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Have you ever felt unsafe in your church? Have you been present when a stranger loudly disrupted the service? Have you thought about what you would do if a threat develops in your church? 

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #74 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

I was taken to church by my Christian parents from before I was born and certainly every opportunity thereafter. During my adult life, I’ve attended thousands of services of one kind or another in a variety of churches across the country.

Only once in all those years have I directly witnessed a person disrupt a service by yelling, screaming actually, and making threatening gestures toward attendees and the pastor. Thankfully, this person was not armed, nor did he hurt anyone before a few men were able to usher him out of the auditorium. And I do mean “usher,” because in this case the disturbed man cooperated, those surrounding him did not manhandle him, and no violence occurred.

I tell this story to tweak your memories about when you may have experienced something similar or something far more dangerous. Overall, churches, synagogues, mosques and other “faith-based” organizations enjoy a record of safety and tranquility. So don’t be afraid to go to church.

However, as anyone knows who’s paid attention at all, safety threats in houses of worship, just like with malls and schools, have increased in the past thirty years.

Some have called these incidents “hate crimes,” and no doubt some were. But, “jarringly, most victims of church shootings likely know their attacker. Nearly half of the offenders (48%) were affiliated with the church…and nearly a quarter (23%) involved ‘intimate partners,’ such as wives, girlfriends and husbands.”

“In (Carl Chinn’s book, Evil Invades Sanctuary, The Case for Security in Faith-based Organizationsin his) dataset, robberies account for more than a quarter of homicides within houses of worship, followed by fights between domestic partners (16%) and personal conflicts between people who do not live together (14%).”

“Chinn found that more than 10% of all homicides at houses of worship involve mental illness. Religious bias accounted for about 6%.”

But as the saying goes, during an incident, it does not matter why a shooter is shooting, only that he is placing church goers in danger and must be stopped.

Mass shootings are variously defined as an incident in which 3 or 4 or more are killed not counting the perpetrator. Many people date the surge in mass shootings and other threats to the deadly Columbine High School massacre April 20, 1999, in which 12 students and one teacher were murdered, 21 injured, and later the two killers took their on lines in the high school library.

Since 1999, the USA has become almost jaded at the near weekly reports of shooters showing up in what are called “soft targets,” e.g., schools, malls, university campuses, hospitals, houses of worship, arenas, concerts, nightclubs, transportation sites, parades.  

Sadly, nearly all these soft targets are also places that have been declared “gun free zones” wherein people with lawful Conceal Carry Licenses are not permitted to enter with their concealed weapon. Of course, as the number of shooter incidents demonstrate, “gun free” does not mean bad actors don’t enter with guns, and does not mean safety guaranteed, only that people feel safe, not actually are safe.

In the US, according to Carl Chinn’s research, from 1999 to 2019, there were 2,183 incidents in which deadly force was used in faith-based organizations. Guns were used in 56.6% of these incidents. The deadliest church shooting occurred in 2017 at “First Baptist Sutherland Springs in Texas, with 26 deaths including an unborn child…

In addition to these incidents at Christian churches, fatal shootings have happened at other religious sites, including at a Jewish synagogue, a Benedictine monastery, a Sikh temple, and an Amish school.”

Jan 17, 2022, “Top officials with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security warned…Faith based communities have and will likely continue to be targets of violence by both domestic violent extremists and those inspired by foreign terrorists.” 

There is a difference between safety and security. “Safety is about protecting people from accidents or injuries, while security protects people from crime or harm.  It includes the measures taken to protect people from accidents, injuries, and exposure to hazardous conditions. 

“Security can be defined as the state of being protected from crime, violence, or other harm. It includes the measures taken to protect people from theft, vandalism, terrorism, and other threats.”

Remember, not all threats to church safety and security involve shooters or guns, in fact the majority of incidents do not. Concern for the safety and security of parishioners also includes being prepared to respond to accidents, childcare protection, robbery, sexual crimes, vandalism, bomb threats, fire, health or medical emergencies, adverse weather, and more.

So the primary recommendation of experts in church safety and security, men like Carl Chinn or Skip Coryell, whose Concealed Carry for Christians is very interesting, is that your church should be intentional. In other words, acknowledge the possibility of threats to your congregation’s safety and security, think proactively about them, and do something to be better prepared should something ever occur.

Why? Why should a church prepare for the safety and security of its attendees? Well, do you teach your children how to safely cross a street? 

When our boys were in middle school, I began to talk to them about awareness in public spaces, especially a men’s room at a mall or arena. I didn’t say be scared or don’t go there. I said, get your head up, know who else is around and what’s happening, determine before you enter whether it appears safe, and certainly look sharply as you enter. This is common sense. It is also a morally defensible thing to do. It’s good stewardship of ones God has entrusted to you.

Same at the church. Shouldn’t a church take reasonable steps to be as prepared as it can be to deal with emergencies, including God forbid, an active shooter?

We know from Scripture that “victory rests with the Lord,” but we also know that “the horse is made ready for the day of battle” (Prov. 21:31).

