Pastors who pack heat

Trend alert:  Many pastors are starting to pack heat.

And it’s no wonder… there have been a lot of church shootings recently.

Here’s an interesting TV report that shows both sides of the issue; and talks to pastors about why or why not they think carrying a gun in the pulpit is a good idea.

I wish I could get the video to embed, but you’ll have to watch it here.

Do YOU pack heat?  Have you considered it?  Do you know others that do?

Do you think this is a great idea or a horrible one?

Please leave your comments below!



  • Greg November 15, 2012 Reply

    Well, in colonial South Carolina, the following law was on the books:

    “Every adult male must bring a rifle to church on Sunday in order to ward off Indian attacks.”

  • Jim Peet November 15, 2012 Reply

    On the surface it seems like a bad idea … but ushers (or the head usher) … I could see that

  • Larry Dickey November 16, 2012 Reply

    I have been ‘packing’ concealed for about 4 years. Between attacks in the church and being a concerned citizen not only for my safety but for others. We have members who pack, in church, as well.
    Why do you carry in church, you might ask? Having worked in and with law enforcement for over 20 years, I see how when you have armed AND trained citizens the bad guys will think twice about attacking ‘unarmed’ citizens. The police cannot be everywhere and they need our help. If we had an armed attacker in our church and a police officer in the parking lot, by the time he would get in the building, it would all be over.
    Look at the crime rate in Israle, where every adult IS REQUIRED to carry either a side arm or the equvalant to an M-16 where ever they go.
    I would very much like to be able to wherever w/o having to take my .45, however in our society where criminals have more rights than law abiding citizens do, I don’t have much choice.

  • PastorShane November 16, 2012 Reply

    I was law enforcement for 20+ years until I was injured on the job, and I have numerous officers that are members of our church. My point? My brother officers are well trained and are qualified to handle any violent event — and I have given my blessing for them to carry firearms. I do not give my blessing to untrained people because the “shoot – don’t shoot” decisions in crowded rooms require a great deal of training and professionalism.

  • Grace November 16, 2012 Reply

    Where do we see Jesus, the disciples, Paul, or any follower of Jesus in the New Testament using violent means to defend themselves?

    • Chad W November 16, 2012 Reply

      Grace, consider this…
      The reason we don’t see Jesus, the disciples, Paul, or any follower of Jesus in the New Testament using violent means to defend themselves is because we don’t have a recorded instance of thieves, killers, or other bad guys attacking them. Jesus and the Disciples were arrested and treated with violence by the governing authorities of their day. Paul only mentions being in danger from robbers, not if he was actually attacked by them. What is being discussed here is not whether governing authorities are attacking but if thieves and killers are attacking. Do you really believe Jesus would expect us not to protect ourselves from such people attacking us, our families, or our friends? Grace, if you have children, would you let someone attack your child without fighting back? Would you let someone attack your family without fighting back? The attacks that we have seen in the U.S. at church services have mostly been from robbers and racists, not because of our faith.

      • Grace November 16, 2012 Reply

        I certainly don’t think that if we were talking about attacks by governing authorities against churches, people inclined to carry a weapon would be any less inclined to do so than if we’re talking about robbers, etc. If you’re willing to shoot a robber, you’re most likely going to be willing to shoot anyone else you perceive as a threat to your safety.

        • Chad W November 16, 2012 Reply

          So your conclusion is that people would be just as likely to respond with violence against a government official, with the law and authority behind them, as they would a person committing a criminal act? Do you really believe law-abiding people would respond this way?

          • Grace November 16, 2012

            If conditions in America became such that the government was openly hostile toward followers of Christ, as was the case in the years during which the NT was written, yes I believe there are law-abiding Christians in this country who would respond that way. But then, I live in Texas.

    • Tim November 16, 2012 Reply

      Actually … there is a recorded incident of Jesus telling them that if they did not have a sword, to sell their coat and buy one.

      • Grace November 16, 2012 Reply

        Yes, but then Peter says they have two swords, and Jesus says “That’s enough!”. Peter then uses it to defend Jesus against arrest, and Jesus rebukes him for it. Doesn’t seem as though self defense, at least against another person, was the intent of the comment to buy a sword.

    • Chad W November 16, 2012 Reply

      Sorry, had to reply in a different location. It wouldn’t let me reply to your last comment.

      God bless Texas. Good state to live in (love my Cowboys!). We don’t currently live in a country that is openly hostile to followers of Christ. Wouldn’t it then be unfair to say you know Christians would react with violence? I believe most Christians would react with defiance not violence. I know I would be defiant against a government that tried to stop me from worshiping my God. I’m not convinced violence against government officials would accomplish a positive goal. Christians in the first century were defiant against a hostile government but not violent, as I believe we would be.

