Why guns belong in churches this Christmas

I know that not all of my readers attend church.  Even if you don’t attend church of any kind, there is good information here that can be applied to other situations and locations.  I’m not going to get preachy, but there is some church-talk in here.  Regardless, I’d encourage you to read it to pick up some easy to find, but little known things that the Bible says about self-defense.

There’s been a lot of talk since the 2017 shooting in Sutherland TX about church shootings and church security.

Well meaning people have said that guns don’t belong in churches.  One ignorant, yet prominent politician even said churches are the last place for guns.  I disagree based on what the Bible actually says and furthermore I believe that peace-loving, gentle people are the ones who benefit the most from guns.

In addition, I believe the Bible says that it is appropriate to have an armed congregation.

Church security has been a passion of mine for more than a decade and I have had to wrestle with several issues regarding the place of guns in church, stopping evil vs. turning the other cheek, carrying when it’s less-than-legal, and the balance between people who abhor violence of any kind and people like me who train to use violence to be able to stop aggressors from preying on innocent people.

One of the biggest problems is that people misunderstand the Bible’s stance on killing vs. murder.

This understanding muddies the waters on the topic of self-defense and church security as a result.

Take it 1 step further and there’s a very serious issue with warriors coming back from war feeling like they don’t have a place in church anymore because of the fact that they took life or were willing to take life.

Simply put, the Bible doesn’t say, “Thou Shall Not ‘Kill'”  and any time you see “thou shall not kill,” it is a mistranslation that is incredibly easy for modern readers to confirm.  Let’s start by going back to the 10 Commandments.  The word used for the 5th/6th commandment translates to “murder” and not “kill” as many translations of the Bible have mis-translated and well meaning people have misquoted.

“Thou shalt not kill” is incorrect and unbiblical.  “Thou shalt not murder” fits with the rest of the Bible.

The word for kill applies to humans AND animals.

If the commandment was not to kill, God wouldn’t have killed animals in the garden to clothe Adam and Eve (Gen 3:21),

He wouldn’t have taken sides in war (Gideon-Judges 7, David & Goliath-1 Samuel 17, etc),

Animals wouldn’t be listed as food (Genesis 9:3 and

He wouldn’t have instituted killing animals as part of the atonement process (Leviticus 3:45).

Jesus wouldn’t have told the disciples to sell their extra cloak and buy a sword (Luke 22:36-38), and

He would have told Simon to get rid of his sword instead of re-sheath it when he cut off the Roman guard’s ear (22:50-51).

The misinterpretation has long caused guys who have legitimately killed and guys who have switched their brain to be able to kill bad actors to protect good ones to feel a disconnect with the Bible, church, and with other Christians who haven’t dug into what the Bible actually says.

What about the need to turn the other cheek?  Matthew 5:38-40.

I’m not a Biblical scholar, but a couple of ways that I can find to make that mesh with the rest of scripture is to interpret it as saying that we’re not supposed to take revenge, be a vigilante, or be Frank Castle from “The Punisher,” no matter how appealing the storyline is.

We have a system in place called due process to institute justice after the fact.  It’s not perfect, but it’s probably better than everyone serving out justice individually on their own terms in the heat of the moment.

Another possibility for turning the cheek is when a Christian is being slapped FOR being a Christian…not when a Christian is being mugged or assaulted or when someone is trying to kill that Christian.

Let’s get personal…even if my wife would happen to believe that she should turn the other cheek if she was being attacked, it doesn’t say I should stand by and do nothing.

Stopping violence is different than getting revenge.

Along with not being a vigilante, the Bible tells us that life is precious, that we’re to rescue the weak and needy & deliver them from the hand of the wicked.  We’re to take care of widows and orphans.  We’re to rescue those who are being taken away to death and pull back those who are being taken to slaughter.  I’d argue that sometimes that entails being able to take effective action against tyrants who are comfortable with violence.

But we’re also supposed to love our enemies, be quick to forgive, and if possible, live at peace with everyone.

So, God has a history of blessing warriors, makes provision for killing an intruder at night (Exodus 22:2), Jesus tells the disciples to be armed, but no other mention is made in the rest of the New Testament, and we’re supposed to protect the weak and the sick.

What’s this mean for churches and church security?

A few things…

“Tactical Preacher” sent me a link to a sermon he gave on Christian self-defense.  You can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huR0djKL2p8&feature=youtu.be and a few of these points came from him.

1.  When Jesus tells the 11 disciples to arm themselves, they replied back saying they had 2 swords and Jesus said that was enough.  He didn’t tell everyone that they needed to be armed.  The numbers work out to roughly 20%.  It’s not a command, but it is an illustration of a good model.  As a comparison, there are roughly 800,000 credentialed law enforcement officers in a country of 325 million.  20% isn’t a hard and fast number, but if ONLY law enforcement were armed, we’d be at roughly .2% or .002.  About .7% of the US population is active or reserve military.  IF the 20% number is a guide, it means a lot of pastors, staff, and other civilians need to fill in the gap.

2.  Some law enforcement will never switch off…even in church.  But those who can or need to should be able to and shouldn’t always carry the burden of protecting the flock by themselves.

