…through superior firepower.

And no, I’m not anti-gun. I am, however, anti-gimmicks.

This letter from the pastor can be found at the link:

A letter from Pastor:

Dear Relatives, Friends, and Acquaintances,

For the past 27 years, our church has run buses and vans to pick up people from the projects and all over this area to bring them to church if they were unable to have the transportation or the means to come to our church. We have picked up entire families, teenagers, children, and parents and brought them to and from church. We have held our annual free Thanksgiving dinners, our annual free Hot Dog Sunday dinners during the Fourth of July weekend, our annual free Good Friday and Spaghetti MEATball dinners, and many other such activities and dinners to help those who were struggling, who needed help, or who were less fortunate than most others. We’ve always provided a free nursery, free Sunday Schools, and free Junior Church for babies, toddlers, and children who needed that extra structure and support to learn about Jesus Christ from the King James Bible.

We have decided to hold a special service honouring hunters and gun owners who have been so viciously attacked by the antichristian socialist media and antichristian socialist politicians the last few years. Our country was built with the King James Bible and the gun. To show our support for the many hunters and gun owners, we have decided to give a FREE NY-modified and legal AR-15 to one qualified individual on Sunday, March 23, 2014. Please feel free to tell others about our event. The winner has to attend the morning service, be at least 18 years of age, have a legal driver’s license, and be able to pass the background check for buying a weapon. Grace Baptist Church reserves the right to refuse anyone of questionable character for whatever reason from winning the free NY-modified and legal AR-15. Oakwood Trading Post on Route 40 in Troy, NY, will be doing the background checks and the transaction will be at their gun store the following day.

Some of you already come to our church and know about this. Some of you do not. Some of you live a distance away. I would be remiss if I did not extend an invitation to you to come and be a part of our Sunday morning service on March 23, 2014. If you plan on coming, I would urge you to come as early as possible to find a seat. Seating will be limited. There is no off-road parking. Please feel free to share this with anyone who might be interested in attending. NY State Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin is scheduled to speak that morning and Evangelist Dr. Bob Gray from Longview, TX, will be preaching. If you cannot come, please pray for our meeting that God will bless the singing and the preaching. God bless you.

John W. Koletas, Pastor
Grace Baptist Church
612 Fourth Avenue
Troy, New York 12182

180 thoughts on “Peace”

  1. Our Country was built with the King James Bible and the gun….

    This is sad on so many levels. Gimmicks to get people in church really reek of consumerism rather than the Gospel. And then they really do not see how they have married their faith with “America.” There is this worship of the Bible and worship of Country. You really can’t recognize Jesus in the religion they present.

    1. And fundies do such a great job checking the backgrounds of their pastors, not sure I trust their background check for giving away guns….

      1. The background check will be done at the gun store by a phone call to the state police or FBI.

        1. Oh. That makes it all better then. The “antichrist socialist government” (a phrase found often in Pastor John’s writings) will do the background check. Now I see the wisdom offering a door prize of an AR-15. The purpose is to make NY, and America, more safe.

          Yes. I see it now. Arm the congregation. Keep ranting and screaming about the gubmit. Keep ranting and screaming about fags and sluts and drunks and Hyles-haters and freeloaders and mixed-marriagers and evilutionists and secular humanists and socialists and let’s all make sure we have appropriate firepower when the flame of hatred finally ignites and Holy War breaks out and we just might have to spread the peace of Christ by blowing the hell out of the enemy. Lord, may it ever be. Amen.

  2. Refuses based on questionable behavior – Long hair, smokes, beard, gay, drinks a beer? Woman wearing pants. They can even be judgmental with a give away.

    And I’m pro-gun control!

  3. They offer free Sunday School, free nursery, free Junior Church? And now they are honouring (love the KJV spelling here, haymen?) hunters by offering a free assault rifle? All my dreams are coming true!

    1. Has anyone here ever attended a church where the nursery and kids’ classes weren’t free?

      1. No. However, many moons ago I briefly attended Orangewood Presbyterian Church in Orlando. They hired 7th-day Adventists to work the nursery so none of the church members had to miss services. Now THAT’S service!

    2. Ah! You noticed “honouring”, which got a chuckle from me. I was hoping to mention it myself.

  4. For some reason I was a bit surprised to see ‘viciously’ spelled correctly. I wouldn’t mind a free AR-15, but attending the morning service would be too high a price, and I’d probably be found of questionable character anyway.

  5. Their website lets me know they worship the KJV, Hyles, and the Red, White and Blue!

  6. Any time a church starts giveaways and lucky door prizes just to get people in church, you know there’s nothing worth going there for.

  7. Ugh. That is all I have…The King James Bible and the Gun. Wow.
    How about read a basic version of US History that didn’t come through the fundy kawledge book mill?

  8. Went to the church website. The About Us page is worth a visit. Some highlights:

    KJV 1611 Authorized Version is “the very Word of God.” Very.

    Jesus Christ is Jehovah God Almighty. (Is this one of those “Jesus Only” churches?)

    No “Egyptian-style beat and rhythm” music found here!

    They “believe, teach, and preach modest apparel.” Because believing, teaching, and preaching about apparel was central to the message of Christ, aka as Jehovah God Almighty.

    As the kids say nowadays, “Gurl, you cray-cray.”

    1. My favorite from their “about us”
      “If it was good enough for Jesus to go to John the Baptist to be baptized by immersion, then it’s good enough for us to be baptized by Baptists.”
      Do they believe John the Baptist is the first Baptist?

      1. Yeah, that was interesting. I wasn’t surprised at it, though. In fact, the only thing that really surprised me on the About Us page was the emphasis on Jesus=Jehovah. I somehow expected that a church that stresses the fundamentals of the faith would at least believe in orthodox Trinitarianism.

        1. Lost part of my reply:

          They are probably too busy believing, teaching, and preaching about apparel and music (or out target practicing) to worry about theological niceties like the Trinity.

        2. I’m pretty sure that they do. Every IFBer I’ve ever met believes in the Trinity. I think Jesus = Jehovah is their way of saying that Jesus is God if they’re thinking Jehovah = God not specifically just God the Father. It’s their way of saying the Jesus is the Son of God, the living Word, and was present from the beginning of time, the same God who spoke to the Israelites.

          (Not that I’m defending them – argh.)

        3. Yeah, you’re probably right–at any rate, you are far more kind than I am. However, given that the two key dogmas of orthodox Christianity are the Trinity and the Incarnation, you might expect a little more precision in terminology. Reminds me of my kids, who often come up with their own pronunciation or meaning of words. When I correct them they say, “Well, that’s what I call it!”

        4. The phrase from the Athanasian Creed is “Neither confounding the Persons; nor dividing the Essence.”

          They are “confounding the Persons” with the Jesus=Jehovah identification. It is heresy.

        5. Confound it! I suspect Pastor John (in spite of his Greek last name) has never even heard the terms hypostasis or ousia. He has probably also never heard of Sabellius or Modalism. A little time in the study with some real theology books might do him some good. Of course, he has the KJV 1611 Authorized Version, the VERY Word of God, so there you go.

        6. nico,

          Their statement is likely a repudiation of the Arianism of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They’re almost certainly just reaffirming the divinity of Christ and they simply hadn’t given their own statement enough thought.

