The Importance of Christian Self-Defense, by A. Benjamin

Disclaimer: I am not a theologian, just a believer who is fed up with a trend I’ve noticed.

There is a distressing passivity and fatalism in the church these days.  Many have been suckered by the false meekness of pacifism and even flaunt their defenseless, as if it is a badge of honor!  To them, trusting in God means denying themselves the God-given right and command to defend themselves and others.  For them, faith is submitting to all authority, even if that is the ‘authority’ of a scumbag caving their head in, or the head of their child with a club or simply accepting raping murderers into the country without question.  They turn their cheek to make it easier for their attacker to slit their throat.  Not only is this attitude disgustingly delusional, it is cowardice gilded with false piety.

I am not exaggerating with this example.  When I took my mandated training course for my CCW permit, the instructor, a devoted Christian, told us a horrifying anecdote:  While at a conference, he was advertising his business and an irate woman told him firearms, and for that matter self-defense have no place in the life of a Christian. Calmly asking what she would do if someone held a gun to her child’s head, the child having shown interest in this man’s booth, he received the response “If they died, that’s God’s will.”  I hope you are as sickened and disturbed by this response as I was.

When talking with a female friend the other day, herself a shooter and believer in self defense, she was amazed I carry every Sunday into church, even when I volunteer in the nursery.  Even for someone that believed in being armed, in her case with pepper spray (while waiting for approval of her CCW permit), it was foreign to her to think that I would do such a thing.  The response I gave was to ask her a question.  “Do you believe I could live with the guilt if one of my nursery children, or one of my students, or anyone for that matter was hurt, raped, kidnapped or even killed because I refused to carry a weapon when I am legally and physically able to?”  Even when I am at my teaching job, I informed her, I carry some means of self defense.  In my case, that is a pointed steel non-tactical pen.  Sadly mis-matched against an attacker’s firearm–but as good of an option as I have available, until I can badger my principal into approving my application to our state’s teacher firearm certification program.  I’ve also looked into a few options for concealed sheaths for screwdrivers, technically legal.  A law abiding citizen considering resorting to a glorified shiv to protect children. Doesn’t that just fill you with hope for our future?

Armed at All Times

For me, there is an obligation to be armed whenever possible, even with meager and improvised means.  This is not only what I consider a God-given duty, but one I think that every responsible Christian must be prepared to take up at all times.  My friend is in agreement and she agreed to talk with the youth pastor she is courting, himself a shooter as well, about this issue.  I pray both of them will be armed to the teeth, very soon.

There was hesitation on my friend’s part to be armed near children and I can understand that.  There are of course ways to mitigate risks and I encourage you to consider how and what you would carry in that situation to protect the children and yourself.  Her concern was valid and understandable, even coming from someone committed to their own defense.  Can you imagine the resistance one of the ‘sheeple’ mentioned earlier would put up if you told them the same thing?  These people, oblivious to their need for self-defense, require far more prodding and even then are unlikely to wake up from their often self-induced ‘meekness’ until the worst happens to them or someone they love.

One important thing is to start by explaining exactly why you are armed consistently and trained in weaponry.  Remind them of the multiple church and synagogue shootings and attacks that have happened in just the last few years and the school shootings that so often plaster the news.  While I believe the news exaggerates these instances to no end, typically to push liberal insanity on gun control, they do reveal a distressing reality: America’s churches are not secure and neither are our schools.  That is why, when the government fails to protect us and our children, it is up to us to take up the responsibility of effective self defense.

Second, it is important to address the creeping idiocy that there’s no chance of such a horror happening to you.  This is not just a Christian problem but one of general society as well.  The first step before effectively defending oneself and ones loved ones is to admit that there is a chance, however statistically slim it is thank God, that we will face horrors in this life.  For a Christian, we need look no further than John 15:19. It reads:
“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you”.

I’d certainly say murder, kidnapping, rape, and assault are forms of hate, wouldn’t you?  This is just one verse but it should already be clear that Christians must expect evil.  Further, the idea of self defense can be found Exodus 22.  If it is morally incorrect for us to defend ourselves and those we love, then why would God himself set guidelines for acceptable violence?

