Can One be Armed and Love Kindness and Walk Humbly?
[This is a rough draft I submitted in May to http://www.armedlutheran.us/ for possible publication in an upcoming book of essays. The task assigned was Micah 6:8—how it is misused in the gun debate.]
In the American gun debate, liberal-progressive-theologians twist God’s Word in an attempt to bolster their opinions. One such example is their use of Micah 6:8, which says, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” They twist this pericope to argue that one cannot “love kindness” and “walk humbly” if willing to own a gun for self-defense and not just for “hunting and collecting.” The United Methodist Church (UMC), for example, in their 2016 resolution, “Our Call to End Gun Violence”, uses Micah as their primary ‘proof text’. In a 2018 article posted on the website, “Women of the ELCA” , Micah 6:8 is ‘explained’. The basic summary is that to “love kindness” and “walk humbly” means you support whatever cause or social justice issue that is in current news cycle that you fancy. Here is one quote that hits the target of this article, “We were all united for a common theme: peace. Many of the marchers held signs with photos of their loved ones who had been killed by gun violence. Others marched with their children as they cried out for a better future: one without guns.”Furthermore, one of the signs from the march posted with the article reads, “Protect kids not guns.” Talk about a faulty dilemma!
So, with the understanding that most liberal-progressive-theologians and church bodies, like the UMC and ELCA, do not care about logical fallacies or taking verses of Scripture in context, this article will do just that; show the context of Micah 6:8 while avoiding logical fallacies. And, as an important aside, unlike the ELCA and UMC, this author believes that the entire Bible is the inspired, inerrant and infallible written Word of God–God Himself being the unified author–and not just a junkyard of words to pull sentences from that sort of sound like they could be twisted to fit an ever-moving-target-agenda.
To that end, I begin with part of the quote above, “Others marched with their children as they cried out for a better future: one without guns.” Those who believe the entire Bible understand that we live in a fallen world until Christ returns on the Last Day to judge the living and the dead. Evil people do evil things, and, yes, sometimes with guns. But “guns don’t kill people, people do.” After the fall, Cain killed Abel, and no gun was used. In a fallen world, good men should stop evil men, and sometimes this requires the use of force—hand to hand combat, a sword fight or a shootout. And, in order to stop evil men, logic informs us that you better not take knife to a gun fight. This is just the sad reality of a fallen world. Sometimes you “protect kids” from evil gun violence with the use of a gun. Since evil people do not care about gun laws, you might not be able to protect kids from gun violence if the good guys are unarmed. Holding up a sign that says, “Protect kids not guns”, is not going to stop an evil school shooter.
Yet, do Christians long for a “better future without guns”? Do we long for peace and a world without the effects of sin and the devil? Absolutely! But we know that will not happen until after Christ’s return on judgment day. Until then, good men must defend against evil men, which does not contradict loving kindnessand walking humbly.
Micah 6:8 certainly is a reminder of how God wants us to live in this fallen world. It really is an application of the Ten Commandments, “Love God and love your neighbor.” In fact, you could summarize this verse as, “We are to love our neighbor.” Even the ELCA woman gets this point in her article title, “How Do We Love Our Neighbor?” The rub is in how one defines “love kindness” or “walk humbly”. Do you take these words as defined and used in the Bible or do you use the definitions you attach to them? Part of loving our neighbor, as defined in the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, includes helping him protect and defend his body, family, and possessions. If your neighbor and his family were being held at gunpoint by an evil man, you would show him love by defending them, even if that, sadly–it is a fallen world–resulted in the evil man’s death.
