Do Christians have a right to self-defense or an obligation to defend others?

This post is in response to something written by John Pavlovitz entitled Jerry Falwell Jr, Liberty University, and A Hateful Christianity Off the Rails.

In his post, Mr. Pavlovitz called remarks made by Jerry Falwell Jr. “lazy, incendiary, irresponsible language that perpetuate uninformed stereotypes, incite unnecessary fear.”

Here is what Falwell had to say about the shootings in San Bernadine, CA that precipitated Pavlovitz’s rant.

“It just blows my mind that the president of the United States [says] that the answer to circumstances like that is more gun control,” he said to applause.

“If some of those people in that community center had what I have in my back pocket right now …,” he said while being interrupted by louder cheers and clapping. “Is it illegal to pull it out? I don’t know,” he said, chuckling.

“I’ve always thought that if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in,” he says, the rest of his sentence drowned out by loud applause while he said, “and killed them.”

As you consider Mr. Falwell’s remarks, please keep in mind that had someone taken out the Muslims before they shot and killed 14 people and wounded 17, the difference today would be that we would have two people dead and not 16 and zero wounded. This fact, of course wasn’t mentioned in the post. Instead Pavlovitz went so far as to say:

Friends, refuse to be fooled by people like Falwell: this is not Christianity by any meaningful definition.
It is not Good News.

It is not Jesus.
It is not love.

Don’t settle for this hateful faith anymore.

Peacemakers, be heard.

It isn’t clear if Mr. Pavlovitz thought that Jerry Falwell Jr. was preaching the gospel message or that he wanted his readers to think that was Falwell’s intent, but either way, many people seem to agree with Pavlovitz. In the comment section there was a huge debate begun on the Pavlovitz’s blog which he calls “Stuff That Needs To Be Said” about whether or not a true Christian can defend himself or others and still be living in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Some want to argue that all Christians are to become pacifists and this is why Jesus said, ‘turn the other cheek.’ I have a few questions for these people.

Mr. Pavlovitz, do you, and those who agreed with you, suggest that all non-Christians are to be either undefended or should the non-Christian segment of society accept the burden of defending Christians? Put another way, should all Christians drop out of military service, stop serving as policemen, and refuse to take any job that involves security? In fact, if it is wrong for Christians to defend themselves, by what authority does anyone claim the right to self-defense? If there is no moral grounds or Biblical authority for self-defense, would you recommend that nations be undefended and that we stop fighting against evil, altogether?

My opinion is that Mr. Pavlovitz doesn’t truly believe that Mr. Falwell is hateful or vile and that he knows Jerry Falwell and other Christians do not advocate shooting Muslims randomly. Mr. Pavlovitz probably believes that Christians have a right to self-defense. Mr. Pavlovitz is likely a progressive democrat who is in favor of abolishing the second amendment and is using this as an attempt to incite and influence others politically. I can think of no other reason for his attack against Jerry Falwell.

For those who are interested in reading more about a Christian’s right to self-defense, one of the best articles I have read on this subject is found on Another enlightening article is found at Prepared Christian: Being Prudent In Today’s Word.




About jlue

I am a grandmother of seven and I like to garden, read, study the Bible, and spend time with family. I am not very politically active, but very interested in who is elected to lead our country.
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