Words failed me. But my brakes did not. I turned my vehicle around to get a photo of this sign in North Carolina. Now, I am a Christian and I am also not opposed to people having the right to own certain weapons for reasons such as hunting or personal protection. But this sign unsettled me. I don’t want this post to be hijacked into a debate about guns. That is actually secondary, and the question is more about the combination on this sign of guns for sale and “Jesus the only way.”
On a surface level, the connection this creates could just be rather…amusing. Guns and Jesus. Jesus holding a gun. I can envision some of my European friends rolling their eyes to see Jesus and guns on the same sign. “Only in America.” I can picture Jesus holding a AK-47 and leading his disciples to take up arms and fight Rome. Some Jews at that time (the Zealots) did take this approach, but not Jesus or other types of Jews. Of course, I’m sure the store is not advocating Christians taking up arms against the government! But…
A negative connotation is still very possible. While I think genuine Christians can believe in the right to own a gun or even run a gun shop, connecting Jesus and guns on a public sign is not very wise or discerning in my opinion. The issue of guns and gun control is both controversial and political, and I think this signage has the potential to turn people off. Big time. While I’m sure the store owner has good intentions, they should seriously consider other ways to share their faith.
On a similar note, did you know the NRA (US based National Rifle Association) has prayer breakfasts?! I’m serious. They do.
Many non-believers are turned off of evangelical Christianity because of the bizarre mixture of faith and politics. We have wed things that were not meant to be wed. Yes, of course, Christians should be informed voters and influence the culture! We should pray for our nation’s leadership (1 Timothy 2, Romans 13). However…
Some of the most politically obsessed people I know are evangelical Christians whose behavior makes it appear like the Kingdom of God is going to arrive on Air Force One. They have lost focus.
In case you don’t realize it my evangelical Christian friends, those on the outside of our little Christian enclaves often view us as power hungry, obsessed with politics, and with issues like guns, abortion, and gay marriage (to the exclusion of other important issues).
Too often we are guilty as charged. A sign like this only perpetuates the stigma. Strange they don’t think of us as obsessed with Jesus.
I purposely only shared brief thoughts, and I’m hoping for some respectful responses to this post. While your views about guns may influence your thoughts, please let’s not turn this into a gun control debate! People on both sides of the gun issue could agree that the sign is problematic. Whether you are Christian or non-Christian, what was your gut reaction to the photo? See no problem with it? Upset by it? And let’s try to take it a little deeper and use some critical thinking skills or spiritual/biblical discernment to reach conclusions.