Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms, 2

Continued from "The Right to Keep and Bear Arms"

At this point, I hope that it's clear that the RKBA, if it exists, must be found in Scripture, not in the statutes, constitutions & courts of men. Further, if the right is inalienable -- not subject to overruling authority -- we must find it in Scripture as an unequivocal, clearly universal command.

In my posts, "Buying a Sword" & "Buying a Sword, 2," I addressed Jesus' command in Luke 22:35-36:

And He said unto them, "When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing?"

And they said, "Nothing."

Then said He unto them, "But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one."

Here is a command from our King to go into the world carrying the message of His kingdom while defensively armed. Is this command, however, unequivocal and clearly universal?

Perhaps I can illustrate what I mean in a discussion of the command that provides the grounds of our right to own property: Thou shalt not steal. It seems a simple, clear and universal right based on a simple, clear and universal command.

But let's take a closer look. Some of the most egregious and widespread examples of theft in history have come in the form of confiscatory taxation. From the ancient days of our fathers in Israel (I Samuel 8:10-18) to the present, social elites have used taxation to enrich themselves by legalized plunder.

Should you, then, stand on your right to property and resist unjust taxation? How would Jesus respond to such a question? Very much, no doubt, as He did to the Pharisees:

"Tell us therefore, What thinkest Thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?"

But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, "Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money." And they brought unto Him a penny. And He saith unto them, "Whose is this image and superscription? "

They say unto Him, "Caesar's."

Then saith He unto them, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's." When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left Him, and went their way. (Matthew 22:17-22)

If you have a right to private ownership of property, why does Jesus not bid you to stand on your rights and fight for what's yours? Two words: strategy, tactics.

Jesus came to redeem His people and to establish His kindom among men. His commission to His Church is, basically, a mandate for world conquest:

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach [disciple] all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:17-20)

Jesus requires Christians to lead whole nations into discipleship and to displace their pagan/humanist law systems with His commandments. This makes believers a threat to existing power structures. He does not want His people, however, to extend His reign by means of military force, a la Mohamed.

The King's subjects are to establish outpost communities (called churches) and live peacefully within the surrounding culture. Sort of like a light to the world or . . . I know -- a city set on a hill. (Matthew 5:14) This is not much different from the mission God gave to Old Covenant Israel through Moses:

Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon Him for? (Deuteronomy 4:5-7)

Strategically, there is a difference, however. Whereas Israel under the Old Covenant inherited a limited plot of real estate, the subjects of King Jesus will occupy the world (Romans 4:13). (For a more complete discussion of the strategy & tactics of the Christ's Kingdom, see my article, "What Will It Take for the Church to Fulfill the Great Commission?")

The whole point of this exercise is that, following our Lord's strategy, it is destructive of our ends to arouse the powers that be by unnecessarily defying them. This may mean that Christians will have to pay unjust taxes, in order that they may live in peace to establish their base of Gospel conquest.

Followers of Christ defer their property rights, in this particular case, for the cause of His Kingdom. Does this deference extend to the RKBA? The answer to that question is bound up in the right to life and the right to self-defense. I address that issue in "The Right to Keep and Bear Arms, 3"

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1 comment:

Dr. Paleo Ph.D. said...

I left you a comment way down the page, k?