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It’s morally wrong to say “It’s morally wrong for a Christian school to arm faculty”

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Pantego Christian Academy, a private Christian school in Texas, has announced that, in order to protect the students entrusted to the school’s care each day, several administrators will now be packing heat. Each administrator “who double as a school marshal will carry a concealed handgun, will have extensive weapons and scenario-training from the state and undergo a psychiatric evaluation” (foxnews.com).

Dr. Jeff Potts, the school’s president, stated:

We are arming select individuals who meet certain criteria. And they are administrative type people who are in close proximity to all of our classrooms.

It’s not Florida. It’s the culture today, and it’s something we felt led to do.

One former Pantego Christian Academy student did not welcome this news. Ryan Waller is an assistant rector at the Church of the Incarnation in Dallas, TX. Waller authored a March 2nd, 2018, article at the Dallas Morning News entitled, “It’s morally wrong for a Christian school to arm faculty.”

According to Waller, “Pantego’s decision to arm administrators with guns is not only ill-advised, it is morally reprehensible,” (emphasis mine).

 

Waller begins by presenting his own, secular arguments.

“It is the job of law enforcement and other security professionals to keep us safe,” he stated. Using a firearm is “problematic and complicated, even for professionals.”

For this reason, rather than allowing trained administrators to carry a firearm on school grounds in case of an emergency, Waller pleaded:

This is a time to trust the system and allow it to adjust. Let’s change gun laws. Let’s support police. Let’s praise companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods for stopping the sale of weapons meant only for war… Let’s not put more guns in schools.

The assistant rector did not attempt to reconcile the incongruity of relying upon law enforcement for protection while insisting on the prohibition of firearms; a firearm being a necessary feature of every law enforcement officer’s ensemble.

He also did not address the massive system-wide failure that enabled the school shooting in Florida to take place.

 

Waller then entered the theological realm:

I make one final appeal as a Christian priest. There’s nothing safe about being a Christian. Jesus Christ himself said that if we are to follow him we must pick up our cross and deny ourselves. When violence came for Jesus, he offered no defense of himself and instructed those around him to also resist a defense.

I’m not a true pacifist. I wish I was but I’m not. I believe there’s a time for fighting and for war. I support not only the police but also the armed forces. But as Christians we must allow those trained in the art of warfare to engage in war. Our role is to do what Jesus called us to do. Be his hands and feet. Feed the poor. Care for the widow and orphan.

Waller concluded his article with one final exhortation: “And may God bless America as it decides what kind of nation it hopes to be.”

 

My take:

Here’s my take, summed up into a single sentence: It’s morally wrong to say that “it’s morally wrong for a Christian school to arm faculty.”

Ryan Waller might be a lovely man. Unfortunately, I’d never know it from reading his article. Waller’s ease and confidence in twisting scripture and omitting context mirrors the deceptive acts of the most notorious profiteering, sleazy TV evangelists.

I take no issue with the assistant rector voicing his opinion – his opinion.

I do, however, object to Waller’s abuse of Holy Scripture and Waller’s exploitation of his own religious title in order to disguise his personal, political agenda by concealing it beneath the cloak of religion.

 

There are several issues regarding Waller’s theological arguments that must be unpacked…

First, Ryan Waller is correct to state that the world is unsafe for Christians. Christ specifically said that those who follow him will be hated by those who rebel against God (John 15:18). We should expect this hatred to manifest in various forms of religious persecution, including martyrdom.

However, the fact that Christians live in a hostile world is in no way an excuse for nor a directive to refrain from the defense of self or from the defense of children entrusted to one’s care.

Second, Waller correctly stated that Christians are to deny the self and carry one’s cross. In Luke 9:23, Christ stated, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily.” With these words, Jesus explained that to be His followers we must commit daily to faith and obedience, “even to the point of being shamed and persecuted by the world” (Orthodox Study Bible).

However, neither denying one’s selfish plans and desires nor the daily bearing of one’s own cross are in any way an excuse for nor a directive to refrain from the defense of self or from the defense of children entrusted to one’s care.

Third, Waller’s statement that, “When violence came for Jesus, he offered no defense of himself and instructed those around him to also resist a defense,” is wholly misleading.

Let’s examine the actual Scriptures (John 18:3-11):

3Judas led some soldiers and some men who had been sent by the head religious leaders of the Jews and the proud religious law-keepers to the garden. They carried lamps and sticks that were burning and swords.