      Enough from me on this. Good discussion with you, Grace. God bless.

  • pastormack November 16, 2012 Reply

    I think a lot depends on the setting. If you’re in a small church in a high-crime area – and you have had multiple breakins – and you’re often the only person in the church, it is a reasonable conclusion to make. Grace, most of the Christian tradition has concluded that self-defense is acceptable, and that using violence to stop evil is an act of neighbor love. Jesus and the NT speak positively and negatively of the sword/violence. It’s not simple, But pastors are often people with families, and it should be up to them about how the choose to protect them.

  • Roger Ferguson November 16, 2012 Reply

    I am a shepherd. Shepherd’s defend the flock if needed. Average church shooting spree is less than a minute. Average response time of police after a 911 call is 6 minutes. Be gentle, but firm. Be trained. Be watchful and prayerful. Violence is always a last resort when the attacker leaves no other choice. Thanks, Roget

  • Dave Telling November 16, 2012 Reply

    I agree in principle with the idea of carrying a weapon, but both experience and documentation shows that unless you practice regularly – not just shooting accuracy, but responding quickly and correctly to a threat, you are likely to add to injuries rather than avoid them. Additionally, pistols are not the most accurate at distance, and a nervous/frightened person firing at someone more than 10-5 feet away is a danger to everyone else. I think it is far better for ushers and/or designated security personnel to deal with armed intruders. About the only exception I can think of would be if someone walked up to the front of the church and pulled out a gun and fired at the pastor. Unfortunately, even then, there would be very little opportunity for an untrained person to respond appropriately. As in so many other life-threatening situations, you can’t beat appropriate training to not only detect the threat, but respond appropriately. I am all for self-defense, but not for the “Give everyone a gun and they’ll be OK” mentality.

  • revrick November 17, 2012 Reply

    After the rash of shootings and threats over the last several years, I considered carrying a gun into the pulpit for the protection of my church members. I have not done so, and the concerns mentioned about training and accuracy certainly make sense. I have asked a police officer member to carry whenever he’s present. I pray it will never be necessary!

  • Scott November 18, 2012 Reply

    I pastor a church in a rural community, and I’m frequently the only person in our building. More than a few times, I’ve felt uneasy when an unknown vehicle or person enters our parking lot. I’m currently in the process of getting a concealed carry permit, for my own protection and that of my family. Now, in the event of an armed attack during a worship service, I don’t think I would start shooting from the pulpit – thankfully we have others who are also “packing” who would meet deadly force with the same.

  • Grace November 19, 2012 Reply

    Well, I guess I’m alone on this. I don’t think Jesus would have us defend ourselves with deadly force, but I’m likely not going to convince anyone else of the same. I also share Dave’s concerns in the post above about the likelihood of doing more harm than good by having people not knowing the proper way to respond and shooting in a public place. If I thought anyone in my church was carrying a concealed weapon, I would not attend there. It does not make me feel safer; just the opposite, in fact.

  • Larry November 19, 2012 Reply

    Who is thinking that that this issue is about government officials attacking the church? This is protecting church members when they are most vulnerable: in worship, and wherever we go to help protect those who need it. Law enforcement cannot be everywhere. If more individuals would step up, get trained, practice, practice, practice THEN perhaps many ministers like myself would not have to pack in the pulpit.

    • Grace November 19, 2012 Reply

      The reference to government officials were comments exchanged between me and Chad. I said the NT has no examples of believers violently defending themselves, and he said the reason for that is because they were under attack by government officials, not criminals. I replied that I don’t think people in America wouldn’t hesitate to respond with force if under attack by our government.

      In my opinion, this thinking that we all have to carry a concealed weapon for the protection of ourselves and our families leads nowhere good. Do we really want a society where we are all armed? Yes, there is a possibility that a shooting may break out a mall where I take my children. It’s a broken world and tragic things happen, but I believe having so many carrying firearms is only going to increase the tragedy, not decrease it.

  • Shawn P. Stapleton November 19, 2012 Reply

    To borrow a term from secular media, think of the “optics” of the situation: A person busts into a church during the worship service, and the pastor, in the middle of his or her sermon, pulls out a gun and kills the intruder. I’m just not convinced that it’s the right message to send to the world.

  • Rev. K. A. Christian November 19, 2012 Reply

    Should preachers or the church protect ourselves against attackers? I say it depends on area, on the situation, and training of those who are packing heat. We live in a time where folks don’t care if its Gods house, if they want to rob you they will.
    Should the preacher be packing in the pulpit? If the circumstances call for such protection, i say hire armed security. That way individuals would think twice knowing e are protected. I know of several churches in my area where they have armed security and it works well for the safety of all.

    Yes, God is our protector… And He uses human instruments in His protection for us.

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