A rightwing Christian pastor and radio show host said that the Bible requires Christians to own semi-automatic rifles, and that Christians who don’t have one have “denied the Christian faith” and are “worse than a heathen.”
Pastor Chuck Baldwin, who hosts the radio show Chuck Baldwin Live and writes a syndicated column, appeared on Sheila Zilinsky’s podcast to discuss guns.
Baldwin read from the First Epistle to Timothy to support his point. He quoted 1 Timothy 5:8, which is a sentence in the middle of a longer section about how Christians are supposed to treat widows and elders:
Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Matthew Henry, in his classic Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, says the passage means: “If any men or women do not maintain their poor [relatives], they in effect deny the faith.”
But Baldwin said that this passage means something other than what it very obviously means. Instead of being about providing food and other necessities for poor relatives, it shows “a duty to provide for your family, but you cannot provide protection for your family without being equipped to do so.”
“Therefore, you must have the means of self-defense,” he said.
Could a Christian get away with just taking a self-defense class? Or maybe just buying a handgun?
No, says the pastor; you need a weapon that can kill as many people as possible, as fast as possible… something that’s a favorite of mass shooters.
“And in our society today, that means a firearm in the similitude of an AR-15,” Baldwin continued. “Without that, you are not in a position, you are not even able to protect not just your family and your house, but your neighbors, your community around you.”
Baldwin didn’t describe what hellish place he lives in where an semi-automatic rifle is necessary for self-defense, where hordes of people are attacking him so often that he needs an AR-15 to legitimately defend himself.
“That is a biblical requirement,” he said.
All those passages about nonviolence, though, are apparently optional.