        7. Granted. However, as I mentioned earlier, the doctrine of the Trinity is essential Christianity, along with the doctrine of the Incarnation. You don’t even have Christianity without them. It seems to be just a little important to get it right. As you know, I have only a tenuous attachment to the church so I’m probably not the best person to be making this point, but it still matters to me that if a pastor is going to claim to be a Christian he or she should at least know basic Christian doctrine. And if I, a barely-Christian, am the only one making this point it doesn’t bode well for historic Christianity, does it? 🙂

          The fact that he doesn’t know is not an excuse–indeed, it is a big part of the problem. All of this basic theology stuff was discussed and defined in the early centuries of the church. Because Pastor John cannot be bothered to read the statements of the Church Fathers and the Ecumenical Synods (he has the 1611 KJV as the VERY Word of God, so what need does he have of saints and synods?!), he tries to answer the heresy of the Arians by making a Sabellian statement. Whatever he meant by it, it is modalistic; and throughout the entire history of the church it was recognized as heretical.

          I’m really laughing here–seriously, a bad Christian like me is the one calling Pastor John out on his sloppy theology! Me!!

        8. Point taken, nico. People really should expect their religious leaders to have a higher level of theological training.

        9. While I think Pastor John, as the pastor of a Christian church, has no excuse for not understanding why Jesus=Jehovah is problematic, I will say that the system he is in does not help matters. Let’s meet in the middle and say he shares the blame with his faith tradition.

          The IFB spends all of its time and energy measuring hem lengths, stumping for Republicans, learning church history from The Trail of Blood, standing nobly against real scholarship of any kind, and conferring honorary doctorates on each other. Busy, busy, busy. There’s no time for theological studies.

      2. The fundy “pastors” I knew most definitely believed John the Baptist was indeed the first Baptist.

        I questioned our then fundy “pastor” about a doctrine which he staunchly stood for called Baptist Baptism (which is basically a belief in some kind of Apostolic succession from John the Baptist to every “approved” Baptist preacher). First of all, he became furious because, as a woman, I should have never questioned his Self Appointed Holiness. As for why he believed John the Baptist was the first Baptist… Duh! his name was John THE BAPTIST!!!! You should have seen his face when I told him perhaps he was called John the Baptist because he baptized people not because he was the father of the Baptist denomination. He became so enraged he told me I was no longer welcome in HIS church because if I gave him trouble on any issue I was nothing but trouble for him in all matters.

        This was the first and only time I ever questioned him about anything…I never returned to HIS church. Neither did my husband who was the unpaid youth pastor, song leader and fill in for the pastor when he was gone. He chased us all off because I asked him one question.

      3. “Do they believe John the Baptist is the first baptist?”

        Well, he wasn’t “John the Catholic,” Haymen?! There are probably more than a few Fundy preachers who believe just that.

    2. What’s with “Egyptian-style beat and music”? Bwahahahahahaha.

      Does the Bible say anything about Egyptian music? Does Egypt even have a distinctive musical style? Why not say “Babylonian-style” since the Bible does describe the instruments that played when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were supposed to bow before the idol.

      Of course we all know the truth: they are really saying “African-style” but don’t want to be labeled racist so they’re calling it “Egyptian.”

      Seriously? Egyptian?

      I can’t stop shaking my head. Never in my life have I seen rock music described as Egyptian.

      1. Egypt is the world capital in belly dance. So I guess If I’m going to belly dance, I’ll have to use a Moroccan dance/music style instead.

        1. This would make a good offertory song. Thank you and God grant you some really good things for blessing me with this video!

        2. You know why fundies are so opposed to premarital sex……because it looks too much like dancing. LOL

        3. Wow! That gave me a great laugh. My wife (who is still part fundie) asked about it. I told her. She groaned. She doesn’t like me to poke fun at fundamentalists (after all … ), but she appreciated the humor.

      2. I have a feeling (knowing “fundy” style thinking) that the term “Egyptian Style” is an archaic reference to anything that was consideed “evil” at the time of Israel’s exodus from Egypt. Fundies like to cross-reference things/ideas that were “evil” (or strange to Israeli culture) at that time in history and try to make it apply to things of our culture today (i.e. rock music, tv, life styles, food) that they consider “evil” today. Soooo… modern pop is commonly referred to by fundies as”Egyptian style beat and music. Miley Cyrus brand of music/dance would be referred to “Egyptian style twerking and whoredom”

        couple examples of egyptian “evil”:

        Exodus 32:4 (KJV) And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

        Ezekiel 20:7 (KJV) – Then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I [am] the LORD your God.

      3. Of course (modern) Egypt has music of its own, but this doofus wouldn’t know Egyptian music if it shot him with a modified AR-15.

  9. Gun owners have been “viciously attacked”? How? By being made to hear opinions that are different than theirs? News flash fundys, the 6-7 year old kids in Sandy Hook that were gunned downed to the point they had their faces blown off viciously attacked. If the “christian” right would back reasonable gun restrictions incidents like that wouldn’t have happened.

      1. At some point we as a society have to “go there” and address the fact that we are the only country in the world that experiences mass shootings on the scale that they happen here in America. And it is time the Christian right, with their blind allegiance to any candidate with an “A+” rating from the NRA, has to take some responsibility for the blood on their hands.

    1. I disagree. Under present laws, the killer at Sandy Hook would have never been allowed those guns. His mother foolishly supplied him, blind to how damaged he was and too cowardly to stand up to him. (I’m sorry if that sounds harsh, but look at what the result of her enabling was.)

      I strongly believe that more laws are NOT the answer because humans, flawed as we are, will always find a way around it. Personally, I wish there had been someone who was armed on that campus – a janitor, one of the teachers or administrators, someone who was willing to not just courageously run AT an armed criminal but someone who would also be willing to take aim at said criminal and take him down in order to protect the children in the school.

      1. Well said — The criminally minded already do not respect the law but they mostly retain a sense of self preservation that would make them think twice about attacking an armed law abiding citizen.

      2. That opinion is easily testable by an objective analysis of the statistics comparing gun violence in this country with gun violence rates of countries with tougher gun laws. There criminals in countries like Australia and Canada but you never hear of mass school shootings in those countries. Ever wonder why that is? What do we do differently than those countries when it comes to gun ownership? Spend some time looking into those questions and I’m confident you’ll find the answer.

        1. Statistics too often reflect the opions of the data analysts. As the old adage goes, there are lies, d—– lies and statistics. It’s a complex issue not easily answered through data analysis because pro-gun entities can cite examples as credible as the anti-gun entities.

        2. I also wonder if those other countries offer better access to mental health care.

        3. Tyler, I am also pro gun-control (and most people really are to one extent or another – does anyone really want their neighbor owning a flame thrower or bazooka?) However, there have been numerous statistical studies trying to correlate violent crimes with various levels of gun control, and the results are far too complex for anyone to come to any facts-based conclusion. Interestingly, this was the conclusion of a very liberal Canadian politician who did a pretty complex study. I will try to find a link. Long story short, Japan has very strict gun control and has a higher murder-suicide rate than the US. Israel has mandatory gun carry laws (which are actually a form of gun control) and has the lowest murder-suicide rate in the world. There is also a significant difference between murder-suicide rate and mass murders. The former follows the patterns of criminal psychology, while the latter is more often correlated with extreme ideology or insanity. I would add that the MS rate is much more closely correlated with population density than any other factor. London, for example, has about the same MS rate as NYC and Chicago (all gun control cities), while Lexington (a small city where you can carry a sidearm out in the open with no license) has a lower MS rate than Melbourne. The current consensus is that the factors that go into violence are complex enough that there is no “magic bullet” fix. There are definitely some things we can do better about controlling the distribution of fire-arms in the US, but it would be illogical to presume that this would result in a lower incident of mass-shootings based on the evidence we have.

        4. Sorry Dr. Fundystan, but flamethrowers are legal just about everywhere and almost entirely unregulated in the United States.