3.  Not everyone can or should be armed.  Current/past legal issues, lack of training, sickness, lack of temper control, mental state, negative effects of medications, a lack of good judgement, and other issues all make the right choice for many to NOT be armed.  I’d argue that some pastors shouldn’t be armed because their hearts are tender and tuned to help the hurting rather than being tuned to stop evil.  We’re all wired differently.  Some are wired to protect the flock from evil with force…others are wired to protect the flock from evil with prayer.  Some are wired to do both, but a focus on either end of the spectrum at the expense of the other is not healthy for a church.

4.  If you’re a Christian, your faith and hope should be in the Lord…not your gun.

5.  I don’t believe all church ushers or all church security should necessarily be armed.  For many people, it’s difficult to think of non-gun solutions to problems when you’re carrying a gun.  In an ideal situation, you’d have greeters who are JUST happy and smiling.  You’d have another (smaller) set of people who are ready to respond to conflict where lethal force is not appropriate.  Finally, you’d have a smaller set of people who are ready to respond to conflict where lethal force is necessary.

The reality of church volunteer programs is that the same people fill multiple roles, but I think it’s important to delineate the roles and know which people are filling which roles.

As an example, I’ve found that when my overall stress level is high, I can still be the guy looking for and ready to respond to threats, but I’m not the best guy to smile and shake hands with a bunch of people.

The point of this is that, when possible, let people serve in the capacity that they’re able to and use the gifts that they were blessed with.

6.  A LOT of churches are addressing their security concerns right now.  Guns are a very valuable tool to stop violence.  So are tactical lights, tactical pens, OC, Tasers, fire extinguishers, cups of coffee, Bibles, and chairs next to the aisle that you can pick up and ram into an attacker.

7.  Historically, the majority of church related attacks have happened during the week, between the church and parking lot or off property…not during service.  Most disturbances that happen during a service don’t justify a lethal force response.  There’s an incredible book that I recommend called “Evil Invades Sanctuary” that goes into more of these statistics.

It’s tempting to focus on preparing for the incidents that are the most dramatic and that have historically received the most media attention, but it may not be the best use of time/resources.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t plan for the worst, but don’t do so at the expense of planning for events that are more likely to occur.

8.  Just because there are guns in church doesn’t mean that they’ll get used any more than having Bibles in homes means they’ll actually get read.  Guns don’t shoot themselves any more than Bibles read themselves.

9.  The New Testament doesn’t support the idea that people are supposed to act “more Christian” in church and differently out of church.  If you don’t think that guns belong IN church, why would they belong out of church?  And, if you’re supposed to protect the weak, both in church and out of church, why would you voluntarily choose to limit yourself to less effective tools when you’re in church than out of church?

10.  A tricky and sticky thing to keep in mind is that “illegal” has different meanings.  Speeding 1 mile an hour over the speed limit is illegal.  Jaywalking is illegal.  I have carried a concealed pistol in churches where it would have been a minor misdemeanor trespassing charge if 1. It was known that I was carrying, 2. They contacted the police and signed a complaint, and 3. I was charged and found guilty.  I consulted attorneys and fully understood the law, risks, and potential consequences.  Yes, I know that Christians are supposed to follow the laws that have been established and go through the appropriate process to change them if they’re unjust.  Eventually, I was asked to carry (still technically illegal) by an elder.  If the potential consequence would have been a major misdemeanor or a felony, I wouldn’t have done it.

11.  Carrying a gun without training is like driving a car without air in the tires.  Don’t do it.  Get training.  Practice on a regular basis.  Strive to keep improving your skills over time.

Here’s my wish for you…

May you live a life worth defending.

May you be surrounded by people you
love enough to fight for.

May you live a peaceful life,
even though you practice violent arts.

And, on that day when violence
turns your world upside down,

May you stop the threat with
superior skill, intensity, and purity of heart.

I’d be completely remiss in telling you to train if I didn’t give you a more effective method than simply going to the range.  One of the most effective training tools for church security teams or individuals carrying a firearm in churches is the Draw Stroke Mastery program, which includes a 1-hour follow-along dry fire training session that I put on for a church security team.

In addition, one of the reasons why 21 Day Alpha Shooter is done the way that it is is so that small groups can incorporate structured small-block dry fire training into their weekly meet-ups.

Here’s a note from a man who’s church group does just that.

Here’s what he said, “My friends and I have incorporated the alpha shooter video into our home church group.

We do a shooting related activity every time we meet (it is a rather unusual church).

It was a great way to get our wives involved, and way cheaper than our usual burning up ammo at cardboard boxes.

Thanks to you, I realized I am gripping my pistol completely wrong, so we will see how Sunday goes as I work through the proper grip.”

Is it a fit for every church small group?  No.  But if it’s a fit for yours, it’s a great way to combine studying God’s word with becoming more effective at protecting the flock.  Click >HERE< Now for more details.


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  • Mark

    Reply Reply December 11, 2021

    Great article, Ox!!
    As a church Safety/Security Team director and deputy director, one of the challenges I always have worried about is the concealed carrier good guy who is in our church and chooses to respond during an active shooter situation, drawing his/her firearm. It is similar to such an occasion in any public place. Who is/are the bad guy(s)? As a responding member of the Safety/Security team, am I certain that the good guy is actually a good guy or actually a slower-moving accomplice? How do I know, especially if the good guy is unknown to me and the rest of the Safety team? The good guy may be a regular attender that I just don’t know, or the good guy may be a visitor who is carrying. Even if the good guy made himself/herself known to the Safety/Security team before the service, are you sure the word got out to the rest of the entire team? You might be able to tell by the direction he is aiming. Maybe. Maybe not.
    It is a difficult challenge I hope to never face. Nevertheless, I agree with your premise.

