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What is a Christian Man's MORAL responsibility to protect his own life, or that of his immediate or spiritual family?


James Thomas Rook Jr.

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SCENARIO:  You are at a packed Kingdom Hall on Memorial night, and ten minutes into the remembrance talk, six masked people with weapons enter the Kingdom Hall and begin shooting everyone they can, without any conversation.  

You are shot in the left side of your face and most of those teeth are gone.

Before you know what is going on twelve Brothers and Sisters have been shot, screaming and panic ensues, and there is blood and bodies and brains all over, and the shooting continues.

Would it be fitting for a Brother  to use his handgun to return fire on the murderers to try and save his own life, or the lives of his Brothers and Sisters?

Or, in PubSpeak ... "Would it be fitting for a Christian to keep a firearm, such as a handgun or a rifle, for protection against other humans?" ( July 2017 Watchtower )

This raises MANY Theocratic, moral, ethical, legal, and Societial policy questions ... all of which have REAL answers. 

What is the RIGHT thing for a responsible Christian to do?

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You should realize that Jesus was aware that there were so many things his apostles had to learn and overcome such as fear of man and the customs they grew up with. Jesus did not set out correcting ev

Everyone has to live with his or her conscience but it is a protection to adhere to the advice of the faithful and discreet slave. Although someone could point to the violence in the world as a ration

Nnaemeka: The phrase comes to mind, paraphrased ... " ... If a man does not take care of his own, he is worse than a man without the faith."  To me that means spiritual education, food, shelter,

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I would not hesitate to be the judge, jury and executioner right then and there in that situation. I would even try to keep my teeth ;-)

And the law would be on my side.

Do Kingdom Halls prohibit you from carrying weapons?

I'm not even sure what Catholic churches say about carrying weapons inside them.

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Yeah, my working assumption is that in order to be a Theocratic man, FIRST you have to be a man.   There are too many males ... not enough men.

Besides, it is MORALLY WRONG to even ASK a Babylonian police officer to put his life on the line to defend yours ...if YOU WILL NOT DEFEND YOUR OWN LIFE.

In this scenario, it would not even matter, as by the time the police arrived, the Kingdom Hall would be filled with bodies, and a lake of blood.

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Well, it's very sad but such a scenario wouldn't justify a Christian coming with firearms to the Kingdom Hall, Jehovah's place of worship or even keeping one for that matter. I think you are examining the Bible's teachings from a physical point of view that is why two verses are pertinent for you to consider.

1. 1 Corinthians 2:14-16 that says:

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14 But a physical man does not accept the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot get to know them, because they are examined spiritually. 15 However, the spiritual man examines all things, but he himself is not examined by any man. 16 For “who has come to know the mind of Jehovah, so that he may instruct him?” But we do have the mind of Christ.

2. Psalm 34:7 that says:

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 7 The angel of Jehovah camps all around those fearing Him, And he rescues them.

Thanks 

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Nnaemeka:

I think all the Apostles might disagree with you, Nnaemeka, because as Luke 22:36 points out, the APOSTLES BROUGHT THEIR OWN PERSONAL SWORDS TO THE PASSOVER, AND MEMORIAL.

Or do you think that Jesus, after being with the Apostles for somewhere around THREE YEARS, never noticed the swords, and long expensive fishing knives they carried, as did almost all Galilean males?

When is the last time YOU rented a dining room, and over in the corner, were two expensive swords, each made from hand-mined metal and shaped and beaten into an individually hand made AND EXPENSIVE swords by a blacksmith ?

Peter and at LEAST one other Apostle had their personal swords with them .... AT THE MEMORIAL.

Hint: Life is simpler when you use plain old common sense, AND you do not have to use irrelevant to the topic references to support a bogus agenda.

.

 

 

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... and then there is the morally bankrupt position of not allowing a Brother to protect his own life ...or YOURS ... but calling on paid Babylonian Policemen to risk their lives for yours, in mortal combat ... something you are not willing to do for yourself.

To my mind, that is how professional COWARDS think.

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2 hours ago, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

Nnaemeka:

I think all the Apostles might disagree with you, Nnaemeka, because as Luke 22:36 points out, the APOSTLES BROUGHT THEIR OWN PERSONAL SWORDS TO THE PASSOVER, AND MEMORIAL.

Or do you think that Jesus, after being with the Apostles for somewhere around THREE YEARS, never noticed the swords, and long expensive fishing knives they carried, as did almost all Galilean males?

When is the last time YOU rented a dining room, and over in the corner, were two expensive swords, each made from hand-mined metal and shaped and beaten into an individually hand made AND EXPENSIVE swords by a blacksmith ?

