Signs of the Times. . . Have Changed: ‘Guns and God: Growing Number of Churches Want Armed Security’
“The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.” Psalms 34: 7, K.J.V.
Beginning after Pentecost, A.D. 1, the church (in contrast to the world), founded upon Christ as the Rock and Foundation by the first Twelve, undergoes its prophesied periods. It is now in its seventh and final remnant period, symbolized as the “Laodicean church,” spiritually lukewarm yet militant.” See on Revelation chapters 2 and 3.
All throughout its different yet successive periods, particularly now in its commandment-keeping, remnant stage, the faithful of each period who kept the flame of truth burning, well-understood and faithfully applied apostle Paul’s injunction, which says:
“For the word of God is a living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even into the very division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the of thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, and all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Heb. 4: 11-13, N.K.J.V.
The sharper- than-sharp, “double-edged” feature and nature of God’s word, slices and splices through soul and spirit, joints and marrow, thoughts and intents of the heart.” All who think they can hide in their “refuge of lies” need to what happened to Adam and Eve right after their transgression. The sacred record says “the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked” and “hid themselves from the presence of the Lord among the trees of the garden.” Gen. 3: 7, 8. It didn’t work, and never will. Indeed, “all things,” seen or unseen—are naked and open to the Omnipresent eyes of Him to whom we must give account— “for we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” Rom. 14: 10. That’s clearly the pre-advent judgment for when He comes, He brings His eternal rewards Him.
The whole armor that “the Lord of the Sabaoth” made for His spiritual army on earth
Fellow Christian soldier and pilgrim on earth, once more, in the verses familiar to us, Apostle Paul describes and urges Christ’s followers to put on the whole armor of God, reiterating the vital function of the “sword-word” as key to the effectivity of this armor in the Christian’s daily warfare against “the world, the flesh and the devil.” Here, Paul says the “word of God, which is sharper than any two-edged sword,” is, in verity, “the sword of the Holy Spirit”!
Note this: Jesus, “the God-Word made flesh” (John 1: 1-4) wielded only one weapon or “sword” in His human nature during His momentous struggle against Satan and his host of evil angels and agencies of wicked, corrupt, scheming, blasphemous and cruel “great men” and “kings of the earth.” What was our Savior and Example’s weapon of choice? “It is written”—the word of God! The Word used His word to successfully overcome the world!
When Christ died on the cross, 31 A.D., and resurrected on the third day, Satan was defeated because a) he miserably failed to cause Jesus in His human nature to yield to his most powerful temptations by which all men are tempted by and have fallen. 2) By His resurrection, Christ further gained the signal victory over death and the grave—the former “the wages of sin,” the latter the temporary “prison-house” of all that “die in Christ and rest in their graves.”
This was when Satan lost to Christ the second time, on earth. The first defeat took place in heaven, where, as the first rebel, Lucifer and a third of the angels who joined him in the rebellion, lost their war against Christ. “They did not keep their proper domain, but left their own habitation” Jude 6. These original losers were eternally cast out from heaven. Christ saw Satan and his defeated angels “fall like lightning” to our earth (Luke 10: 18). instantly and irrevocably they became the demons or evil spirits that have vexed mankind ever since.
Let’s take an inventory again of the whole armor bears the stamp and seal of its Designer and Manufacturer that comes with this divine guaranty and warranty to all who put it on: “You will become strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” Here it is:
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you might be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up [put on, K.J.V.] the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. [How do we “stand”?] Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always will all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” Eph. 6: 10-18, N.K.J.V.
Guns and God. – The news story bearing the above heading, ‘Guns and God: Growing Number of Churches Want Armed Security,’ was written by Mary Plum/NBC News, Jan. 28, 2019. I quote portions of it [emphasis mine]:
“’Fifty years ago, you could say no guns should be allowed in church, but times have changed, said a police chief who runs a voluntary security team. When Cris Crews prepares for church on Sunday mornings, he follows a routine. He rises early [how about you?]. He puts on his church clothes. . . . Then, before leaving the house with his wife and two children [he prays for….No!] he straps a firearm—a .9 mm. or a.45—to his right hip.
‘I don’t leave home without a gun,’ Crews said. It’s kind of the old American Express card ads: I just won’t leave home without it.’
“Crews, 47, is part of the security team at Ava Assembly of God, a Pentecostal church of 300 members in Ava, Missouri. The church has no paid security guards [and so do our guardian angels!] Instead, it counts on a team of 18 church members to keep fellow congregants safe. None of the security team are paid and all carry handguns.
