Pass the Bible…and the Bullets?

Bible as Gunholder

I read a news story this week about a church who is “reaching out” in a new way. They are offering concealed weapons training. The headline read, “What Would Jesus Shoot?” The article began: “Salvation isn’t automatic—but it might be semi-automatic.”

Wow.

The church primarily featured in the article is located roughly 30 miles north of Columbus, Ohio, (Marengo Church of Christ). In front, there is a sign that reads: Some think the Bible is a hunter’s guide: they are lost. The minister said, “Frankly the sign has been an attendance driver,” he said. “We’ve had two families come and place memberships because they said this is the kind of thing we’d like to support.” I’ll hope Jesus was assumed among that which those families would like to support, as well. The minister goes on to say they are trying to reach out to guys. Now, before my pacifist readers, feminist readers, or other offended readers chuck your laptops across the room, here’s his logic: No one in the area is trying to reach men, and in our town, men hunt and shoot.

Those of you who read the blog regularly know I’m for peace but not a pacifist. I’m also a believer in trying to reach men—as the moral decline of men has brought with it a veritable 10 plagues of societal problems. I’m all for churches trying to reach out, be creative, and finding new ways to reach people. However:

This is terrible idea…not that they care what I think.

I rarely take a church to task on something, and I won’t do it here. I’m featuring this story because beyond the medium of their attempts at outreach is the bigger question: What shouldn’t a church do in an effort to reach people? The answer to me is two-fold: 1) Anything that points away from God’s Kingdom (i.e. facilitates ungodly behavior/attitudes, hurts the community around it), and 2) Any effort that doesn’t offer some path to Jesus eventually.

What are your thoughts? How far is too far for a church to go in trying to reach people? Any thoughts on concealed weapons training as a medium for an outreach effort? Click here to read the article.

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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