Ted Cruz for President

Over the last several months and even years, we here in Iowa have had the privilege of being able to vet the candidates running for President of the United States of America.  Iowa has a very large Evangelical Christian population that are engaged in the arena of civics and government.  For a pastor, such as myself, this adds a special layer of responsibility. I understand that while each and everyone of us must account for our own actions and decisions, I also understand that there are many Christians that look to ministers of the Gospel for guidance. Keeping that in mind there are hundreds of pastors here in Iowa that strive to use the Biblical approach to selecting candidates for elected office. Many, such as myself, embrace the Divine obligation to equip the Body of Christ with Scriptural guidance in every area of their lives and that includes elections. Many of us also understand that there are clear guidelines for government and governmental officials that are laid out in the Bible and that there is no better place to start examining candidates than here.

My approach to examining each candidate in light of God’s Word eventually winnowed the field of candidates from nearly 20 down to 3 that I deemed to be Biblically qualified for this position.  Of the three that remained, I have chosen to endorse and support Sen. Ted Cruz for President. This decision has not been made lightly as I highly respect those other two candidates and all of the individuals who have chosen to support them. However, I truly believe that Ted Cruz is the man who has the best ability to lead this nation against the many issues that plague us. At the forefront of those issues is the attack to each and everyone of our religious freedoms. Not only has Ted Cruz fought for religious liberty, traditional marriage, and for protecting the life of the unborn, he has been a champion on those issues.  There has also been a swelling of support the Senator has received as of late. This coalescing of support is something that sets Cruz apart from the rest of the field and is something that I believe to be vitally important to restore us to the Biblical foundations that once made this nation great.

It is for these and many more reasons that I have chosen to endorse and caucus for Senator Ted Cruz. My prayer is that you will take another look at this man and prayerfully consider placing your support behind him as well.

Sincerely,

Joshua C. Verwers


Winnowing The Field – Part 4

WINNOWING THE FIELD – Part 4

Stage 3 & 4 (Don’t Steal & Don’t Lie)

After examining their principals and positions with regard to supporting the marriage institution and protecting life, we are left with 3 remaining candidates: Sen. Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee & Rick Santorum. I’ve taking a lot of time to look deeply into their stances on these last two critical fields and here are my thoughts.

First, I think we can all look at their personal records and realize that none of these 3 men are thieves, but what about the government that they are asking to be a bigger part of? In my humble opinion the easiest way to examine this is by looking at the current government mandated theft by taxation. For any government to take more money via taxation than God instructs cheerful givers to provide the Church (tithe) is nothing more than covetousness. I think we all realize that the current tax structure in this nation is burdensome and in desperate need of change or reform. When looking at the 3 candidates and their proposals, what you will find is a lot of similarities and a few differences that come down to either semantics or perceptions. All 3 of these candidates want to limit the power that the government has in our lives and ultimately wish to scrap the entire tax code and the IRS that oversees it. This should not only draw a smile on our faces because of the benefit it can cause on our wallets, but the benefit that it will cause to our religious freedoms as well.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but how can you tell if a politician is lying? His lips are moving.
Okay, so while that probably isn’t 100% true 100% of the time, there is a lot of truth to that statement. So, how do we know if they are lying or not? How do we know if someone has bore false witness against another? Well, that my friends seems to be a little more difficult. Of these 3 remaining Biblically qualified candidates, you may have heard accusations about someone lying. You may have heard accusations about someone being deceptive. You may have heard accusations about someone misleading voters. And you may be able to insert any one of these 3 candidates name in the place of “someone” in those above statements. I’ve listened to the accusations and the defenses of each of those candidates. I think the confusion lies, for those who take an unbiased approach, in the perception of those making the accusations or defense. We’ve all seen this in our lives. We’ve all done this in our lives. We’ve all made statements based on the information we have at the time, from the place where we stand currently, and with the influence of a million variables that have impacted our worldview. And yet, someone who may be the closest to us can take that statement to mean something completely different. So taking into consideration that each of these 3 are imperfect human beings, living in an imperfect society, dealing with an abundance of imperfections, we must try and look at their hearts. Do I truly believe that anyone of these 3 are making bold faced lies just to try and win my vote? No. Do I think it’s more likely that they are making statements that would benefit their campaign by placing a favorable slant on the facts. Yes. I’ve listened to these 3 for years now and don’t see the type of bold-faced lying that we’ve come to expect from our current President. I truly believe each of them are trying to be the most honest men they can possibly be and just happen to sometimes miss the mark on perfection due to a whole slew of variables.

