But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. -- Matthew 5: 39 (ESV)
Barber tries valiantly to make the case that this verse does not mean what it clearly means by claiming it only deals with "foregoing revenge and to being persecuted for His name's sake by those who hate Christianity. It does not suggest that we as parents must passively hand over our children to Islamists so they can rape and behead them in our presence." The problem for Barber is his entire conclusion is not supported biblically. There is zero context that infers this is merely dealing with persecution. These are in fact part of the random teachings from the Sermon on the Mount. In fact, the very next portion is about loving our enemies, you know, those Islamists he keeps referring to. The last portion of this statement however is the absurdity logical fallacy we discussed before. Who in their right mind would agree that handing over our children to be raped and beheaded is taught in Scripture? No one of course, which is why this is a strawman argument. By dealing with an absurd premise Barber hopes to sway people who logically will conclude that yes indeed we ought not to turn our kids over to be raped and beheaded in front of us. That of course is NOT the discussion we have been having now is it? How many cases have we seen in the news about American citizens being forced to turn over their kids to be raped and beheaded? That's right, zero. So to offer that as an argument defending gun ownership is simply deceptive. To further try and tie it to Jesus however is the greater offense. Next Barber offers up that the only reason Jesus rebuked Peter with the "live by the sword; die by the sword admonition is that he was taking an offensive stance and not a defensive posture. The text however does not support this:
And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. -- Matthew 26: 51-52 (ESV)
It is not until Jesus has been betrayed and is about to be arrested does Peter draw his sword to fight back. This is clearly a defensive posture. He is reacting to what is happening, not aggressively attacking. Once again, Barber misses the point because he needs to. The overall admonition of living and dying by the sword eviscerates the pro-gun Christian argument and Barber knows it. He tries to say that when God says leave vengeance to Him that this is only regarding murder but that flies in the face of the rest of Scripture. The verses immediately following this are in our key verses today and are about feeding and giving drink to our enemies! Vengeance and wrath are certainly tied to judgment, which is to say that the person we want vengeance upon usually has enough to worry about when he stands before God. But Jesus also made it a point to say to give your enemy you cloak. To let him slap your other cheek. It is not just a matter of not murdering. Now desperate, Barber returns to the absurdity logical fallacy:
So, again, it is biblically unfounded to suggest that, when the shooting starts, and if there is no escape, Christians must line up like sheep to the slaughter."
Right Matt. Except you are the only one making such an absurd argument. You are trying to suggest that Jesus Christ would be a member of the National Rifle Association and to prop up this absurd argument you are forced into deeper absurdities. But perhaps the greatest absurdity is the conclusion of this NRA advertisement:
"Is applying deadly force in defense of self and others a last resort? Of course. As the apostle Paul cautioned, "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all" (Romans 12:18). To be sure, we are to love our Islamist enemies. In fact, it is our greatest hope and prayer that they may come to the saving knowledge, acceptance and grace of Christ Jesus, who, alone, is "the Way, the Truth and the Life. Still, and in the meantime, Jesus did say, "Blessed are the peacemakers." So I'll be keeping my Peacemaker within reach. Just in case.
You have got to be kidding me. The transparency is disgustingly obvious. The man just spent the entire article trying to justify killing Islamists and now he piously tries to say that it is his greatest prayer that they come to Jesus Christ for salvation? You cannot have it both ways. Killing them ensures they will die apart from Christ. So please do not tell me out of one side of your mouth that you pray they get saved while you are reloading your gun out of the other side of your mouth. Disingenuousness does not even come close to describing this. Perhaps the most egregious use of Scripture however is to conflate the Beatitudes with a common referent for a gun.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. -- Matthew 5: 9 (ESV)
Only in the wicked hearts of man can a weapon designed to take life be considered something that brings peace. Either way, God's thinking is always so far above our sheer carnality. To take this verse and try to tie it to guns is to completely flip it on its ear. Clearly that is not what Jesus was teaching. Let us see what the Matthew Henry has to say:
The peacemakers are happy. They love, and desire, and delight in peace; and study to be quiet. They keep the peace that it be not broken, and recover it when it is broken." -- Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
In the mind of Matt Barber the way you keep the peace is to shoot anyone who is not in agreement with you. That is not however the way of Christ. Regardless of whether you have no way out. Regardless of any pre-conceived notions.
Please beloved hear me very clearly. I am not defending either side of the carnal argument regarding guns. I can understand why people seek to protect the second amendment and am just as concerned about governmental overreach. I just recognize that these are secular debates. My concern is when people use Jesus Christ, pretend He said things He never said, and twist the Bible to fit their political worldview. Remember this article was entitled, "Would Jesus Join the NRA." I am almost embarrassed that I had to spend a few hours answering the obvious -- NO. Turn the other cheek means exactly that. Live by the sword; die by the sword means exactly that. The Prince of Peace means exactly that. Just look at the key verses in relation to the pro-gun argument proffered by Matt Barber. Live at harmony with one another -- unless the other guy pulls a gun and locks the doors, then blow em away! Uhmm, not quite. Repay no one evil for evil! What about the Islamists? What about the terrorists? What part of "no one" are we missing? Beloved, fifty years ago this question would have been, "What about the communists?" A hundred years ago it might have been, "What about the Irish?" The point is that there will always be someone we consider the enemy. There will always be hate in the wicked hearts of men because we are sinners. If your enemy is hungry we ought to feed him. If he is thirsty we are to meet that need as well. These verses do not end with overcome evil with guns. The Christian imperative is that we are to overcome evil with good.
The problem for the Matt Barbers of the world is that they seem to look at the absolute insanity occurring in the world because of sin running wild and think that it somehow must sway God to change who He is. If that was the case then God would be just as capricious as we are. Thankfully, He is not. If you want to lobby for gun owner rights in this country, knock yourself out. Just stop pretending that Jesus is packing an Uzi along the way. Stop claiming the Bible defends man's sinful proclivity for violence. Stop asking the absurd questions; such as would Jesus join the NRA. You stand a better chance of Him joining the NBA. I am sure He has a killer hook shot .
Reverend Anthony Wade -- December 15, 2015