I thought I’d give a friendly critique to two Bible teachers whom I greatly admire, John Mark Comer and Preston Sprinkle on whether pacifism and the push for gun control is compatible.

Both of these men have bravely stepped outside the mold. They have chosen to embrace a deeply unpopular view to love enemies and strive to entirely eliminate violence from their lives by becoming pacifists. In a culture with deep revolutionary roots, military idolization and a desire to punish evil doers, pacifism is seen as naive and anti-patriotic. As a not-quite pacifist, I greatly admire the goal to be non-violent. We worship the Prince of Peace, who instructed us to love enemies (yes, the Romans, Democrats, Russians, and members of ISIS…)

But here’s where my critique of these two wonderful, brilliant men comes in. John Mark via Facebook, and Preston Sprinkle in a recent podcast, have both said that guns should be regulated by the government. To them, it seems obvious that some guys with badges and funny hats should be able to restrict who should be able to own firearms or what kind of guns citizens should be able to posses. The problem the gun regulating pacifist has, lies in the lack of consistency.  If one is to argue for an authoritarian state, one which can tell people what to own, smoke, wear and shoot (or not shoot), contending for gun regulation is perfectly consistent. On the other hand, if one  refuses violence even in the case of self-defense, how can one advocate for bureaucrats and their enforcers to carry out these laws for them?

Every law, by definition, is not a request but a command. Every law, good or bad, comes with necessary enforcement. Enforcement is the ultimate reality that any large or small law is backed up with the legal power to use violence against people who refuse to follow the law. Violence is the engine in the train pulling each and every law. The law becomes powerless without violence or threat thereof.

For today, I don’t want to argue whether we can justly use violence against someone who owns a metal/plastic object the launches led (though my position may subtly come through). My point is that if Preston and John Mark want to be fully peaceful, it seems rather inconsistent to argue for law enacters and enforcers to do their threatening and inflicting violence on their behalf.

Does that make sense? It’s like me saying, “I believe that we, as Christians, should refuse to plant blueberry bushes. What I want is for some of all of our tax money (including mine!) to go toward planting blueberry bushes and I will advocate that some guy with a green shirt to do it for me.”

I take an alternate position. I would say anyone (not only guys with badges and hats), may legally enforce any just law (one where there is a  real victim who comes forward). If a Christian (pacifist or otherwise) decides to lay down their right to enforce a just law, they may choose to do so. And I believe those of us who are Christians should strive toward that goal. We should allow others to do anything peaceful, and even when others hurt us, we should be the first to forgive.

 

 

For a great conversation on integrating non-violence, Christianity and political thought, I would recommend this podcast episode: http://libertarianchristians.com/2017/02/27/episode-3/