So, where does that leave us? Right where we started with these two stages. I honestly believe that each of these 3 candidates have met the minimum plumb-line of civil government qualifications based on the Scriptures. If you decide to support one of these candidates, I will be pleased with that support, knowing that you have remained Biblical in your approach. From this point on, I believe it truly comes down to a personal preference as I’m not sure anyone can mount overwhelming Scriptural support for one over the other, without taking that Scripture out of context. So, examine them for yourselves. Find one to support. And then do just that… support them. Get engaged and help us take this nation back for Christ.

GOP-Final-3


Winnowing The Field – Part 3

WINNOWING THE FIELD – Part 3

Stage 2 (Don’t Murder)

As I dive into this, I want you to understand where I’m coming from. Just like with the other stages I trust God’s Word more than popular opinion. I understand that from a Scriptural basis there is a clear conclusion that is drawn that all life should be protected from the moment of conception until natural death. The Bible also clearly contradicts popular political positions of being “Pro-Life with exceptions”. So for a candidate to advance past this stage they must lead me to believe they will protect life at all costs and refuse to continue the state sanctioned genocide of our unborn. And yes, that not only means through the preventing government from fundy baby murder, but also from approving and promoting abortifacient drugs.
(Gen. 1:26-26, 9:6; Jeremiah 1:5; Exodus 21:22-25; Psalm 139:13-16; Matthew 1:20; Deuteronomy 24:16; Ezekiel 18:20; Romans 3:8, John 10:10)

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Dr. Ben Carson – While Dr. Carson has likened the practice of abortion to pagan barbarians, he has also left a lot of doubt in my mind as to his worldview on the issue of life. While I’m not as concerned with his research paper from 1992, I was concerned with his campaign spokesman saying “He believes in quality medical care, No. 1, and secondly, he believes in people making their own decisions based on facts and information” in regards to that research paper. He’s also said that “you cannot legislate morality”. (source: Politico)
Then when asked about supporting abortion in cases of rape, Dr. Carson said “I would hope that they would very quickly avail themselves of the emergency room, and in the emergency room, they have the ability to administer RU-486 and other possibilities before you have a developing fetus.” He then fumbled when asked if he believes life begins at conception, by stating “definitely when the heart starts beating”. And while he later clarified that he really meant life does begin at conception, he still said that there should be “room for accommodation” regarding the issue of abortion. (source: Fox News)
CONCLUSION – Dr. Carson appears to be first and foremost a doctor. Not only his history, but his speech easily draws the conclusion that he sees everything from a medical view, rather than a Biblical view. What that will leave us with is another man who follows scientific analysis rather than Biblical insight. As far as legislating morality, he needs to read Romans 13. Not the clarity, I hoped for from a man that is eloquent, intelligent and charismatic. No matter how much I like the guy (and I do), he is not Biblically qualified. FAIL

Sen. Ted Cruz – as a lawyer he worked on cases defending partial-birth abortion bans, parental consent laws and Texas’ Rider 8 (source: Republican Views)
Has voted to defund Planned Parenthood and an amendment to prevent funds from going to UN while a member nation forces involuntary abortions. (source. Senate.gov)
Supports constitutional amendment to protect the unborn (source: Georgia Right to Life)
And as far as I’ve been able to examine, has not once slipped up or fumbled on supporting life at all stages without exceptions.
CONCLUSION – That’s what we’re looking for. Stage 2 complete. PASS

Mike Huckabee – This ordained Southern Baptist minister is staunchly pro-life. Constitutional amendment… check. Ban on partial birth abortions… check. “Gift of Life” documentary… check. Credentials that keep on going… check, check, check. Huckabee even goes so far as to say ““Life begins at conception. I believe that is not only the Biblical view, but it’s affirmed by science in the make-up of the DNA schedule of every person, which is unique to that person and present at conception.” (source: Conservative Review)
The only chink in this pro-life armor was him saying that he would not risk a gov’t shutdown over the funding of Planned Parenthood (source: Atlanta Journal Constitution)
CONCLUSION – This should be one of the first and many reasons to like Mike Huckabee. While the pragmatism in the gov’t shutdown comment raises my eyebrow, I think he definitely understands where life comes from, when it begins, and why it’s so important to protect it all. On to Stage 3. PASS