    • Ox

      Reply Reply December 13, 2021

      It is a definite concern. It puts you in a position where you have to make incredibly quick shoot/don’t shoot decisions based on rapidly changing visual input in a chaotic situation with life/death implications.

      Something to keep in mind is that less than 5% of concealed carriers do any formal training beyond their permit (which isn’t really training). They do minimal, at best, practice. They aren’t reading this article. They do minimal, if any visualization. They don’t have defined threat profiles or immediate action drills. As a result, it’s very likely that they will experience a few second lag in realizing that it’s time to draw and shoot. They’ll likely fumble their draw and it will take a few seconds. This is a very different profile than someone who has trained and rehearsed to kill people in a church.

      On the other end, you’ll have armed people who ARE trained and who DO respond quickly…possibly quicker than you. They won’t be moving the same as the attacker, they won’t be behaving the same as the attacker, and they will likely know that they need to be as scared of you as you of them.

      One of the things that you want to do is get together with your team and do a brainstorming session about how everyone THINKS the bad guys and random good guys will be behaving. What’s similar? What’s different? If possible, have people watch videos of active shootings ahead of times so that they’re not just guessing and not just trying to provide an answer for the sake of providing an answer.

      Let me know if you’ve got any questions on this.

  • Daniel Keele

    Reply Reply December 11, 2021

    Nehemiah 4:17 suggests being armed while tending to your daily affairs.

  • Shawn

    Reply Reply December 15, 2020

    The sermon video has been removed. Not suprised

  • Covey540

    Reply Reply December 13, 2020

    OX, a wonderful sermon! Having been raised as a pacifist, I reasoned and studied my way through this issue, all the way to combat in Vietnam(!). I, of course, don’t have all the answers, but I think I can add a tidbit or two to your great article.
    1) On turning the other cheek, I understand that the cultural context on that expression is that, rather than being a physical attack, a slap to the cheek was the ultimate insult to a Jew, or probably to anyone else in that day. So it was a lesson by Jesus in teaching humility to His listeners, including us. Applying it to a physical attack scenario is missing the mark of His teaching.
    2). Christians are commanded to provide for our families. One who does not provide for dependents is worse than an infidel. (1 Tim 5:8). My church family, especially the vulnerable members, certainly need to be provided protection as well as any other need.
    3) Christ’s commandment to love our enemies needs to be re-examined in our English language/Hollywood understanding of love. The Greek has several different words describing different types of love. Basically though, the Biblical definition of love is to seek another’s highest good. As opposed to our concept of warm fuzzy feelings. Thus you can love your enemy by meeting his needs without necessarily having warm fuzzies. Sometimes his needs include being stopped from hurting innocent people.
    Amen on your article!

  • Joe Mann

    Reply Reply December 13, 2020

    Good article OX. We have been addressing this in our church (large church, multiple services on different days, etc) for several years and have a pretty large ID’ed security group which augments off duty LEOs who are there at all services. Our interest is interception before entering the worship areas. Some of us are permitted concealed carry, which you get by passing the FBI firearms qualification annually, having a CCL, and attending periodic training as presented. Our church does not allow concealed carry, but we know several do, and we advise them that if we don’t know they are carrying, a visible firearm makes you suspect, so be very careful. Dicey gray area. Thanks for being a believer and sharing you knowledge and beliefs. We are in 100% agreement.

    • LARRY

      Reply Reply December 16, 2020

      What makes your CCL any better than anyone else. I believe the rights under the constitution were for everyone, not just a group. And thats the problem in a nutshell: too many people making their own rules for everyone else to live by; sounds very democratic.

  • David Barnes

    Reply Reply December 13, 2020

    We have all heard that the “meek shall inherit the earth.”
    BibleHub is great for different translations and comments.
    No, not “the meek.” It translates as “people who have a sword,
    know how to use a sword, and who keep their sword in its sheath.”
    That makes a LOT more sense. Kinda like guns in church.

  • Roger Fracker

    Reply Reply December 30, 2019


    I attended a church security seminar in Roanoke, Va about a year ago & told my pastor about it. Recently he’s mentioned standing up a security team, & I believe he may ask me to be the lead. I’m a vet & have experience building training schedules; I got to thinking about what our team’s training plan should look like & what priority/order the subject matter should be taught. Time is precious, & I don’t want to waste it. Here is my brainstorm on subjects in no priority order:

    1. Have a USCCA criminal defense attorney meet with the team & discuss legal issues.
    2. Level of force continuum
    3. Verbal Judo
    4. The Four Stage Draw
    5. Role Play/Scenarios
    6. Empty Hand Control Techniques
    7. Zip Tie Hand Cuffing Techniques
    8. Body Search
    9. Apply Tourniquet. (Buddy Aide & Self Aide)
    10. First Aide (Sucking Chest Wound; Stop Bleeding; ???)
    11. Weapons Training / Qualification – (What are the standards we should adopt?)
    12. Build First Aide Kit – Know how to use it.
    13. CPR
    14. Room Clearing
    15. SPEAR System
    16. Controlling the aftermath / Keep control of witnesses
    17. What To Do When Police Arrive (We’re rural)
    18. Dry fire exercises

    Other brainstorm Questions:
    1. How often should we train?
    2. Should we consider having a member of security team at “ALL” church related functions?
    3. Non-Leathal considerations?
    4. Triage considerations?
    5. How much range time?

