Do Firearms Belong In Churches?

Several high-profile church-massacres in recent years beg the question; “How should we protect our churches and their members?” While we expect that our homes and our churches will be “safe-spaces“, home-invasions occur every day, and church shootings are occurring all too frequently. The church massacre in Sutherland Springs, Texas last Fall drove this point home to me. The only thing that ended that carnage was a few well-placed shots made by a “good-guy-with-a-gun“. Are there really any “safe-spaces” left?

Any time there is a massacre in a place where we should be able to assume is a “safe-space“, there are always questions about what went wrong and how best to prevent similar incidents in the future. One thing we know for certain, is that bad-guys always select “soft-targets“, because the last thing the bad-guy wants is to become the victim of his own chicanery. “Soft-targets” are “easy-targets“, regardless of where and what they are, and a “No guns allowed” sign is like a “Welcome Mat” . One of the questions is “How “hard” is “hard-enough”?”

You can’t get into the capital building without passing a controlled entrance, metal detectors & capital police. How far would you get walking into any other government building, court house, major bank, sports or entertainment venue, media headquarters, or airport with a weapon? Disney, the “happiest place on earth“, uses metal detectors and has armed-security. If these places have been made into “hard-targets“, are they more “important” than the other places we go? Are they more “important” than our churches? Money is transported in armored trucks protected by armed-guards. Is money more “important” than human life?

The White House is protected with multiple-layers of security, controlled by the Secret Service – armed to the teeth. Our politicians are surrounded by an armed-web of security. Are they more “important” than the rest of us? What about our entertainers? The Oscars was crawling with armed-security, some of it visible, some of it hidden. Are the “stars” more “important” than us and our families? They would have us believe so…

While this is about churches, not schools, the recent wave of mass-murders in schools has many people asking how we can protect our children from harm. Some would-be killers have been intercepted by armed-security, limiting the impact of their intentions. Armed-security works. It is of course, an extremely sad commentary on our society that we would need to harden the schools populated with our children. But at some point, we will almost assuredly ask the question we’ve asked about these other facilities. It’s not why would we do it, but why did we wait so long?

Let’s end the gun control debate & just protect our children & schools like we do elected government officials.

As we have seen recently, not even restaurants are safe. There was a shooting at a restaurant in Oklahoma City, and a bombing at a restaurant in Canada. Can’t we at least eat in peace and safety? Apparently not. No place is immune…

NOTE: This is NOT about “gun-control” or “reasonable gun-laws“, because we already have way too many laws on the books and more won’t change a thing. Criminals don’t obey the law, or they wouldn’t be criminals, so more laws are worthless except to restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens.

Some dear friends of mine belong to a church which has armed-security every time the doors are open. They have also restricted access to the main-entrance only, particularly during services. They live in a state where it is way too easy to find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time, as I well know from living there for several years. Yes, the threats are real. Does that mean that they don’t trust God to protect them? No, but they aren’t stupid either, and God sometimes uses “means” for self-protection.

There are two polar-opposite “camps” when it comes to “hardening” churches and related Christian institutions. On one side are those who have no qualms about “hardening” churches and related Christian institutions, including having armed-guards. Some even post signs indicating that there is armed-security on the premises. On the other side are those who believe that they are “honoring God” by refusing to protect themselves, thus “proving” that they are more “spiritual” than those who arm and protect themselves. My question for the latter group is “Are you courting martyrdom?” Do they even lock their doors? We can stick our heads in the sand, or we can acknowledge that churches require security from criminal assault just like every other organization.

When King David retrieved the Ark of the Covenant from where it had been stored after the Philistines returned it, it was escorted by thirty-thousand armed men – an army. (2 Samuel 6)

Even while Jesus was preparing to be arrested, He started preparing His disciples for their expanded-role in spreading the Gospel. While the Parable of the Good Samaritan was indeed a parable, it represented a real-life problem in that part of the world. There WERE thieves and robbers, and they would prey on anyone they could, particularly if they were defenseless. There was safety in numbers while they were all together, but that wouldn’t always be the case. They needed to be prepared.

35 And He said to them, “When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?” They said, “No, nothing.” 36 And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one. 37 For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, ‘And He was numbered with transgressors’; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.” 38 They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.” (Luke 22:35-38)

Some commentators interpret “It is enough.” as “Enough of this nonsense“, as if Jesus didn’t REALLY just say “whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.”, but in this context, that interpretation is playing-off of their own cultural-hangups, not the clear-meaning and spirit of the text. Neither Jesus, nor the rest of the Bible, ever denies a person the right to lawful self-defense, and Jesus never told His disciples to leave their weapons at home. Evidently Peter wasn’t the only one “packing-heat”.