Sen. Marco Rubio – The top layers to Rubio’s position are amazing on the issue of life. Just like Cruz, he’s had some great pro-life votes in the Senate. However, when there was a chance to stand for the unborn and vote on the continuing resolution that funds Planned Parenthood, Rubio skipped the vote along with Sen. Lindsay Graham, rather than submitting a nay vote like Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul (all of who are running for POTUS). (source: Senate.gov)
And he has also told CNN recently that he does not believe in restricting access to abortifacients. (source: CNN)
CONCLUSION – Comments like that show that he doesn’t understand that life begins at conception, even though he says he supports life at conception. Confused? So am I. And unfortunately millions of more children can be murdered because of a continued lack of clarity and conviction. God is not willing that any perish and neither am I. Let’s pray that his Biblical worldview will grow, so that he can be used mightily by God in the future. However, at this time he’s not Biblically qualified. FAIL

Rick Santorum: Opposes abortifacients, against federal funding for fetal stem cell research, led the charge against partial-birth abortion, voted in favor of parental notification for underage abortion, and is considered by many including myself to be ardently pro-life. He is consistently rallying the community. (sources: Senate.gov, Life News, Senate debate, & personal conversation)
CONCLUSION: If you’re looking for a champion on the issue of life, do not count out Santorum. I truly believe that the issue of life is a hill that he is willing to die on. I’m not sure there is ever a scenario where he will stop fighting for life. Stage 3 here he comes. PASS

Donald Trump: In an interview with Bloomberg earlier this year, Trump was asked to explain what he means when he claims to be pro-life. His response was first telling, then appalling. “With caveats: life of the mother, incest, rape… and that’s where I stand. So, I’m pro-life with the caveats”. Yep, that’s what he said. Then he was asked where he stood if a woman isn’t in any of those exception categories and chooses to have an abortion. His response… “it depends when”.
CONCLUSION: FAIL… enough said.
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GOP-Stage2-Results

So, where does that leave us? When we look at the Scriptures to see what the Biblical qualifications are for governmental leaders (rulers) and then we start to apply those Biblical standards to the men and women that are running for office, we are left with 3 men. If the first two rounds are any indication of what’s to come, we may wind up with 3 Biblically qualified candidates that meet the minimum Biblical qualifications for (s)elected office. Stage 3 & 4 (Don’t Steal & Don’t Lie) are up next.


Winnowing The Field – Part 2

Winnowing The Field

If you’re wondering what method I’m using to winnow the field of candidates, I suggest you start with Part 1 in this series of posts. Since the first institution that God created was marriage, I feel it’s only right to start the winnowing/vetting process here. A Biblically qualified candidate for elected office should honor the marriage institution (Exodus 20:12,14). In interest of fairness, allow me to start with the Democratic Party candidates. Here’s where they stand:
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Hillary Clinton: “She urged the Supreme Court to rule in favor of nationwide marriage equality and was proud to celebrate this historic victory for our country.” (Campaign Website)

Martin O’Malley: “Governor O’Malley led the successful effort to pass marriage equality in the Maryland General Assembly. Then when the issue went to a statewide referendum, he led the campaign, helping Maryland become the first state in the nation ever to defend marriage equality at the ballot box.” (Campaign Website)

Bernie Sanders: “Sanders voted against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 1993 and the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” in 1996. Sen. Sanders hailed the landmark Supreme Court decisions in 2013 and 2015 which struck down DOMA and recognized same-sex marriage is a right in all 50 states, calling the decisions a “victory for same-sex couples across our country as well as all those seeking to live in a nation where every citizen is afforded equal rights.” (Campaign Website)
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If you understand, that God created marriage to be between one man and one woman as a life long covenant, what should these positions from these candidates tell you? (Ding, ding, ding) You are correct, they are all Biblically unqualified to hold any office and by voting (selecting) any of them one is disobeying the Word of God (Exodus 18:21). Because they have failed at honoring the marriage institution (#1), I see no need to move on any further with them.

