Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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In the News: The Second Amendment

Image After reading this article, you might consider the title a bit misleading. It is less a discussion of the merits of the second amendment to the constitution, and more an examination of the question of authority. But, at least it piqued your interest!

You would have to have spent the last few weeks under a rock to not have gotten wind of the rather passionate current debate over the relative need for gun control. The debate has become more contentious in the aftermath of the mass shooting on December 14th at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. This shooting has led gun control advocates to call for comprehensive legislation that will greatly limit the type and numbers of firearms available to American citizens. At the other end of the spectrum, it has led others to call for the arming of teachers, principals and other law abiding citizens to combat these violent criminals.

At the center of the question is the second amendment to the constitution of the United States. The amendment was ratified and became a part of the constitution on December 15, 1791 along with the rest of the initial amendments, bundled together as a “bill of rights.” The amendment states concisely, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Regardless of whether the original purpose or intent of the authors’ of the amendment can be ascertained, the statement is clear “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

There is are an interesting number of parallels that can be drawn between the attitudes expressed in this debate, and those expressed by religious people today when they are presented with clear Bible teaching. Gun control advocates seek to discern what the amendment means by “militia” so as to dismiss the relevancy of the amendment. Similarly, attempts are made by some religious people to define terms and concepts in such a way as to make the instructions of scripture no longer relevant and binding.

Gun control advocates indicate that times have changed, with new innovations that make it too dangerous for citizens to own firearms. “After all,” they say, “there is a big difference between an assault rifle with a large magazine, and a flintlock musket.” Similarly, attempts are made by some religious people to note changes in culture and society that make the antiquated prohibitions or requirements of scripture either onerous, or in some other way unappealing to men.

Some gun control advocates call for second amendment to be repealed. This actually is an approach with legal merit. If sufficient support can be raised to repeal the amendment, then the government would have the legal right to make the ownership of firearms illegal. But, here is the point. So long as the amendment remains, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” And here is the point regarding the authority of God’s word. God made the rules, and men have absolutely no authority to disregard or change them. So long as the rules remain, they are to be obeyed.

Jesus said, “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:9-10). Men may not always understand why God requires what He does. They may not know why His will for man is best, and why the foolishness of God “is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:15). The fact remains that it is, and that we are to heed and obey!