      3. Well said pastor’s wife. That is one of the few sane comments I have read on here in many a day.

      4. I agree with you that piling on more legal restrictions to buying guns is probably not the answer to gun violence, but I would urge you to reconsider your incredibly dangerous belief that arming janitors so that a school shooting can turn into a school shoot-out is a good idea. Law enforcement agencies are unanimous in their opposition to these sort of vigilante fantasies; taking out an armed shooter is extremely difficult work, requiring not only specialized training but consistent drilling and practice. One terrified civilian firing his handgun is not heroism. It is *dangerous,* for every single person in the vicinity.

        The factors that go into a mass shooting are complex, and anyone who says they know how to stop them is really only guessing. We know a great deal more about what does and doesn’t work to preserve lives once the shooting starts. People who carry guns to school or work thinking that they’re going to defeat the forces of evil are buying into a strange and dangerous fantasy that bears no resemblance to how violent criminals really are subdued in the really real world.

        1. Then instead of more gun legislation we should aim for more gun education. There are schools that teach marksmanship without detrimental effects on the local society and crime rates. Declaring the right to bear arms means owning up to the obligation to teach/learnthe safety protocols and dangers of guns before handling a weapon. I could not agree more that people need to know the difference between a live shooter incident and a first person shooter game.

        2. I am coming to the conclusion the only way to stop most mass shooters is the Russian approach. Take out the bad guy at all cost. They have a single minded approach, often we create too many layers of complexity and silly rules of engagement to effectively deal with a spree killer.

          While it sounds nice to say wait on the highly trained professionals;) i.e. SWAT teams and the like), the reality is they are too far away much of the time to deal with the issue at hand, a sudden, surprise attack of a deadly nature. The only sure way to stop them is to have armed good guys right at the scene that can react immediately.

        3. Sure, don’t have people there with guns, call people who have comes to come there. That’s some serious logic at work. When seconds count, 911 is only minutes away.

    2. I’m not a member of the “Christian right” (pro-choice, pro-marriage-equality, anti-Prohibition of all stripes), but I don’t see how outlawing rifle handgrips that stick out has anything to do with “reasonable gun restrictions.”

      Sandy Hook was perpetrated by a mentally ill kid with a .22 rimfire bolt-action squirrel rifle, who used it to murder his mother (a competitive shooter) and steal her non-automatic, centerfire-.22 target rifle, which which he then used to murder a bunch of innocent children at point-blank range. Had said the evil loser in question stolen a .73-caliber pump-action shotgun such as was used in the Washington Navy Yard shootings (which are even legal in England), or a centerfire .22 with more traditional styling, or an ordinary 9mm pistol such as was used at Virginia Tech, the outcome would have been no different.

      In my view, the U.S. gun-control lobby is demonstrably less concerned with stopping violence than they are with the contents of citizens’ gun safes, and I am not OK with that.

      1. Pump action shotguns have not been legal in England since the early 1990’s.
        Appropriate action is a balance of legislation and cultural change (which is harder, if not impossible, to legislate). In the UK we have reasonably strict laws concerning the consumption of alcohol – at least compared the to rest of Europe – yet we have a significant problem in our attitude towards alcohol. That’s cultural and not so easily legislated out of existance. In the US you have a frontier culture, which skews public attitudes towards self defence and preparedness. Having said that, until European human right legislation came in a few years ago the UK still had statutes on its books allowing for the use of extreme force against any Welsh people found within the City walls of Chester after dark.

        1. Pump-action and semiautomatic shotguns are indeed legal in the UK, on either a Firearm Certificate or a Shotgun Certificate. If you wish to own one with a magazine capacity greater than 2, you need the Firearm Certificate. The barrel must be at least 24″ long and the overall length cannot be less than 40″.

          Pump-action and semiautomatic rifles in .22 rimfire are also legal on a Firearm Certificate, as are centerfire bolt-action sniper rifles.

          I believe you may be thinking of pump-action centerfire rifles, which I believe were banned in 1988 after the Hungerford murders.

    3. I think you nailed it. These days having anyone express views different from yours, or do something you don’t like, is a “vicious attack” and “persecution” (didn’t some politician say recently that the Health Care Act is somehow the same as Nazi Germany?).

      It’s the same logic by which the mere existence of gay people is an assault on conservative Christians.

      It amuses me whenever Obama is portrayed as being about to confiscate everyone’s guns. So far (5 years and counting), he has done absolutely nothing to tighten restrictions on gun ownership.

    4. “Gun owners have been “viciously attacked”? How? By being made to hear opinions that are different than theirs?”

      No, by being told to give up their magazines within 1 year or face long prison sentences, a law which will ultimately be enforced at machinegun-point:

      By being arrested and prosecuted for filling even a 10-round magazine to capacity, without search warrant or probable cause:

      By being threatened with imprisonment or violence for owning items that tens of millions of citizens in other states freely and peaceably own.

      Yes, I think they reasonably have cause to complain.

      I don’t think mixing “evangelism” with political protest is good practice, but making the prize a Cuomo-stocked post-SAFE-Act rifle *is* certainly nothing other than a political protest.

      1. For the record none of that qualifies as being “attacked” let alone viciously attacked.

  10. I’ve been extremely busy the past several days and have just read this post plus the two before it. Words fail me. The mindset of the fundie subculture is so warped I don’t even know where to begin.

  11. I assume the Bible verse is supposed to be a bad pun: “My peace/piece I give unto you.”

  12. Here is a lovely little article by Dr. Bob Gray of Texas, written in praise of Dr. Jack Hyles the Divine. Our own prize-giving Pastor John Koletas has some “additional thoughts” at the end. A little trip into the mind of a fundy pastor-god.

    It seems to me that people with this level of critical thinking and moral judgment should not be allowed to own firearms, or, as Leanne pointed out, be allowed to give them out for free.

    1. Blech.

      Would take quite a while to go through all of the fallacies and false reasoning in that article. Just shaking my head.

      Anyone want to take it on?

    1. Good point — but in his defense, it’s a lot more complicated to kill someone with a butt cushion

      1. Maybe if you shove all the stuffing up into one of the corners? If that doesn’t work, there’s always– THE COMFY CHAIR!!!! gasp shock horrors! O_O

    2. LOL

      (Explanation for the newbies: The butt cushions were a completely volunteer-driven amenity, uninitiated by Darrell, an inside joke that took on a life of it’s own.)

      1. Nooooo! I wish I could blame that wayward apostrophe on George! *slinks away in embarrassment*

        1. It’s okay. We can look past a simple mistake and remember that you are a person of great character and grammar. This isn’t fundystan anymore! Mistakes are allowed. 🙂 <3

      2. Thank you! Could you also explain “George” and “White Piano,” please?

        1. “George” is the excuse for all of the ypos typos that are made by anyone, anytime.

          “White pianos” are kind of like Harvey (the big white rabbit). Some people claim to have seen them, but everyone else who knows better knows that they don’t exist, and so the exchange goes on.

          Jack Trieber’s church (North Valley Baptist Church) in CA purchased four, white, custom-made-in-Germany pianos for $500,000 each, and that may have contributed to the “white piano” discussion.

  13. I’ve got 100 bucks saying that when a drawing is done….it is the pastor that “by the favor of gid” just happens to win 🙂

  14. I don’t like their KJV-only stance.

    I don’t like using gimmicks in church.

    But I truly am offended at their misuse of Scripture. The very verse they plastered on the top of this flyer, if they had bothered finishing the sentence in the KJV, says, “My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” The context of that verse is Jesus saying that the peace He gives us goes far beyond temporary, earthly security, be it found in human relationships, wealth, or a gun. To use that verse in this situation twists the actual purpose of the verse itself. They are making a mockery of the Word of God that they purport to value so highly.