Maybe you are questioning the wisdom of having weapons in God’s house, but we haven’t always been this hesitant to protect what really matters – God’s house. The Gospels include many references to “temple guards” and “officers of the Chief Priest“.

When Jesus was buried, the Jewish religious leaders were afraid that His disciples would steal His body and claim that He was alive, so after getting Pilate’s approval, they set a guard over His tomb. (Matthew 27:62-66)

After Jesus rose from the tomb, the Jewish religious leaders paid-off the guards to lie about the resurrection. (Matthew 28:11-15)

Captains of the Temple” is mention during Jesus’ arrest. (Luke 22:52)

Officers sent to arrest Jesus failed in their mission. (John 7:32, 44-46)

Part of the mob that arrested Jesus included “officers from the chief priests and Pharisees” (John 18:3)

In the 1st Century, Herod’s Temple was incredibly-ornate, not to mention, fabulously-wealthy. All of the articles used in worship were solid-gold, and there were hundreds of them. All temple-taxes and donations were in cash and there were no banks to deposit that money in, so it had to be kept in the temple-treasury. Thus, 24/7/365 armed-security was an absolute-necessity. The temple guards also kept order in the Temple and enforced the segregation-regulations.

Segregation-regulations“? Yes, there were three “courts” in the Temple. Only Jewish men were allowed in the inner-court, closest to the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. The second-court, or the “court of the women” was for Jewish women. The outer-court was known as the “court of the Gentiles“, so someone had to make sure that nobody went where they didn’t “belong“. The Jewish leaders weren’t beyond requiring a “robe-check” to make sure Gentiles didn’t get where they didn’t belong.

Do you remember where the first mention of an armed-guard is in the Bible? Would you believe Genesis 3:24, in the Garden of Eden? After God tossed Adam and Eve out of the Garden, He placed an angel with a flaming-sword at the entrance to the Garden. Because God met Adam and Eve in the Garden, it could rightfully be considered “God’s house“.

Yea, but… but they didn’t have firearms back then… No, they had swords, spears and bows – weapons. Firearms are simply updated-weapons. Weapons technology has come a long way in the past two-thousand years.

The Vatican, which is entirely-within the city of Rome, has its own security-force, and the Pope has his own personal body-guards, the Swiss Guards. The Pope is the most powerful religious-leader in the world, and his beliefs and opinions aren’t always popular.

“After-action-review” or “Arm-chair-analysis”…

I don’t usually like to do “after-action-reviews” or “arm-chair-analysis” on recent events, but there are way too many obvious lessons to be learned from them. Let’s look at what we know about these recent shootings, notice what went wrong, and what could have been done better. Note: I don’t have any “insideinformation“, so everything I know is based on whatever information is publicly-available.

Louie’s Lakeside Restaurant – Oklahoma City

While this shooting was stopped fairly-promptly by two men with their own guns, they had to retrieve their guns from the trunks of their cars first. Neither one had a Concealed Carry Permit, and the Governor of Oklahoma had just vetoed a “Constitutional-Carry” Bill which had been passed by the State Legislature. The Governor had gone against the will of the people as expressed by the Legislature. Had their guns been immediately-available, the outcome might have been even better.

The shooter had exhibited bizarre-behavior and had come to the attention of the FBI, but that didn’t prevent him from becoming a Licensed Security Guard with the right to carry a weapon. Why?

Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School – Parkland, Florida

A security-analysis of MSD High School had been done by a retired Secret Service agent two months prior to the event, but it was ignored, swept under the rug. The School Board had Grant Money available for school-security-upgrades, but hadn’t used that money for what it was intended for. Authorities at all levels, including the FBI, had ignored all the warning-signs that the shooter was a serious-threat… because he was a “minority“.

The Sheriff’s Deputy who was the School Resource Officer cowered outside while the carnage went on, as did three other Deputies. What happened to “Protect and Serve“?

First Baptist Church – Sutherland Springs, Texas

I spent many years in that part of the country, and in rural-areas, a gun-rack and hunting-rifle is pretty much “standard-equipment” in most pickup-trucks, and yet, regardless of how many hunting-rifles were in vehicles in the church parking-lot, they were worthless, because the shooter was BETWEEN those gun-owners and their guns. Those guns might as well have been at home in a gun-safe.