4Jesus knew what was going to happen to Him. He went out and asked them, “Who are you looking for?”

5The soldiers answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

Jesus said, “I am Jesus.” Judas, who was handing Him over, was with them also.

6When He said to them, “I am Jesus,” they stepped back and fell to the ground.

7He asked them again, “Who are you looking for?”

They said again, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

8He said, “I have told you that I am Jesus. If you are looking for Me, let these men go their way.” 9He said this so the words he spoke might happen, “I have not lost one of those You gave Me.”

10Simon Peter had a sword. He took it and hit a servant who was owned by the head religious leader and cut off his right ear. 11Then Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back where it belongs. Am I not to go through what My Father has given Me to go through?”

Here, Jesus interrupts Peter’s physical defense, because it interfered with the completion of Christ’s mission to lay down His life so that Christians may have salvation, life everlasting. Jesus’s words to Simon Peter that night in the Garden of Gethsemane were in no way an infinite command to all future generations.

Christ’s words were not an excuse for nor a directive upon humanus infinitum to refrain from the defense of self or from the defense of children entrusted to one’s care.

In fact, “the idea that one is required to surrender his life – or the lives of his family, neighbors, or even strangers – in the face of armed attack is alien to scripture” (David French, National Review).

Does caring for the widow and for the orphan not entail the preservation of life?

Jesus is not a new, separate “god,” one at war with His Father or with the Old Testament scriptures. The Old Testament’s rests great emphasis upon the value of life, including the right to defend oneself and others from bodily harm (Nehemiah 4:14 is just one example). This reverence for life is present in the New Testament as well. For instance, it was at the Last Super when Christ instructed His disciples, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one,” (Luke 22:36) (emphasis mine).

This brings me to my fourth and final point: Waller never presents theological evidence to support his thesis that it is immoral for faculty and administrators to be armed in defense of students. Christ’s disciples were themselves teachers of the Word and good news. This thought appears to have escaped the assistant rector altogether.

Ryan Waller is quick to launch the barb of moral reprehensibility at Pantego Christian Academy, and by default, at all Christian schools who choose to follow Pantego’s lead.

Yet, to read Waller’s article one may be led to believe that Christ was a pacifist – He wasn’t – and that Christians should simply do nothing in the event of a school shooting, but passively accept our demise and the demise of countless children via the bullets of a madman…  as the minutes pass by before the first law enforcement officer arrives.

To use Waller’s own words: His decision to twist scripture and omit context in order to lend credence to his personal, political opinion, draping non-theological sentiments in the cloak of religion, “is not only ill-advised, it is morally reprehensible.”

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Patrick McHargue

    March 16, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    Well written! God did not give us life so that someone else could take it from us.

    • Paige Rogers

      March 18, 2018 at 11:37 pm

      Thank you, Patrick.

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Culture and Religion

Matthew 22:37 – ‘love the Lord thy God’

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Matthew 2237 love the Lord thy God

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. – Matthew 22:37 (KJV)

We’ve all heard this verse, but have we really contemplated it? This is a verse that sits in the middle of many different things happening. The Pharisees and Sadducees were questioning Him. His answers were profound and defining.

This important portion of this message is echoed three times: all. Love thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all they mind. This is the most important Commandment according to Yeshua.

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Culture and Religion

Scouts BSA: Proof that moral leadership matters in life

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Scouts BSA Proof that moral leadership matters in life

In the Age of Trump, where the Fellowship of the Pharisees and their so-called evangelical followers have given “God’s chosen president” a “mulligan” for his sexually immoral past in exchange for a seat at his table, the damage being done to the Gospel of Christ is obvious.

Another consequence of this kind of hypocrisy has been the destruction of moral leadership in nearly every area of American life. For example, let’s take a look at Scouts BSA, formerly known as the Boy Scouts of America.

In a report by NBC New York yesterday, we learned that nearly 8,000 adults are suspected of sexually abusing more than 12,000 children in the Boy Scouts over the years, and that these incidents have been kept secret according to victim’s rights attorney Jeff Anderson.

“For many, many years there’s been an excavation of what are called the ‘perversion files’—those are files held and hoarded at the Boy Scouts of America headquarters.

“Those ‘perversion files’ that they’ve had reflect that they have removed thousands of offenders of childhood sexual abuse over the years and they’ve kept that in files secretly.”

