Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Gordan Runyan
Religion columnist 

Self defense a biblical right


October 25, 2017

After events like the Las Vegas shooting, the most predictable thing in the world is the resulting argument about gun control. This is understandable. The horrifying contempt for human life requires a response. We were made in God’s image, and part of that image is the demand for justice.

So, arguments start flying as soon as the expended shell casings stop bouncing around. That’s how society works. As Christians, though, we need to make sure we’re asking the right question: What guidance does the Bible give us about guns in society?

A scoffing response would be to point out that guns didn’t exist in Bible days, so it doesn’t mention them at all. That would be short-sighted. Though guns are not mentioned, we are given relevant, applicable principles.

Several scriptural instructions should shape our discussion. Indeed, there are more than we can go into here.

When God gave his law to Israel, how did he expect crime to be handled? Who was tasked with defending the people? How did the nation deal with war? What if a weapon was used to kill someone? Could a weapon be used to defend innocent life? Were people allowed to arm themselves against tyrannical government? What about turning the other cheek?

For solid answers, check out Pastor John Weaver’s message, “The Biblical Doctrine of Self-Defense” at Sermonaudio.com. But we will narrow our focus a bit.

Simply put, does a woman have a God-given right to defend her children from a violent attacker?

One relevant law is found at Exodus 22:2. It says, “If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him.”

A thief breaking into a home at night could be violently confronted, even if that meant his death, by the homeowner. You are allowed to defend your home and family.

Now think about a single mom, home alone with her sleeping children. Does she have the right to defend them?

Maybe she’s a little over 5-feet tall, and weighs about a buck-50. Does she have a right to defend against one or more male intruders who may be armed and high at the time? Or is she reduced to hiding in the closet while she whispers to 911 and hopes the police arrive in time? What if she lives in a city like Detroit, where the average police response time is 20 minutes?

Put plainly, to tell this woman that she has no right to a gun is the same as telling her that she really has no right to defend herself. Her right to self-defense must be a right to effective defense, or it is merely a mockery. Guns empower her successful defense in a way that a steak knife simply won’t.

Stripping her right to defense is not consistent with loving her as your neighbor. (Luke 10:25-37)

This isn’t the only reason for the Second Amendment. But that rule is meant to protect the citizen’s right and duty to preserve life, which is quite biblical. The founders of America would be shocked to hear that we even need to make this case.

Gordan Runyan is the pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Tucumcari. Contact him at:



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