My name is Shawn Dugan. I am a Christian, a husband, a father, a pastor and a patriot. In an era of sharply divided worldviews it is not surprising to encounter perspectives that do not reflect my own personal convictions. I do not expect that everyone share my views on everything. In fact, disagreements often make us reevaluate the veracity of our own belief systems, and we emerge the stronger for it. I enjoy healthy debate. But, when one publicly claims to speak the perspective of Jesus as it relates to current political events, he should do his homework. Mr. Claiborne, your insight into the person of Jesus Christ is sorely lacking.
First, you confuse the response of the individual believer to “turn the other cheek” (Matt 5:39) in the face of scorn and persecution with our responsibility to protect our families.
· Jesus was, in fact, sent to earth with a personal bodyguard until He was an adult – his name was Joseph. And when the violence you speak of threatened the young child’s life, Joseph protected his family as the Lord directed him by fleeing to Egypt (Matt 2:13).
· In contrast to your picture of Jesus as “a nonviolent, grace-filled, forgiving victim,” Scripture indicates that when His Father’s house was being defiled, Jesus was filled with a calculated and righteous anger and, with whip in hand, overturned tables and drove out the moneychangers – arguably, on more than one occasion (Matt 21:12, Mark 11:15, Luke 19:45, John 2:13).
· Jesus does mention the right to bear arms. In fact, it’s not given as a right, it’s a command to His disciples after the Last Supper to protect themselves by the sword in Luke 22:36, “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.’”
· This is all certainly consistent with Old Testament instruction by Nehemiah while the Israelites were doing the work of the Lord by rebuilding the protective wall around their city in the face of violent threats. He said, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes” (Neh 4:14).
Mr. Claiborne, you say the lesson that Jesus taught us is “(v)iolence will not rid the world of violence.” You have wholly misunderstood the centrality of Jesus’ message. The lesson Christ taught was that the works of man – violent or non-violent – will not achieve the righteousness of God (Eph 2:3-8). Only the singular, sacrificial act of our sinless Savior could achieve that for us all, and through faith in Him alone can we procure it. Jesus would let no man stand in His way as he set out to accomplish that goal.
Lastly, your pallid characterization of a soft and gentle savior may play nicely as we focus on His first advent at Christmastime, but is ultimately shortsighted and fails to encompass the totality of His character. For, when He comes again, it shall not be in the form of a babe in the manger, or the suffering servant, but rather as the war-waging, battle-bloodied, sword-swinging Righteous Judge, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev 19:11-16).
Admittedly, we are instructed as followers of Christ to obey the laws of the system under which we live – insomuch as they do not contradict the instruction of the Lord (Acts 5:29). The supreme law of this land still states that, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” It is not, as your article implies, unchristlike to stand up for the rights that our forefathers bled and died to give us and had the foresight to protect for us in our governing documents. WWJD? He'd live "as one under the law" (Gal 4:4). He’d live by the constitution. We should do the same.