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Response of Rev. Rob Schenck to News Reports on His Remarks About Pro-Lifers and Guns

Contact: Peggy Nienaber, 202-546-8329

WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ -- The following is submitted by Rev. Rob Schenk:

    My friends at Breitbart News Network have got me all wrong on guns. First, I never used the phrase "gun control," nor will I ever us e it. I don't see this as an issue of gun control, but of self-control, which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22). A gun trainer made it clear to me that whenever you point a firearm at another person you must be "ready to kill." Therefore, the defensive use of a weapon is a matter of life and death; doing right or wrong.

    For me, lethal force is not principally a political or legislative issue, but a moral and ethical one. At its core is a theological question, "When does God permit a Christian to kill another human being and under what circumstances?"

    In 2000 I published a book on the Ten Commandments that makes my basic understanding of this question quite clear. (Ten Words That Will Change a Nation, Albury Press.) In it I say unequivocally that the Bible does not ban killing in self-defense, in war, or in capital punishment. However, there are other controlling factors for the Christian. For example, the command of Christ to, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." (Matthew 5:44) There is also the fact that we do not have one instance in the New Testament of permissible defensive violence by Jesus or His disciples. These are matters to prayerfully explore as we deal with whether or not to own or use a defensive weapon.

    There is also the matter of self-doubt. The Bible says, "For all have sinned." (Romans 3:23) and "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves." (1 John 1:8) Placing a deadly weapon in the hand a sinner should always be a reason to ask searching questions, even if that sinner is yourself. After nearly forty years of being a minister, I know Christians are not immune to all the sinful impulses that come with being human, including the impulse to do harm. We can also be just as reckless as anybody else. When guns are involved, irresponsibility can lead to tragedy.

    The Second Amendment ensures American citizens will always be able to bear arms; the Supreme Court has spoken to that. No serious politician I know is going to challenge the Second Amendment, other than symbolically. With 300 million guns in circulation, it will always be impossible to confiscate them. The recommendation I made at this week's pro-life event was not for government action, but for pro-life Christians to enter the discussion about how we can reduce incidents of murder, suicide, and accidental death due to the misuse of firearms. Pro-lifers, who pray, think, and speak often about the God-given value and dignity of every human life, have a lot to say about preserving and protecting human life. It's time for us to say it.

    The ultimate solution to the crisis of unnecessary gun deaths will not be found in more federal laws, but neither will it be found in having more people pack heat. The solution will be found in the human conscience enlightened by God's law and love for humanity in Christ. That's the message the pro-life community can bring into this important debate.

    Rev. Rob Schenck is a missionary to top elected and appointed officials in Washington, DC, and a long-time figure in the pro-life movement.