SWORD OF THE SPIRIT: A Christian Conversation on Gun Violence
A conversation on gun violence?
Why guns—why now? After all, until recently, many thought this was not an evangelical issue, but lately, more and more Christian leaders have expressed growing concerns about the number of guns in homes, in church buildings, even in sanctuaries. At the same time, pastors, deacons, elders, and board members are rightfully concerned about security for congregants.
In my 35 years of ordained ministry and over two decades of leadership in the evangelical movement, I have ministered to those left in the wake of gun violence, most notably the 2006 Amish schoolhouse shooting and the 2013 Washington, DC Naval Yard shooting, which occurred close to my apartment. The more involved I became in this work, the more I realized that we, as believers, need to look at the issue of guns and gun violence from a different perspective, not one based on politics, legislation, or business—but one of scriptural integrity and ethical reflection. I believe the question of Christians and guns is relevant in all of our lives.
As I have traveled around the country meeting fellow Christian leaders and pastors, I have found that many share the concern that I do—that in all ways, we reflect God’s character, God’s truth (as found in His Word), and love for our neighbor when it comes to the issue of gun violence. My goal is to explore this difficult challenge in the context of Christian morality, the will of God, and our personal disposition toward our neighbors.
You are invited to join us in this prayerful conversation. You will find many resources on this website to help you think about the issue of guns and gun violence from a biblical perspective. And we very much would like to hear from you! This is a “safe zone” where you can explore this issue honestly and with integrity without worrying about being on the “right” or “wrong” side. If you find that you share our concern, I invite you to check out the Statement of Concern.
My prayer is that we as believers will be guided in our approach to this difficult issue by looking to the Word of God through the life and teaching of the greatest source we have, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
You’re welcome to the table–in Jesus’ name!
Yours for biblical truth and the advance of the gospel,
– Rev. Rob Schenck
ABOUT REV. ROB SCHENCK
The Reverend Dr. Rob Schenck is an ordained Evangelical minister and president of Faith and Action in the Nation’s Capital, located in Washington, DC. A leader among American Evangelicals, Dr. Schenck is the immediate past chairman of the Evangelical Church Alliance, America’s oldest association of independent Evangelical clergy.
As featured in Abigail Disney’s newly released documentary, The Armor of Light (Fork Films, 2015), Dr. Schenck has recently challenged the prevailing attitudes of American Evangelicals on gun ownership, opening a vigorous debate in his community on the ethical dimensions of gun use and related public policy questions.
Dr. Schenck holds a B.A. in Religion, M.A. in Christian Ministry, D.Min in Church and State, and is a senior fellow at the Oxford Centre for the Study of Law and Public Policy at Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford.
Dr. Schenck serves on numerous boards and committees, including the National Advisory Board on Community Engagement in the State Courts. His professional memberships include the National Association of Evangelicals, the American Academy of Religion, the Capitol Hill Executive Service Club, and The University Club of Washington.
Dr. Schenck lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, Cheryl, a psychotherapist in private practice.