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On Foxnews.com tonight ... we are making progress !

DETROIT — The Rev. Lawrence Adams teaches his flock at the Westside Bible Church to turn the other cheek. Just in case, though, the 54-year-old retired police lieutenant also wears a handgun under his robe.

Adams is one of several Detroit clergymen who have taken to packing heat in the pulpit. They have committed their lives to a man who preached nonviolence and told followers to love their enemies. But they also say it's up to them to protect their parishioners in church.

"As a pastor, I'm referred to as a shepherd," Adams said. "Shepherds have the responsibility of watching over their flock. Do I want to hurt somebody? Absolutely not!"

Responding to a break-in at his church Sunday evening, Adams surprised a burglar carrying out a bag of loot and shot the man in the abdomen after the man swung the bag at him.

The burglar survived — for which Adams is grateful — but the reverend said he could have been hurt or killed if he had not been armed.

Detroit had the nation's highest homicide rate last year among cities of at least 500,000 residents. The city has been losing manufacturing jobs for decades, and these days about one in four working-age residents is without a job.

The northwest Detroit neighborhood surrounding Adams' church isn't one of the city's most dangerous. But there have been many recent reports of crimes in the area, including four burglaries, three auto thefts, one armed robbery and four assaults, including one with intent to murder.

"It's getting worse because of the economy," Adams said. "People are out of work and feel they have to provide for their families."

Prior to 2000, anyone who wanted to carry a concealed weapon in Michigan had to show a need to do so. Now, gun owners simply have to pass a stringent background check and complete eight hours of handgun training.

"I get people from all walks of life, including pastors," said Rick Ector, owner of Rick's Firearm Academy in Detroit. "But it's not anything specific to pastors. Detroit is not a very safe place."

Michigan allows pastors to decide if someone registered to carry a handgun can do so for protection inside churches.

The clergy in Detroit who arm themselves say they do so because of the high overall crime rate. But churchgoers elsewhere have been the target of violent attacks several times in recent years:

Last year in a New Jersey church, a man fatally shot his estranged wife and a man who intervened in the attack.

A pastor was found stabbed to death in August in an Oklahoma church.

A Maryville, Ill., preacher was gunned down during his Sunday sermon in March.

In December 2007, a gunman killed two people at a Christian youth mission center near Denver and two others at a megachurch in Colorado Springs.

Near Detroit, a man was shot to death in 2003 while worshipping in a Catholic church. And an attacker fatally shot a woman and wounded a child inside another Detroit church three years ago because of a domestic dispute.

"I don't know what kind of issues people are bringing with them. You could be running from estranged husband, boyfriend," said Bishop Charles Ellis III, pastor of the 6,500-member Greater Grace Temple in Detroit.

Ellis said he sometimes carries a gun, but never in the pulpit. His church has a "ministry of defense" for Sunday services made up of about 18 armed congregants who are off-duty law enforcement officers.

Clergy are adjusting to society, said the Rev. Kenneth J. Flowers, pastor of Greater New Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Detroit.

"In addition to their faith, they are carrying weapons," said Flowers, who does not carry a gun. "There used to be a time when everybody respected a pastor. Even a drunk would straighten up if a preacher came by."

Many people are uncomfortable with the idea of an armed clergy, because Christ preached against violence and taught people they should love their enemies.

"But the scriptures also are clear that civil authority is part of God's plan," said Claude Wiggins, a former pastor and current assistant at the Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary.

"In our country, it says in due process that you may bear arms to protect yourself. While we should be committed to trusting God, that doesn't prevent us or command us to be totally passive," Wiggins said.

Al Meredith, pastor of the Wedgwood church in Fort Worth, said some off-duty police officers who are deacons at his church carry guns, but he's uncomfortable with the idea of an armed congregation.

"It discourages the crazies from acts of violence if they see uniforms around, but I don't want everybody bringing guns," Meredith said. "My ultimate conviction is what does the word of God say and what would Jesus do? Can you in your wildest imagination ever see Jesus packing a .38? I can't imagine Peter and Paul carrying .45s."

