Fri | May 26, 2017

Arm yourselves! Pastor believes persons should protect themselves even in the church

Published:Friday | July 3, 2015 | 7:03 PM
Bishop Dr R.J. Edwards
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Luke 22 vs 36:

"Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one."

A FEW weeks ago, nine persons were shot and killed inside a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

According to a Reuters report, The Greater Bible Way Temple, Michigan, United States Bishop Ira Combs assured his flock of 300 that the shooting that took place in Charleston could not happen at his church and that even as he preached, there were two armed men at each side of him with other security personnel scattered throughout the church.

Jamaican churches are just as vulnerable to such an attack. Time and time again, feuding members have run into the church seeking solace from their pursuers only to be gunned down inside there.

Once the Church was looked upon as a sacred sanctuary, where the thought of committing murder there would have been unheard of.

It now begs the question: Should believers arm themselves? They who once lived by the mantra that all things fall into the will of the Lord and that He has stopped the mouths of the lion so it's a simple matter to prevent a bullet from going off.

Bishop Dr R.J. Edwards, chairman of Spanish Town Revival and Bishop of the Lighthouse Assembly Ministry in Jamaica, said all churches should ensure that they take precautionary measures as times are changing rapidly.

"There are different ways you could secure your congregants as much as you secure your leaders. The church is an open space for anybody; anyone can walk in the church at any time," he told Family and Religion.

 

ensure congregants' safety

 

The bishop pointed out that criminals do go to church too, so proper security measures should be taken to ensure that the congregants and leaders are secured.

"The Church is not like a company that interviews individuals as they walk through the door; anyone can walk through the door when there is a service," he said.

Meanwhile, the Rev Peter Garth of Hope Gospel Assembly said he does not believe in carrying a gun personally, but from a biblical standpoint, he can't say it is wrong for persons to do so.

"Arm yourself if you are working and living in dangerous areas or if you feel your life and property are at risk," said Garth.

Garth stressed, though, that individuals should not be able to just go into a store and purchase a firearm because there are many irresponsible persons living in the country.

"I am also careful about writing references for persons to receive a firearm licence, and I think that only persons who have demonstrated a high level of integrity and consistent calm behaviour should be considered," he said.

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com