In Bradley County, Tennessee, the local sheriff has offered local congregations a training opportunity so there can be armed people in more churches. Of course, there are many opinions related to this matter that evolve more from political views, religious sentiment, and moral opinion.
Some in the church would never consider attending in a place where there are armed people in the congregation. Others carry firearms, train regularly for proficiency and are prepared to use them if someone threatens their congregation with deadly force. I am sure there are a whole lot of people somewhere in the middle. They like the idea of added protection while in church, but have a hard time wondering if Jesus or his disciples might pack heat at a gathering.
My opinion is a gun may be the only way to stop a person who is using a deadly weapon to kill innocent people. However, many incidents have been solved by people standing up and attacking the gunman and holding him down until the police arrive. Even if a weapon had been present, the initial people who are targeted are usually killed prior to a defensive reaction on the part of an armed or unarmed person.
I guess my biggest issue is the training aspect of carrying a weapon. It is one thing for Deacon Bill to own a handgun for 35 years vs. knowing how to effectively use the handgun in a combat environment. It is strange to consider the church becoming a combat environment, but then again it is weird to believe a combat environment can exist in an Amish community, local schools, large universities, and the post office too.
Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, author of On Combat and On Killing, two awesome scholarly works on the how human being react to violence, is convinced we are living in the most violent times in human history, and the only reason the homicide rate isn’t higher is because life saving technology has improved over the past thirty years. I am with him.
Given the fact that our Christian brothers and sisters are being beaten, shot, and attacked on a regular basis in predominantly Islamic and Communist countries, we should not be surprised that Christians are being assaulted in their places of worship here in America.
Like a Pandora’s box, I believe the concept of church violence has been cracked open, and there will be more attacks upon churches. Much like Columbine, once a horrific, violent act has occurred in a place where a violent attack was once taboo, it seems like evil people are given permission to act upon their perverse view of the world.
Is it surprising the world is becoming more violent? Jesus told us it would happen. What should our response be? Should we defend ourselves or should we allow ourselves to be martyred for the cause of Christ?