Church shootings are a tragedy just like any other shooting that causes the loss of life. Some however feel that they are worse in the sense they are done in a ‘house of God’. There have been 14 fatal shootings at a house of worship since 2012 with different motivating factors. Americans tend to be more shocked by these type of shootings verses all other types but is there really a difference? There are 3 major misconceptions in American society: (1) A Church building is the house of God, (3) Limiting Gun access will reduce murders, (3) Prayer is not enough.
The House of God
People have long thought of Church Buildings as a House of God and are sacred because some believe that the actual presence of God is contained in them. When people are asked what church they are a part of, they point to a building. This is partly a continuation of per-pentecost history. Though God’s presence and actions were all over the ancient world, in the Temple, in the Holy of Hollies chamber, the actual presence of God was manifest. Then, Jesus came, taught of the coming poring out of the Holy Spirit into all believers. When it happened, God’s temple was each believer. The word “church” comes from the Greek word ekklesia which is defined as “an assembly” or “called-out ones.” Paul states in Romans 16:5 “Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in Asia.” Paul makes it clear that a church is a group of people, “an assembly” and “called-out ones”; not a building. Therefore, the House of God, is in each believer as they are the temple of God. Jesus said in Mark 14:58 “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this man-made temple, and in three days I will build another that is made without hands.‘” Just as Jesus drove out sin in the Temple prior to Pentecost, now Jesus drives out the sin with in us and purifies us because WE, you, every believer, are the temple of God now.
With that said, Church buildings are nothing more than structures made of the elements no different from all the other buildings in this world. Thus, they are vulnerable to the same sins and injustices in this world. They are equally vulnerable to shoots just as any other building. Church buildings are not the house of God, believes are.
Limiting Gun Access
With every significant shooting, the discussion of stricter Gun Control comes up as a solution to these violent crimes. That some how, more man-made laws will stop mass killings. This is a false hope. Looking into history we see mass killings throughout history long before Guns were invented. Even after the invention of Guns we see mass killings committed by governments on its citizens who weren’t armed to begin with. Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, China, Cambodia, and North Korea for example. In cities in the US that have extremely strict Gun Control Laws, like Chicago, has the highest rates of killings. In contrast, the countries with the some of the highest gun ownership per capita, such as Norway, Canada, and Finland have the least amount of gun violence. These facts disprove that Guns are the problem. The major dilemma for Gun Control advocates is the fact that criminals, by definition, do not obey laws to begin with. And the ultimate law that should stop gun violence, murder, is already outlawed. Increasing the number of laws does not stop those who kill. What is the REAL and TRUE problem and solution?
The REAL and TRUE problem is the culture’s morality or lack of it. If those who seek to kill other people lack the source of the value of human life; they will just use other tools. More recent murders with the use of vehicles and knifes for example. The tools are not the problem, the desire to use inanimate objects for the purpose of taking human life is; no different than Cain. The second problem of the heart is that others feel the need to control other people. Some FEEL as though they are more righteous in their anti-gun stance and want to control the people who are pro-gun. Again, the ULTIMATE problem is of the heart; not inanimate objects or arbitrary man-made laws.
Odd that Christians who advocate for stricter Gun Control fail to address the sinful heart and fail to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in every public forum and debate about gun violence. It is not necessarily odd but directly relates to the second problem pointed out above. Sinful people WILL kill; Cain used a rock before murder was ever witnessed, the Jewish authority used the lawful system to murder Jesus. Communist Russia starved its unarmed people. On October 31st, someone used a Home Depot truck to murder. It is a problem of the human heart from day one.
Following the Church shooting in Texas, some people took to social media and patronized prayer. Even elected officials made negative remarks about praying for the families of those who were killed. The idea presented is that prayer does not work but that action has to be taken- their solution- gun control action. The fact of patronizing prayer as ineffective also reveals the ignorant heart of what prayer is and does.
They are right in one sense. Sending prayers, ‘positive vibes’ and energy to the victims and their families doesn’t work. That is not true prayer. Prayer conforms our hearts to the will of God. That simple. If you pray for ANYTHING that is in God’s Will, it WILL be answered. Sounds pointless right? Sense God will act out his will anyway? Two things: (1) It conforms our hearts and minds to what ever God’s will may be. It helps us accept the sovereign will of God. (2) God has seen all events in time all ready, thus, he knows what is going to happen and what people will pray for; before space and time was created. God is love in that he does answer the prayers before the creation of the world but he is ALSO eternally knowledgeable. He knows the best solutions to draw people to himself. Far greater than we would understand. That is why some times it seems God does not answer prayers the way we ask. Doubting prayer is actually doubting God’s eternal love, knowledge, and sovereignty.
The elected officials and others who believe prayer is ineffective think THEY have a better solution and through THEIR power; THEY can bring about change and justice. Its a tough pill to swallow but some times the only way to reach people is through tragedy. God had his only holy Son killed so that the world could see God’s love and righteousness. In Jesus’ time, a tower collapsed and killed 8 Galleans. He used that example to call for people to repent. There was a man was born blind, lived his whole life blind. I’m sure he and his family prayed for healing but it never came. Then, Jesus came along and healed him later in life. Jesus stated “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3).
Name It and Claim It
is also not ‘claiming’ something “in Jesus’ name”. If this was true,
why not say this: “I claim all mass shootings to stop in Jesus’ name”
and boom. done. right? Why doesn’t the most righteous name it and claim it Word of Faith preach just do it already? What are they waiting for? You see, even the name it and claim it crowd do not truly believe their claims either. Again, this is not what true prayer is. It is just another attempt to feel in control over God’s sovereignty.
We pray to help us conform to God’s will and accept his vast perfect knowledge with the hope that it leads people to Him. No matter what, his sovereign power is seen no matter the event. He is in full control. The illusion of humanistic Gun Control to save lives does not save others from all the other tools used to take lives; only God can truly save the lives of whom ever he chooses for his purposes. The salvation of Souls is far greater. Jesus declares “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28).
The American culture will continue to decline and a vast number of tools to take lives will continue to be used despite passing vast number of regulations and laws. Culture will decline because of the lack of morality and faith in God. Church shootings will continue. In fact, the Christian life under Rome was far worse still. Unless the Church (believers in Jesus Christ) takes a stand and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ; the hearts and minds of American society will continue to decay and lead to more violence. No humanistic law will solve the sinful hearts of the society; only proclaiming The Gospel can. Proclaiming The Gospel is far greater than proclaiming any secular Gun Control law, denouncing prayer, and feeling safe in a building.
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