    1. “They [fundies] are making a mockery of the Word of God that they purport to value so highly.”
      — That’s the one of the pillars of this online community right there.

      1. Not exactly. One of the pillars of this online community is to mock those “who are making a mockery of the Word of God that they purport to value so highly.” You got the target wrong.

        1. True. There are many internet sites that mock Christianity and the Bible. If SFL were one of those, I would not be here.

          I am not here to laugh at Christianity, but rather to reminisce about the IFB and to point out where it failed to live up to its claims.

        2. I believe that’s what he meant. His words just didn’t add up correctly. (It’s my hubby.) 🙂

        3. His brain was overloaded yesterday. He said some ridiculous things on the phone to me, too.

        4. No no — I meant exactly what you stated — I just didn’t word it well — sorry for the lack of clarity

        5. Sorry, BigHoss. We get more than a few Fundies convinced that this site is just here to give Christianity grief, not hanging around long enough to realize that most of the commenters are Christian themselves and only given to mocking those who twist Christianity into knots to justify doctrines found only in the mind of the MOG. From the wording of your comment, I wasn’t sure which sort you were.

    2. I laughed for about five minutes straight when I saw that. The level of willful ignorance on this flyer is astounding.

  15. I have to admit I like this in a morbid sort of John Wayne way, “God, Guns and Glory! or the like. Supposedly there isn’t the risk of beer to add to the fun, these are Fundies we’re talking about. Supposedly there isn’t.

    And for anyone who believes that, I got a bridge for sale, it’s in Brooklyn.

  16. A few have already complained about the “our country was built with the King James Bible and a gun” line, but I want to add my own two cents. While the fundy revisionist history regarding the origins of the United States is frustrating, what disturbs me so much more is how the IFB portion of the church seems to love being associated with America.

    It is absolutely mind-boggling to me how anyone with a remotely accurate (i.e. high) view of the church would want the church to have anything to do with America, or any other country. Countries? Nothing more than collaborations of individuals living in close proximity, whose governments rise and fall. The church? The bride of Christ. To associate the church this closely with any country is to denigrate it, and helps nobody.

    1. I’m in Australia, and we were told to be oh, so thankful to the American missionaries who brought the IFB style of fundydom to our shores. To compete with the many christian churches that were already here (and who are mostly far healthier).

      1. And wasn’t it Bob Jones Sr who used to preach that oppressed minorities should be grateful that their ancestors were enslaved and brought to the US against their will because that was the only way they’d have ever heard the gospel?

      2. On behalf of all American Christians, please forgive us for this. However, I would point out that you guys gave us Ken Ham. Nice little retaliatory sucker punch. Thanks a bunch!

  17. The gimmicks work in that they get people to attend the service that otherwise would not; however the bigger picture (as if the IFB could see it) is why would said people not attend regularly? I’m asking in the rhetorical I already know the answer, that is what this site is about:D

  18. I have to admit though, it takes guts to arm someone right before telling them how worthless they are for 2 or > hours.

  19. If you want to “honor me” as a hunter, how about a 7mm WSM or something I can actually use to hunt with? A better idea – how about I win a gun and I win lunch with The Pastor? Now that could get interesting.

    1. Dr., you are right. In the first place, that church’s AR is a really ugly knock-off. I own a Colt AR-15 HBAR Match version. Further, the AR is not a hunting rifle. It’s for sniping and counter-sniping. I bought mine for that purpose 20 years ago in LE.

        1. Oh, Law Enforcement. Sorry.

          I read “LE” as representing a geographical location. Louisianne, Lower East End, Los Escondidos…? Couldn’t place it.

  20. I’m within easy driving distance of this…place. I’m almost half-tempted to visit (wearing britches, of course), but the psychological toll would be too great.

    I’m so angry about the misrepresentation of the Gospel, I can’t really form words.

  21. I just wonder how the colonists at Jamestown in 1607 got their hands on their 1611 KJV Bibles. And where did I read that the pilgrims favored the Geneva Bible and that was the favored version in the colonies for over a century? Of course, I really do appreciate how the God given AR-15s helped them to subdue the heathen savages and make this a safe nation for God fearing Christians.

    1. That’s something I wanted to bring up. The Pilgrims at Plymouth used the Geneva Bible. After all, they were Separatists, coming here to escape persecution from the English crown, so why would they use his version of the Bible?

  22. “Evangelist Dr. Bob Gray from Longview, TX, will be preaching. ”

    Of course he will!

  23. Of course the person who wins will be expected to get saved, get a ministry, attend Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night and tithe

  24. “Honoring our many hunters” with an AR-15.

    “Honoring our many hunters” with an AR-15.

    People with AR-15s go out to impromptu gun ranges and blast trees apart while giving bad imitations of the Marine battle cry. Hunters use .30-.30s so they don’t blow apart their quarry or scare off everything within a two-mile radius! My husband (who hunts, but not a lot) says that if somebody actually gave him this silly-looking thing, he would ask some real hunters he knows whether it’s any good in the field, and if it actually was he would put up with looking like a doofus, because hey, free tools. Otherwise he would sell it to the zombie-LARPing tree-blasters, because if a ninny wants to give you money, why argue?

    1. “Hunters and gun owners.”

      The AR-15 is the most popular civilian target and competition rifle in the United States, albeit not with the goofy NY-mandated stock. As this is explicitly a political protest against Gov. Cuomo’s “SAFE Act” (however ill-advised it is to mix religion and politics), the choice of rifle is certainly apropos to that end.

    2. People with AR-15s go out to impromptu gun ranges and blast trees apart while giving bad imitations of the Marine battle cry. Hunters use .30-.30s so they don’t blow apart their quarry or scare off everything within a two-mile radius! My husband (who hunts, but not a lot) says that if somebody actually gave him this silly-looking thing, he would ask some real hunters he knows whether it’s any good in the field, and if it actually was he would put up with looking like a doofus, because hey, free tools. Otherwise he would sell it to the zombie-LARPing tree-blasters, because if a ninny wants to give you money, why argue?

      You’re confusing “hunters” with “white-tailed deer hunters” and also confusing 40 years ago with today. You also seem to be operating under the common misconception that an AR or AK is more powerful than a “regular hunting gun,” when in fact the opposite is true. The reason you wouldn’t use an AR-15 chambered in 5.56mm to hunt white-tailed deer is because it’s not powerful enough, although I’ve heard of people using them to some success on little bitty Texas white-tails. Generally ARs are used to hunt varmints, smaller animals that are severely overpopulated and aren’t really that edible, such as coyotes or prairie dogs.

      1. Arnold, there is a lot of truth in your reply. Many people do assume ARs must be more powerful than hunting rifles, probably because they were designed for military use. That is, they were designed to kill people, not deer or prairie dogs. So you can see why some people are a little cloudy in their understanding.

        Pro-gun activists usually bring up the alternative uses for assault-style weapons, and there is of course differences in civilian ARs and military ARs. What is troubling is that the pro-gun crowd is pushing against the attempt to limit rapid-fire capabilities and high-cap mags. I wonder why a varmit hunter needs 30 rounds. Or rapid-fire capabilities. When I was taught to hunt, I was taught to make a single shot count.

        Most of my pro-gun friends want high cap rapid fire weapons not because they are good for hunting, but because they want to stick a finger in the eye of the gubmit (Don’t Tread On Me!!), and want to have the illusion of being able to fight fire with fire if it ever comes down to it. I have many strange friends!