DNC-Results

Next up… the Republicans.

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Jeb Bush: Bush said that “regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law” following the Obergefell ruling. And if we are to honor mother AND father, then I’m perplexed as to why he said “previously, I opposed gay adoption, but it has since become the law in our state and I respect that decision”. (source: Miami Herald)
CONCLUSION – Despite a long history of support for marriage, it appears he has changed his stance this year and repeated statements and comments back that up. He will not advance.

Dr. Ben Carson: “While I strongly disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision, their ruling is now the law of the land. I call on Congress to make sure deeply held religious views are respected and protected. The government must never force Christians to violate their religious beliefs.” “I support same sex civil unions but to me, and millions like me, marriage is a religious service not a government form.” (source: Newsmax) And even though he also endorsed a pro “gay marriage” candidate in Monica Wehby last year, he did sign the National Organization for Marriage Pledge: supporting works to overturn the Obergefell ruling. (NOM website)
CONCLUSION – Because of his personal history of support and willingness to sign the NOM Marriage Pledge, I’ll put the above setbacks to the side and let him advance to Stage 2. Hopefully, we can gain clarity there.

Gov. Chris Christie: “I don’t agree with the way it’s been done, but I take an oath, and the same way I’ve supported and enforced the law here in New Jersey since our Supreme Court made their 7-0 decision on same-sex marriage, and I’ve supported and endorsed that law. I would have to do the same across the country,” Christie told reporters. “But I want to be clear — I don’t agree with the way it was done, but it’s been done, and those of us who take an oath have a responsibility to abide by that oath.” (source: Politico)
CONCLUSION – Failure is his only option on this issue, by his support and “endorsement”.

Sen. Ted Cruz: I looked far and wide to see if there were any flaws in his support for marriage, and there weren’t. In addition to signing NOM’s Marriage Pledge, he has been quite strong and outspoken against the “lawless” Supreme Court. That is a strong contrast to “law of the land” comments.
CONCLUSION – On to Stage 2

Carly Fiorina: “I think the Supreme Court ruling will become the law of the land and however much I may agree or disagree, I wouldn’t support an amendment to reverse it,” (source: Caffeinated Thoughts)
She declined to take a position on whether states should be allowed to ban same-sex marriage if they choose. “My view is irrelevant,” she said, “because the Supreme Court is going to decide that.” (source: Wall Street Journal)
CONCLUSION – If this wasn’t bad enough she lied on the radio last week by saying she never said that (and there is video proof). So… FAIL

Sen. Lindsay Graham: “I am a proud defender of traditional marriage and believe the people of each state should have the right to determine their marriage laws. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that state bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional, and I will respect the Court’s decision.” He additionally states that he would not support a Constitutional amendment to define marriage. (source: Campaign website)
CONCLUSION – I even talked to him personally and found that he has no Biblical foundation that would ever cause him to support marriage. FAIL

Mike Huckabee: Just like Cruz, I can not find anything that would lead me to believe that Huckabee is anything other than a staunch supporter of marriage according to God’s design.
CONCLUSION – Stage 2, here he comes.

Gov. John Kasich: “I’ve always felt that marriage is, you know, one of these traditions between a man and a woman, but the Court has spoken. And I’ve said all along that when the Court makes a decision, we abide by the law of the land. And they made their determination and—just move on. It doesn’t mean I’m not disappointed, I am, but the decision has been made.” (source: National Journal)
CONCLUSION – It is better to obey God rather than man. We will not move on and neither will you. FAIL

Sen. Rand Paul: When asked if states should legalize “gay marriage”, Paul said “I don’t really have a position that I’m willing to make on that.” And though he’s called himself an “old-fashioned traditionalist”, he’s willing to neutralize legal contracts by removing the definition of marriage. (source: Bloomberg) He’s also stated: “I think it’s a really complicated issue. I’ve always said that the states have a right to decide. There are states that have decided in [legalizing “gay” marriage], and I don’t think the federal government should tell anybody or any state government how they should decide this.” (source: Fox News Sunday)
CONCLUSION – There’s not enough fruit in his words or actions to say that he supports all measures to honor the marriage institution, so I cannot support his candidacy. FAIL

Sen. Marco Rubio: “While I disagree with this decision, we live in a republic and must abide by the law.” (source: Senate website) That being said, he has been another loud and vocal proponent of traditional, Biblical marriage.
CONCLUSION – I put him in the same position as Carson. He’s eloquent and what he says is pleasing my ears, but I’m starting to get some “danger Will Robinson” signals. Stage 2 should settle things one way or another.