Further verses regarding self defense can be found in Luke 22:35-38 with it’s instructions to buy a sword even if it costs you your garment. Also read Nehemiah 4:13.  While we are indeed instructed to turn the other cheek, this is in response to insults, not deadly attack.  Anyone not understanding this should be reminded in ancient Israel, a slap was a common insult, along with beard tugging and spitting.  It was not a physical assault as we would call it today.

Of course, this is not likely to work in a single conversation. Continue to lovingly and patiently speak with the people you care about, discussing and maybe debating these verses and others and current events.  God-willing over time they may begin to see your point.  There is no guarantee and I doubt anyone would assume these steps are concrete.  However, it is important to have a Biblical and logical framework for your argument and I believe these steps will be useful to be that framework.

A Word to Pastors

Speaking particularly to pastors, you above all must bear responsibility for the protection of your congregation.  If your church is a building and not a community, then you have failed.  If your community is not protected, spiritually and physically by your leadership, you have failed.  You are called by God to be leaders in your families and in your congregations, shepherds for your flock.  If you personally are unable or unwilling to protect your flock then you must find men and women who will.  If your congregation haven’t been entirely brainwashed by a foolish doctrine of weakness, then you will find at least a few with the guts to do it.  Training and valuable information on church security can be found from multiple sources.

Again, consider if you are willing to watch your congregation slaughtered, your women taken and your children dead or broken by trauma for life.  If you’re not man enough to be a protector, then find men and women who will.

I know in my church the pastor himself is not armed, but relies on a security team that has been put in place in recognition of our volatile times.  In each service sits at least one armed member of this team, which includes trained citizens, police officers, and military service members.  At all times, one of these people at the very least is protecting the pastor, with other members prepared to deal with entrances and so forth.  As for me, my job will be to secure the nursery area.

Non-Lethal Force

I would like to caution anyone reading this from assuming that I believe only in lethal self defense.  For many, I believe non lethal means are perfectly viable.  Anyone considering the need for self defense should carefully consider what lengths they are willing to go to.  Some will never be comfortable or legally able to carry lethal means of defense.  For them, tools such as tasers, kubotans, and pepper spray are most likely going to be perfectly adequate.  Even for those of us who carry guns and knives, non-lethal means are a useful addition to any of our arsenals.  There is a large canister of pepper spray at the top of my stairs for a roommate who is uncomfortable with firearms. And I would not be hesitant to use it.

Unfortunately, we often turn people away from self defense with an all or nothing attitude.  I support being armed with a gun at all times but I’d be more than satisfied to see more people encouraged to use non-lethal force if that’s what it takes to get them to defend themselves.  Non-lethal force is no less Biblical than lethal force, in fact I can find even more support for it.  Again looking at Exodus 22 we find that  a thief killed in daylight would make the killer guilty of bloodshed.  Does that mean we cannot defend ourselves with lethal force in daylight, no.  I believe it points to using non-lethal force when possible.  Of course, I may be wrong, but I believe this passage has more to do with being able to accurately perceive the threat, which is much easier in broad daylight.  At night, being unable to see if an opponent is armed, it was allowable to strike with the intent to kill, as one could not be certain his attacker was a thief versus a murderer.  In the daylight, it was possible to recognize that distinction and not employ lethal force against an unarmed thief.

Final Thoughts

To everyone that has stayed with me this long, thank you.  I pray that something I have written has had an impact and perhaps you will find this useful for a God-fearing friend, spouse, or family member. I pray that they, and you, will take responsibility for your own safety and the safety of those you love.

Again, I am not a theologian, just a man concerned with the safety of God’s people. God bless you and keep you safe.




27 Comments

  1. Very well said brother, and thank you. Time seems to be moving quickly now and though we anticipate His return, we still must live thru the time of sorrows spoken by Him in Mathew and for how long will that last? I believe God will hold guilty those who forsake the lives and well being of others because of cowardice or apathy. As men, we have a duty to protect those who are weaker, and as God said, let us show ourselves to be men.
    Thank you Jim, for all of your work, Guy

  2. It is all about intent. Self-Defense is not a sin. Criminal intent and retaliation are. Even so, spilling of blood weakens us, and limits our ministry. It is something to avoid if possible. Unfortunately, we do no prepare properly for our defense, both personally and as a society, and thus we invite evil into our lives, and are forced to deal with it because we did not adequately secure the blessings and talents God put in our care. As with the Israelites of old, if we did as God commanded always, we would not be faced with such problems. But we disobey just as His people did repeatedly, and so we must suffer and war and commit violent acts to prevent evil from escalating.