    What have I missed?

    Would like to hear your thinking/input.

    Thank you for your articles on this subject & for not shying away from openly talking about our Lord!

    Thanks for your time.

    • Ox

      Reply Reply December 30, 2019


      This is too big of a topic to address this evening, but I’ll say a couple of things quickly…

      It’s going to be easier to take people who already have skills that they’ve been building for decades and make them a team than to try to teach a group of people 20 new skills and expect them to practice them often enough to get and remain proficient enough to be able to perform under stress.

      Talking with the attorney early on is a good idea. As far as flex-cuffs, you’ll probably find out that you have limited authority to legally restrain/arrest someone as a citizen defender.

      Keep in mind that I focus on the extreme end of the situation…which needs to be addressed, but is incredibly unlikely.

      What is much MORE likely is that people who really need help and who may be disturbed (and probably disturbing to many of the congregation) but not violent come into the church for help. You don’t want everyone so keyed up to stop threats that they scare off the hurting.

      I’ve done this…a few times…but one that really hurts was when a huffer came into church. (I didn’t know until an officer told me later that he knew the guy) He was homeless, had a plastic grocery bag with a visible siphon tube in it, and reeked of gas. I stared him down like he was Al Qaeda and going to try to blow up the church. He was harmless other than his smell, he was hurting, he came into the church for help and I scared him off.

      Sometimes, that’s going to happen in the process of trying to protect the flock…but you want to make sure that you continually set clear expectations for your team so that they keep the main thing the main thing. It doesn’t necessarily mean they all need to be grief counselors, but that they do want to try to pick discern between people who are hurting, but looking for help and people looking to hurt others.

  • SoJerSailor

    Reply Reply December 30, 2019

    Even the Dalai Lama, perhaps the quintessential proponent of nonviolence, stated that “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it is appropriate to shoot back with your own gun.” He thus approved not only the defensive use of violence, but the right to have “your own gun” in preparation for that possible unthinkable eventuality.

    If the Shepard is to protect the flock from the wolf, it may be necessary to kill the wolf.


    Reply Reply December 28, 2019

    I am a member of Southbrook Church, Franklin, WI., and the Training person for the Team.
    I have not seen any of this material before and will be going to your web site. I appreciate the article and will keep it to use for training purposes and for speaking with the Pastor I report to.
    I am retired LEO and Military and carry at church and some of my Team Members also carry, but right now we have no policy that covers this so we are depending on constitutional carry laws and we pray heavily.
    I always tell new members that one requirement to be on the Safety Team is to be prepared at all times and be able to pray with someone as the need arises.
    Semper FI!! Joe Brooks

  • Charles Staggs

    Reply Reply December 24, 2019

    This is a well written article, and a number of wonderful responses.

    I carry, everywhere I go. I am a member of the security team at my church. Those of us on the team are prepared to do what is necessary in the event of hostility.

    My major concern is that some people are too ready to resort to a firearm too quickly.
    As a veteran who has seen more than he is able to discuss, no matter how tight you get a grouping on the range, adrenaline is going to destroy your precision.

    Train for firearms, but train for tasers as well. Learn military/police tactics to incapacitate and restrain an opponent.

    Always remember, guarding your flock does not allow for collateral damage!

  • Julie

    Reply Reply December 23, 2019

    I carry concealed, except where prohibited. If I attended a church I would carry. What I question is this- for all the scriptural wrangling to defend or oppose guns in church (or even guns at all), Christians claim that god is all powerful, all knowing, and watches over his people. I don’t see that as being the case if god allows evil inside his own house, leading to injury or death of his sincere followers. Could someone explain that to me?

    • Ox

      Reply Reply December 23, 2019

      Absolutely…I may have to refine this a couple of times to get dialed in, but there are 2 things going on…

      1. With the tearing of the veil at Christ’s crucifixion, the covenant changed. We’ve never been good enough to earn our way into heaven and it has required a sacrifice to atone for our sins. Under the old covenant, that sacrifice took the form of frequent and continual sin offerings and the alter/church was very important. Not that bad things never happened there, but the importance of the building changed with the new covenant.

      With the tearing of the veil, the covenant changed…in this case, specifically how the atonement for sins happened. Under the new covenant, people get to accept the free gift of Christ’s sacrifice to atone for their sins rather than having to produce their own sacrifice. What it means is that we no longer have to struggle to try to earn our way into heaven. It is a gift, if we choose to accept it. This was a huge jump…and structures just aren’t as important. God cares about the details of his people, but it is people (not God) who have put importance/significance on buildings in the new covenant…but you can’t find that significance in the New Testament except for the eventual rebuilding of the temple. In other words, it’s not “His” house…it’s a building that we have erected to make meeting together easier for us. It has no bearing on the covenant that we have with God.