The Rev. William Revely, who sometimes wears his .357-caliber handgun while preaching at the Holy Hope Heritage Church in Detroit, does not worry whether it might be wrong for a man of God to carry a firearm in church.

"I've always felt that the only way to handle a bear in a bear meeting is to have something you can handle a bear with," said the 68-year-old pastor, who practices at a gun range with another pastor. "We have to be realistic. I know too many people who've been shot, carjacked."

Adams said most — if not all — of Westside's 50 members have supported his actions after encountering the burglar.

"People want to look at Christians and the church as believers in God and ask 'Why doesn't God protect you?" Adams said. "The reality is God has given man free will. We have to use our God-given talents and protect ourselves."
 

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"I can't imagine Peter and Paul carrying .45s."

But Peter in fact carried a sword, the first century equivalent. With it, he cut off the ear of one of the soldiers who came to arrest Jesus.

It's sad that society has reached this point though.
 

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Prior to 2000, anyone who wanted to carry a concealed weapon in Michigan had to show a need to do so.
Imagine: there are still places in the country where fear of loss of life due actual threats isn't considered sufficient cause for justifying the ability to defend oneself.

One would think simply being a sentient biped would be sufficient cause, which is a dozen steps above cowardly, heinous criminals in terms of importance and worthiness. When bureaucrats can dictate who shall life and who shall die, the system needs to be eliminated.
 

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A person does what he has to do when living in a cesspool war zone. Blame the politicians and other stupid forms of life for letting it get that way.
 

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Saying Detriot has a few problems is a giant understatement, but I like the idea of a..."ministry of defense"...sounds like the people in "Day-Twa" are starting to wise up...:comeandgetsome::comeandgetsome:
 

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And this.

Luke 22:36 (New International Version)

36He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.

I, for one, will be armed in church this Sunday, again.
 

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And this.

Luke 22:36 (New International Version)

36He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.

I, for one, will be armed in church this Sunday, again.
Every Sunday for me as well.
 

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Sad to admit it. But Sunday morning is the prime time when I feel the need to carry a gun.

(Large mega church, "famous"pastor, "security" team)

I would feel bad if something happened and I wasn't carrying since I have a permit and am skilled enough and mature enough to respond to a situation maturely.

Big, high profile churches like mine are prime targets. To not realize that in this day and age is to be asleep at the switch IMO.:comeandgetsome:
 

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Luke 22:49

When Jesus' followers saw what was going to happen, they said, "Lord, should we strike with our swords?

A plurality of Jesus' followers were carrying. Peter was the only one that struck but others were carrying and were waiting for a word.
 

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But Peter in fact carried a sword, the first century equivalent. With it, he cut off the ear of one of the soldiers who came to arrest Jesus.
Side note: Cutting off the ear is achieved when the target dodges sideways to avoid the swordstroke aimed at cutting off his HEAD. Peter wasn't screwing around, he meant business.

I like how, once again, Jesus is portrayed in the media as one who taught non-violence at all times and at any cost. As if the Bible fundamentally prohibits a Christian from defending himself with force. (It does not.)

And of course, the story closes out with the "Why doesn't God protect you?" question. At least the pastor had the right idea with his response. Any god who matches the Christian, Jewish, or even Muslim description isn't going to have human values and priorities, nor will its behavior be answerable to human reasoning.
 

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Good for them, give um hell! :blink: Ahh, :gah:
 

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It's great that a leader of a church is willing to step up and protect the ones he watches over. It's sad that people would rob a church and then try to swing at a priest but that's the world we live in. Kudos to this priest and other priest/pastors for stepping up.
 

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I like how, once again, Jesus is portrayed in the media as one who taught non-violence at all times and at any cost. As if the Bible fundamentally prohibits a Christian from defending himself with force. (It does not.)
You get the same thing with Buddhism - it's not just limited to Christianity.