  3. I just want to put this out there. As the armed protector of the flock I have been called to Shepherd, it is not always the shepherds that are failing to lead. There are a lot of goats and wolves mixed in with the sheep these days. And sometimes getting sheep who have been trained in thinking church is a building to think differently is very difficult. This flock has taken over ten years to retrain and move toward Biblical thinking in what it means to be the church, and the roles the Elders have in protecting their flocks…. I love the scene in “the Patriot” when the pastor headed off to join the resistance says sometimes the Shepherd has to kill the wolves…. I have encouraged every man in our flock to carry….so there are some out there

    1. Bold claim being a “shepherd” – can you offer any Biblical support for the concept? I’m very familiar with the verses I’m asking about and they reference nothing of the sort contained in your post.

      I’m not contesting the matter of self-defense or church security – but I am saying that anyone claiming to be a “shepherd” of God’s “flock” and basing that on the protection of said flock’s physical well being is deluding themselves and have made themselves “shepherds” based on their own reasoning and certainly not on any Biblical grounds.

      You mentioned Eldership – and if you’ve been spending years “retraining” the flock on anything other than their walk and God’s word you’ve been failing as a Shepherd because you are serving two masters – one being your pride. For the record, I have no issue with pastors (or Christians) carrying, or armed church security, but I do have issues with Elders who have no understanding of what their role (which is expansively supported by scripture) actually is.

      Brother – based on your post, you are *way* focused on the wrong things. An Elder should have absolutely no time to dedicate to instructing his flock on worldly matters – or, frankly, doing anything other than what scripture has called him to do -which is immense. If push comes to shove and there is no else to do so regarding worldly matters, then they need simply to be left to the Lord. Be an Elder, or be a security guard – don’t try to be both. Being a shepherd of God’s children is solemn obligation with hard, exacting deliverables. Play sheriff once you step away from leading the flock, or step away and pursue your prideful desire – but please don’t fail your flock by trying to do both. “Shepherds” will stand accountable before the Lord, if you don’t understand the role, I would be happy to help you. Right now it sounds like you are making it up and focused on the things that make you feel like the protector of your “flock” – which is completely unbiblical. That is you pride kicking in. The word is explicit and unambiguous on the role of Elders – and armed security is not remotely in the job description.

  4. For me and mine, one bible verse establishes the foundation of all others:

    In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he says == DESTROY EVIL SO GOOD CAN RESULT.

    Each time the government agents sharpen their pencils to scribble some new ‘laws’ while simultaneously defying reality and/or Natural Law, they cannot be valid. Further, they were invalid prior to the scribbling.

    EVIL always uses weak humans.
    Weak humans always seek EVIL for temporary safety == at the cost of their eternal unsafety.

    * * * * *

    I wish I have the ability to sugar-coat TRUTH with a lot of flowery filler… but I am plain-spoke. Fence-sitters need to decide; sooner is better.

    Decades ago, puttering in the garden with grandma Mae, she shared this lesson from her ninety-six years:
    “Ignore their words. Always pay attention to their actions.”

    Across the row from us, aunt Jane nodded.

  5. I ALWAYS carry a loaded firearm. I am trained to use it and carry it in a safe manner. I will only use it to save myself from physical harm from two or four legged varmints! I will defend myself and the innocent. Like Sgt York (who initially was a conscientious objector) changing his military status by picking up “the gun” to save lives, not to take lives!

    1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant, for our adversary the devil walks about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may destroy”! Either in a spiritual manner, or a physical manner he seeks to destroy us and those that we love. One must not “test” the Lord to save us from the wiles of the devil or the “enemy”! The Lord has given us the means to defend ourselves using scripture from His Holy Bible, or the physical means, or both!