Peter and at LEAST one other Apostle had their personal swords with them .... AT THE MEMORIAL.

Hint: Life is simpler when you use plain old common sense, AND you do not have to use irrelevant to the topic references to support a bogus agenda.

.

 

 

You should realize that Jesus was aware that there were so many things his apostles had to learn and overcome such as fear of man and the customs they grew up with. Jesus did not set out correcting every fault they had instantly but when the occasion arises. Realize that in the Luke 22 you quoted when the apostles showed him two sword he answered them: "It is enough." He went on to emphasize that their confidence should not lie in weapons when he laid down a principle before them right at the moment when Peter cut off Malchus' ears. This was stated in Matthew 26:52 thus:

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52 Then Jesus said to him: “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword. 

Jesus admonished Peter for using one of those swords. Just picture this scenario with the one you pointed out in your original post. They are both similar. But Jesus reproved Peter for falling on a weapon to protect himself and his master. Jesus laid a principle that all his followers will do well to follow. Jesus then in the next verse showed why it is wrong to do as you imagined in your original post scenario - that is, bring weapons to the Kingdom Hall. He emphasized to his disciples that he had legions at his beck and call - invisible spirit weapons - but in this time of death, he did not and would not use it when he said in Matthew 26:53 thus:

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53 Or do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father to supply me at this moment more than 12 legions of angels? 

That idea above, allowing Jehovah's will to be done irrespective if your life is in danger, does not show Jesus to be a coward as you contend. Or do you think he also is one? I doubt it. Jesus was bold and courageous to exercise self control at the darkest moment in his life and he never flinched from his resolve. We do well to follow his steps closely as Peter urges in 1 Peter 2:21.

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I was taught the same way that @Nnaemeka explained so well above.

I also see the practicality of @James Thomas Rook Jr. position on weapons in general.

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Questions still stuck in my head are:

Jesus could summon the 12 legions... but I cannot. = I get to carry a "sword"?

Was Jesus reproving Peter for acting on the offensive? would a defensive use of his sword only been ok?

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The reason I ask these questions is that in a world where every 3rd person and his grandma is carrying.... when that one lunatic shows up at the KH one day I would like someone there to be able to fire back.

It would be hypocritical of me to say that it is wrong to carry such a firearm and then be glad JTR had one on his person.

---------

After the bombing of the Kingdom Hall in Australia we see that there were no legions of angels dispatched to protect that congregation. 

Leaving me to ponder these questions still.

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FYI - I do not carry or own a gun. I barely know how to fire one correctly. I do have a "dagger" camping (Rambo style) knife kept in a closet somewhere that I bought at a camping store. (I can't say that I know how to even fight with a knife either)

 

It may be that we live in a fiercer world where us older (I use that term reluctantly since I am only 45) JW men may need to "toughen up" and learn to protect ourselves.

 

I think sometimes about Abraham (God's friend) and his ARMY.... or David and his ARMY.... or Solomon with his NAVY...

 

Good discussion everyone.

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I have carried weapons all my adult life, and my biggest crime was driving around a barricaded road when I knew the road construction to be completed, and good ( I designed roads for a living for many years...), and I got a ticket that cost $240.

Although my arsenal may scare the timid, I do NOT "live by the sword", and never have.  I even take spiders outside, assuming they are lost, so they do not starve to death.

Peter was being admonished not to GET INTO A BATTLE,  offensively,  and after he demonstrated that he was NOT going to let Jesus be murdered by an illegal night time mob (by cutting off the ear of the slave of the High Priest...) ... WITH THE SWORD HE WAS COMMANDED TO BRING WITH HIM ...  Jesus said the DEMONSTRATION was enough ... an ear cut off bleeds like a faucet turned on.

It has always been common knowledge that I "carry", and so far, to the best of my knowledge, in a half century, it has never stumbled ANYONE, even Elders who asked me about it, and in three different congregations throughout the U.S.A., I was called into "Room 101" before the triumvirate and questioned.

The last time it went something like this ...

"Um... Brother Rook, it has come to our attention that you carry a gun....um... is this true?"

"Yes, it is."

"Um, er... Brother Rook, uh.. are you carrying one now?"

"Yes, I am."

This is where they don't know what to say next ... there  are looks all around, and then after a pause,  they stand up, I stand up, they extend their hands, thank me for my time, and we all go out into the main Hall and go about our business.

When I go into a new Congregation, those elders that don't know I carry a firearm, I hand a prepared letter informing them that I do ... and it has NEVER, anywhere in the USA, created the SLIGHTEST ripple or complaint from ANYONE, in over 50 years. 