      2. Bad things have happened to good people since the fall of man. The fact is that we live in a fallen, decaying world where entropy can be seen on a daily basis. God doesn’t promise a worldly rose garden and he doesn’t promise us a physical “base” to go to. The “base” that he promises us is the internal “peace that passes understanding” mentioned in Philippians. It’s not the absence of storms or evil…it’s peace in the middle of life’s storms because of knowing that we can accept his free gift of grace and don’t have to EARN our way into heaven or do things to try to atone for past sins.

      I wish you the best,


    • cal payton

      Reply Reply December 28, 2019

      So Julie ,ox’s explained it fairly well I would just add , that again we live in a sin stricken fallen, devil controlled world. basically with a few exceptions Satan is the god of this world as stated in 1 john 5:19 , john 14:30,and Christ came to destroy the works of the devil, which by his own nature[the devil] are evil as he came to kill, steal and destroy.john 10;10.I want to as Christ ambassador stop the evil one from killing the innocent be it babies ,children or any of my fellow bros, and thankfully in this country it is within our gov. granted citizens rights to defend the weak .unfortunately its a sad day in America when we have to carry in church but we should’nt be surprised

      • Julie

        Reply Reply December 14, 2020

        I appreciate the replies to my question. I still contemplate this seeming contradiction. I realize the ‘church’ is not an actual house but the group itself, yet that doesn’t change my question of why an all powerful and loving god would not act to protect his sincere flock when evil comes into his ‘house’, meaning into the group worshipping, whether in a building or a field. One could also speculate that since a god allows bad things to happen to good people, that is somehow ‘his will’, as illustrated by the story of Job, and it follows that killing the perpetrators of bad things is attempting to take matters into your own hands instead of letting God’s will play out. I mean no offense to anyone’s faith by this, but it’s easy to cherry pick scriptures to back up many ideas. I could do the same, using examples like ‘vengeance is mine’, turn the other cheek’, ‘love/forgive your enemy’, ‘swords into plowshares’, etc.
        Regarding the comment “I want to as Christ ambassador stop the evil one from killing”, if you follow that logic back to the story of the crucifixion it would mean the disciples should have attempted to stop (kill?) the Roman soldiers who were intent on killing Jesus. What motive could be more noble than that? But that would have been contrary to their God’s will. Thus it seems one puts themselves in the position of constantly interpreting God’s will in making decisions about defending or protecting church members from a threat. Does protecting the flock mean literally shooting a bad guy? Or does it mean figuratively steering them clear of worldly influences and desires, the ‘seven deadly sins’ which could turn them away from God? It seems to come down to interpretation.
        I once asked a friend I greatly respect, a Baptist minister (while discussing this issue of self defense), why it is that christians who fervently believe in a heavenly reward seem so scared to die, and so saddened by the death of fellow Christians who should by all accounts receive that reward. I made the comment that if someone died in church, with a pure heart, what better way to go? His answer was interesting, and quite surprising to me, coming from a spiritual leader. He said something to the effect of “much of the Bible is stories and parables, not facts. So religious faith is a belief system, sometimes very much at odds with our perception of reality. The Bible indicates God wants us to believe and rewards faith, and thus gives us no proof (the story of Job again). But unlike biblical writers, we know we evolved, and have proof of that. We can’t pretend otherwise. And evolution has wired into our brains a desire to survive. So we are being asked to override that which we know, with that which we believe. And that, to me as a minister, is the biggest challenge there is.” He went on to say that he did not think guns belonged in church, rather, that a sincere group of Christians was at the mercy of God’s will, and should accept what god allows to happen, mentioning a parable by Matthew about God taking care of birds who were lesser creatures.
        So, I’m still intrigued by this discussion, and see no clear justification either way, but life is short, and I plan on protecting mine (and the lives of those I care about) unless and until I find a better answer.

  • Pastor

    Reply Reply December 22, 2019

    Ox Thank You for a very well written article!

    As a Pastor I believe that one aspect of my job is to be a SHEPHERD and a shepherd is a protector of the sheep. I’m former military, was a sheriffs Deputy, I teach self defense, including firearms (my self defense classes sometimes shock the first time due to the the level of violence I teach, no simple “martial arts “ here) .

    Because of my background I’m actually head of our security team, I carry as I preach!

    So if any pastors out there need reassurance, make sure the sheep that God has entrusted into your care are protected both spiritually and physically!

  • Thames

    Reply Reply December 22, 2019

    as always a very good and balanced view based on the scriptures.Thanks for doing the work the Lord has given to you and for offering your video teachings at reasonable costs. They have helped me greatly and made me a better shooter in every way.Keep up the good work until He comes and we don’t have to worry about it anymore.

  • John Ford

    Reply Reply December 21, 2019

    I have attended 2 different Churches where it has been requested that all concealed carry members come to services armed.
    This happened after a Church shooting in our city.


  • Lt Col (RET) Mark R Perusse

    Reply Reply December 21, 2019

    Amen Ox!!! Love the emails and I am concealed carry in my church!!!

  • Scott Wilcox

    Reply Reply December 21, 2019

    Alway carry in church, and sit strategically. Several of our lay leaders do too, and some pastors!

  • Mark Heritage

    Reply Reply December 21, 2019

    Good article. I’ve also read Mr. Chinn’s book, and have been to one of his seminars. God bless all who are willing to stand in the gap.