The shooter should have been ineligible to buy and own weapons due to his violent-past, but because he was in the Air Force when they happened, and the Air Force had neglected to enter his data into the FBI database, he never got “flagged“.

It took someone OUTSIDE the church, with immediate-access to a weapon and the skill to use it, to finally end that carnage. Texas has some of the most liberal handgun-carry laws in the nation, and yet nobody was armed. Why?

Your church – my church

Is YOUR church in a “safe-area“? Mine would seem to be, but the County Sheriff, who knows the “lay-of-the-land” far-better than I do, put out a video recently encouraging County residents to do whatever is necessary to be able to carry a gun to protect themselves. What does he know? Maybe there is only a “veneer” of safety…

The leadership of each church must analyze the level of risk, and decide how much risk is “acceptable”. As “under-shepherds” commissioned by our Lord, with the responsibility to care for the “flock”, not only spiritually, but physically while they are “on-campus”, they must decide wisely. Can they really AFFORD to not provide “sheep-dogs” (armed-security) to protect the “flock”?

Some of you may recoil in horror at the thought of even owning a gun, let alone carrying it to and in church, but there is nothing “unchristian” about protecting yourself and those you love from harm and violence. As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome here.

Steve

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17 thoughts on “Do Firearms Belong In Churches?

  1. I’m a Canadian, not an American, so I have an uncomfortable ring-side seat watching all sides deal or not deal with gun control and the bearing of arms. The United States is the outlier in virtually every statistical analysis of gun ownership and gun control, and not by just a little. The U.S.A is way out in left field compared to the rest of the world.

    It is a problem of your own creation, but you insist on spreading it to the rest of us through the pervasiveness of American media, whether TV or movies. Having grown up in a country that is comparatively safe (and what country not experiencing war is not comparatively safe when compared to the U.S.A), your attitudes to gun violence are something the rest of us would rather you didn’t share.

    Yes, there was a recent restaurant bombing in southern Ontario. Yes, it made the news cycle. It did so, because it is such a rare event. As with most such occurrences in Canada (as rare as they are) it will likely be determined that there was a gang or organized crime connection as opposed to a random act of mayhem. Such attacks do happen, but they are rare, in large part because guns are no where near as readily available in Canada.

    The argument that violent attacks would be stopped more quickly if only more people had more guns readily available falls flat when examining the Las Vegas shooting. Lots of people had guns on them, including at least one of the performers on stage. None of them shot back. I suspect that few (if any) even drew their weapons. Apparently everyone interviewed said that in the confusion, they didn’t want to risk being mistaken for the shooter and being shot by others in attendance.

    I think my neighbours and I would recognize three categories of guns: hand guns, long guns (rifles & shot guns), and assault weapons. Hand guns are primarily designed for shooting people. Assault weapons are primarily designed for shooting people. Long guns are primarily designed for hunting. Most of us have no problem with hunting to put food on the table, but you don’t need hand guns or assault weapons to do that.

    As I stated, the problem of gun violence is of your own creation, however justified, however vilified, however supported by commercial interests, however supported or opposed by political ideologies. How many more must die before you say enough?

    Audet Rantissi said that the only thing that will bring peace to the Middle East is forgiveness. He accepted that that would be extremely difficult given all the bloodshed, death and violent rhetoric. He went on to say that the only thing more difficult than forgiveness would be to continue to live with the status quo.

    I think Audet’s statement applies equally well to the American experience with gun violence.

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    • I appreciate your perspective. The US and Canada have very different histories. The US is an independent-country, while Canada is still part of the UK. The US formed its identity through war, a war for independence. Canada has accepted the identity it has been given as part of the UK. Thus, we have very-different beliefs and opinions on how things should be done.

      You, and the media, speak of “gun violence” as though it is an “item”, and yet we lose far more lives to vehicles, but we don’t call vehicle-crashes “vehicle-violence”. Drug-overdoses cause many more deaths than are lost to shootings, but we don’t call it “drug-overdose-violence”. We also lose far more lives to medical-malpractice, yet we don’t call it “medical-violence”. To cap it all off, we lose a quarter of a million lives in the US to abortion, yet we don’t call it “abortion-violence”, even though abortions are very violent. One of my Brothers used a tie-down-strap to hang himself. Was that “tie-down-strap-violence”?