  6. Turning the other cheek has been very misunderstood in the Christian community. Jesus never told the Disciples not to carry a weapon for self-defense, in fact he knew that they all did carry a dirk/dagger, or a short sword, something with a blade that did not exceed 18 inches.
    If someone is facing you and they slap you on your right cheek, they are either doing it with there left hand, or back handing you with the right hand.
    In the time of Jesus they left hand was considered unclean as it was used for personal hygiene. The Muslims still follow this today, and I think that the ultra-Orthodox Jews do as well.
    So, that would mean they are back handing you, which is a sign of having been insolent.
    So, turning the other cheek, is about humility, as you are acknowledging your insolence and offering the other cheek for punishment as well.
    God said not to murder, and that revenge is His alone. That does not mean you cannot defend yourself from any outside danger. Nowhere in the Bible does it say you cannot defend yourself.
    Jesus did not defend himself because He was the Lamb being sacrificed for our sins.
    When Jesus returns, it is as the Lion of Judah, and all will fall before His hand.

  7. Christians should remember that Peter carried the “assault weapon” of his day. When evil men came to arrest the Savior, Peter employed his weapon to protect the Lord. Jesus knowing it was His time, instructed Peter to “put up thy sword” (John 18:10-11). The Lord did not condemn Peter for “carrying” an “assault weapon”. Jesus was certainly aware that Peter was “carrying” and did not prohibit him from doing so. There was no condemnation from the Lord for Peter attempting to protect Him, only restraint because it was His appointed time to die.
    James Russell Uhl

  8. Point 1. Parents, are sending their children into ‘Death-traps-by-design, to be held there by force by adults who have NO responsibility to protect them. Isn’t that their parents’ job?
    Miami Herald – Cops, schools had no duty to protect students during Parkland shooting, judge rules …
    https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/education/article223282035.html

    Point 2: Firearms and self-defense has been totally politicized. Pastors of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt churches surrendered their First Amendment (religious liberty) and Fifth Amendment (protection against self-incrimination) rights for IRS tax indulgences. Christians can serve only one God. These pastors chose Caesar. Oh, the power of 30 pieces of silver. They are hirelings, not shepherds. (John 10: 11-13)

  9. “I know in my church the pastor himself is not armed, but relies on a security team that has been put in place in recognition of our volatile times. In each service sits at least one armed member of this team, which includes trained citizens, police officers, and military service members. At all times, one of these people at the very least is protecting the pastor, with other members prepared to deal with entrances and so forth. As for me, my job will be to secure the nursery area.” Quoting the author of the article.

    My Church has a similar ‘protector force’ guarding the Chief Pastor [The Pastor doesn’t carry a gun either]. … It’s a company sized Mercenary Military Force, that received their military training in the Swiss Army. … They utilize military weapons; some of the weapons are fully-automatic weapons. The Internet has numerous sites, that describe the Pastor’s Protectors and their weapons.

    Some of the Mercenaries stand at the gate to the Church area in Medieval Armor wearing custom clothing, while carrying a long pike that’s mounted with a battle-axe blade. … This is mostly for ‘show’ ~ Yet, they are still trained military men; trained to use the Medieval Weapons.

    The Mercenaries close to the Chief Pastor wear business suits. They’re big men; fully capable of picking-up the Chief Pastor’s car and running to a hospital in an emergency, while the Chief Pastor remains in his car.

    It’s possible to see all this information about the Church and the Chief Pastor, on television or on the Internet. … Sometimes, the crowd at the Church is so big, the Chief Pastor will conduct an outdoor Church Service. … There are also official videos filmed by a drone flying inside the Church, around the Church area, and inside some of the other buildings. It’s very interesting, if you like that sort of thing.

    According to the news, the Chief Pastor is currently making an Official Church visit to a Muslim country in the Middle-East. … Sort of a good-will tour, and to minister to the Christian faithful in the area. There are videos about his trip on the Internet and on the television news.

  10. We had a visitor a few weeks back who said something to the effect of “I support the Second Amendment, but guns don’t belong in God’s house. If you’re carryin ‘ a gun in church, you don’t trust God. But if you wanna set up a .50 machine gun on the roof of your house, I don’t have a problem with that.” He had also apparently left his previous church because the pastor started carrying. He was the most logically inconsistent man I have ever encountered.