        1. Plenty of guys who hunt prairie dogs are presented with opportunities to shoot as many of them as they can as fast as they can. A semi-automatic weapon with a 30-round standard capacity magazine is pretty handy for those times. I take a little issue with your use of the term “rapid fire,” though. It’s simply a semi-automatic weapon. That means that every time you pull the trigger, a bullet comes out, with no need to work the action (a bolt, pump, hammer, etc.) in between. Many people seem confused on the issue and think AR-15s are full-automatic (holding down the trigger makes bullets come out until the magazine is empty) and people can buy machine guns at Wal-mart. I have a Ruger 10/22 rifle it is chambered in .22 Long Rifle and is basically for shooting squirrels. It is semi-automatic and has 25-round magazines. I prefer a rifle with these features because I would rather not work a bolt or lever and I don’t want to spend all my time at the range loading 10-round magazines. Besides being chambered in an even more anemic round than 5.56mm, it has the same capabilities as an AR-15. People think there is something special about these guns that makes them “assault weapons,” when in reality anything that people who are unfamiliar with guns think is “scary-looking” ends up receiving the label.

        2. Well, we are probably just going to disagree, and that’s ok. I’m glad you have the firepower you require for your hunting needs. And I am hopeful that you are responsible enough to use this firepower wisely, and I wish you a sincere Happy Hunting! (I own guns and like to shoot and hunt–gun owners who see the need for stricter control do exist!)

          I am not so hopeful that other people who fight for less gun regulation share your wisdom, and I admit it makes me a little nervous to see anti-gubmit fundies arming up. I suppose I’m just the nervous type, but fundies (political or religious or both, as it usually works out) do not seem to have a good responsible record when it comes to mixing ideology and firepower. Just saying.

          (Just for a point of clarification–I am sorry you take issue with my use of “rapid fire.” Semi-automatic is not rapid fire? Honestly, I really do understand the difference between auto and semi-auto, but I was working under the impression that firing a weapon without having to manipulate a bolt, lever, hammer, or pump to chamber a round qualified as rapid. I could be wrong on that.)

        3. Lever-action rifles were designed for military use. So were bolt-actions (the Winchester Model 70 deer rifle is an evolved Mauser, the German infantry rifle that fought WW1 and WW2). The .30-06 and .308 deer hunting cartridges were originally designed to kill human beings, and most other deer calibers (.243, 7mm-08, .270, etc.) are just military cartridges necked down for higher velocity bullets.

          When it comes down to it, pretty much all civilian guns are descended from military designs, and there is nothing wrong with that. Particularly when the most “military” looking guns (e.g. rifles) are the least misused of all weapons in the USA.

        4. Thanks Phil. I agree that some of what is going on with this singling out of assault-style weapons is a matter of public perception. But again, as you have clarified here, most guns were designed with the killing of humans in mind. So even if most civilian gun owners have put guns to a different use, it’s not hard for me to see why some people continue to have perception problems.

          Gun-rights activists really aren’t having a very successful time correcting this perception, to be honest with you. It could be because they start out defending increased firepower for its more effective hunting capabilities, but when pressed it turns out that they just don’t want anyone telling them what to do and they are anxious to have the firepower to resist if they feel they need it. In other words, the gun-control crowd seems to think the whole “assault-style weapons make for better hunting” argument is disingenuous. Can you see how this mis-perception might occur?

        5. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone try to argue that they “need” an AR or AK for hunting. I’m sure silly people have tried, but they’ve never done it in front of me so I’ve never had a chance to correct them. Hunting is a complete red herring and has nothing to do with gun rights, anyway.

        6. “Hunting is a complete red herring and has nothing to do with gun rights, anyway.”

          Thanks for your honesty. I used to be an NRA member, but we parted ways many years ago and I’m not up on all the arguments anymore.

          So would you say that gun rights is about having the capability to defend your life and property with increasingly effective deadly violence if you felt it was necessary? If so, would you lay out for me how this lines up with the teachings of Jesus? I really am having trouble putting this together. I know the problem is probably me, but I never have been too bright.

        7. I don’t see anything in the Bible that says you’re not allowed to defend yourself or your family. When you say “property,” I’m not sure exactly what you mean. I don’t believe you should shoot a person who is breaking into your car or who just snatched your wife’s purse, for example. However, sometimes people use the word “property” in that context to mean “If a person is in my house (property) threatening my life I would shoot them,” in which case you’re just defending your life anyway. Most people who have issues with self-defense don’t seem to really understand its principles and think that people who talk about it just want to gun down anyone who they think has wronged them. Self-defense isn’t about punishing evil or “being a hero,” it is about stopping an imminent threat to your life. If a person said that they think that being a Christian means you should be some sort of pacifist who lets evil people harm them and their family, well, I hope I am their to serve God by protecting their family when they refuse to.

          P.S. I hate when people whip out the title “Prince of Peace” as some sort of evidence that God wants us all to forsake any duty to oppose evil and protect the innocents around us. He’s also the Lord of Hosts. A host is an army. I could draw all sorts of assumptions out of that if I wanted to.

        8. Thanks Arnold. The urge for self-protection is pretty strong, I agree. I should have been more specific. I was hoping you could line up the use of deadly violence in light of particular words and actions of Jesus, such as (I’ll use the KJV since even though I ridicule KJVonliers I really love the phrasing of this version!)–

          But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also (Mt. 5:39. Actually, that whole section from v. 38-45 seems applicable.)

          Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, harmless as doves. . . . And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul (Mt. 10:16, 28).

          I know you’ve probably heard all this before, and have a ready answer for why Christ didn’t really mean what it seems like he meant. Maybe he didn’t mean it, and those who think he did mean it are just plain wrong. Maybe so, but I’m sorry you seem to readily dismiss pacifists as pussies; that they are somehow perverting the teaching of Christ by emphasizing his teachings on peacefulness. Those who are willing to suffer at the hands of evildoers without violent retaliation may actually have a greater depth of inner strength and self-control, and perhaps even more faith in God. It could be. Or maybe they are just stupid, taking Christ’s words at face value like that. What do I know?

        9. I’ve only ever heard those verses used in the context of evangelism. I don’t think I was as nasty as your implying towards pacifists. If you really think that that’s what the Lord wants, then that’s how you should act. If I, in one specific instance, felt that somehow the Lord would be better served by me not defending myself, then I hope I would have the strength to not do so. I have a great amount of respect for a person who thinks violence or self-defense is wrong and stands by that conviction (some Mennonites come to mind), but not one who simply passes off that responsibility to others. If you think you should not defend yourself, but would call the police to come and shoot that person who is threatening your life, then I think you are a hypocrite. It’s kind of like the fundies who will preach about how evil it is to work on Sundays without exception, but will go out to eat and are apparently just fine with those people working.

        10. It’s nice to have a civil conversation about this for once. I don’t know if it’s a case of “America these days” or what, but it seems that people’s default position is to get red in the face and start screaming at each other, especially about stuff like this.

        11. May I add one more point? (I needed a moment to look up a few things to make sure I was on the right track. I’m getting older and my memory is not what it once was!)

          The OT is full of the phrase “Lord of Hosts.” As one might expect. But I am interested in Christ’s attitude toward deadly violence, not whether the OT Israelites thought of God as a military leader.

          The phrase “Lord of Sabaoth” is only found 2x in the NT. Rom. 9:29 is a quotation from the OT. The other instance is James 5:4. James condemns the rich for oppressing and even killing the poor and tells them that the cries of the poor rise up to “the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.” He notes that the poor “doth not resist you,” but are rather to wait patiently for the “coming of the Lord, and commends the persecuted and those suffering unjustly for having endured patiently.