      Every death has a “cause”, regardless of how it comes about. My mom died of cancer and old-age.

      Yes, we have a problem with violence in our world, and even if it has largely spared Canada, that status quo may not last long. Are you prepared?

      Handguns are for personal-protection. Yes, long-guns are for sport and hunting, as are shotguns. “Assault-rifle” is a misnomer erroneously applied to weapons that LOOK LIKE military weapons, but aren’t. An “assault-rifle”, is, by-definition, a “selective-fire” weapon, meaning that it has a “full-auto” mode, and those have been heavily-restricted in the US for over fifty-years. They are NOT available to the general-public, but only to the Police and Military. The “AR” in AR-15″ DOES NOT MEAN “assault-rifle”, but is the designation given to it by Armalite, its original designer and manufacturer. (“AR” is an abbreviation of Armalite.) Its closest military-cousin is the M-16, which IS a military-weapon. I served in the US Army, so I am very familiar with both weapons. The M-16 IS a “selective-fire”, the AR-15 is not. It is semi-automatic-only. Both are chambered for .223/5.56 NATO, and in fact, most “hunting-rifles” are ballistically-superior, from the .243 on up.

      Blessings,

      Steve

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      • Canada and the U.S.A do have different histories. Your characterization of Canada as simply accepting the identity given to it misses the mark. We are not part of the UK, but part of the Commonwealth along with 52 other countries including Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, and South Africa.

        We chose a different path. Canada, like the U.S.A. was originally a colony until the passage of the British North America Act in 1867 by the British parliament which established Canada as a separate country, something which had never been done with a colony before. In many ways, Canada established its identity as a nation in 1917 during WWI by capturing Vimy Ridge with 15,000 troops where France had failed and had suffered 100,000 casualties. Independence came slowly over time, culminating in 1982 when full control of the constitution was given to Canada. The effort was lead by the father of the current Prime Minister.

        Yes, the Queen of England is still the titular head of state, represented in Canada by the Governor General; and yes, Acts of the Canadian parliament still receive Royal Assent before becoming effective. These are symbolic of the history of the country which Canadians are proud to embrace. I don’t remember the last time the Queen did not assent to the desires of the Canadian government.

        Thanks for the information about the AR designation. I had no idea what it meant.

        In many ways Canadians and Americans share cultural attributes, but in many fundamentals we diverge. A clear example of this can be found in our building codes of all places. In one case, building codes require us to fire rate the exterior walls of some buildings to protect the neighbours from fire originating in our building, and in the other case, the building codes require the fire rating of the exterior walls of some buildings to protect our building from fire originating in neighbouring buildings. Both approaches aim to achieve the same end: stopping the spread of fire. They just have a different emphasis.

        One thing I have discovered talking with Christians from many different countries and states is that the fellowship we have in Christ can transcend differences in culture and history when we focus on Christ and His Kingdom.

        In Christ,
        Han

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      • Greetings Hans,
        I appreciate the history lesson, because the last time I took history was before Canada’a final independence and your current government iteration. While Canada has remained loyal to the Crown, the US revolted against the Crown about 250 years ago.

        I would suppose that the differing histories of the US and Canada are a large part of the reason we have differing views on the personal-ownership of firearms. Having just finished the war for American independence, the framers of our Constitution and Bill of Rights enshrined the right to keep and bear arms in the 2nd Amendment, lest we be faced with another attempt at subjugating the US under another totalitarian government and not have the means to protect ourselves. That includes the right to revolt against our own government if it were to become totalitarian.

        During WWII, Hirohito, the Emperor of Japan, considered invading the US mainland, until he was reminded that they would face a gun behind every tree and every rock, and such invasion would never succeed. Only one other country has never been successfully invaded, Switzerland.

        Speaking of fires, and different fire-codes… I wonder if there will be a need for Fire Departments and Firefighters in the New Heavens and the New Earth? Being morally-perfect doesn’t necessarily mean that we will do everything perfectly.

        Yes, we worship the same great and awesome God, and should be partners in fulfilling the Great Commission. As Christians, we are part of one family, the family of God, and that is easy to see in the church I belong to which is definitely multi-national.

        Blessings,
        Steve

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  2. Another comparison for you: “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” vs “Peace, order and good government”.

    The church I attend is also multi-national. We have first or second generation immigrants from: England, Germany, South Africa, Jamaica, India, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Italy, China, that I can think of at the moment.

