of demon possession – in Luke 11:21
“When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe.”
When Jesus sent the Twelve (Luke 9) and his disciples (Luke 10) into a physically dangerous environment, He did not tell them to take (physical) weapons.
But Peter was armed with a sword when Jesus was arrested (John 18:10)So what does God think about weapon control?
My Anabaptist distant cousins, Amish and Mennonite, believe Scripture teaches pacifism and non-self-defense.
It is the opinion of most Evangelicals that God expects men to be priests (spiritual leaders), providers and protectors; starting with their family (including their church family) but also extending to those who can not protect themselves. Obviously the right to self-protection extends to women.
Our church has an off-duty uniformed officer at the entrance to the campus every Sunday morning. In our church are several retired or currently serving police officers, and lots of civilians are also legally carrying concealed.
What does God think about the right to own a RPG? He expects us to work that out. Humbly and faithfully applying His Word, and to His glory and honor.
He does demand that we be good citizens and obey the civil authorities however.
Most Evangelicals believe that requirement ends when the authority demands we do something God forbids, or forbids us to do something that God commands, which IMHO includes protecting my familyhttps://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/christians-and-government
So in closing I leave Lonesome with Oliver Cromwell, at the Battle of Edgehill in 1642, to his Roundhead troops in that opening fight of the English civil war, ''Put your trust in God, my boys, but mind to keep your powder dry.''
(Not reported until 1834 in the poem "Oliver's Advice" by William Blacker)