For the progressive-liberal-theologians, they do not believe that you can love your neighbor by walking humbly and loving kindness if you are in favor of the having a gun for self-defense. They also seem to ignore the reality of evil men doing evil deeds, as if getting rid of guns would make the world a utopia. They also seem to ignore that God, Who is love, stops, defends and punishes evil men temporally and eternally, apart from repentance. Even in the context of Micah 6:8, God speaks of the punishment of evil men: “9 The voice of the LORD cries to the city– and it is sound wisdom to fear your name: “Hear of the rod and of him who appointed it! 10 Can I forget any longer the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is accursed? 11 Shall I acquit the man with wicked scales and with a bag of deceitful weights? 12 Your rich men are full of violence; your inhabitants speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth. 13 Therefore I strike you with a grievous blow, making you desolate because of your sins.”
God stops and punishes violent and evil men. He does this in many ways temporally, sometimes with government and good men using guns, and He stops all evil men eventually and eternally in hell. But God’s desire is that all wicked men turn from their evil ways and live. His desire is that all repent of their sins and believe the Good News of Jesus, which is what, or Who, the Bible is all about.
As stated, Micah 6:8 is a paraphrase of God’s Law to love our neighbor. But, who among us can say that we have walked humbly and loved kindness perfectly or anywhere close? By God’s Law, we are all shown to be evil and sinful by our fallen nature. And no amount of our sacrifices and trying harder can save us from the punishment we deserve for not obeying God’s Law. Micah 6:6 “With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
Only the death and blood of God’s Son, Jesus, shed on the cross could cover and pay for our sins and satisfy the Father’s wrath we deserve. Only Jesus, Who is fully God and fully man, obeyed the Law perfectly—He loved His neighbor, walked humbly and loved kindness; and He did this for the whole world. Jesus lived, died and rose so that the evil world is declared righteous.
As baptized and forgiven Christians, who are saved apart from keeping the Law, we are set free to love God’s Law. We do desire and strive to love our neighbor. Faith does produce the good works of loving kindness and walking humbly, though always tainted with sin this side of heaven. And, in a fallen world, our love of our neighbor might include using a gun to protect him or his children from evil violence. One could argue that in our fallen world a way to “protect kids” is to “protect guns” not get rid of them. Our prayer is that evil men repent, cease their evil deeds and produce the good fruits of faith of loving kindness and walking humbly. We long for Christ’s return and a true end to evil and violence by gun, sword or fist. Thy kingdom come! Amen.
Pastor Stark 5/12/22
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Christian Education, Human Care & Evangelism
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Sunday Bible Class: The Gospel according to St. Matthew started 9/27/20.
Ladies Group finished Ruth last month and will look at other women of the Bible in the fall. Look for updates in the bulletin and via email. (Normally breaks Memorial Day through Labor Day)
Men’s Study Wednesday at 6:30 a.m. The Book of Concord 1580. (Breaks Memorial Day through Labor Day)
Midweek Bible Study: Mondays, 1:00 p.m. I Peter and following epistles. Will resume with 1 John 4 in the fall. (Breaks Memorial Day through Labor Day)
Sunday School (Breaks Sunday prior to Memorial Day through Labor Day)
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Children’s Bulletins Available: Lessons for Lambs is not meant to serve as a way to keep kids busy and quiet during the service, but rather to involve them in what’s going on in the service so they can begin thinking about it. The bulletins are geared toward kids in 2nd through 6th grades with varying degrees of independence. They could certainly be used with younger kids, in part, with help from their parents.
Got questions? What About Series: https://steadfastlutherans.org/whatabout/
Home Devotions Resources: Reminder that there are resources on the table in the Narthex. The “Lesson for Lambs” and “Lambs at Pasture” are great resources to use in the home during the week. There is even an answer guide. Also, additional resources are on our website. Home Devotional Resources: https://www.mlchouston.org/about-us/memorial-moments & http://www.steadfastlutherans.org/2017/02/lambs-at-pasture-daily-devotions-for-the-family/
Evangelism: Sharing our website with others is a great way to let others to learn about us. Church Business Cards still available for you to take. Let’s get our name out there and invite others to hear the sweet Gospel! Evangelism Tracts using the Small Catechism AVAILABLE! Also, tracts on the Explanation of the Church Service available now too!
