Seeing America

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The Battle Lines are Drawn

In listening to the national discourse, with each passing day it becomes more apparent that there are two competing visions for America. Are we the great Safe Place or the great Free Place? We can’t be both.

Benjamin Franklin

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Benjamin Franklin, Memoirs of the life & writings of Benjamin Franklin

Some try to find a “middle ground”. In their view, America is built on compromises. Let’s make “reasonable laws” for safety, they say. Let’s ban “Assault Weapons” to help make America safer. But mass shootings are famous for occurring in “Gun Free Zones”, and such zones can only be enforced by a police state in which government has the monopoly of force. The FBI’s own crime statistics prove that the safest regions of the country are those with the largest numbers of armed citizens.

Its clear that America’s Founders laid the foundation of a free society in which common men were armed. Once common men are armed, the only way to stop a mass shooting in the absence of superior tactical position and/or training (unlikely for “common men”) is for some one armed with a weapon of equal or greater firepower to take out the shooter(s). Thus “gun control” laws restricting firepower of “Assault Weapons” clearly make Americans less safe, proving the truth of Benjamin Franklin’s well known statement above.

Christian Values

Because we as a society have drifted away from agricultural production and self reliance, in spite of the clear cause and effect truth of the FBI’s crime statistics, many today falsely believe that more common men with guns make people less safe. Because of this faulty foundational belief, many who believe in following the teachings of Jesus believe gun owners are unwisely helping to promote a culture of violence. But if so, we must seriously ask Why did Jesus tell His disciples to buy a sword?

At the Last Supper, Luke records this dialogue:

He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”

The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”

“That is enough,” he replied. Luke 22:36-38

Why did Jesus tell them to buy a sword? And what should we make of His reply, “That is enough” when they produce two swords? Did He mean, “that is enough talk” or “those are enough swords”?

Up until this point, the disciples had operated under the aegis of both Roman and Jewish law. They were seen as just another group of disciples of some charismatic Rabbi. If he had some strange ideas he was teaching, well, so did plenty of others.

But now, all that was about to change. He was going to be taken by the Jews, tried and convicted and put to death by the Romans. Suddenly their Master’s public status was about to go from “eccentric Rabbi” to “criminal condemned for stirring up trouble with the Romans,” which would turn those who supported him into fugitives, at least temporarily.

Here, he was trying to explain to them that they would need to be prepared to stay mobile (side note: the word fugitive comes from a Latin root meaning “to flee”): they would need to always have a purse (for money) and a bag (to carry basic supplies) ready, and that a sword (for protection against other men) was to be more important to them than a cloak (for protection against the elements) in the days to come.

But as we see repeatedly throughout the Gospels, the disciples never really “got” the whole “Jesus is going to die and then be resurrected” thing until after it was all accomplished. Here, they hear him talking about swords, and someone says “yeah, we’ve got a couple here already.” They just don’t understand what he’s trying to explain, and you can almost hear the Master’s resigned sigh. “Sure, that’ll be fine.”

buy-a-gun-commands-JesusA Higher Kingdom

Once supposed “lawful authority” (the Roman government) killed Jesus, his disciples were suspected of sedition at best and assumed to be anti government rebels at worst. Jesus basically told them in advance that they didn’t have to experience death at the hands of a tyrannical state as He had. They had the right to defend themselves against those who would “think they were doing God a favor” by killing them (John 16:2).

Two millennia later many like to think that followers of Jesus are not presumed to be enemies of the government. Yet we Christians proclaim loyalty to a Higher Kingdom which in its simplest terms consists of primary loyalty to our Holy Spirit infused and instructed conscience. Thus it is only logical to consider that Christians are in fact enemies of abusive and corrupt tyrannical governments. Those who have studied the history of Christian mission have abundant evidence that holding leaders to God’s standard of righteousness is indeed dangerous to the level often requiring adequate self defense. See information compiled by Voice of the Martyrs and others. The Book of Revelation presents a prophetic picture of the battle between Christians and governments that will not allow their authority to be challenged.

Seeing America as Rule by Our Consciences United Under God

The cultural and spiritual battle Americans are now increasingly being drawn into is that which will determine whether America will return to and re-establish its foundation as a nation in which the law of the land is aligned with and instructed by Holy Spirit infused individual consciences, which are, as the Declaration of Independence proclaims, “created equal” under God. The alternative is despotic tyranny falsely promising safety.

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