    Your second amendment, enacted in 1791 speaks of a well regulated militia. Do you know what was conceived of as a “well regulated militia”? I imagine what they had in mind then may be different from what the modern mind would envision. I’ve never heard an explanation of the term.

    I imagine that our winters are what has dissuaded anyone from invading Canada. That would make the U.S.A. one of three, if you don’t count the British attack on Washington during the War of 1812, when they set fire to the Capitol Building before withdrawing. My understanding is that the building was whitewashed to hide the fire damage from the citizenry, which is when it acquired the name White House. That may be apocryphal, but it is the only explanation I have heard.

    In Christ,
    Han

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    • Hi Han,

      “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” These words, enshrined in our Declaration of Independence, make it incumbent on our Government to do everything in its power to preserve and protect these Creator-endowed rights.

      We hold that our Government is to be “Government of the people, For the people, By the people”, which has become contorted to be “Government of the people, For the Government, By the Government”, comparable to “Peace, order and good government”.

      “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

      These words, also from the Declaration of Independence, are the foundation for the 2nd Amendment. “A well regulated militia” has always been understood to mean: An available cadre of trained and armed citizen-soldiers, supported by the right of the individual to keep and bear arms, the arms of their choice.

      A part of this citizen-militia has been organized into our National Guard, and unless Federalized by the President, it is under the command of its state’s Governor. Thus, the Florida National Guard is under the command of the Governor of Florida.

      The US hasn’t always employed a large standing-military. Thus, in time of crisis, units of the National Guard have been activated and deployed for active-combat.

      Our military is actually comprised of four elements; Active Duty, Active Reserve, Inactive Reserve, and National Guard. Both Guard and Reserve Members/Units receive the same training as their Active Duty counterparts. I served three years Active Duty in the Army, and the balance of my six-year commitment was Inactive Reserve, which means that, while I didn’t train regularly, as does the Active Reserve, I could have been recalled to Active Duty had the need arose. I didn’t have a Combat MOS, so there was a low likelihood of being recalled, and I wasn’t.

      I know – a long answer to a short question, but even many Americans don’t understand these things either.

      Blessings,
      Steve

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  3. Thanks for the lesson. I didn’t know about the relationships among the 4 elements of the military. I had heard about all of them except inactive reserve.

    I also didn’t know that the National Guard was under the command of the state governors. I do recall references to the Air National Guard, but not to a Navy National Guard. Does that role exist or is it relegated to the Coast Guard? If so, how does the Coast Guard fit in with the rest?

    What do you think about the new Space Force being added to the Army, Navy and Air Force?
    Are the Marines considered their own branch or as part of the Navy?

    I imagine that happiness had different connotations 200 years ago. The pursuit of happiness has seemed a strange goal. Happiness depends on what is happening, on happenstance, on circumstance, on the material world. It is by definition a fleeting thing. A much better aim, at least for Christians, would be the pursuit of joy. Joy in the Lord, inexpressible and full of glory; independent of what is happening. I wonder what the authors of the Declaration of Independence had in mind by that phrase.

    The U.S.A. has been called a melting pot. In contrast, Canada has been likened to a tossed salad, all mixed together, but each component still recognizable.

    On my journey, I’ve read through the BiblicalNaturist and MCAG web sites, and followed the off-site links down many rabbit holes. I am convinced that the common teaching in the Church regarding modesty, nudity and lust for the past 300 years is a cultural teaching and not a biblical one. I believe I know what the Bible reveals of God’s attitude toward simple nudity and that it doesn’t correlate to sexuality. What I am trying to figure out is “What is appropriate in this culture and in the current church culture?”, and “How do we change the church culture to be more biblicaly based without unnecessarily offending everyone?” How do we preach the message in love?

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    • Hi Han,
      There are only two National Guard components – Army and Air. The famous “Hurricane Hunters” are a unit of the Air National Guard.

      Coast Guard was originally formed under the Department of the Treasury. It now falls under the Department of Homeland Security, and may be placed under the Navy as necessary. It has jurisdiction over all navigable waters, both inland and near-shore. It is both a Military component, and also has law enforcement powers.

      The Marine Corps is a component of the Navy.

      The Air Force was originally formed as part of the Army, the Army Air Corps, but later became its own, stand-alone service. I would expect that the Space Force will be organized under the Air Force, as the Air Force was the backbone of NASA for many years.

      The Army was the first military service authorized by Congress, and the Navy and Marine Corps were organized shortly thereafter.