I think that "non-violence" has been mis-used, however. Jesus and Buddha did not teach PACIFISM, but I think they DID teach "non-violence" - that is, they did not teach that you should not use violence for any reason whatsoever, rather, they taught that violence was to be avoided as much as possible. There is a HUGE difference between those positions.
 

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Side note: Cutting off the ear is achieved when the target dodges sideways to avoid the swordstroke aimed at cutting off his HEAD. Peter wasn't screwing around, he meant business.

I like how, once again, Jesus is portrayed in the media as one who taught non-violence at all times and at any cost. As if the Bible fundamentally prohibits a Christian from defending himself with force. (It does not.)

And of course, the story closes out with the "Why doesn't God protect you?" question. At least the pastor had the right idea with his response. Any god who matches the Christian, Jewish, or even Muslim description isn't going to have human values and priorities, nor will its behavior be answerable to human reasoning.
I liked that info about the ear wound being the result of missing on the mortal strike. That's really interesting.

I agree that we have the right, spiritually, to defend ourselves, but what do you make of Jesus's statement in this same situation quoted in Matthew 26:52:
Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
 

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I liked that info about the ear wound being the result of missing on the mortal strike. That's really interesting.

I agree that we have the right, spiritually, to defend ourselves, but what do you make of Jesus's statement in this same situation quoted in Matthew 26:52:
Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
I think all He was saying was that it was His mission to give his life so no sense fighting. He didn't come to start a revolution against Rome or to form an army, His concern was spiritual in nature and his Kingdom spiritual in nature. And yeah, those who would have taken the sword against Rome certainly would have died by the sword, as do those (generally speaking) who go pro with fighting. And, the sword has it's place, of course - rightful use by someone not looking to use it but who can to protect life.
 

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I agree with Lance's take. It speaks to me of the intent of the person with the sword. I don't consider carrying for defense "living by the gun." Being a crook and using it to take advantage of others though, I would consider "living by the gun."

And to the Mega church thing. We are getting close to that size. My church did a second mile giving push 2 weeks ago. When I heard how much was given my immediate thoughts were this.

1. Wow, that's a lot of money.
2. I am glad I now carry to church.
3. It's not if, but when, someone decides that it's too much money to not try and get it.
 

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I agree that we have the right, spiritually, to defend ourselves, but what do you make of Jesus's statement in this same situation quoted in Matthew 26:52:
Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
Jesus was reminding Peter of Jewish laws against aggressive bloodshed. Bear in mind that the men who showed up in the garden of Gethsemane that night were not a random mob bent on attacking Jesus, they were high ranking Roman and Jewish officials who were there to place Him under arrest. Regardless of their intentions, they were following prescribed protocols and a lethal defense was not justified.

Also remember that Jesus was there for the purpose of being arrested, tried, and crucified. Starting a brawl at that point would have been counterproductive and resulted in useless bloodshed.

And yes, "living" by the sword refers to one who makes his living through violence (this does NOT refer to legitimate soldiers, by the way).

The laws he referred to can be found in:

Genesis 9:6
"Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed..."
This refers to murderers, not those whose defense ends up being lethal.

Exodus 21:12
"Anyone who strikes a man and kills him shall surely be put to death."
Continued reading adds context to this. This is one of the laws God gave Moses to put before the Jews regarding intentional killing (murder). The next verse addresses accidental killing.

The distinction is made between intentionally killing someone and an attacker ending up dead because you defended yourself. This lines up nicely with what all of us consider responsible behavior: keep your words and conduct polite; avoid trouble; if confronted make a sincere attempt to defuse the situation, leave if possible, give all parties involved every reasonable chance to walk away peacefully.

There are times when things happen so fast that you've been robbed of the opportunity to defuse or avoid or escape. Any omniscient god will be aware of this contingency; any merciful god will look closer at what was in your heart than at what you did with your hands.
 
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