“Ava Assembly of God launched the team 18 months ago after the church’s pastor, Buddy Boyd, received threats related to a domestic dispute involving members of the [church] community. In response, and amid rising fears of mass shootings in general, a congregant suggested forming a security team. Boyd quickly agreed.
‘Times have changed,’ Boyd said.’ The No. 1 concern is to protect our parishioners.’
“The volunteer security team at Ava Assembly of God is one of hundreds of such teams created in recent years by church es and synagogues [maybe mosques will follow suit] to keep followers safe. According to several security companies and nonprofits that specialize in providing safety training to religious institutions, the growing number of teams coincides with a string of high-profile attacks that have shown the vulnerability of houses of worship [both to physical and spiritual invasion!].
What kind of faith are Christians supposed to have and exemplify? – “Carl Chinn, founder of the Faith Based Security Network, a nonprofit that offers safety guidance to faith communities, said that he is aware of more than 1,000 volunteer-run security teams in houses of worship in the U.S. Two hundred of them, in 34 states, have registered in his network in the past 11 months. The majority have armed members. [Could this also be said of us—“the majority are armed with the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”?]
“Boyd, the pastor of Ava Assembly of God, said voluntary security teams, make economic sense for churches like his, which cannot afford to hire professional security guards or off-duty police officers. ‘Without volunteers, it would be difficult in our setting to be able to afford the type of security we have every week,’ Boyd said . . . .
Churches are sitting ducks? – “Jimmy Meeks, a retired police officer and a minister, started his security training company, Sheepdog Seminars, in 2009 after observing a similar need. . . . Meeks acknowledge that the idea of mixing guns with God [reminds one of mixing “church craft with statecraft, religion and politics] is disconcerting to some. But, he said, those who see no reason for guns in churches in 2019 are in denial.
“Churches are sitting ducks, Meeks said, noting that houses of worship tend to have multiple entrances and open-door policies that strive to accept everyone, including the emotionally unstable. . . .
Protecting the flock . . . from what? “Pastor Frank Pomeroy’s 14-year old daughter was among the victims in the 2017 shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas. ‘There’s no scripture that shows me that we need to keep weapons out of the church,’ Pomeroy said. [But] there is scripture that we are supposed to protect the flock.” See full details of this news story on:
1. The news story says: ”When Chris Crews prepares for church on Sunday morning, he follows a routine. He rises early.” Now, do you also prepare for church on Sabbath morning, the seventh-day Sabbath memorial of creation. Do you also follow a routine—that begins with rising up early? Or are you still on the “late-to-church-but- not- to- school- or- work” routine?
2. Chris Crews said, “I don’t leave home without a gun.” Isn’t it more scripturally-sound to say, “I don’t leave home without prayer and God’s Word?” This is the real armed security that never fails or is breached. Besides, God never charges “fees” for His round-the-clock protection!
3. The pastor of the Ava Assembly of God, a Pentecostal church, said: “We have no paid security guards. We can’t’ afford it.“ Here’s the thing. What if your church also can’t afford to pay professional security guards or off-duty policemen, and no one in your congregation owns a gun legally and even if he does, he isn’t willing to put his life on the line by being a volunteer church security guard? Is this sinful lack of faith? If it is, who else are guilty?
Q. What does the “two-edged sword of the Holy Spirit” tell “all ye of little faith”? Our title verse says, “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.” Ps. 34: 7, N.K.J.V. If there were no other scriptures regarding this subject, this one verse alone would be sufficient to enlighten us. David, who wrote these words, clearly understood by divine instruction and own experience the nature of the work and God-given power the angels wielded in their ministry to God’s people. Thus informed, David constantly availed of this provision. Truly indeed, in this context, knowledge is power!
But why have we strangely forgotten what God’s Word clearly reveals about the angels? Mankind, particularly God’s faithful, have been granted at certain times and places to literally see, converse, and even bargain with these supernaturally-powerful, “no-blinking,” full-time “security guard” angels! But from this one news example alone, it is evident that there is an alarming degree of ignorance—inadvertent or intentional– regarding the spiritual security guard services of angels who “excel in strength”!
The No. 1 concern of all pastors, ministers, –under shepherds all of the gentle yet Almighty Shepherd of shepherds, is to: protect/guard the “little flock” entrusted to their care from “ravening wolves in sheep’s clothing,” infiltrating from without as well as the termite-like and Judas-like ones working within even from the respected “bright lights” and trusted brethren. These are the most efficient agents of Satan, whom Paul warned, “bring in damnable heresies.” Do you know what these are? Properly used, the sword of the Spirit will unmask all of these to the diligent student of the Word, and His word! (Continued next week)