Letter: Churches must protect flock, even with guns

From: David Darnall


I am writing this letter in response to a column by Brandon Andress that appeared in the Jan. 6 edition of The Republic titled, “Christian church should have no room for guns.” As a former police officer and a lifelong member of a local church, charged with setting up a security team, I have a different perspective.

While I don’t claim to be a biblical scholar, I do believe there is a scriptural basis for churches employing security measures to protect and ensure the safety of parishioners, including the use of guns.

The apostle Paul in addressing the leaders of the early church encourages them to “keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.” (Acts 20:28) Pastors are directed throughout the New Testament to protect the flock and are repeatedly referred to as shepherds. While it is reasonable to assume that Scripture is referring to primarily spiritual matters, it’s not a distortion or twisting of Scripture to infer that pastors are to also look out for the physical well-being of churchgoers.

Shepherds use many different means or tools to protect their flock. To ask a shepherd to defend the flock against a violent threat without having a weapon to do so is tantamount to asking a pastor to preach without his Bible. Yes, I know, “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal.” A Scripture that is clearly speaking of a spiritual battle, not a physical one.

Some may make the argument that “the Lord will protect us.” I appreciate the faith and trust in the Lord. The fact of the matter is, while God is certainly capable of and does in fact display his supernatural power, he most often accomplishes his will and work through men willing to be used.

I would assume that the author would be in favor of securing a church when it’s not in use or keeping the offerings locked in a safe. Should a church spread salt on the parking lot or have handrails along stairs? For that matter, should a church even carry insurance on its property? Having armed security in a church is a wise precaution, just as locking doors and securing money are.

The author’s overriding objection is that Christ never condoned violence. The sole purpose of having armed security is to prevent violence.

The author closes by saying, “And we are those who always chose to love, even in the face of impending death, because it is the way demonstrated by our Savior and Lord.” While Christ is our ultimate example, none of us are the one and only Son of God, sent to save the world by dying a brutal death on a cross. Making that comparison is dangerous to say the least.

Ask yourself this question: If violence should occur in your church, would you call someone with a gun or someone who was unarmed?