The Gospel and Gun Control

This topic is controversial and has the potential to divide audiences. Take note that this IS NOT an article arguing that Christians should support stricter gun control in the US. The primary argument of this article is that Christians in the US should seek solutions to gun violence through the lens of the love of God and neighbor and not be unduly influenced by political entities on either side of the debate.

It’s February 22nd and there have been 34 mass shootings in the US. There have been at least 7 firearm incidents at schools during school hours. We are only 53 days into the new year! In the wake of the Parkland school shooting, everyone is talking about gun violence in the US and they should be. American Christians should be very concerned about the staggering number of deaths from gun violence. After all, every life is important to God. That so many people die from gun violence in the US is a sanctity of life issue. What can Christians do about it? We can pray. Contrary to the myriad internet memes about the worth of #thoughtsandprayers, authentic prayer is an action. It is doing something. However, we cannot hide behind empty promises of thoughts and prayer as a proxy for action. Martha needs to tag along with Mary. Christians should act. First, they should be there for the victims. After that dust has settled, they should also use whatever political voice they have to address the problem. That political voice must be informed by and flow from the Christian gospel of love rather than any other source.

I am not arguing here that all Christians should support stricter gun laws in the US. Some might come to that conclusion. I will admit that this is my preferred solution, but other well-meaning Christians disagree. Other Christians might argue that strict enforcement of our currents laws is the solution. Some might even argue for more guns in the hands of responsible citizens. These are all possible answers. No position on gun control should be a test for Christian orthodoxy.

I am trying to avoid being too prescriptive in this post. I am only trying to use my minute corner of the internet to encourage us to check our motivations and influences in this contentious debate. Are we being guided by the love of neighbor or by a particular interpretation of the 2nd amendment? Are we listening to Jesus or to a talking head on MSNBC? The NRA and its liberal political opponents should not be our primary influences. We should all desire to be earnest Christians over any other label. If Christians on both sides of the debate are focusing on the gospel and the love of neighbor, then we can probably find a way forward from our entrenched positions. And we have to move forward. The status quo is not acceptable.

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