Rick Santorum: You remember what I said about Cruz & Huckabee? Guess what… Rick Santorum is not behind them on this issue, but right there with them. We have found 3 big champions for marriage in these God-fearing men.
CONCLUSION – Santorum is on to Stage 2.

Donald Trump: Trump is opposed to gay marriage and civil benefits and believes that gay marriage should be decided by the states. Trump, however, contradicted himself, saying he would support the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage.
CONCLUSION – There are two distinct groups heading to Stage 2. Champions (Cruz, Huckabee & Santorum) and then the Challengers (Carson, Rubio, Trump).
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Stage 1 has removed all but 6 candidates from consideration as being Biblically qualified. This is why I love the winnowing process. When you apply the Word to anything in life you will find how sharp it is to divide.

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Next Up… Part 3 / Stage 2 (Don’t Murder).


Winnowing the Field – Part 1

2015-12-28 17_22_22-Greenshot capture formHoly Bible and American Flag by Getty Images

 

Over the next few posts I’m gonna share with you how I have winnowed the field of candidates running for President of the United States. The entire process is based on the Word of God. I truly believe the Bible gives us a minimum plumbline that any candidate seeking any governmental office must meet.

Exodus 18:21 tells us that we are to select capable men that fear God, tell the truth and hate covetousness and then place them to be rulers over 1000s, 100s, 50s, & 10s. (Can you see the City, County, State, Federal separation there?)

Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.  (Exodus 18:21)

Then when you read Romans chapter 13, you’ll see the role of government is to punish evil. Interestingly enough it then goes on to define specifically what is evil when it refers to half of the 10 commandments. Why half, you may ask? Because only half of them apply to civil government, whereas the others apply to self government. That’s why it also mentions those commandments are summed up in “love your neighbor as yourself” while leaving out the “love your God” part.

So, what does this all mean? If you want an easy process to determine whether a candidate is Biblically qualified to hold an elected office (to be a ruler over you), you can use the 4 points from the last 6 commandments as the best vetting tool God ever created.

1) Honor the marriage institution (Exodus 20:12, 14)
2) Don’t murder (Exodus 20:13)
3) Don’t steal (Exodus 20:15, 17)
4) Don’t lie (Exodus 20:16)

That’s my process in a nutshell. I’m not being too rigid, it’s 4 things. I’m not looking for perfection, just these 4 minimums. I’m not being political, this is Biblical. I truly realize that the only way our nation (or any nation for that matter) is going to find salvation is by turning back towards God. And that will start with us being doers of the Word, not hearers only.

If you want a more in depth teaching on this, I highly recommend watching the series of videos over at http://stepstopoliticalepiphany.com/


Tipping and Tithing

tipping-or-tithing

If you haven’t heard the story about the pastor not leaving her waitress a tip by now, this may not completely make sense.  Although, if I think about it for a minute, the details really don’t matter because there is a greater principle that needs to be discussed.  First of all, this pastor makes a serious flaw in either A) elevating man to the status of God or B) bringing God down to the status of man.  How, you may ask? Simply by misunderstanding the difference between a tithe and a tip.  A tithe (for a Christian) is an act of worship to God, whereby we give Him the first fruits (10%) of our increase.  In all reality we are giving back a portion of what He gave us in the first place.  We are showing Him reverence by sacrificing what is in our possession and proclaiming that He is our provider.  A tip on the other hand is a form of gratuity.  It is a sum of money that we give to someone when we are grateful for a service.  If we equate a tithe to a tip, then it is not a form of worship to God for who He is, but rather an act of thanksgiving for something He has done.

