A few years ago I decided to purchase a handgun to have as protection in the home. Before doing so I looked up information in the publications and found the 1983 Watchtower 7/15. Notice a few of the comments it makes in the article “Seek Peace and Persue It”

Page 24 paragraph 12 “But even if he finds it necessary to defend himself or his loved ones by whatever is at hand, he should not use firearms.”

Paragraph 13 “Surely, those who trust in Jehovah would not turn to the martial arts for defense.”

Paragraph 16 “Anyone who thus continues to carry personal arms or otherwise equips himself to become a ‘smiter’ would cease to qualify for special privileges in the congregation.”

At the time I was still convinced that only the JWs taught truth, but even then I thought this viewpoint was ridiculous and bought the firearm. We live in the mountains and we like to camp so I used the excuse that it was for protection against bears.

This is just another example of the Society taking principles (Jehovah hates those who love violence) and turning them into a law. Would it be showing love to your own family if a group of men were trying to break into your house to kill you and rape your wife, to not defend your family with any means possible, including firearms? Would this mean you are a lover of violence? I think by making these rules the Society could become bloodguilty. To tell the publishers that they can only defend themselves with sticks and stones against an armed intruder is ludicrous. I believe common sense tells us that is up to each Christian to do what he feels he needs to in these circumstances. And if a Christian chooses to have a firearm in the house for protection that is his decision.

What about war? Does the bible strictly prohibit a Christian from participating in a war? Some may point to Jesus’ rebuke of Peter in the garden at the time of his arrest as prohibiting war. War of course is not ideal. As Christians we should seek to be peaceable with all men. We want to show love even to our enemies.

Let us pose a hypothetical but possible situation. In the next few years law and order in this country break down, perhaps something on the order of New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina but nationwide. Soon there are roving gangs seeking to rob, rape, and pillage. Naturally people come together in groups, which makes self defense easier against these gangs. What would a Christian do? Would God require him to not take up arms to defend himself and those whom he loves? If a group of JWs were in this situation and if they obeyed this Watchtower, they would soon be killed and violated. Is this what God would want? Let us say 100 Christians gathered together for self preservation and defended themselves with guns. Would this be war? What if it were a 1000? 100000? Would they be condemned by God because they participated in a war?

This is why I believe the bible does not clearly prohibit war. Cornelius was a soldier when he gained God’s approval and he was still one when anointed with holy spirit. There were no requirements that he stop being a soldier in order to be baptized. When war is a matter of self-defense and defense of one’s family, many Christians can maintain a good conscience and fight. However if war is an act of aggression or if a Christian uses violence to settle personal disputes this would obviously be contrary to bible principles.

The problem of being a regular soldier in a standing army for a Christian is obvious. Many wars are wars of aggression or over natural resources and a soldier does not have the option to fight or not. This is why many honest hearted Christians are not soldiers and refuse to fight in wars of aggression. However, should religious leaders prohibit their flocks from effectively defending themselves and their families? Many have seen the writing on the wall for this nation’s and the world’s economy and have come to the conclusion that a breakdown of law and order is only a question of time. Should we criticize Christians who feel the need to take precautions to be able to protect their families?

This is another matter where Christians should have freedom of conscience. We will not stand before Christ as an organization or as a church or even as a family. We will stand before him as individuals. Each of us will respond to him as to what decisions we made and why we made them. Therefore, there is no need for us as Christians to judge our brothers on the decisions that they make on conscientious matters.

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4 Comments on Christians and Self-Defense

  1. greybeard says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Great article and I agree 1000% I have often wondered about the soldier Cornelius in the Bible. I came to the same understanding you have here not long after I was DF’ed. The WT view made no sense to me anymore. At one time I criticized Catholics and other church’s for taking part in war. I no longer feel this way. Not long ago I overheard a JW criticize Catholics for going to war. I told them, “If it wasn’t for Catholics and other church’s going to war we all would be speaking Chinese or German and we wouldn’t be free to worship the way we do!”

    What would have happened to the nation of Israel if God didn’t allow them to go to war? They would have not existed for long that is for sure. Sure we know Gods view on killing but to just let someone rape your wife and children is crazy. What man on earth could allow that? To me it is humanly impossible.

    It wasn’t until about 1950-60 that the JW/GBorg started to understand the “superior authorities” was the governments. I am not saying we should do everything the government tell us but we are to be in subjection as long as it does not violate Gods law. Does defending your neighbor violate Gods law? I hardly think so. As yourself, I believe all of this is truly a matter of conscience.

    If someone was to walk into Bethel and start slapping one of the GB around what do you think would happen? Would he just stand there and turn the other cheek? No way, you would be jumped by a bunch of bethelites and carried outside and they would have a police waiting for you. In other words, they would call the man with the gun. The police. If what they say is true then WHY is it ok to even CALL for PROTECTION from anyone who caries a GUN? Is this not a hypocritical position? Big time it is!

    Many JW’s like yourself have guns. Much more than you would think. All my family does. They use the same excuse. “I hunt with them. I need it for protection from bears when I go camping.”
    Many also break the law by not having them registered or purchasing unregistered guns. They believe protecting their wife and kids is more important that the law or what the JW/GBorg says. This should prove something to the Joe blow JW that thinks he is following the JW/GBorg. They simply do not agree with the JW/GBorg and they prove it by using their own God Given Conscience. If only they would take this a little farther like on the CRAZY blood issue. I admit, at one time I was stupid enough to refuse blood for my own children. Not anymore. That just shows you how powerful church’s are and how crazy some people can be who follow them.

    Christ never condemned protecting yourself. He did warn us, “those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.” Was that condemning war? No it was not. Jesus was stating a simple fact that if you use weapons that can kill you can expect to be killed yourself. Kinda like telling your kids if they play with matches they will get burned. He did not say he or his father will kill you or that you will die at armageddon. Did Peter die for cutting the solders ear off with a sword? No he did not. Jesu even stated that if his kingdom were part of the world his followers would fight! What does that tell you? Jehovah is a God of armies. Jehovah is a God of WAR! JW’s need to drop the WT and READ their BIBLE.

    follow Christ, our only LEADER. Not man, put your trust in no man. Holy Spirit is our HELPER not some self appointed slave.

    Enough said,
    your brother,


  2. greybeard says:

    Wow Jon,

    Your post is off subject here but I did find it very interesting. Who knows, maybe angles (ufo’s) have shut down nuclear bombs. The Earth is still here despite man’s ability to totally destroy it. Makes me wonder… One thing is for sure, were not alone.


  3. JJ says:

    Well said Andrew. I know many brothers that own pistols, shotguns, etc. and it’s ALWAYS for “wild animal” protection. The animals can be human too, as we know too well. Having trigger locks, gun safes, etc. can’t be stressed enough IMO also.


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