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Does Bible Allow Concealed Carry? John Piper Says ‘No,’ Gets Pushback

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Popular author and pastor John Piper has sparked an online and social media firestorm by arguing the Bible does not permit the concealed carry of guns by Christians – and he’s receiving plenty of pushback from friends and those who normally agree with him on other issues.

The chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary and former pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Piper said he was led to address the issue after Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., during a convocation, encouraged students to arm themselves in light of terrorist threats against the United States.

“Falwell and I exchanged several emails, and he was gracious enough to talk to me on the phone so I could get as much clarity as possible,” Piper wrote on his website, DesiringGod.org. “I want it to be clear that our disagreement is between Christian brothers who are able to express appreciation for each other’s ministries person to person.”

Piper then added, “Does it accord with the New Testament to encourage the attitude that says, ‘I have the power to kill you in my pocket, so don’t mess with me’? My answer is, No.”

Piper’s essay has nine major points and is more than 3,700 words long, and begins by asserting that it is the government’s responsibility alone to avenge evil.

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“The apostle Paul called Christians not to avenge ourselves, but to leave it to the wrath of God, and instead to return good for evil,” Piper wrote. “And then he said that God gave the sword (the gun) into the hand of governmental rulers to express that wrath in the pursuit of justice in this world.”

He added:

For example, any claim that in a democracy the citizens are the government, and therefore may assume the role of the sword-bearing ruler in Romans 13, is elevating political extrapolation over biblical revelation. When Paul says, “[The ruler] does not bear the sword in vain” (Romans 13:4), he does not mean that Christians citizens should all carry swords so the enemy doesn’t get any bright ideas.

Piper also argued that the Bible promises suffering for Christians, and that concealed carry conflicts with this notion.

“The apostle Peter teaches us that Christians will often find themselves in societies where we should expect and accept unjust mistreatment without retaliation,” he wrote. “…Few messages are more needed among American Christians today than 1 Peter 4:12: ‘Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.’”

Further, Piper wrote, Jesus “promised that violent hostility will come; and the whole tenor of his counsel was how to handle it with suffering and testimony, not with armed defense.”

During a convocation in early December,…