  11. The masterpiece of evil within the Christian church has just been laid out in this article. Since the 70s the Churchians have made excellent strides in disarming our minds toward defending the innocent which naturally led to physical disarmament and then an active opposition toward anyone who would be a protector. It’s insane! But that is the long game that the Deceiver plays.

    A good book of fiction that covers this discussion in relevant detail is The Heretics of St. Possenti. You will likely learn something about what “turn the other cheek” really means in the context of that day, plus other important things. Also A Time to Kill: The Myth of Christian Pacifism is very good though much thicker to read.

  12. I follow Gabe Suarez’s advice: “Ignore the sign.”
    Thankfully in my state, excepting fed controls and schools, carry where ‘not allowed’ is at most a trespass charge if asked to leave and you don’t.

  13. Mr. Rawles is 100 % correct on this. I would like to suggest a very good book covering this very subject. “To Keep or Not to Keep – Why Christians Should Not Give up Their Guns”, by Timothy Baldwin, J.D.& Charles O.”Chuck” Baldwin, D.D. It covers scripture passages etc. concerning keeping and bearing of arms. Many of you may know of Pastor Chuck Baldwin, I believe he’s in the Kalispell, Mt. area.
    Mr. Rawles and many others can quote specific verses, I cannot, although I try, but I know I’ve read numerous times throughout where God says to sell your clothing to buy weapons for defense and protection. or words to that effect. I carry and will continue to do so whether legal or not, for the protection of anyone needing it, regardless of beliefs, as well as my own.

  14. I believe we need to protect ourselves and our families in any way we can. So whichever way we choose to defend ourselves and others, we should do so. I’m a Christian and a woman and I’m all-in to protect ourselves and families.

  15. We attend a conservative, reformed-minded church but I would estimate that one in 10 (or better) are well trained and carrying every time they walk in the door. An easy 25-30 well armed people are in attendance on any given Sunday. Following Jesus and defending loved ones are not mutually exclusive pursuits.

  16. Thank you for a well thought out, timely article.

    As the Sheepdog Seminar points out, start now. I did so. Our church has a group which has been working on setting up policy, practice, training, personnel selection. Documents have been written, group meetings held, site survey written up.

    But no one would actually take a tour of duty from 830 to 1230 on Sundays. I did the first two weeks, took a week off, and finally, a second person has joined in after a month for my third duty shift.

    The group hasn’t got any further in process or procedure. So now I shrug off further suggestions from our people with the statement, “Tell me which days you’ll sign up for, and while we are on shift together we can talk about radios, identification, training, coordination with LEO’s, etc.”

    So don’t fall victim to analysis paralysis. Just start doing it and improve as you go. Integrate process learning into action and record your plan after the practices prove to work. Keep your plan love-based, and guardians should be of a servant-warrior mindset.

    The Aramaic Bible version is better than the usual English bible in that it has a more definitive, descriptive progression in the three times Peter was asked if he loved Jesus and then instructed protecting the sheep.

    First, to be a guardian, you must love Jesus. Asking a potential guardian that question 3 times is a good practice.

    Jesus told Peter to guard his lambs. Next, he was told to guard his sheep, (females, as excludes the bucks/rams). The third time Jesus instructs on this, the translation from Aramaic says to guard the whole flock, so includes all the other males. That’s a good prioritization of effort.

    The advice given to me on this blog the last time I mentioned congregation security was good, and I’ll use it, but not until our team exceeds a force of one. Thanks to all, and thanks again for this article. May God bless us all and grant us mercy.

  17. Choose your church wisely. Many churches are drawn into the trap of political correctness perpetrated by society at large. After many heartfelt talks with the pastor, I had to take my family and leave a church recently when it became apparent that addressing sin in our society was simply too offensive. Speaking of failing to protect the innocent, the final straw occurred when he couldn’t even say directly that abortion is a sin. Very sad.