  • Bill

    Reply Reply December 21, 2019

    Excellent article. Thanks for that.

    A couple of reflections:
    All of the fighting I can see in the Old Testament were ultimately God using Israel or individuals to destroy those who were dishonoring his name. David didn’t take on Goliath because Goliath offended David. Goliath was defying the God of Israel. That’s why David took him on.
    The one time David went out to get his own back was with Nabal and David’s comment boils down to “May God do so to him if I don’t get to him first.” Fortunately Abigail caught David before he could get to Nabal, persuaded him to not do anything rash. Then Nabal had a stroke and died three days later. That just underscores not taking your own revenge. Leave room for God to get the BG. It turns into a different story when people are defying God and throwing His name in the mud.

    A second thought: Check out the Covenanters in Scotland during the “Killing Times” in the 1600’s. Christians could be killed on the spot for just carrying a Bible. If they didn’t attend the state sponsored church they could be fined heavily and/or imprisoned.

    That whole time has a host of fascinating stories of Christians standing up to overwhelming government pressure to compromise.

    At the very outset the Christians were peacefully marching to Edinburgh to protest the new rules. It could be compared to Martin Luther King’s march from Selma for civil rights. But these Covenanters were met by the army and fought a battle at Rullion Green just outside Edinburgh, Scotland. The soldiers had guns, horses and swords. The Covenanters had flails, pitchforks and a few swords, maybe a gun or two.

    These Christians went to “conventicles”, church services out in the middle of nowhere. The men went armed and posted sentries on the hillsides around the meeting area, watching for government troops. The Battle of Drumclog occurred after one of these open air church services. https://www.rpcscotland.org/2019/06/05/battle-of-drumclog/

    People defending themselves at church goes back at least 300 years.

    • Ox

      Reply Reply December 22, 2019

      Thank you, Bill. I wasn’t familiar with that bit of Scottish history, but it’s definitely applicable.

  • Steve Seeley

    Reply Reply December 17, 2018

    Bravo to a well-composed article. When in doubt, look to the Word, the Bible – and in this article, the scripture speaks.
    Our church security protocol was designed by a former FBI assistant director. We employ uniformed detail officers every day, as our activities and programs are during the week as well. Then, our volunteer security detail of mostly law enforcement professionals covers our church campus in plain clothes. Some of us are just good, cheerful hand-shakers – others, not so much. Work with your talents God gave you.

    One of our lady greeters is retired DEA!

    I love my church!

    Thanks to you all that have replied with excellent information from scripture!

    • Ox

      Reply Reply December 17, 2018

      Thanks, Steve! That article is the result of over a decade of struggle with the topic as well as devouring every article, video, and book on the topic I have found.

  • Alan D Kerby

    Reply Reply December 14, 2018

    For a Jewish perspective on personal self-defense and the rationale for carrying in Synagogue check out, “The Ten Commandments of Self Defense” by Rabbi Dovid Bendory, available from JPFO.org.

    While many liberal Temples and Synagogues abhor personal self-defense as much as liberal Christian churches, some (Orthodox more than others) take a more proactive approach. The Conservative Synagogue I often attend took down the no gun stickers on the doors several years ago and uses area sheriff deputies for security on major holidays although the rabbinic staff supports the demanding mommies. I carry every time I go and concealed means concealed. It’s difficult to broach the subject of congregational members carrying in any formal way with the “professional security only” mentality. I’ll just do my part to protect myself if things go sideways.

  • Kane Fischer

    Reply Reply December 14, 2018

    We see people that I am sure God has sent and I see people whose motivations for being there are questionable. Regardless of their motivation for being in church, we greet people with love and compassion. We welcome them and try to make them feel comfortable at ALF but we still WATCH them. In the bible, the purpose of the gate keepers and the watchmen were to protect the flock and protect the sanctity of the sanctuary.

    There are different types of people in the church. There is the shepherd who is Jesus. Then there are the flock….the sheep….wonderful loving people…. friends families, brothers and sisters in Christ. then there are two types of sheepdogs. Tim(the pastor) and the staff are one kind of sheepdog and assists the shepherd in guiding the flock. We are the other type of sheepdog….
    we deal with the wolves……Kane

    Ephesians 5:15,17
    See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time because
    The days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the lord is.

    Proverbs 24:11,12
    If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain;
    If thou sayest, behold, we knew it not, doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it ?
    And he that keepeth thy soul, doth he not know it? And shall render to everyman according to his works.

    Matt 10: 16
    Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves, be ye therefore shrewd as serpents
    And innocent as doves.
    ( a lot of people get the “doves” part OK but they fail to recognize that serpents can be lethal.)

    Luke 22: 36
    And he (Jesus) said to them, if you have a money bag, let him take it, and likewise, a sack, and he who has no sword, let him sell his cloak and buy one.