      Many early immigrants to the US were fleeing religious persecution, so part of “happiness” was the freedom to practice their religion as they chose to do. “Happiness” is also related to freedom of speech, which is why freedom of religion and freedom of speech are enshrined in the 1st Amendment. The 1st Amendment also forbids the State from enacting a “national religion”, such as England has. The Queen is the titular-head of the Anglican Church, or the Church of England.

      The Framers of the Constitution were Deists, but not necessarily “Christians”, and they were seeking to establish a secular Nation, which, while founded on many Biblical principals, was not intended to be a “Christian” nation. Part of what they rebelled against was the Church’s power to dictate national-policy.

      Yes, the US IS a melting-pot, but that doesn’t mean that it is “culturally-homogeneous”. Territorial-cultures differ widely, and even though I spent a dozen years in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which has a large Latino (Mexican) and Native American population, I was totally-unprepared for living in Florida, which has a large, and very-visible Latino population, much of which is from Puerto Rico and Cuba.

      There is a pretty sizable group of French Canadians that comes to Cypress Cove every winter, and they are readily-recognizable by their fluent French and poor English.

      How do we turn back the clock on five-hundred-years of church-tradition? Matthew Henry was one of the earliest and most influential Bible commentators who embraced “cultural-updating”, interpretating the Bible according to his contemporary cultural-norms. His commentary on Isaiah 20 is particularly-telling. I have an article entitled “Twisting The Truth” in which I expose this kind of illegitimate interpretation, The problem is that our Bible teachers and preachers have been educated (indoctrinated) to believe this way.

      I had to cringe when my pastor blamed Bathsheba for David’s sin, totally contrary to the message sent by God through the Prophet Nathan to David. Say what?

      If we allow ourselves to be transported back in time by the Bible, we will find that, while the Jews were generally a “clothed-culture”, “ordinary-nudity” was common and no big deal.

      Imagine two and a half million people living in a tent-city in the wilderness. Then, add the laws for ritual-purification… They had no indoor-plumbing, no washer and dryer, just a communal-latrine and a communal-bath/wash-house.

      What was the sign of the Covenant? Circumcision. How could they tell if a man was a Jew? Look between his legs. God gave that sign to Abraham as a VISIBLE and permanent-sign.

      It is easy for us to forget that we haven’t always had the conveniences we now enjoy. Not everyone has a WalMart just around the corner, and indoor-plumbing still hasn’t reached many parts of the world.

      I used to have a sister-in-law, who lived in rural Oklahoma, who never lived in a house with indoor-plumbing until the early 90’s, when she moved into town. They had a pitcher-pump (hand) on their well, and an outhouse. Clothes were washed in the same wash-tub in the middle of the kitchen floor where everyone took their baths.

      Yes, we have a long road ahead of us if we are ever going to have any influence on the church and our surround-culture, because this “textile-modesty” fallacy runs very deep. David Hatton, one of the authors of MCAG, has written a fascinating book about this entire subject, entitle “Meeting At The River”. If you haven’t read it, it is well-worth getting and reading.

      Blessings,
      Steve

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  4. Our Coast Guard also has jurisdiction over navigable waters. I worked on a golf course once which had a large natural water hazard. We wanted to put a bridge for golf carts across part of the water hazard and had to get Coast Guard approval before we could do so. There were two properties that abutted the water, and that made it a navigable waterway even though it was totally isolated and didn’t go anywhere.

    I remember seeing aircraft with USAAF emblazoned on the fuselage in movies and documentaries. I understand there was quite a power struggle over who should control air power.

    I was familiar with most of the basics of the founding of the U.S.A., but you are the first I’ve come across to state that they wanted to establish a secular country. Every other source has said they wanted a country with essentially no one denomination being the officlal denomination – Christian, but with freedom of expression. Given the role of then influential Masons, your statement rings truer.

    There was a pretty sizeable group of French-Canadians who went to the southern states, and stayed. They had lived in Acadia in eastern Canada and were expelled, refusing to swear allegiance to the Crown. The placename of their origin became corrupted, and now they are known a Cajuns.

    There are also a lot of English speaking Canadians who winter in Florida as well. Here they are known as Snow Birds, after the Anne Murray song.

    I grew up in a big city, so we had all the modern conveniences, but I visited friends in rural areas who had hand pumps on the wells, and outhouses.

    I have exchanged emails with David Hatton. I will try to get a copy of his book. It was an item of his about being an OBGYN nurse that I came across at the same time as I heard a news report about a North American couple who went to a police station in the UAE to report the wife having been raped that prompted me to find out what the Bible really said.