          I only point this out to say that while you COULD use the phrase “Lord of hosts” to draw out all kinds of assumptions about the justification of deadly violence, it might be hard to make any of these assumptions jive with what the bible actually says. Or so it seems to me.

        12. PS: I sincerely appreciate the level of civility that you and Phil have brought to our discussion. It’s not often this kind of discussion avoids rancor!

        13. And to clarify the automatic vs. semiautomatic thing, an automatic weapon (military/LE restricted) fires multiple shots when the trigger is pulled; a semiautomatic fires once and only once, and doesn’t fire a second time unless you release the trigger and pull it again. Most civilian guns sold annually (over 75% IIRC) are semiautomatic.

          To put it another way, an automatic weapon works like a sewing machine; a semiautomatic works like an office stapler. So, yes, a semiauto is as suitable for firing precision shots as any other gun is, and in fact one of the reasons for the AR’s popularity is its exemplary accuracy as a target rifle.

          As to magazine capacity, most gun owners do not hunt; the primary reasons for gun ownership are defensive purposes and target shooting. If you don’t need the power of a full-sized hunting round, you can reduce the size and power of the cartridge and trade the weight/bulk you save for reserve capacity. A .223 round as used in the AR-15 weighs about 1/3 to 1/4 of what a .30-06 deer cartridge weighs, so a normal sized magazine will hold more of them. For a cartridge that small, 20 and 30 are convenient magazine sizes (just as most full-sized 9mm handguns hold between 15 and 20 rounds, because that’s how many 9mm rounds fit in a normal sized pistol magazine). That’s why you don’t see many AR magazines over 30 rounds, .308 magazines over 20 rounds, or .30-06 magazines over 10 rounds. They exist but they are slow and cumbersome.

          FWIW, common civilian rifles have held 15+ rounds since the 1860s, so turning the clock back to a 10-round capacity is way out there.

        14. Everything you said is correct, to my knowledge. However, I wouldn’t want people to think that because you said 75% of firearms sold annually are semi-automatic that the other 25% are fully-automatic “machine guns.” As you mentioned, fully-automatic weapons are highly restricted for civilian ownership. It takes months (usually 6-18) to get approved for a tax stamp and the weapons cost thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. The other 25% are the aforementioned pump, bolt-action, etc. weapons.

        15. Yes, thank you. I understand this. I own semis. I know how they work as opposed to full autos or bolt/lever/pump etc. Arnold’s issue was my use of the word “rapid,” and it is my understanding that both full and semi-autos qualify as rapid fire. You would agree that firing a semi is faster (that is, more rapid) than firing a lever or bolt or pump, correct? That’s all I was saying, I’m not trying to equate full with semi. If there is a technical distinction between semi-auto and rapid fire, I will have learned something today. Always grateful for that.

          I do think that, as BJg remarked earlier, we are getting lost in the woods of perhaps minor points and forgetting that a pastor is using a free gun giveaway to try to draw in crowds. A pastor that, if his writing is any indication of his preaching, uses his public ministry to sow fear and hatred toward those who do not agree with him. Sowing fear and hatred while giving out ARs just kind of sits wrong with me. I don’t know, maybe I’m more of a Christian than I even thought!

        16. @nico,

          Regarding the morality of self-defense, you raise some good questions. I do not pretend to have universal answers, but here are my personal take on them:

          “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also (Mt. 5:39. Actually, that whole section from v. 38-45 seems applicable.)”

          To me, particularly in the cultural context, a slap on the cheek was an extreme insult, not an attempt to kill or maim you or your family. Jesus said if someone slaps you on the cheek, offer to let him slap the other cheek. I don’t believe that the intended lesson was “if someone attempts to to kill or grievously injure you or your family, always let them.”

          The passage also sets limits on how far one is expected to go. You get slapped once, so you accept a second slap. You are required by law to go one mile, so you go two, but after the second mile you politely assert your right to turn around and go back to your family. If someone sues you for one garment, give him two garments, not everything you and your family have. And I would point out that none of those situations are life-threatening either to your or your family.

          “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, harmless as doves. . . . And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul (Mt. 10:16, 28).”

          Consider who he was speaking to (the disciples he was sending out as missionaries, not families), and the other instructions he gave them along with those (“Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts; no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff”). He then segues into what they should do if they are threatened with death for proclaiming Jesus’ message. I do not believe that this is a general command to submit to all criminal violence against you or your family.

          “James condemns the rich for oppressing and even killing the poor and tells them that the cries of the poor rise up to “the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.” He notes that the poor “doth not resist you,” but are rather to wait patiently for the “coming of the Lord, and commends the persecuted and those suffering unjustly for having endured patiently.”

          The fact that the poor did not resist the evil done to them (did they even have the means to resist, given the power disparity James is addressing?) means the oppressors are even more culpable than they would otherwise be. Again, I don’t see this as a general command, but as an affirmation of just how reprehensible it is to oppress the poor and powerless.

          I’ll add one more that doesn’t directly address the issue, but could speak to the responsibilities of parents and providers in general:

          “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Ti 5:8

          To me—the composite of the way I was raised, and my own thinking on the topic—is that “providing” is not just a matter of feeding your family, but protecting them from the elements and from those who would do them harm. I don’t think you can make a case for this from scripture, but that describes my own thinking, at least.

          In the OT, I think Nehemiah 4:11-15 shows the best outcome of self-defense; his people were threatened with violence, so families took up arms in a strictly defensive posture and kept watch, but made no aggression, and the would-be attackers backed off. No one harmed.

          I’d also point out that the pacifist interpretations of the above NT passages apply to *all* self-defense, not just the gun issue. If one considers it morally wrong to resist an attacker who threatens you or your family with death or grievous injury, it would seem to me that the principle applies wrong to resist not only with guns, but with blades, impact weapons, pepper sprays, Tazers, martial arts, and any other means.

          As for me personally, I think martial arts are a good skill to have and entirely moral and just to use. I just enrolled my 13yo daughter in Okinawan karate and I have my eye on Krav Maga lessons for her when she’s older, and I hope to teach her that her own life and self are worth defending. For me, I habitually carry a good pepper spray even when I carry a firearm, and I certainly hope I never have to use either.

        17. Thanks, Phil, for thinking about this with me and for being a gentleman even while disagreeing. Arnold and I both recognized the rarity of discussing these subjects with kindness, so it was really a pleasure for me that we were able to do so.

          At the very least, this discussion shows just how difficult it is to come to a consensus about interpreting the bible. We are reading the same words but we arrive at a different place at the end. Perhaps finding meaning in the bible is more a matter of what we bring to it than what it brings to us. (I’d be the first one to admit that I interpret through the grid of my own thinking and experiences. I don’t think we can even help it.)

          Anyway, we disagree. So be it. It would violate my pacifist principles if I tried to force you to accept my philosophy! 🙂

        18. As to this question:

          “I was working under the impression that firing a weapon without having to manipulate a bolt, lever, hammer, or pump to chamber a round qualified as rapid.”

          Certainly if the contest is “how fast can I empty this thing and make noise”, the semiauto is far faster. If the intention is to make hits, though, then what slows you down is having to index the gun to make hits, and dealing with recoil.

          So…from slowest to fastest…here’s a turnbolt (1943 Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk 1), while keeping every shot on a person-sized target at 120 yards:

          Toggle bolt (biathlon rifle), a little faster to cycle:

          Colt Model 1873 revolver, a Winchester Model 1897 pump shotgun with the magazine reduced to 2 rounds, some sort of 1800s Winchester lever-action, and a couple of semiautos all in the same video, in the hands of a skilled shooter:

          The same shooter (Jessie Duff) shooting a custom 9mm pistol, a semiautomatic shotgun, and a semiautomatic AR-15:

          Now *this* is rapid fire, a military/government restricted 9mm Glock 18 machine pistol:

  25. I hope we don’t get lost in the weeds on the gun control issue. This issue has been used to widen the chasm between the “red” and “blue” sides in America. Neither side is likely to budge.