  • Greg Hopkins

    Reply Reply February 19, 2018

    Dear Dryfire Training,
    I’m Greg Hopkins lawyer, 40 years teaching the Bible and author of “A Time To Kill: The Myth of Christian Pacifism”. I just read you r fine article on Christians and self-defense and recommend that you read my book on the subject by a Christian/Gun nut/Lawyer-me. It surveys the entire B and concludes that God commands us to defend the innocent with all legal force. It demonstrates that Jesus never taught pacifism, explaining “live by the sword, die by the sword” and “turn the other cheek” in their biblical contexts. It includes 4 chapters on Jesus and the military (He never told anyone to quit the army.) I hope it helps vets with PTSD to know that God knows the difference between “murder” and killing in combat, law enforcement or self-defense. It also has 3 chapters on the Bible and the death penalty. It’s available on Amazon. I hope you find it helpful.


    Reply Reply December 19, 2017

    I am one of two directors of the new Safety & Security Team for our church. Our Mission Statement is: Protect the Flock. We have total backing of our Pastors and our Church Board. We will start training for our congregation on such topics as Identifying Sexual & Physical Assaults of Children and Vulnerable Adults, Basic First Aid, Fire Safety, Severe Weather Safety, CPR, AED, Identifying a Heart Attack and/or Stroke, etc. We will chose the members of the Safety & Security Committee, the liason between the Team and our Church Board next month. The following month we will start monthly training for our Team after background checks and interviews have been completed. Not all our Team will carry – only about half, since we will have 2-person units with one armed and both carrying pepper spray gel and tactical flashlights. Verbal De-Escalation will be stressed, including scenarios, at each training session. There will also be monthly sessions at the range, and dry-fire scenarios for those Team Members authorized to carry in and around th church. Training for our Team will never stop.


      Reply Reply December 19, 2017

      Please excuse my typos. I neglected to mention that our Team is actually the Safety And Security Ministry.

    • Drew

      Reply Reply January 6, 2018

      That is a perfect application for dry fire training cards and the alpha shooter program! Affordable, can be done in a group setting at normal meeting times and locations, and it’s effective.

  • Drew

    Reply Reply December 16, 2017

    Great article as always. The mainstream Christianity misconception that God wants us all to be limp wristed, weak little pacifists doesn’t make sense to me in the context of the actual Bible where God commanded His people to be warriors on many occasions. The book Wild at Heart is a great study on the pathologies rampant among Christian men who are shamed away from their masculine nature by the weak, mainstream Christian culture.

    God ordered the Israelites to utterly destroy His enemies. Ecclesiastes 3 documents there is a time to hate in addition to a time to kill. Jesus was very clear that his followers were to carry some weapons for their defense, and to go so far as to sell their clothing in order to afford a sword (implying it is better to be naked than unarmed!).

    But Jesus also said to love our enemies right? Correct. I am commanded to love *my* enemy. My enemy is that one jerk at work, and the idiot who cuts me off in traffic. I am obligated to forgive *my* enemy and love them. But, nowhere am I given the authority to love God’s enemies. The extreme example of this principle is Satan. Was Jesus telling us to love Satan? No! Satan is God’s enemy, as well as those who would use violence to victimize others, and we are told there is a time to hate and kill God’s enemies i.e. when violently attacked or in the context of a justly declared war.

    • Ox

      Reply Reply December 17, 2017

      Excellent, Drew. Thanks!

  • Scott Miller

    Reply Reply December 16, 2017

    A concise, lucid and well-worded article addressing a real need in our churches. Thanks Ox, for so powerfully speaking out for the “Sheepdogs” who’ve been bearing the burden of protecting their flocks for so long in the face of media adversity. Hopefully everyone who reads this article will share it where appropriate and open a dialogue in their circles of influence regarding whether armed security has a place in their places of worship.
    [21 Day Alpha Shooter]
    [30-10 Pistol Training]
    [Dry Fire Training Cards]

  • Cary Kozberg

    Reply Reply December 16, 2017

    Great piece– and really important.
    Wanted to reply in Facebook to Steve Rosenblum’s and your comments re Judaism’s take– but my phone isn’t letting me.
    I’m an ordained rabbi and have taught classes on the topic of self defense for over 30 years.

    Not only Scripture but also the writings of the Rabbis in the Talmud and later codes are all about self protection and protecting others ( “thou shalt not stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor”–Leviticus 19).

    From a Jewish point of view, the reason that carrying in a house of worship may actually be an OBLIGATION for those who are properly trained is this:
    Our lives are given to us by God– therefore we are stewards, not owners. As stewards we have an obligation to safeguard them to the best of our ability. This is the main reason why the Talmud very clearly teaches: if someone comes to kill you, you must kill him first.

    ALSO– referring back to that verse in Leviticus 19: I would add that it is just as important to get training in “field trauma”as it is to get training in firearm use. Folks need to know how to STOP the bleeding as much as they need to know how and when to properly cause it…

    God bless!!

  • Lonnie Hartke

    Reply Reply December 15, 2017

    As a pastor and a church/non-profit security specialist let me say “Well Done”. I share most of these same truths when I train churches how and why we must defend the flock. I often get strange looks when someone finds out I am a pastor and firearms instructor.

  • G

    Reply Reply December 15, 2017

    Turning the cheek has nothing to do with how the western church teaches about it.
    The enemy in this case is a family member you are on the outs with. If the trouble last 3 days or more they are the enemy referred to in this passage, not somebody who is out kill or otherwise out to hurt you.

    • Ox

      Reply Reply December 15, 2017

      That’s 2 views on what “turn the other cheek” means that I’ve never heard before. Thank you!

