When browsing Facebook today I came across an article a friend had posted, written by Chancellor and Pastor John Piper, about whether Christians should be encouraged to arm themselves. Having sat through video recorded Sunday School lessons by Mr. Piper, and finding this article right up my alley as a LEO wife I decided to read it and then share my thoughts. I can tell you right now that I have a very strong opinion on it but I invite you to read it for yourself first if this is a topic that at all interests you. Please feel free to read my response and reply or discuss, but most of all please do your OWN research before just taking someone’s advice. (including mine) After all, we all are entitled to our opinions. That’s what makes life interesting…
Mr. Piper’s post…
And my response…
I can honestly say as the wife of a police officer and a Christian woman I am boiling mad at the statements made in this article. I have felt for quite some time that Mr. Piper is listened to because of his long standing time in the church. He has written some very good books and created some wonderful Bible studies. He does have some very good teachings on Biblical truths but I have taken issue with several over the years that just did not sit right. None have hit me so personally until now, and in this one I wholeheartedly think he is very misguided. I can see how he could take such a stance, coming from his position as a Pastor and Chancellor of a Bethlehem College and Seminary, but coming from mine and what I have seen and lived through being the wife of a cop, I almost could not read past number two. I was getting very frustrated and even angry that so many people are going to not arm themselves simply because Mr. Piper says he doesn’t think it is a good idea. I am glad he makes some of the statements he does, especially when he talks about the sheep and the wolves, but let me tell you about the one very important element he has left out, the Sheepdog.
At the very end of his article Mr. Piper references Luke 10:3 where the Bible talks about Christians being “as lambs in the midst of wolves”.
In the law enforcement community, the police officers who are willing to lay down their lives for others are sometimes referred to as Sheepdogs. This is a term I first heard of from my husband after he read a book written by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, who talks about the Sheepdog’s role in being an intermediary between the sheep and the wolves. Lt. Col. Grossman writes…
“If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizen, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath–a wolf. But if you have the capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens, then you are a sheepdog.”
He goes on to say,
“The sheepdog lives to protect the flock and confront the wolf.”
Sheepdogs are the ones who keep the sheep safe by guarding them and keeping watch for dangers they may not even know exist. I find it interesting that my husband and I just had a discussion on this topic today, well before I even knew about Mr. Piper’s post. In reading Mr. Piper’s article I do agree with one thing, the sheep are not meant to fight the wolves. That is what the Sheepdogs are there for. If you do not feel you are equipped with the skills or knowledge of knowing when it is appropriate to use a handgun then do not use one. But God has given us Sheepdogs; law enforcement officers, military members, but also regular people with the heart and soul to fight the evil that is among us. I personally am one of those Sheepdogs. I have taken the class and been trained. I carry a concealed weapon and I am rarely without it. I am not willing to watch as a mass murder kills innocent people when I have the ability to do something about it. If faced with the unfortunate occurrence that I need to pull my gun I will not think twice about defending myself or anyone I am around to stop the “wolf” that is attacking. Not everybody is a Sheepdog. The majority of people on this planet are not equipped to fight the wolves. The wolves prowl around looking for the weak and if there are no Sheepdogs, who is going to protect the sheep? I understand the need to love one another and let God take vengeance into His hands. I do not walk around with my gun in my hand letting people know that if they mess with me they are going to pay, but let it be known, if someone shoots at my family, friends, fellow church goers or even a stranger at the mall who I happen to be by, I WILL PROTECT THEM. I WILL LAY DOWN MY LIFE FOR THEM.
The thought of being able to stop a murderous gunman simply with love is preposterous to me. By the time you are facing a gunman who is killing people indiscriminately, that time has passed. Now is the time for action, to defend innocent lives caught in the crossfire. By protecting those innocent lives you are showing Christ’s love by giving them the chance to live another day.
I understand Christians are told we are going to be persecuted. The reason we are talking about this topic at all is because of what has been happening in our own country by both those who claim to be fighting for their religion and by others who just simply are doing it to kill people. If I ever happen to find myself in either of these situations with a chance to defend myself with my gun, I won’t think twice. That is what makes me different from Mr. Piper. According to the definition above, he is a sheep, and that is ok. There are very few inside and outside of law enforcement that are called to be Sheepdogs. Unless you ARE a Sheepdog you probably cannot understand what it is like. Few are called to fill that role but those that are get it. I am honored to carry that burden within me, for when that day comes that someone pulls a gun I will be ready to defend myself and anyone around me. As Mr. Piper quotes in his article, “God is our refuge and strength.” (Psalm 46:1). If the time comes when I have to use my gun, I know He will give me the strength to stand firm and take out the wolf that is attacking the sheep.
To be fair…No, I do not completely agree with the quoted statements of Liberty University President, Mr. Jerry Falwell, Jr., encouraging EVERY student to go get a gun. This is not smart thinking. Many of them are not equipped and it is very dangerous to start arming people just to be armed. On that point I agree with Mr. Piper. But if you are, like me, a Sheepdog, please join the fight we fight against evil. I do not believe God calls for us to just stand there and take it when we are attacked. Love has its place but I will choose to show my love by protecting the sheep against the wolves. I do not expect everyone to understand or agree with my opinion. But I know that you are either a sheep, a sheepdog or a wolf and I don’t think a sheepdog would be doing a very good job if it just let the wolves have free reign over the sheep. The wolves would just grow stronger and braver. The pack would grow even larger. The Sheepdogs are already outnumbered. The battle is already hard enough. By asking the Sheepdogs to just try to love the wolves and then think the wolves will leave the sheep alone doesn’t make any sense to me.
I am a very strong Christian myself, but I take issue with the words and advice of both of these Christian leaders. I applaud their efforts to guide their students and congregations. We need Godly leaders in these troubling times. We need pastors to help us, I just don’t think advising people on whether or not they should choose to carry a gun is within their realm of expertise. (And please, by all means correct me if I am wrong). Mr. Falwell, advise them to carefully consider the choices, the responsibility, and the consequences of the choices that come with arming oneself. Encourage them to take a class, handle a firearm and see if carrying is right for them. Mr. Piper, encourage them to read the Bible and see what it says for themselves about loving their enemies. But do not make blanket statements to large masses of people who do not understand the big picture of carrying a weapon. People listen to you Mr. Piper and Mr. Falwell. Remember that and choose your guidance very carefully. It will affect more people than you think.
Grossman, Lt. Col. Dave. “On Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs.” Killology. Web. 23 Dec. 2015. <killology.com>.
Piper, John. “Should Christians Be Encouraged to Arm Themselves?” Desiring God. Desiring God Foundation, 22 Dec. 2015. Web. 23 Dec. 2015. <http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/should-christians-be-encouraged-to-arm-themselves>.