    As I see it, the issue at hand is the conflation of gun rights with Christianity. Tacitly, the Grace Baptist Church (and many other churches) teaches that true biblical Christians are anti-gun control; have assault rifles; and believe in arming everyone to make this a safer society. The Holy Trinity has become the Holy Quadrinity: Father, Son, Holy Ghost, and the Second Amendment. Oh, and Obama is a Muslim socialist. Oh, and the US Constitution was inspired by God.

    This attitude can be found in almost any evangelical church in my area—so it’s not just the IFB.

    1. Fred Clark over at The Slacktivist calls this tribal Christianity, although “gang” or “subculture” works just as well. Christianity is seen as a particular American subculture, which, its members insist, is all of Christianity, and the point of being a Christian is to clearly demonstrate that one is part of this special subculture, not least because the only good people are found within it and everybody else is evil. Tribal markers are all that matter: clothing, objects found or not found in the proper tribal home, showing up at the correct rallies, etc. All that mushy liberal stuff about doing good and loving justice and walking humbly with our God, about feeding the hungry and clothing the naked–meaningless unless it can be twisted into something that clearly shows who belongs in the tribe and who does not.

      Tribal markers change over time; currently the big three appear to be gun ownership, hating on men who kiss men, and a set of rituals and restrictions that is referred to as “saving babies.”

    2. I currently attend a conservative evangelical non-denom church, and you are right; this attitude is alive and well. I started attending this church because it seemed very different from my old IFB one, but over the last couple of years I’ve come to realize that it is all too similar. Sure, different music, clothing standards etc., but I believe the underlying structure is the same.

      I really am tired of hearing politics argued and articulated more clearly from the pulpit than the word of God.

      1. PS. Listen to any conservative evangelical Christian talk radio program and I dare say you may find more of the same.

  26. Psalm 4:8-
    “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

    I’m against gun control, but a gun cannot bring peace and safety into your life. Whatever happened to relying on God?

  27. Be sure to look (with great anticipation) for their November 2014 “Be thankful for your IFB Church ” campaign and Sunday morning service where “our loving Pastor and his faithful assistants” will be giving away “FREE” live turkeys thrown out of helicopters in true “WKRP in Cincinnati” style.

    (P.S. there will be free helicopter rides for the kiddies with “Pastor” following the the turkey give away). Just about as good of an idea as giving away guns in church, eh???

  28. Interesting article. Interesting comments.

    As a point, when the Constitution was written, “arms” were pretty much single-shot long-arms and muskets. It took time to reload. So if a person wished to go into a town and shoot it up, that was pretty much impossible.

    What would their reaction have been to a semi-automatic with 100-round clips that can mow down people in an instant? When Indian raids (or French raids masquerading as Indians) occurred, people were horrified at the savagery and large groups went to hunt down the killers. Would the Founding Fathers have trusted ordinary people with weapons of mass destruction?

    I don’t think so. In my opinion, the 2nd Amendment’s wording, if interpreted in its context, is reasonable. But situations change.

    So I would be comfortable outlawing “assault” weapons, automatics, semiautomatics, and the like. Guns made for hunting actually have a purpose — hunting. Guns in the assault-style also have a purpose — killing people.

    And as a Christian, I am reminded of the many ways the Scriptures inform us that we are to be harmless, that while we may be victimized, we don’t victimize others. We are not to repay evil for evil (you break into my house, I shoot you dead), but actually to do good to our enemies and let the Lord be the One to take vengeance.

    You can call me a wimp, if you like. But my father was one who carried guns and taught me how to shoot. I used to be pretty good and accurate. But I won’t have guns in my house.

    Weapons do not make you safe. The Scriptures tell us that!

    So this gun give-a-way is not just a gimmick, it is a perversion of everything the gospel stands for. How can the Pastor think the Prince of Peace wants His followers to kill to protect themselves? Where is that command in the Bible?

    Oh, I know the argument about Jesus and the swords. I also know that when viewed in context, that argument falls completely apart. In the object lesson Jesus gave his disciples, they discovered that their force of arms was nothing against the mob, that in fighting they were opposing God’s will. Jesus even healed the man Peter wounded. Ultimately, Peter had a sword and Jesus told him not to use it.

    I am not likely to get into a big argument with anyone who wants to take up a pro-gun position. I just encourage anyone thinking that way to remember that Jesus said to do good to our enemies, to love them. Can you love the person you are pointing a gun at? We are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are commanded to do unto others what we would want them to do to us. If you are ready to shoot your neighbor, then you must be ready to shoot yourself as well.

    Well …. that is a proper interpretation, isn’t it?

    If Jesus came, not to condemn, but to save, would He like it if I sent people to hell with my “gun”?

    (Oh, and for thought, a US company was selling gun sights to the military for use in Iraq and Afghanistan. They had Bible references on them! When the Muslims found this out they were enraged and accused the US of being engaged in a holy war to kill Muslims!)

    “I am come that you not only might have life, but that you might have life in abundance.”

    1. Who do you think you are, buddy? We’re ‘MERICANS, dammit, and we have the constitutional right to go to church and win an assault rifle. It’s just for hunting and for target practice anyway, not for killing people–unless they really really need some killing by daring to attack our god-given rights. The liberals and queers and NIV lovers and Egyptian-music players and antichrist socialists better know they’re in for a fight if they don’t back off.

      If Christ (aka Jehovahgodalmighty) really wanted us to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us and turn the other cheek and be harmless as doves and to resist not evil he should have said so more clearly in the 1611 KJV.

      And besides, if this kind of sissy-ness was really Christ’s (aka Jehovahgodalmighty’s) intention, he wouldn’t have led our Christian Founders to start the Bestest Country in the World with the KJV and guns, now, would he?

      (Hopefully you know me well enough by now to know I’m just having a little serious fun.)

      1. Yup. I was grinning as I read your reply. Well done!

        I have always been struck by the way the pro-gun arguments feel. There is this sense of outrage that *their* rights are somehow being infringed on. Who cares that people die. It isn’t *their* fault! The solution is *more* guns, not less. The solution is less government, more anarchy, and more people taking the law into their own hands. And the more firepower you have, the better! The easier you can mow down an army, the better! And after saying all that, if you think they want the gun for anything but sport and hunting, then you are crazy.

        Very little feels more hateful and less Christlike than a pro-gun argument, in my opinion. Not that I would go and confiscate a person’s guns, but I think Jesus might say it was easier for a camel to crawl through the barrel of a revolver than for a militant gun-owner to enter heaven.

    2. Dear rtgmath:

      You would, wouldn’t you. I was going to ask who was the idiot that told Rocky to sheath his sword. You had to go ahead and answer for me …

      Christian Socialist

  29. Grace Baptist Church reserves the right to refuse anyone of questionable character for whatever reason from winning the free NY-modified and legal AR-15. So what if you are a woman ? Deuteronomy 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God. We know that in Judges 4:21Then Jael Heber’s wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died. The reason that she had to use the nail and could not use a sword is because of the OT law. In Deuteronomy the that which pertaineth unto a man is a word meaning article, vessel, implement, utensil
    article, object (general)
    utensil, implement, apparatus, vessel
    implement (of hunting or war)
    implement (of music)
    implement, tool (of labour)
    equipment, yoke (of oxen)
    utensils, furniture
    vessel, receptacle (general)
    vessels. Now would the church want some poor women in hell because of them ?