While the abuse appears to have been going on since the 1940s, recent decisions by the Boy Scouts created an environment that essentially guaranteed it would happen with greater frequency, thanks to the institution of LGBT-friendly changes to their leadership requirements.

In the summer of 2015, then-president of the Boy Scouts and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates abandoned the organization’s commitment to develop moral character by lifting the ban on homosexuals serving as leaders due to fears of possible lawsuits.

The lawsuit excuse was a lie as the Supreme Court had already upheld the BSA’s right to exclude homosexuals. In reality, Gates, the guy responsible for ending the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, simply wanted to open scouting to the LGBT community, regardless of any consequences. Moral considerations be damned.

Here’s an irony for you. Scouts BSA announced a few months ago it may go bankrupt due to the lawsuits over sexual abuse and declining membership. I guess Gates missed that one.

By the way, Scouts BSA also made a policy change in February 2017 to recognize children by their “gender identity,” and the reason Boy Scouts of America changed the name to Scouts BSA is because it’s now open to girls. How long will it be before we hear about a “straight” leader sexually molesting these new additions to the Boy Scouts?

In the end, however, it’s not an LGBT or straight issue; it’s a moral leadership issue. Unfortunately, morality no longer exists in the Boy Scouts because their first duty to God no longer exists, due in no small part to the rise of the lukewarm church and cheap grace theology.

Moral leadership matters in life; and in politics as well. But we’ll never see it again in America unless something changes in the heart of the church.

Originally posted on StridentConservative.com.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

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Culture and Religion

Fasting facilitates changes

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Fasting facilitates changes

As strange as it may sound, the three words that I used to build the title of this article took a bit of thought. Believers in Yeshua look to fasting as a way to do many things and the topic is both extremely complicated and exceptionally simple. Those three little words, “fasting facilitates change,” were chosen very carefully.

It’s important to state up front that I’m not an expert on fasting. I’ve done it twice and I’m about to start again, so at least a little of this article is geared towards helping me to focus my own thoughts on the matter. Hopefully, it can be a blessing to you as well.

The reason that fasting is so important to modern day Christians is a little different than it was in the time before and during Yeshua’s walk on the earth. The presence of “the world” is so much stronger today in that western society has positioned Christianity and pretty much all religions as a pastime rather than a way of life. We are drawn to this world due to perceived financial obligations, an unbelievable availability of distractions, and a general sentiment that is pro-secularism and pro-humanism. As a result, our own walks with the Lord face worldly roadblocks… at least that’s the perception.

Let’s discuss what fasting is and isn’t.

What fasting is

I have done a little research. Not enough. Everything from here on out is not very scriptural nor is it purely doctrinal based upon the writings of experts.

We know that fasting was used in the Bible to deprive the body in a way that would allow a clearer connection with the soul and spirit. It’s like turning down the signal between the world and the body so that we can hear the other two signals better.

Our bodies need nourishment and depriving it of this nourishment allows for clarity of message. It is a powerful tool for change, one that I believe can have a similar but slightly different effect as prayer alone. In a way, it’s the humbling demonstration of physical weakness that allows us to be more in touch with the Holy Spirit.

We are a haughty people. Stiff necked. By allowing our bodies to enter into a state of weakness, it makes true supplication possible and allows our Father to work through us to purge ungodly spirits at work on us daily.

What fasting isn’t

I’ve read some about the psychological effects of fasting. It bordered on heresy because it focused on concepts like hallucinations, harnessing raw emotions, and spiritual enlightenment. I cannot say for certain since I have not experienced those things first hand but the descriptions certainly made it seem as if fasting was being used to allow the wrong spirits of disillusion and corruption go to work on us rather than the Holy Spirit.

This is not a vision quest. It’s not about looking in. This is about opening up through utter humility to let the Holy Spirit be our guide. Fasting with prayer to the Father in the name of the Son and supplication from a perspective of lowliness and humility are the things that allow a fast to work in us properly. Denying our bodies of food and drink will open us to many spirits. Prayer to the one true God is the only way to make sure it’s the right spirits that fill us through our physically weakened state.

Fasting is not casual. It’s not a diet. It’s not a status symbol or something that we should discuss with others unless absolutely necessary.

Fasting is you and the Holy Spirit on a personal journey to cleanse your own spirit and prepare it to do the work of the Father. Anything else added to it diminishes it.

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