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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

Daniel Greenfield discusses Jamie Glazov’s book “Jihadist Psychopath”

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Daniel Greenfield discusses Jamie Glazovs book Jihadist Psychopath

Jamie Glazov, managing editor of FrontPage Magazine and host of The Glazov Gang, has written a book that political commentator Dennis Prager says is “one of the most important books of the present time.” That book is “Jihadist Psychopath” and I just ordered a copy for myself.

Daniel Greenfield, Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, made a video about the book that prompted me to order it. Both men are respected defenders of freedom and watchmen over the threat of jihad in America, Israel, and around the world.

As he is wont to do, Greenfield points to leftist politicians as enablers of the jihadists by turning a blind eye to the rise of sharia law across America.

“These servants of the people, public servants, they’re actually masters of the people. They prefer to dictate than to be dictated to. Now, of course, Islamic terrorists will, in their own time, dictate to them. They will dictate to them using Islamic sharia law, but as far as the left is concerned for the moment, these are the people who need them, who are badly, desperately in need of being defended and protected and of course will happily trade their votes in exchange for getting a few benefits on the side.”

He continues on, examining the book’s sober pronouncements of intolerance of anything and anyone who does not bow to sharia law. To jihadists, there is only one acceptable way to live and all other perspectives must be subjugated or eliminated.

“Islamic terrorists have no attraction for anything really positive in life,” Greenfield continues. “They’re drawn to destruction. They’re drawn to emptiness because they themselves are empty. They’re hollow, and that is a central principle of Jamie Glazov’s excellent book.”

Patriots ranging from Steven Emerson to John Bolton are publicly recommending this book. I ordered my copy after watching Greenfield’s video. Freedom-loving Americans should watch it and consider reading “Jihadist Psychopath” by Jamie Glazov.


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Culture and Religion

Matt Walsh speaks out on #CovingtonCatholic students and the fake controversy surrounding them

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Matt Walsh speaks out on CovingtonCatholic students and the fake controversy surrounding them

When white Catholic students wearing MAGA hats are caught on video face-to-face with Native Americans on one side and Black Hebrew Israelites on the other, they’re definitely bigoted white supremacist hatemongers who went out looking for minorities to persecute. At least that’s how mainstream media and a good chunk of social media reacted when they saw the initial videos and images of smirking MAGA children.

But that’s not how it went down. It was the exact opposite of how it went down.

When the story first broke, I saw many of my fellow conservatives on Twitter scolding the kids while the progressive gangs attacked them. I held my tongue. It’s not because I don’t speak out against bigotry regardless of which side of the political, religious, or cultural aisle it comes from, but something seemed fishy. Other than having a disconcerting smirk, I didn’t see anything in the kids that resembled the type of bigoted outbursts we’ve seen in the past from actual white supremacists, Antifa, or other hate groups.

It seemed staged. As it turned out, it wasn’t quite staged, per se, but it was manufactured by the two “victim” groups who went after the MAGA kids, not the other way around. As political and religious commentator Matt Walsh asked, were they supposed to drop down to the fetal position when approached by the two groups?

Hot takes on social and legacy media are often based on incomplete pictures. Before people get outraged and attack others over perceptions based on partial evidence, perhaps we should wait until the whole story comes to light. Just a thought.


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Culture and Religion

Does Matthew 22:29-30 indicate Jesus was referencing the Book of Enoch?

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Does Matthew 2229-30 indicate Jesus was referencing the Book of Enoch

Extra-Biblical texts such as the Book of Enoch are often frowned upon by churches. Some see 1 Enoch as fake. Others say it’s a good historical reference but not inspired. The Ethiopian Bible includes it as scripture. Should we read it?

To understand the answer to this question, we need to consider three things. First, it was referenced as holy by many of the early church fathers, but was excluded from official canon. Second, Enoch is referenced multiple times in the Bible: Genesis 4 and 5, Luke 3:37, Hebrews 11:5, and Jude 1:14. Third, Jesus makes a statement in Matthew 22:29-30 that references “scripture” but what he is saying is only found in 1 Enoch.

Many who oppose the validity of Enoch say that it was written after the Book of Jude because the it includes the quote that Jude references, but fragments of Enoch were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, which most scholars date to before Jude was born.

The scripture in question is Matthew 22:29-30:

29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

Nowhere in the 66 Books of the Bible does it say angels neither marry nor are given in marriage. What did Jesus mean when he said “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures” in reference to the angels not marrying?

Here is 1 Enoch 15:5-7:

5. Therefore have I given them wives also that they might impregnate them, and beget children by them, that thus nothing might be wanting to them on earth. 6. But you were ⌈formerly⌉ spiritual, living the eternal life, and immortal for all generations of the world. 7. And therefore I have not appointed wives for you; for as for the spiritual ones of the heaven, in heaven is their dwelling.

Hmm.

As with anything regarding extra-Biblical texts, I must urge caution. Many who believe 1 Enoch is authentic refute the authenticity of 2 Enoch and 3 Enoch. Then, there’s the question of inspiration and protection of the text. Many Christians believe the Bible has been able to survive and flourish despite so many attempts to disrupt it is because it has been protected over the millennia. If that’s the case, why was Enoch not included the whole time?

The answer to this question, to those who believe in its authenticity, may be found in the first two verses of the manuscript.

1 The words of the blessing of Enoch, wherewith he blessed the elect and righteous, who will be 2 living in the day of tribulation, when all the wicked and godless are to be removed. And he took up his parable and said -Enoch a righteous man, whose eyes were opened by God, saw the vision of the Holy One in the heavens, which the angels showed me, and from them I heard everything, and from them I understood as I saw, but not for this generation, but for a remote one which is 3 for to come. Concerning the elect I said, and took up my parable concerning them:

If Enoch is real, it’s meant for a later generation living in the day of tribulation. If it’s a fake, then it’s intended to deceive those in the end times. Either way, it’s understandable that it would not be included in most Bibles.

I tend to believe 1 Enoch is legitimate, but not to the point that I would teach on it. Not yet. Much more prayer and study is required before I would ever risk misleading anyone.

Nevertheless, the reference in Matthew 22 is compelling.

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