Gays, Games, Government and Guns

“For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household…” 1 Peter 4:17

Another mass-shooting has occurred, so let the finger-pointing begin.

Image

a memorial near Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut

James Dobson blames abortion and homosexuality.  Mike Huckabee blames the lack of state-enforced prayer.  Democrats blame the lack of gun laws, and Republicans blame violent video games.

Dobson has an inconsistent view of judgment.  Since God’s judgment begins with the church (1 Peter 4:17), Dobson should have mentioned this when shooters killed worshippers in Atlanta and Illinois.  Huckabee’s remarks do not explain why shooters kill in shopping malls, movie theaters and churches.  Let’s get prayer back in the churches???

Gun laws will work about as well as marijuana criminalization: legislation will not eliminate guns, it will only create underground crime.  Violence in mass media can desensitize us to violence, but the above argument against gun laws apply here: censorship of violent media will also create an underground market.

If Christians truly believe the Gospel, we know that at the core lies a sin problem:

“Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace         they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:15-18)

Remembering 1 Peter 4:17, the Church should clean its own house before pointing fingers at others.  Have we been a shining example of a righteous and peaceful society?  Have we reached out to our neighborhoods with the love of Jesus Christ, who died to remove our violent sin nature?  Have we actively opposed societal evil in all of its forms, or do we avoid doing so because it’s too costly or not convenient?

Let’s start with these questions before blaming gays, government and video games.

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About Corey Sharpe

Where do we get our beliefs? Three theological perspectives have significantly shaped my Christian identity: Evangelicalism, the early Methodist tradition and liberation theology. From my coming to faith in a Baptist church and throughout my education in a Baptist school and college, I was nurtured by convictions that emphasized a spiritual rebirth, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the centrality of the Bible. Even when I disagree with certain aspects of evangelicalism, it has deeply influenced my sense of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. My seminary studies spawned my interest in early Methodism, particularly its approach to spiritual formation. Its leaders were convinced that only a foundation of doctrine and discipline would lead to a meaningful transformation of the heart and mind. In other words, having the mind of Christ enables me to be more like Christ. Life in a suburban culture obscures the increasing gap between the poor and rich, as well as the Bible’s close identification with the poor. My doctoral work in socio-cultural context exposed me to liberation theology, which helps me see redemptive history as a history of oppressed groups, written from the perspective of the powerless, about a God who is actively involved with the poor in their struggles. I am now the pastor at Huntingtown United Methodist Church in Calvert County, Maryland. Together my wife and I are raising 4 young theologians.
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8 Responses to Gays, Games, Government and Guns

  1. Z Breidenbaugh says:

    ” . . . or do we avoid doing so because it’s too costly or not convenient?” OR, not popular?

  2. Carol says:

    I do not believe that any professional could have touched this young man, afflicted with Asperger’s syndrome, incapable of relating to others and feeling no pain. What a tormented soul he must have been.
    Was it not enabling for his mother to have taken him to the shooting range, to have guns in the house?
    There are no answers to some things.
    Tragic for the victims and for the shooter.

  3. julie says:

    I read this once: “you mean if we criminalize guns, we.ll get them off the street?!? — we should criminalize heroine and prostitution then!” — sin is deep.

  4. Kara says:

    I do support a change/ban in the video games that teach how to kill and glorify it. I see your point that those games would still be available underground, but maybe make them less available or acceptable to the naive general public.

  5. Janice says:

    This kid was tormented. His mother tried to protect him from himself but she enabled him to do harm to others. There will always be guns and video games. There will always be disturbed people. This is the society we live in today. Sadly it will happen again. Thank God for the brave teachers and staff that prevented more deaths. I cannot even imagine what those parents are feeling. If a parent does suspect their child of mental problems do they get help? No, they try to protect them but they never imagine that their child is capable of something like this. The devil is at work and evil exists, but God is still the light.

  6. Carol says:

    Can we insist every Christian church congregation have a meeting—members’ attendance required— and dissect these tangled issues of gun violence, mental deficiencies, and the church’s woeful inability to influence the same? We can set up many committees to work on “solvation”. We can adopt mental health as a mission and add this item to the next budget, designating some, or more, of our offerings to go to research and treatment. We can gaze at our church navel for the rest of our lives and ruminate forever and ever, amen. And we will have lost sight of the reason for the church in the first place: to lift up Christ as the only way to salvation.

    I am not reading the verse you cite, l Peter 4:17, the same way that you do, Corey.

    “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”

    I don’t see the word ‘cleaning’ anywhere. I envision God judging, not us cleaning. It will be too late to clean house on that day!

    I read it to mean that God is going to judge those in His church first, which He surely will do. In our own imperfection we can accept that we all fall short of the Glory of God, except Jesus intercede for us before the throne, which He promises to do if we declare Him to be our Savior, the Son of God, Who takes away our sin. That is the only way we can stand before God sinless at the judgment.

    What about anyone who appears to be separated from God by reason of mental incapacity, as Adam Lanza and the Aurora shooter Lochner, I think his name was, certainly appear(ed) to be? Is this a question God will reveal His answer to one day?
    Satan wins if he can cause God’s people to turn away from him in times of great tragedy and great boon. The world is watching to see if we turn away from Him at any time in our Christian walk, and if we do, do they see us turn back to Him?

    • Pastor Corey says:

      There are biblical exhortations that use the metaphor of cleansing (e.g. James 4:8) to call God’s people to repentance. If judgment begins with God’s people, wouldn’t self-examination and repentance – for sins of commission and sins of omission – be a good direction for the church? And since judgment is a present, not just a future reality for the church as 1 Peter says, shouldn’t this begin now?

  7. Carol says:

    James 4:7,8
    Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
    Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded.

    We, having confessed that we, like Paul himself confessed, have sinned yet again, ask God, who is our judge and who has already judged us, to cleanse our hearts as we begin our worship each Sunday, don’t we? It’s a vital part of my church’s service.

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