    When the wife’s rape was reported, she was immediately arrested for having illicit sexual intercourse. Obviously she was to blame and must have dressed or acted in a manner that incited lust in the men who raped her. I thought that this victim blaming was quite characteristic of Islam and foreign to Christianity. Boy was I wrong. A few internet searches and I discovered that victim blaming and body shaming were very common among North American Christians, particularly among conservatives and evangelicals. Further investigation of scripture showed this attitude to be cultural and not biblical. Too often we confuse our church culture for Kingdom of God culture.

    We also tend to want people to behave before they believe and we allow them to belong. Rather, we should develop relationships with unbelievers so they belong which may lead to them believing and then allow God to change their behaviour as He sees fit.

    My friend was being pressured by others at church to give up smoking. “Don’t you know the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit!” He asked me about it one day and I told him to relax, ignore the legalists, and listen to what the Holy Spirit was speaking to him. He then told me that he was thinking of divorcing his wife and leaving her and his children. We walked through his struggles, he committed to stay will his family and work on the marriage. Some time later, he stopped smoking because God spoke to him about it, not because some self-righteous Christian told him how he should behave.

    We need more Bereans.

    In Christ,

    Han

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    • Hi Han,
      I live in an RV park, and we have quite a few Canadians who winter here. I don’t understand the laws regulating such things, but they can only stay in the US for 180 days before they HAVE to go back to Canada.

      I not sure the US qualifies as a “melting-pot” either, because there are a myriad of regional-cultures. Each region of the country has developed a culture which is unique to the area and the people who settled it. As “American” as barbeque is, there must be a least a dozen, if not more, “versions” and “variations” of barbeque. The same is true of pizza. People from Philadelphia will claim that the only “authentic” Philly-cheese-steak is made in Philadelphia, but I have had some mighty-fine Philly-cheese-steaks here in Florida. “Southwestern-cuisine”, indigenous to Arizona and New Mexico, morphs into “Tex-Mex” in Texas, and in Baltimore, the only thing “Tex-Mex” is the decor. The same holds true of dialects, pronunciation and regional language-usage. I have lived in several parts of the country, so my speech is a modgepodge of several regions.

      “Modesty” really IS culturally-defined in many parts of the world. To a Muslim, any woman who is not covered head-to-toe in textiles is “immodest”. A man in India may be “triggered” by the sight of a woman’s ankles. The Waodani, an indigenous people in the Amazon basin of Ecuador, who are “totally-modest” wearing nothing but a string and a grin, consider an American woman’s bathing-suit “hideously-immodest”. In parts of Europe, there are nudist-parks and “nudist-zones” in many places. Japanese hold an annual “penis festival”. Many Americans have combined culturally-defined and religiously-defined “modesty” into an obscene-hybrid.

      As a Christian and a naturist, and ministers to other naturists, I have received more than my fair-share of barbs and verbal-barrages, both in-person and online. A couple of years ago, I responded to a blog post by a pastor in Colorado, and he came out swinging. He called me things that aren’t fit to reprint, and he wouldn’t shut-up until I told him to ask a particular member in his congregation about me, someone I have known since about 1970. My friend doesn’t necessarily agree with my lifestyle-choice, but we do see eye-to-eye on many critical-matters of theology.

      Sadly, legalism didn’t die-out when the Pharisees met their end. It just got rebirthed, and it is particularly conspicuous in Fundamentalist churches, particularly Baptist churches. Part of this legalism shows up as “dress-codes”. Last year, one of the largest denominations in the US held their annual-convention in Phoenix – in July. Phoenix bears a strong resemblance to Hell in July, so the President of the denomination sent out a memo to the attendees before the convention that they should leave their ties and coats at home. The president of the denomination’s largest seminary went ballistic on Twitter, and probably otherwise too. This is a paraphrase of what he said, but you get the gist; “Don’t do it, because that could lead to theological liberalism”. “It”, of course, was leave their ties and coats at home. I tweeted back to him, “Since when do ties and coats have anything to do with theology, unless you are getting your theology from culture”. I never heard back from him, not that I was surprised, because if he read my Twitter profile, it says that I am a Christian, a naturist, and a minister.

