Your one stop shop…for bad exegesis.

To my fellow Christians that like to think guns and Christianity go well together—  enough is more than enough.  You are living in denial of the Gospel, and its time to grow up.  ‘Thou shalt not kill’  does not have a codicil of addendum to it which reads ‘except in self-defense’ or the like.

Via: BeliefNet

That is Ben Witherington, some guy I’ve never heard of, but he’s apparently written some books on religion and is your “One-Stop Shop for all things Biblical and Christian.”

The word “kill” in the original text translates in our day to murder. We’ve known this since at least the days of Matthew Henry. When someone uses “kill” instead of “murder” you can be almost certain they are using the King James translation of the Bible. Modern translations use “murder.” Which only makes sense because otherwise God told the Israelites not to “kill” and then sent them on a commandment breaking rampage in conquest of the Promised Land.

The book of Judges is filled with stories of God picking, usually an unlikely, dude or chick to rise up and give some righteous smiting to those in need. Are we to believe that God specifically told them to break a commandment? Even if we were to accept that, then there must be exceptions to the “thou shalt not kill” commandment that Mr. Witherington does not allow for.

But Mr. Witherington goes where he has even less authority to tread and ventures into firearm policy questions. He states:

‘If we ban guns, only criminals will have guns’ No, law enforcement people will also have guns as well. Not to mention the National guard and the various branches of the military.  The issue is private guns, and that brings us to the next myth.

I think I see a problem here, but we should check with Mr. Witherington’s summary to make sure he means what I think he means:

I have to tell you that shooting someone is a terrible witness for Christ, and frankly when Jesus said love your enemies, he did not mean love them to death at the point of a gun.   That’s no way to love them, and I would say following Christ is not compatible with shooting and killing people.

So according to Mr. Witherington, those people he just gave all the guns to (law enforcement, National Guard, and the military) cannot be Christians. If you are in those positions you must, by his logic, be a non-Christian. There is no logical way out of this pickle. If it is OK for a police officer to carry a gun and shoot bad guys, then “thou shalt not kill” cannot mean what Mr. Witherington says it does. If it is OK for the police officer to shoot the bad guy, then it is OK for you too as well.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:14)

Please don’t make Ben Witherington your one-stop shop for all things biblical and Christian. Find someone competent instead.

h/t SayUncle

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  • Jennifer  On January 11, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    And anyone who doesn’t have a sword should sell their cloak and buy one…
    I’m sure Jesus meant that because swords were just so darn stylish.

  • Evyl Robot Michael  On January 11, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Jeesh! I’m sure his Jesus has pale skin, blue eyes, and a brown, neatly manicured beard. He wears a white tunic with a blue sash across his chest.

    Don’t you love it when someone takes it down to the lowest common denominator and claims to be an expert?

  • Bob S.  On January 12, 2011 at 8:34 am

    So if I use a firearm in the attempt to defend my friends or family by killing the bad guy but loose my life, do I go to Limbo?

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