Now, I don’t expect every Christian to completely understand the principle of tithing, because studies and polls have shown very few actually tithe.  I also don’t expect every Christian (pastors included) to live a perfect life without making mistakes.  This pastor obviously sees that she made a “laps in judgment”, but what lesson should we as followers of Christ learn from this?  I’d suggest we try to actually be Christ-like.  That means we need to spend even more time reading the Gospels to learn from Jesus’ example.  We also need to read the rest of the Bible to have the same mind in us that was in Christ.

There are some pretty simple principles that can and should be applied when a Christian is going out to a restaurant.  First, remember that the laborer is worthy of his hire (1 Tim. 5:18).  That waiter or waitress is serving you.  They are performing a service for you.  They are deserving of a reward for that service.  Secondly, the whole “do unto others” thing that Jesus told us, could not be more appropriate than in a scenario such as this one.  That’s because when you read Luke 6:30-32 in context you’ll see how it directly applies.  Let’s face it, we have all had horrible service when eating out and most if not all of us have felt like stiffing the staff because somehow that seems right and just.  Well, folks let me toss this thought out there.  How would your life be if God were only righteous and just and not equally merciful and gracious?

With all of that being said, I’d like to quickly address the waitress that was fired by reminding us all of a lesson our parents have tried to instill in us.  TWO WRONGS DON’T MAKE A RIGHT!  The waitress that was fired was not even the one that was waiting on this pastor. So, first off she needed to mind her own business.  Also, just because someone did you (or a co-worker) wrong doesn’t justify you violating one’s right to privacy by posting this.  I actually applaud Applebee’s for their quick action in terminating this employee.  They have a standard that their employees must operate at and by acting the way they did they have maintained that standard.  I have worked in the food service industry and customer service for many years and understand that sometimes a customer can be very rude and disrespectful, but that is never a valid reason for reacting the way this employee did.

Next time you’re out to dinner and you get horrible service, imitate God by being merciful (not giving what is deserved) and gracious (giving what is not deserved).  And if you are on the flip-side of this and don’t get a tip or very minimal one, try remembering the words of our Lord Jesus that ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive.’


2nd Amendment vs 2nd Commandment

2ndAmendment_vs_2ndCommandment

One week ago, today, in Newtown, Connecticut, a horrific tragedy occurred that took the innocent lives to 26 individuals, who were created in the image and likeness of God. In the last seven days, this massacre has sparked a debate across the nation from people on all sides of gun control. However, more importantly for this pastor, it has sparked a debate amongst the body of Christ. It’s pretty obvious that the Bible does not speak about guns, because the first gun wasn’t even made until more than a 1000 years after the Bible’s completion. However, just because the Bible doesn’t speak about it directly doesn’t mean it remains silent about it’s essence or usage. I don’t think I need to remind anyone that the Bible also remains silent about television, phones, or the internet, yet they too can be used for good and evil. So, what does the Bible have to say about it? Should Christians own guns? And if so, how does the “right to bear arms” line up with the commandment to “love our neighbor”?

Firstly, I want to point out what the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states.

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.

Now, I realize there are those who when reading this will try to assert that the sole purpose to keep and bear arms is to form a militia, and due to our standing Army we no longer need that. Well, those people would be wrong. If you read through our founding documents you will come to the same conclusion that the Supreme Court has. In 2008, they deemed Washington D.C.’s gun ban unconstitutional and just this year they found the same with Illinois. These courts have rejected this view and have upheld the protection of ownership and path to carry as a right.

But that still raises questions within Christianity about gun ownership and self-defense. As, I address these I’ll point to scriptures so that you do not take my word for it, but rather take God’s Word for it. So, here are a few of the questions posed.

Q: “What about the 10 commandments? Doesn't the Bible say, 'thou shalt not kill'?”

A: The King James Version of the Bible as well as a few translations do us the word, kill in Exodus 20. However a literal translation of the Hebrew word רצח (râtsach), as found in many more translations (Amplified, Complete Jewish, English Standard, Message, New International, New King James, New Living, etc.) define the word as murder. This remains consistent with what we see two chapters later in Exodus 22:2-3

Exodus 22:2-3 Complete Jewish Bible
(2)
“If a thief caught in the act of breaking in is beaten to death, it is not murder; (3) unless it happens after sunrise, in which case it is murder.