  18. As a Pastor, I carry every time I’m with my congregants, except where it is expressly forbidden by law (hospitals and such). I have thought through the possibilities of an armed intruder killing or wounding people I love, and I cannot go unarmed when it is in my power to do so. A fellow Pastor near us was confronted by a mentally disturbed individual during a worship service. The individual threatened to blow up the church. After the event, this Pastor told a group that he would not carry in the sanctuary, because if someone pulled the trigger, they would immediately be faced with a $2 million lawsuit. I’d rather face the lawsuit than to face a mother whose child I might have saved, or to face The Good Shepherd at the loss of one of His lambs.

  19. Bobthepreacher, your fellow pastor should look into an insurance rider for staff carry liability. Our church insurance company was very accommodating and the rider was very reasonably priced.

  20. My brothers in Christ. I see how our freedoms have been slowly taken away by adding more laws. I have watched for years our honor respect and just the value of life itself is declined to a low that I am scared we have approached the “corner” or CLIFF. WE must make the decision to stand strong in the LORD. We are looked down at some times by the very sheeple in our congregations, but we must protect ourselves and our sheep. I pray that WE stand strong and be courageous in the LORD. May our great GOD bless you all.

  21. A great and thorough book on the subject is “God, Guns and Guts of Firearm Defense by Sig Swanstrom. It is available at Amazon among other places. I was very conflicted about firearms for self defense until I read this. I read it several times and am totally convinced that a Christian has the right and consent of scripture to use lethal force if needed for self defense. He goes into great detail and is very conservative scripturally . He even uses several different translations of the Bible in showing the consistency of all the translations in affirming the same thing. I very highly recommend this book

  22. I once had two friends who got into an argument about gun rights/violence while we were having a movie night at my house. The guy, M, was all for anybody and everybody having a gun while the girl, R, was totally against ownership and admitted to being afraid of guns in general. M kept trying to convince her that she needed a gun since she lived by herself and she said she didn’t with her fear. I said I agreed with her on the instance that if an Intruder did break in and see her shakily holding a gun he would take the chance of charging her and shooting her instead. I did encourage her to go to a gun safety course to help with her fear so she would know what guns can and can’t do. I also pointed out that she could buy non-lethal or “bounty Hunter” rounds. They both looked so surprised when i mentioned that ammo like they never thought of it before. R actually agreed to go take a course and later bought a gun that would fire beanbag rounds. A few months later a meth head did break into her apartment while she was home and she hit him right in the chest with 2 rounds. It knocked the wind out of him long enough for her to get out of the apartment and go to a neighbor for help. With how popular Hollywood has made bounty hunters over the past few years I’m always surprised when people take an all or nothing approach on the amount of force to be used in self defense. I know there are occasions where lethal force is sadly necessary, but there are a lot of occasions where non lethal force would be effective too

  23. It is ALWAYS concerning when those, claiming to be Christian, put forth opinions support by little or no Biblical reference. I would go as far to say that it is Unchristian to do so. The author should pause and reflect on this statement. The author should also revisit the statement “I’m not a theologian” – because the Bible is clear that those who are Christ’s are theologians – or they aren’t his. There isn’t any middle ground. If you claim to be His, and cannot support a word of what you say with the word of God than you are gravely misrepresenting the Lord and likely either a very immature believer (at best) or not His at all.

    Further, in the case (related to some of the responses) where only a single verse, or even a fraction (out of the *entire* Bible) of a verse is used, that too is misapplication – and no different than atheists who do the same thing. The Bible is *stunningly* consistent through out. If you cannot come up with anything, or put forth almost NOTHING to support something you claim to be Christian, you are deluding yourself and almost certainly putting forth heretical teaching and apostasy.

    [Off-topic paragraph deleted]

    None of the proceeding is intended to be comment on whether or not self defense is Biblically supported. It is a condemnation of those who profess to be speaking as a child of God with little [deleted] knowledge of God’s word. God’s word is very, very clear and consistent throughout. His children love His word (Psalm 119 is a good place to start on this concept) and obey His law (John Ch 14 – among many other places). If you can’t thoroughly support your beliefs with scripture you need to stop and consider whether you are even His before worrying about anything else – Mathew ch 7.

    Please don’t post any thing else as a “Christian” unless you are sure it is truly consistent with God’s word first. Such certainty would, without fail, be supported with scriptural reference. Otherwise – feel free to post whatever your feel is *your* opinion, but you should leave Christ out of it.

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