Frisco Family Services is now known as Frisco Family Services Market. This rebranding reflects a heartfelt consideration for the health, safety, and respect for our neighbors during an unexpected crisis. Now, Frisco Family Services Market better portrays the experience families and individuals are used to when shopping in a grocery store.
In addition to in person client-choice shopping, they have added Market Express, an online shopping alternative for those who are ill, do not feel comfortable with in person shopping, or have limited time to shop due to their work schedule. Similar to retail curbside pickup, their clients access an online shopping list, make their selections and schedule a convenient pickup time. Clients arrive at their scheduled time and volunteers load their chosen items into their vehicle.
For seniors and those who are unable to drive or do not have transportation, their Mobile Market provides home delivery. Having these options will ensure the health, safety, and confidentiality of those needing to use Frisco Family Services Market while navigating their crisis.
Additionally, they have added a Fresh produce section for the shoppers, funded by a recent Leadership Frisco class.
As a church, St. John continues its support of Frisco Family Services Market with stable food item donations to their food pantry. A collection basket has been placed at church for your donations. Please consider donating any regular sized canned or boxed goods that are within the expiration date. They also need laundry and cleaning supplies. We will not be able to provide fresh produce through this collection basket. Thank you for helping!
Christian Stewardship -Time, Talent, and Treasure
Choir: Please lend your voice and come sing with us. See church calendar for rehearsal times.
Handchime Choir: On Sunday mornings the Handchime Choir will rehearsal from 8:30 till 9:15 (before Worship Services). If you are interested in ringing, please let me know. Becky Greer, 504-812-7951
Weekly Stewardship bulletin sentences from synod are in our bulletin most weeks—check them out.
Church Cleaning: Thank you to all who have served. Always looking for new volunteers. Bill or Denise Eggert if you have questions.
A flower chart for 2022 is posted on the wall by the coffee station. We have updated our Altar flower sign upprocedure. Flowers will be available for order to be displayed on the Sunday of your choice. The cost is $30 per vase. We encourage multiple families to sign up together (one for each vase) on the Sunday they would like to commemorate or give thanks in this way. As is needed, the elder board will purchase the second vase and distribute those flowers to our homebound members. Please sign up at least one week in advance, either on the sheet near the bulletin board or by sending your altar flower request to our volunteer church secretary email@example.com or text message to 214-425-9777.
Amazon Smile: Don’t forget you can support our church by designating St. John through Amazon Smile.
“Merchant Rewards Programs: In addition to Amazon Smile, St. John is now set up with Kroger.
1. Apply for a Kroger rewards card, if you don’t already have one.
2. Sign in, or create an account with Kroger at https://www.kroger.com
3. Go to the Savings & Rewards menu.
4. Select Community Rewards and enter “Saint John Lutheran Church” in the search window, and then search.
5. We should be the first entry in the search results. Our Organization Number is: YV240
6. Select “ENROLL” and hit enter. You’re set up.
Prayer: Please continue to pray for our congregation. Also, please take home your bulletin and pray during the week for those who have requested our prayers.
Interested in serving as a Church Greeter? Please speak to an elder.
Human Care Group: Want to be available to make a meal, give a ride, and such, to a fellow member in a time of need? Speak with an elder to sign-up to be on our human care group list.
Building Fund: If you would like to contribute to the fund, please write, “Building Fund” on your check. The Capital Campaign handout is in the narthex if you missed it.
Welcoming Committee: If you have an interest in welcoming and contacting first-time visitors with a call, card, or home visit to simply say, “We are glad you came. Hope you come again.”, please contact an elder.
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
New Testament Standard Giving
Whenever the topic of stewardship and giving comes up, the conversation inevitably turns to the question: “How much should I give?” Answers will vary because the motive behind such questions vary also.
Sometimes the motive behind asking this question is for self-justification. Even though as Lutherans, we know that we are not saved by our works but by grace through faith because of Jesus’ substitutionary atonement. Yet the natural religion of fallen man is to earn God’s favor by what we do.