      • G

        Reply Reply December 15, 2017

        Also another little known fact is that in some Jewish circles consider it a sin to let yourself be killed when you could of done something about it.

        • Ox

          Reply Reply December 15, 2017

          I REALLY didn’t know that. That’s fascinating. Thank you.

  • Jim

    Reply Reply December 15, 2017

    Ox, I’ve been carrying concealed to church since the 70’s when I was an LEO. I was even carrying concealed at my wedding in the church as well as my groomsmen. I’m not an active LEO now but still carry concealed wherever I happen to be. In today’s society, I don’t see why I should risk a situation for me or my family by not carrying a firearm.

    • Ox

      Reply Reply December 15, 2017

      🙂 I carried at my wedding too. Stay frosty.

  • Mark H

    Reply Reply December 15, 2017

    A fantastic read/article. LONG overdue too. I could not agree more with ALL that you Ox have expressed. “Thank you” for shedding light on this much-needed mindset that WILL BE required in the coming ‘days’, as we are living in the ‘End Times”. God Bless you…

  • left coast chuck

    Reply Reply December 15, 2017

    I worked as a court reporter for 25 years. There are truly evil people in the world. It has been 30 years since I worked in court yet I can name at least half a dozen people who are so evil they represent a danger to anyone in their reach. I could easily inject them with a lethal dose of some medicine, pull the switch to drop a cyanide pellet into whatever solution releases the gas, close the circuit on a high voltage switch to send 1,000 volts of electricity through their body or put a gun to the back of their head and blow out their medulla, go home and get a good night’s rest knowing I had performed a significant service to humanity. They truly have no redeeming social quality about them. Unless you come face to face with such evil, it is hard to acknowledge that such exists on the face of the earth. I have always likened it to killing a rabid dog or some other animal with a highly contagious disease. You don’t feel good about it, but it is a task that needs to be done to protect society. Just as I would kill a wolf killing more than one elk, a mountain lion ravaging a flock of sheep, I would put down the individuals whose names and evil is forever burned into my mind.

    I am not an especially religious person. I don’t regularly attend organized religious services. In my world someone who indiscriminately attacks a congregation attending church service is deserving of immediate elimination. The same with any indiscriminate killing. Shooting up a movie theater where you don’t know any of the people you are shooting and killing. In my view Hinckley should have been executed. He tried to thwart the will of millions of people. I don’t care that he didn’t kill anyone, his type of evil should be eliminated from the world. Same with the shooter who effectively ended Gabby Gifford’s life as she knew it. He should have been executed. I don’t particularly like her brand of politics, but her shooter should have been executed long ago.

    Sorry for the long rant. One of the reasons I am a former court reporter is that I could not stand what was happening in our court system. It’s still a sore point.

    • Ox

      Reply Reply December 15, 2017

      Thank you, Chuck. I completely understand where you’re coming from, even though many are fortunate to not have knowledge or first hand knowledge of the type of evil you’re talking about. And the fact that what was happening in our court rooms was a sore point for you is not a surprise. What is a surprise is that EVERYONE who had similar exposure as you didn’t come to the same conclusion.

      Again, thank you, Chuck.

  • Steven Granty

    Reply Reply December 15, 2017

    Thank you so much for addressing this issue Ox. I have wrestled with this very issue secretly since being ask to perform “overwatch” at our church. I have to say, your biblical approach resonates with my spirit. I have thoroughly enjoyed your training material & articles. I’ve been shooting for 30+ years and have never come close to being as good as I am now with the Alpha course! P.S. I love the name “Tactical Angels”

    • Ox

      Reply Reply December 15, 2017

      It’s a tough issue, Steven…and it’s complicated by the fact that very powerful orators have lumped killing and murder together as being the same. Thanks for the feedback on 21 Day Alpha Shooter! And I have to say, I like “Tactical Angels” too 🙂

  • David

    Reply Reply December 15, 2017

    Another good resource abut a biblical view of self defense is:
    A Time to Kill: The Myth of Christian Pacifism by Greg Hopkins

    • Ox

      Reply Reply December 15, 2017

      Excellent, David! I haven’t read that. Thank you.

  • Dr. Larry

    Reply Reply December 15, 2017

    Dear Ox, This is one of the best written, necessary but tough, conversation/articles on church related shootings, self defense, and protection of others I have read in a long time. As a Bible teacher for over 42 years now, I can whole heartedly say you are absolutely correct about the 6th Commandment being “Thou shalt not murder” rather than what most think and hear “Thou shalt not kill”. As a doctor who wants to help others, not harm others, this reminds me that to help many sometimes a few must be harmed and even killed. As a responsibly armed citizen this article reminds me of the duty to serve and protect those I love and care about – extending to the little ones, the weak, the oppressed, the innocent, and those who cannot fend for or defend themselves. This article forces us, in a compassionate and reasonable way, to think about a tough topic and resolve to do right. Thanks for this…. and all you are doing to help the “good guys with guns”.

  • Carl

    Reply Reply December 15, 2017

    I’ve been carrying a concealed gun to church for years now. Moreover, there are at least 2 other church members carrying. My reason is simple, if anyone comes to my church and attempts to shoot our members, it is incumbent upon those of us carrying to repeal such an attack to protect our families and other members.

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