A Good Faith Debate: Gun Control from a Biblical Perspective

In the wake of the horrific and inexplicable slaughter of innocent children and teachers in Uvalde, Texas this week (not to mention the shooting at the supermarket last week in Buffalo… and, here, the dam breaks with all the statistics flooding in), I am numb.  Beyond my inclination to withdrawal and stew and wallow, I do seek some kind of positive contribution to bring healing in and to a broken and hurting world.  And so…
  • I pray – though it’s more of a knotted stomach and groaning that I believe the Lord discerns and understands. (cf., Romans 8:26)
  • I find myself holding loved ones closer.  In word and deed, I want to assure them that, in the words of David Wilcox, “it is Love that wrote this play” we are in (no matter how messy the stage can get).
  • I find myself googling around – seeing what resources are out there that might bring healing and comfort.
  • Invariably, I come back around to the subject of gun control: what I think and believe, yes, but also the question of how we’re going to break through the impasse that surrounds this issue (and so many other divides in our land and our world).

As a spiritual director who believes in listening as a fundamental spiritual discipline and as one who affirms the value of paradox, it seems to me that a first, crucial step in moving towards any meaningful solution to gun violence in our culture is our finding our ways into a common forum in which positions can be shared in a climate of civility, openness, and respect.

One such forum is ours via The Gospel Coalition and its “Good Faith” series of debates.  Recorded just a few weeks ago (on May 4, 2022), “How Should Christians Think About Gun Control?” provides what I believe to be a balanced, albeit introductory, presentation of both sides of this issue from a biblical perspective.

In the hopes that I can get folks to listen to the entire debate, I have decided to provide clips of each individual’s opening argument.  I suspect that there are some folks, you see, who are so given to their own position on the issue that they might need to hear what “their” person says before they are willing to give themselves to the fuller discussion.  (Following these introductory clips/arguments is the video in its entirety.)

First, there is the opening argument tendered by Bob Thune (MA, Reformed Theological Seminary)—advancing arguments against gun control:

Speaking to the “pros” of gun control is Andrew Wilson, teaching pastor at King’s Church, London:

To see the debate/video in its entirety (including an edited transcript), click here: How Should Christians Think About Gun Control? (thegospelcoalition.org)

For more than half of my 35+ years in pastoral ministry, I felt like it was mine to tell people what to think and how we ought to do things on various issues and initiatives.  Over time, though, this stance yielded to an understanding that the bigger need in congregations and our world was the shepherding of due process — the promotion of holy conversations.  Yes, I have my positions.  Do not get me wrong.  But, it seems to me that until we’ve taken the time to guarantee a safe place to respectfully share and gracefully listen, we hardly ever earn the right or the opportunity to share the truth that is in us. We’ve got to find a way to get around the endless talking past each other which characterizes too much of our discourse these days!

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