Take for example the response of our Lord to the rich young ruler who asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus first tells him to keep the commandments. The rich young ruler responds by indicating that all this he has kept from his youth. But Jesus tells him that he lacks one thing: He must sell all that he has and give it to the poor and then follow him. This rich, young ruler went away sad because he was quite wealthy and could not part with his possessions.
Here we see that those who seek to justify themselves by their giving will hear a response that intensifies the duty that God places upon them. Indeed, they will hear a response that makes it impossible to win God’s favor by their works.
But to those who genuinely desire to know what their duty is, as Christians, in the arena of giving, we look to the Bible for our answer. We believe that the Bible is the Word of God. And we know that the Word of God has been “breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16–17).
So, we begin to answer the question, “What should I give?” with the question, “What does the Bible say about how much we should give and to whom?”
The Old Testament is explicit. The expectation is that the people of God would give a tithe, that is 10 percent, of the first fruits of their labor to support the full-time ministry of the Levites. This is what the Lord gave Moses to teach the people:
“You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. And before the Lord your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always. And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the Lord your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the Lord your God chooses, to set his name there, then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the Lord your God chooses and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household. And you shall not neglect the Levite who is within your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance with you.”
“At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do.” (Deuteronomy 14:22–29)
This principle of tithing is carried over into the New Testament, though not explicitly by calling it a tithe. St. Paul teaches the Church at Corinth this: We are to give to the church regularly (1 Cor. 16:1–2), proportionally (1 Cor. 16:1–2; 2 Cor. 8:12), and generously (2 Cor. 8:20) of our first fruits (1 Cor. 16:1–2; Gen. 4:4; Prov. 3:9; Lev. 27:30) with a spirit of eagerness (2 Cor. 9:2), earnestness (2 Cor. 8:7), cheerfulness (2 Cor. 9:7), and love (2 Cor. 8:23). And all of this is because the “Lord has ordained that those who preach the Gospel should make their living by the Gospel” (1 Cor. 9:14), just as the Levites did.
This our New Testament standard. Since Christ became poor for us in order to make us rich in Him – blessing us with the riches of heaven – so we also have been so blessed to follow the example of our Lord and Savior and give of ourselves and the work of our hands to bless others with the same.
If we have been lax in this, let us – like our Lord, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross and scorned its shame – likewise begin to work toward this goal of regular giving of a generous proportion of the first fruits of God’s giving to us. And let us do so not begrudgingly, but for the joy set before us—with a spirit of eagerness, cheerfulness, and love—to share the blessings of God with those placed into our care.
– LCMS Stewardship Ministry
What should I be doing as a steward of the gifts the Lord has given me? Our Small Catechism, from Scripture, shows us our duties in our God-given vocations. Each month, I plan to cycle through parts of the Table of Duties:
Table of Duties Monthly Review: To Workers of All Kinds
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. Eph. 6:5–8
Table of Duties Monthly Review: To Employers and Supervisors
Masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with Him. Eph. 6:9
Let each his lesson learn with care,
and all the household well shall fare.
We thank the Lord for Bill Bruncke’s service as volunteer secretary. He is now retired as of 7/1.
We also give thanks for the overturning of Roe v Wade!
For current events, please visit our website and see the church calendar. You can sync our calendar to your computer or smartphone. https://stjohnfrisco.org/st-john-church-calendar/ Church events are shown at http://www.stjohnfrisco.org/category/events/ Also, if you do Facebook, check out our page.
We thank The Roy D. and Ingaborg G. Randolph Memorial Endowment Fund for its continued support. We received a generous gift of 10K, November, 2021. Praise the Lord!
Connecting the Dots: Before the service, try reading through the Gospel lesson and see if you can link it to the other lessons, Introit, Gradual, and Collect. (Hint: Start with the Collect as it usually summarizes the theme of the day)
Newsletter Deadline is the 20th of each month. Send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org
To God be the Glory!