Church Shooting? Alabama Church Adds Gun Range Ministry
Russ Chastain 08.16.15
Jemison, AL – What better way to win souls than with a gun in one hand and a Bible in the other?
Well, maybe that’s a little dramatic. But it doesn’t seem to be far from the truth for the Rocky Mount United Methodist Church, which reportedly cleaned up an overgrown gully on church grounds, built a shooting range there, and opened it up to church members–and local police.
What began as safety classes to provide church ladies with the knowledge and confidence to arm themselves has turned into a “ministry,” though I was unable to find out exactly what that means.
‘This is an opportunity for us to reach out in the name of Jesus Christ in a setting that is completely unique. Even odd by some people’s standards. But who’s to say that church can’t happen right here,’ Guin said, pointing at the red clay dirt of the range.
Pastor Phillip Guin also said, “Really, the whole purpose of this range is to provide recreational and gun safety in a warm, loving, Christian environment. We wanted to come up with some different ideas to help our church grow, and we thought this would be a unique ministry to offer to the community.”
I’d say he’s right. It seems plenty unique.
But how does one reconcile the example of Jesus Christ, who never took up arms against anyone, with what many consider the most basic and vital human right: That of self-defense?
For that, I defer to another source.
In the New Testament, Jesus sanctioned the use of weapons for self-defense. While giving his farewell discourse to the disciples before going to the cross, he instructed the apostles to purchase side arms to carry for self-protection. He was preparing them for the extreme opposition and persecution they would face in future missions.
The above quote is from What Does the Bible Say About the Right to Bear Arms?, which is well worth a read if you’re interested in the subject.
Back to Alabama: Because some church members also hunt, the gun range project was named “Rocky Mount Hunt and Gun Club.” Heck, even the local police use the range. Deputy Chief Marc McMinn of the Jemison Police Department has reportedly said he and other officers use the church range regularly and offer training courses to the public.
It certainly creates a much better connotation to the phrase, “church shooting.”