    1. My friend, “anyone of questionable character” is a fine example of the “dog whistle.” A dog whistle can only be heard by its intended hearer. This was code to be understood by conservative Christian right-wing Republican straight white American males.

      It is Causcasian code for “young African-Americans who might by mistake walk through the doors of this church and somehow manage to draw the winning number.” (Translation: “We swear we won’t give a Negro a gun!”)

      After all, the IFB is pretty firmly rooted in “black-fearing”. It gets back to my assertion (many times here on SFL) that the IFB is intrinsically racist.


  30. DITTO to much of what’s been said here. I just don’t have the extra words to contribute right now. Just some questions:

    What is it with fundamentalists and guns?

    What is it with the perpetual Americanization of the Old Testament, and a few verses plucked out of the new?

    Why was my former fundy CEO, and his toxic brand of dictatorial leadership, so set on his rights? We all have rights for this is the law of the land. I’m not talking about that. What I’m talking about is the rants spewed about politics, government and the like.

    Why is it I never, and I mean NEVER, hear corporate prayer for those in civil government even though Paul specifically admonished God’s people to pray for them?

    I’m sure we all know the answers, so I suppose the questions are rhetorical.



    1. The Episcopal Book of Common Prayer has six forms of “Prayers of the People” (we don’t do long “pastoral prayers”) and four of the six have specific phrases regarding government.

      Example: “We pray for all who govern and hold authority in the nations of the world, that there may be peace and justice on the earth.” (BCP p. 387)

      1. And back during some hotly contested presidential election (I remember which one, but I won’t say the names because massive derail), our priest got up and said, “No matter who ends up President, everyone here will continue to say these prayers.” That was the only reference to politics I can recall hearing from a pulpit.

    2. Dear BigRedOne:

      I know I’ve said it before, but we’re seeing a sub-christian narrative which seeks to sustain and perpetuate itself by associating with church bodies and leaching strength from them.

      I think that the narratives are repeated as a means of identifying members and solidifying the group. This group appears to have packaged ‘crazy’ as a commodity to market.

      Christian Socialist

    1. Back upthread to what I said about the IFB being built on a foundation of racism. And BTW your comment is spot on. Well done.

  31. This is not a raffle. LOL – do you know how much money you would make? Aren’t they gambling anyway? They hope to win the prize of a few new converts.

  32. Dear pastor Koletas:

    You wrote: ‘Does the Bible defend my right to keep and bear arms?’

    I reply: How is it that you affirm your right to arms first and then go to the Bible for support? How is that the Christian way?

    You speak of antichristian socialists. Would a Christian Socialist such as myself be welcome at your church?

    You speak of socialist politians. We’ve suspected for some time that a number of socialists are delequent in paying party dues. Could you tell me who they are?

    Christian Socialist

  33. Dear SFL Reader:

    I thought that the point of gun ownership was that you WOULDN’T be ‘viciously attacked!’ Why viciously attack people if they’re packing heat? Does this make sense? If guns draw fire, why give people guns? This doesn’t wash.

    Christian Socialist

  34. And if thine adversary striketh thee on the right cheek, load uppeth thy AR-15 and emptyeth it on him.

  35. It seems they picked their rifle specifically to garner publicity and thumb their nose at the gubment. I went to their website and looked at their pictures (youth rally). You have to love their corkboard patriotism. I would wager that if they spent a week in the military, that would be their last “Patriotic” Sunday.

  36. Not trying to start up this discussion again, but this article just came in and I thought I’d pass it along. It lines out some of the reasons for my unease at hearing that fundies are arming up, and why I argued at length in this post that this gun giveaway is more that just a “honouring” of hunters and gun owners or a simple statement of 2nd Amendment rights. These people are out there, they are not as “fringy” as we might hope, and they are a danger to all of us.

    From the article: “The Lord is a warrior and in Revelation 19 it says when he comes back, he’s coming back as what? A warrior. A mighty warrior leading a mighty army, riding a white horse with a blood-stained white robe … I believe that blood on that robe is the blood of his enemies ’cause he’s coming back as a warrior carrying a sword. And I believe now – I’ve checked this out – I believe that sword he’ll be carrying when he comes back is an AR-15.

    …And the sword today is an AR-15, so if you don’t have one, go get one. You’re supposed to have one. It’s biblical.”

    (Chris Hedges book _American Fascists_ also covers some of the same ground as this article.)

    1. Yep. From my own fundamentalist past, when I tagged along with a member of our congregation on the way to a meeting of a militia group. God and guns. The need to prepare to fight against the government and anyone who opposed them. The idea that they would recreate the United States as a godly nation whose supreme law was the Bible and would kick out the godless liberals.

      When they say they want to “take back America,” they aren’t kidding. They do not want to share. In their hearts, they are willing to kill you if you dare to oppose them. They might not be doing it yet, but they thrill at the hope they will get an opportunity.

      Don’t think that if you are “friends” with these people it will keep you safe. Just as Moses commanded the children of Israel to kill every one his brother if he had bowed down to the golden calf, they will feel righteous in killing you. You support LGBT rights? You want religion to stay out of government? You are in their sights.

      I do hope that this war they have been planning for so long never happens. I am afraid it will, however. There are far more arms caches around than any of us could imagine. There are people preparing for the day they cause the government to collapse.

      And God isn’t doing anything to stop them from their preparations, as far as I can see. I wish He would.

    2. Dear Nico:

      Good to learn that you’ve discovered Chris Hedges’ writing!

      I think that the Revelation was written in part to show that it is not the Lion of Judah but the Lamb that was slain which is the central figure of Revelation, and which shows how God’s way differs from that of the beast/antichrist.

      Christian Socialist

    3. I share your revulsion for the Family Research Council and for dominionism in general, but do be careful not to fall into the association fallacy re: dominionism just because some New York fundies used a carbine as a promo and criticized ‘libruls’.

      Remember the context; this giveaway is in upstate New York, in the aftermath of one of the most controversial U.S. gun bans since the 1770s. The flyer explicitly tweaks Gov. Cuomo’s NY SAFE Act (look at the URL, ‘nysafe’), a law that has resulted in mass protests, sharp criticism by the NY Sheriff’s Association and others, raucous town hall meetings where Cuomo and his props were roasted and heckled, pledges by many upstate law enforcement agencies and officers not to enforce the law, massive civil disobedience, and resolutions by a majority of NY county governments calling for its repeal. NY city and county governments haven’t stood up to the state government on this scale since the 1770s.

      It is in *that* environment that this church decided to capitalize on the furor by giving away a Cuomo-ized Smith & Wesson AR with a SAFE Act stock as a publicity stunt. The gun is configured more as a fun plinker than a fighting gun or even a serious target gun (note the apparently-Chinese red dot, no sling, no backup sights, and the goofy barrel shroud), and isn’t an “assault weapon” by any state’s definition including NY’s.

      I’m certainly open to the idea that this preacher may be a closet dominionist (I haven’t poked around their website because after a decade at PCC, KJ-onlyism and authoritarian fundy talking points get my blood pressure up), but I’m not seeing it just from the flyer. Just marketing gimmickry and political jibing—arguably unbecoming to a church, but not part of a conspiracy.

      1. Thanks Phil. Yeah, for the sake of your blood pressure I recommend staying as far away as you can! 🙂 I suppose my interactions with the more militant fundy crowd makes me a little jumpy when a church whose pastor is known for incendiary rhetoric starts giving away firearms, gimmick or not.

        But I do see your point, and am happy that we stand together against such foolishness even if it is for different primary reasons!

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