Noël and I watched Beyond Gates of Splendor, the documentary version of End of the Spear, the story of the martyrdom of Jim Elliot, Peter Fleming, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, and Nate Saint in Ecuador in 1956. That same day we heard that the Supreme Court decided in favor of the right of Americans to keep firearms at home for self-defense.
Here’s the connection. The missionaries had guns when they were speared to death. One of them shot the gun into the air, it appears, as he was killed, rather than shooting the natives. They had agreed to do this. The reason was simple and staggeringly Christlike:
The natives are not ready for heaven. We are.
I suspect the same could be said for almost anyone who breaks into my house. There are other reasons why I have never owned a firearm and do not have one in my house. But that reason moves me deeply. I hope you don’t use your economic stimulus check to buy a gun. Better to find some missionaries like this and support them.
I’m actually supportive of the Supreme Court decision mainly because I have always felt the D.C. ban was unconstitutional. I think Piper makes an interesting argument, and I am inclined to agree if it is an instance of me just defending myself. Though I feel that Jesus’ teaching on “turning the other cheek”, (Matthew 5: 39) has been misinterpreted to mean we have to be doormats (the command refers to how we respond to insults not a physical assault by one trying to do severe bodily harm). I would want to show restraint and avoid deadly force.
I don’t own a handgun, shotgun or rifle. I didn’t grow up with them, and really had nothing to do with them until I joined the Army. Regarding self-defense, however, if someone enters my home and threatens my family. I feel very strongly that part of my calling as a husband and father is to protect, so while I would never want to use deadly force if I am to choose between some home invader or my child… well that would be an easy choice. So in that instance I disagree. What do you think?