I have had elderly Sisters ask me about  security for them, and I always advise them NOT to be armed, as you have to have a certain mindset to use weapons responsibly.  

If you are scared of the responsibility, best to be a victim, than make someone else a victim by your own hand.

When we returned to the KH after Field Service, I did go to the trunk of my car and gave her a child's baseball bat I kept there, and explained how NOT to use it for self-defense ( a whole other story) ...

I agree with the Society's position that Elders, Ministerial Servants, and those in authority should NOT be armed ... I have yet to meet an Elder, etc., that could handle the responsibility necessary, or have the mindset.

I disagree with the rest that creates a mindset of cowardice.

I am un-apologetically NOT a sheep ... I am a Sheepdog, and all that implies.

It's even my job to protect Snowflakes, who think 7 minutes to an armed policeman  is faster than  a 1700fps defense, 30 feet away.

.

 

 

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Everyone has to live with his or her conscience but it is a protection to adhere to the advice of the faithful and discreet slave. Although someone could point to the violence in the world as a rational for why he should carry, the scriptures have consistently advised us to rely on Jehovah both spiritually and physically. When Peter attacked Malchus he must have been thinking: "Attack is the best form of defense. Look at the large crowd with swords and clubs from the high priest. If I attack first, it would be a signal for Jesus to use his power to help us." Jesus would have none of that. He relied on Jehovah. And we should do.

I heard of the story of a Kingdom Hall bombed in Australia. It was very sad. It's part of the signs of the last days but that would not be a rationale for us to take to arms. One of the fruitage of the spirit is self-control. That is what we need in occasions like this when we find ourselves under threat. Against the natural inclination to take arms and fight back, we prefer to leave it in the hands of the authorities. That is Godly wisdom. Remember King Hezekiah. Despite the fact that he was staring at death in the face when Sennacherib besieged Jerusalem, he relied on Jehovah. We want to do the same.

Come to think of it. Would you say that because many politicians are corrupt that you'd go into politics because as a Christian you'd bring about the needed changes? That would be a natural inclination of every human. But the bible shows consistently that Christians should not engage in politics. As a Christian you'd want to follow bible principles. That is the same with the firearms issue. We want to follow bible principles rather than our natural inclination.

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Nnaemeka:

The phrase comes to mind, paraphrased ... " ... If a man does not take care of his own, he is worse than a man without the faith."  To me that means spiritual education, food, shelter, secular education, and when necessary DEFENSE.

An incompetent defense is no defense at all, and a MAN is supposed to know the difference.

I almost cried when I read your post, as when I was young I too was an idealist, and I miss the old me .... but I am 70 plus years old and have been all over the world, and seen hundreds of times , and sometimes been a part of the travesty, to my everlasting shame, how people with the very best of intentions  give BAD advice, and wrap it in a sarcophagus of scriptural references that ALMOST apply,  and with honest hearts, and the very best of intentions, ruin people's lives .

Been there ... done that. 

In all my years of watching and carefully noting the affairs of men, in and out of the Brotherhood, I have NEVER, EVER seen Jehovah intervene to protect anyone from evil, and have seen Brothers and Sisters infinitely better Theocrats than I am cut down.

In World War II, and even in Malawi, there is ZERO examples of God rescuing ANY individual person ... except in liberal fantasy not connected with what is REAL.  ZERO real evidence.

Zero ... none ...  nada ... goose eggs.

Apparently this ceased during the times of the Early Christians.

I am NOT going to even try to dissuade you from your faith, because right or wrong, Jehovah gives us full credit for what we do to the best of our ability with the conscience we have at any particular point in time.

Half of your first sentence I will take to heart ... as we all have to live with our conscience.    I am NOT a sheep person. I am a Sheepdog to my bones, and if I am wrong, Jehovah will judge me appropriately ... but I would rather die forever than allow innocent people to be harmed, especially my immediate family, the whole association of the Brotherhood, or even the clueless Snowflake beset upon by evil ... when I consider it my responsibility to protect these people, and myself ... if I can.

I did not exist for 14.5 or so BILLION YEARS, and it bothered me not in the slightest ... If I am not resurrected because of who I am, the Brotherhood will be better off without me.

FAMILY COMES FIRST!

For me, if I shirk this responsibility, I am not a man .... merely a BORG with male plumbing.

.

 

 

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22 hours ago, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

because as Luke 22:36 points out, the APOSTLES BROUGHT THEIR OWN PERSONAL SWORDS TO THE PASSOVER, AND MEMORIAL.

This scripture is stating that JESUS said to go sell their coat and buy a sword! 

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