A couple of years ago, a teenager asked for the Bible reference reminding Christians of their obligation to obey the government, provided no demands violated the Laws of God. The exact scriptures failed to come to mind, but I knew the reference could be found in Paul’s writings in the book of Romans. Later in the day, I typed in a few key words and pressed “Search.” Bingo! Romans 13:1-7. I texted the findings to the young man and awaited for follow-up questions. The next inquiry he posed threw me for a loop.
Should Christians Disarm?
He explained his question by posing the following scenario. If the Government orders the confiscation of all guns, how should Christians respond? Do we obey the government in this instance? These were questions I’d never pondered, but ones I sincerely wanted to investigate.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve given the question considerable thought. The issue of the “right to bear arms” stirs the hearts of Americans on both sides of the political aisle. Most conservatives strongly support the Second Amendment, while many liberals vehemently oppose, claiming the “living Constitution” needs a long overdue overhaul. Joseph Story, a prominent 19th century lawyer and jurist on the Supreme Court penned that the Constitution has a:
“…fixed, uniform, permanent construction. It should be…not dependent upon the passions or parties of particular times, but the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
This premise suggests that judges should not veer from the literal text’s meaning, and according to quotes by the Founding Fathers, American citizens deserved the rights of gun ownership. Thomas Jefferson said,
“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in the government.”
However, the question remains, if the federal government enacts legislation to disarm its citizens, should Christians peaceably comply?
When the Founding Fathers gathered to hash out the wording of the Constitution, three long months of vigorous debate ensued. After months of arguing, haggling, and heated discussion, a welcomed spirit of consensus permeated the hallowed halls of the Pennsylvania State House. The Founders settled in to inspect the final product emanating from the spirited deliberations. Washington and Madison believed a Divine Hand guided the efforts calling the Constitution a “Miracle.”
Other Founding Fathers concurred. Charles Pinckney of South Carolina said,
“When the great work was done and published, I was struck with amazement. Nothing less than that superintending hand of Providence that so miraculously carried us through the war could have brought it about so complete….”
Alexander Hamilton agreed with his sentiments saying,
“For my part, I sincerely esteem it a system which, without the Finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests.”
In other words, the Founding Fathers experienced something supernatural at the Convention, prompting these great statesmen to credit God for the outcome.
Maybe this is a stretch, but here it goes. If God inspired our Founding Fathers to create the document esteemed as the “supreme Law of the Land,” the writers made no mistake in including a fundamental “right to bear arms.” So, is the constitution infallible as the Word of God? Of course not! But God does still inspire people today. Songwriters, poets and storytellers occasionally credit God for ideas, marveling at how quickly the finished product appears on paper. The Founding Fathers credited God for the same type of wisdom flowing from the end of a quill pen.
Daniel Webster wrote,
“I regard it (the Constitution) as the work of the purest of patriots and wisest statesmen that ever existed, aided by the smiles of a benign Providence; it almost appears a Divine interposition in our behalf…the hand that destroys our Constitution rends our Union asunder forever.”
Maybe oft times controversial conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh sums it up best,
“You know why there’s a Second Amendment? In case the government fails to follow the first one.”