• Dr. Luke

    There are no holy ‘places’ as in ‘inanimate places’. God says, “your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit”. Bodies are ‘living persons’ not ‘inanimate places’.
    Every bullet has a target and by reading what God says in that verse its target happens to be His temple. 🙁

  • Brad B

    If the house of worship has parishioner who are well trained, either current or former law enforcement and current or former military members, who are willing to go through extensive training to carry a weapon to protect the house, wouldn’t it be appropriate for those individuals to do so, even if they are not payed “security guards?” A Church Militia, formed by they church to protect the church in times of potential crisis, I believe would be appropriate. Remember the states National Guard, is that states governor’s militia, swore to protect not only the United States constitution, but the states interests as we. A Church Militia could be charged with a similar obligations, to protect the Churches interest at all cost. It is truly unfortunate to have an armed militia at church, but what is the alternative, allowing crazed groups and individuals the opportunity to continue to kill innocents during times of prayer and worship?

  • Darril Deaton

    I am a pastor that has carried a pistol in the pulpit almost every Sunday since Westwood Baptist Church was attacked in Fort Worth Texas in 1999. There are also members of my church that, like me, are trained licensed and prepared to carry a gun. We are not just untrained civilians, as your article suggested. We offer CHL classes for our members and for the general public . We have an actual plan in case we are attacked. As a shepherd I want to protect my flock. I do not see this as being inconsistent with God’s word. But then again I do live in Texas.

  • Sam

    If you are reading comments Dr. Gushee I would be interested to know if your church has a no firearms policy. Most, if not all, off duty and even retired law enforcement carry their guns which also brings me to the question if your church has a no firearms policy does that apply to off duty law enforcement. Seems like a silly question I suppose. Personally, I’m not sure how I’d feel in church if an off duty cop was sitting next to me armed. Safer I suppose physically, but spiritually? I don’t know I guess.

  • Garson Abuita

    In addition to having armed security guards, Jewish communal organizations have a security network, run through the Jewish federations of North America., so that local synagogues etc. don’t have to go it alone. There is also a hardening of targets themselves- you might have to be buzzed in or at the very least have someone’s eyes on you as you enter the building. It’s less likely that the Charleston shooter would have been admitted without some tough questions getting asked.

  • Tyler

    Hi, Darril. As a minister in Texas as well, I respect your desire to protect your congregation. However, I am curious how you reconcile the use of violence as a means of self-defense or even the use of violence at all given the teachings and commands of Jesus. I understand your position, but I fail to see how you address the points made within this article (there are numerous more that could be made). Unlike you, I do find the use of violence to be quite inconsistent with Scripture. Not only do I see the God of Israel in the business of breaking the vicious cycle of violence, but I also see the clear eradication of such force in Jesus life and ministry by rebuking the “eye for an eye” mentality and use of the sword. Rather, Jesus taught quite the opposite: “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,” “All who draw the sword will die by the sword,” etc.

  • Larry

    Wouldn’t a security guard discretely posted be a lot more effective?

    The big problem with the whole “arm yourself for protection from maniacs” thing is that most people are not particularly proficient in the weapons they carry. Add to that a high stress situation which cannot be replicated or really practiced for outside of intense military/police training and you have a recipe for mayhem, accidental shootings, and way too much ‘menacing’ in public settings.

  • Katelyn

    A person using the name Jerry has regularly been posting rude, insulting, and sexist comments on RNS articles. Most of his comments are being removed and/or have been cited as abusive. If you see more of his comments in the same vein, I encourage you to click the report abuse link. I doubt that Jerry has the fortitude to make a real apology or to change his insulting ways.

  • Fran


    Yes, indeed, I agree with your statements. Jesus promoted peace and love of fellowmen, and not war, hate and prejudice. However, if true Christians lose their lives, for whatever reason, even through violent actions of others, God will take appropriate action concerning those:

    “Return evil for evil to no one. Provide fine things in the sight of all men. If possible, as far as it depends on you, be peaceable with all men. Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but yield place to the wrath, for it is written: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says God.” (Romans 12:17-19, quoting Psalm 32:35).

  • Tyler

    Certainly! Judgment is God’s, Whatever that judgment may be, I do not know. I think that’s one topic with varying opinions.

  • Huey

    I remember in the 1990’s attending a church where a couple of the members, who were also local police officers, took turns patrolling the parking lot. The issue wasn’t violence but a rash of car thefts during the services.

  • GC

    Protecting the innocent is a responsibility some of us who are responsible and mature, are willing to assume in our churches.

    Preventing the further loss of life in a service is a duty, an act of goodness and love, not an evil act.

    Not having the means to defend innocent life is a trajedy, not something honorable due to a philisophical stance.

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  • gg

    It is interesting the dialogue is to have armed guards or armed PARISHIONERS but no talk about the NEED for gun control. The man that killed people in South Carolina was not a “maniac”. he was a 21 year old that had ties to white supremacist whose doctrines are about superiority and hate. He is a symptom of a much bigger problem that people of the majority culture have been unwilling to deal with. If you continue to believe the answers are more guns then this is a mute conversation. I hear these Christian ideologies being spoken but the behavior of more guns are not congruent.
    Is it so difficult to deal with the real issues of hate, bigotry, racism, and other oppressive behaviors that manifest into massacres at church services than to unhinge our fingers rrom the AK 47s and look at how a violent society does not get less violent with more guns? I understand with this discussion about being armed to protect your flock why people continue to feel so spiritually disconnected