The difference between verses 2 and 3 is premeditation. The principle this clearly states is that defending your self, family or property from a threat, even with lethal force is not considered murder, but rather a justifiable homicide.

Q: “What about Romans 12:17, that says we are to ‘repay no one evil for evil’?

A: Well, try reading the rest of the chapter so it is in context and we get a more complete picture.

Romans 12:17-21 New King James Version
(17)
Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. (18) If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. (19) Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. (20) Therefore “IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM; IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP COALS OF FIRE ON HIS HEAD.” (21) Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

First, we don’t repay evil with evil. Again, as we just saw in Exodus it is only considered “evil” if God says it is evil. Using lethal force as a means for protection is not considered evil by God. If you want more proof, check out Genesis 14 where Abram used lethal force to protect his nephew and Exodus 2 when Moses did the same for a Hebrew man. Vengeance is also another question brought up, but if we look at Romans 13:4 and 1 Peter 2:14 we see that God uses government for that purpose, which is why Exodus 22:3 considers seeking revenge murder. That job is left to government, but immediate defense is left to one’s self. Also notice that the last two verses paint an image of enemies who have a need that we should sustain, not a murderous or evil desire that we should facilitate.

Q: “Well, Jesus never used a gun.”

A: You’re right, because they didn’t exist. But, Jesus did use a whip to defend His Father’s house from those who were violating it. (John 2:14-16)

Q: “Didn’t Jesus rebuke Peter for using a sword?”

A: Yes, Jesus did rebuke Peter, for HOW he used the sword, not for the use in general. You see, again this takes some right dividing. First off, before this event even took place, as they were getting ready to depart for Gethsemane, Jesus instructed his disciples that if they did not have a sword they should sell garments to buy one (Luke 22:36). He said this because of the trials and persecutions they were about to endure may require the need of them. But when this event took place notice what Matthew 26:50-54 says. Really read this thoroughly. First Jesus is just questioning them and then Peter jumps in to defend Jesus. **Side note: a band of troops consisted of somewhere between 500 and 1000 troops** So, Peter decides to strike one of the 500+ soldiers and Jesus, immediately told him to “put (his) sword in its place”. He did not tell him to get rid of it, but to return it to his side. The mention of those who live by the sword dying by the sword was not in regard to self defense, because that is not what Peter was doing, Peter was looking for a fight and it was that desire of his heart that Jesus was correcting. He finishes this rebuke off by reminding Peter who He is and that He didn’t need protection because this “must happen”.

Q: “What about turning the other cheek?”

A: Again, this will require you to read the remainder of the chapter (Matthew 5:38-48). This is really something so subtle, but often overlooked. Most people are right handed, so how do you slap someone on their right cheek, if you are right handed? That’s right, it’s a back handed slap, which is not meant for injury, but disrespect and humiliation. The remainder of this chapter backs up the sentiment that when people are trying to humiliate you, take advantage of you or disrespect you, get out of yourself and try to go that ‘extra mile’ to help out those who have wronged you. This is not advocating people to line up like sheep to the slaughter, but instead to train followers of Christ to display the same grace and mercy that was given to us.

So, what can we draw from these scriptures? Well, just like there is a thin line between faith and foolishness, there is a thin line between being a martyr and a moron. God has commanded His children to promote His Gospel. We are no good to anyone if we are dead. As a father, how can I provide for my family, if I first don’t provide defense and protection for them. The scriptures seem pretty clear to me, when reading them in context, we must protect that which God has given us, because it ultimately belongs to Him. When Jesus, told the Disciples to take up swords, they were using the weapons of the day as a form of protection. Today, instead of placing at our sides swords, guns are the new side arm. Jesus was always teaching us to get to the heart of the problems rather than on the surface. Mass shootings like what took place at Sandy Hook Elementary should not cause Christians to look at the surface and be opposed to the tool used (surface), but rather the evil that led a deranged individual to commit murder (heart).

There will always be debates and discussions, but I challenge you to examine the Scriptures and see what God’s Word says about it, rather than what any politician, pundit or political party has to say.

Enjoy God’s best,

Josh


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