      I attended a large Baptist church for a while after I lost my first wife, and even while the pastor was railing against short-skirts, his wife and daughters were wearing skirts short enough to leave little to the imagination. The hypocrite needed to start in his own house before he denounced short-skirts from the pulpit. BTW, no, I am NOT a Baptist. It was convenient, and some friends invited me, when I was otherwise church-less.

      I am thankful that the church I belong to affirms that the Bible is our ONLY guide to faith and life, because, while I don’t “advertise” it, many of the members, including some of the officers, know that I am a naturist and know the nature of my ministry. They don’t have to agree with my lifestyle choice, but as long as they can’t find any biblical-grounds, they can’t condemn me for it.

      Yes, we need more Bereans in our churches, and it is incumbent on us to be Bereans too.

      As an aside, now that I have been carrying a weapon for the last several months every time I go out in public, I feel almost “naked” without it because of where I am going. There are strict regulations regarding where weapons are prohibited.

      Blessings,
      Steve

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  5. My understanding is that after 180 days (6 months), the IRS changes your classification from visitor/tourist to resident and requires people to declare income and pay taxes. Also, being outside of Canada for more than 6 months can affect your eligibility for permanent resident status or citizenship in Canada. I probably have the details wrong, but I believe that is the gist of it.
    Here there are Word churches and there are Spirit churches. The church we are part of embraces both the Word and the Spirit. One of those recognized by us as an apostle was preaching overseas. As he preached, he said that we believed “the Bible plus nothing; the Bible minus nothing”. This got translated as “the Bible more or less”.

    My wife’s grandfather was a gunsmith. He made weapons for the RCMP. My father-in-law hunted moose to put food on the table when he was younger. I have no problem with that. I do think it deplorable that anyone would feel the need to be armed for protection in a supposedly modern, civilized society. You may well be correct that where you go it is a prudent thing to do. I Christians should be praying and acting to change society so that swords would be beaten into ploughshares, and people would be genuinely safe.

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    • The peace, safety and security we all crave, and should strive for, will only be realized in the New Heavens and the New Earth. Even though the Seed of the Woman crushed the head of the serpent on the cross, the serpent has grown every more vindictive and violent. Though chained and restrained, Satan is on a rampage to do what he does best, deceive, murder and destroy.

      American in 2018 bears little resemblance to the America I grew up in in the 50’s and 60’s. When President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, it was as though the gates of Hell got thrown wide-open and the demons were unleashed. America has become an increasingly godless society, and the results are self-evident. He tried to warns us that bad things were happening in the shadows, and the only “thanks” he got was a bullet. We have had assassination-attempts on numerous elected-officials, and now we even have one elected-official who is openly-calling for violence in the streets. American has become unhinged.

      The first murder recorded in the Bible was carried-out with an “assault-stone” (Genesis 4:1-15). It wasn’t the weapon that mattered, but the corrupted-heart behind it. Whether it was a stone, a sword, or an AR-15, the intent and result was the same.

      As to whether I carry a weapon all the time; I live in a county where the County Sheriff has openly called for citizens to get armed, get licensed, and carry their weapons regularly. What does he know that has escaped out attention? I have been thanked by Deputies FOR carrying my weapon, because they know and understand that I have their back. Others have also openly thanked me for being armed. As much as I may long for “simpler-days”, things are only going to get worse. We are NOT in Eden anymore.

      Blessings,
      Steve

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      • I don’t understand the “things are only going to get worse” line of thinking. I accept that Satan was defeated once and for all time. I accept that the Kingdom of God is an ever increasing kingdom. Jesus has won the victory. Satan may lashing out as we await the return of Jesus, but his only weapon is the lies he can get people to believe. To me, “things are only going to get worse” seems defeatist.

        I don’t care what a person’s view on the end times is. What concerns me is how that view affects their present behaviour. What I have found is that the futurist eschatology promoted by Hal Lindsey and the whole “Left Behind” enterprise tends to lead many to stand and wait at the rapture bus stop because the world is going to hell in a hand basket rather than reaching out to the world and ministering Christ. I don’t see that behaviour as consistent with the great commission.

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      • I am not “waiting at the rapture bus-stop”, rather, I have an active ministry, engaged in trying to reach the lost for Christ. I also refuse to stick my head in the sand regarding our social and political climate in the US, which is getting more and more hostile to those of us who believe that we still have “inalienable rights”, including the right to free-speech and the right to defend and protect ourselves.

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  6. I didn’t mean to imply that you were one of those waiting, as I know you are out there ministering. It was a general observation only. My apologies for any offence caused.

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