The average person who thinks about such things for the first time often jumps immediately to ideas like “God will take care of us,” “Guns have no place in church,” or “Christians should never kill.”

In response, we can say, Yes, God will indeed take care of us, but nowhere in Scripture did God say do not take care of yourself, do no defend yourself, do not defend or care for others.

Perhaps it would be nice if guns never went to church, but a shooter intending to kill doesn’t think about such things. If you show up with no gun, well, maybe you’ve taken a knife to a gunfight and you will lose, every time. This is irrational, unreasonable, possibly unintentionally suicidal, and in terms of not protecting others, immoral.

Finally, according to the Ten Commandments, Christians should never murder, but there are numerous instances in Scripture where believers killed because evil forced them to do so. Think if the young shepherd boy David vs Goliath.

And the point of safety and security, including as considered appropriate, Christians carrying a gun, is not to kill the perpetrator but to stop the threat. Stopping the threat might mean the bad actor must be killed, but that’s a last resort and not the desire or plan of well-trained safety and security team members.

“Remember,” Chinn says, “most of personal protection has nothing to do with a firearm. The first step is waking up and smelling the evil.”

For churches looking for simple steps to make themselves more secure, Chinn offers these nine guidelines.

  1. Confirm support from your church’s leadership team.
  2. Do a baseline readiness evaluation.
  3. Start with what you have, where you are.
  4. Keep it simple.
  5. Keep it legal.
  6. Know your insurance agent and policies.
  7. Network with your community.
  8. Train and drill.
  9. Develop policies and procedures.”

Churches need not become armed camps. Nor do we want churches to adopt security postures like museums or airports, forcing everyone who enters to walk through a metal detector. The church is and wants to be open to all.

But we’ve learned a few things from the awful spate of shootings in faith-based organizations. With intentional planning and budgetary commitment, we can harden the target, we can add security cameras, appoint a safety and security committee comprised of knowledgeable and trained volunteers, develop “What if” plans known to the pastoral staff and others that allow for calm crowd engagement in the face of adverse circumstances, and make known to the public what’s considered basic to their safety and security so they can help in the process.  

We now do this regarding childcare in virtually every church. Why shouldn’t we take similar loving steps for our fellowship?

So, I encourage you to find out if your church has a safety and security plan and procedures, and if not, help the leadership understand this is part of their stewardship.


Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s 

And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2023   

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at, or connect with me at  

With all the recent concern about guns in the wake of another gut-wrenching mass shooting, have you ever wondered whether there is a Christian position regarding guns, gun laws, or gun control?  

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #29 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

Guns are part of the American experience. Indeed, we’ve been described as a gun culture.

"Americans made up 4 percent of the world's population (in 2018) but owned about 46 percent of the entire global stock of 857 million civilian firearms. U.S civilians own 393 million guns. American civilians own more guns "than those held by civilians in the other top 25 countries combined."

In my experience, I find people relate to these facts in widely divergent manners.

A lot, it seems to me, depends upon whether a person has grown up in a family that owned or used guns for sport or hunting, whether the person then has actually been around guns, and whether they understand much about them. People whose background has not included guns, again in my experience, often can’t comprehend why anyone would want a gun, much less use it. So it may be easier for them to embrace a no-gun or gun control perspective.

Now I know this is a generalization, but I’m suggesting this hypothesis holds water. I’m notsuggesting, though, that people who adopt a no-gun or some manner of gun control perspective are prima facie “wrong.” The judgment of right and wrong is something I’ll come back to later.

In the wake of mass shootings, especially ones involving children, the public understandably wants to do something, do anything that will stop this nightmare and make it such that a mass shooting will never happen again. As I said, understandable. No one wants shootings and the injury or death of innocents. But how to “fix” the problem is more complex than any easy or obvious solution available, including perhaps reducing access to guns.

I’ve read commentary and discussed guns and gun control with Christians who support gun laws restricting access. Many argue their recommendations are “the Christian thing to do.” In other words, they say their position is the Christian position.

They say, for example, if Christians believe in life, are pro-life if you will, then how can they not embrace policies restricting access to guns?

If Christians are non-violent, and believe God abhors violence, shouldn’t they embrace policies that restrict if not eliminate access to guns?

If Christians are peaceful, even pacifist, aren’t they compelled to promote policies restricting access to guns?

If Christians want to maintain a credible public testimony in a time when conservative Christianity is increasingly blamed for adherents’ commitment to blind patriotism, isn’t gun control one way we can demonstrate we’re relevant?

If Christians are about loving our neighbor, even our enemies, how can they make statements like “I have a God-given right to own guns”?

Then I have read, and I’ve enjoyed more than a few discussions with Christians who do not support more gun control.

They say, for example, Yes, Christians are pro-life, and in dangerous situations it is often a gun that saves lives.

Think about the two-year call to “Defund the Police.” OK, that’s a point of view. But it’s ironic, is it not, that when a situation arises where children are under direct threat from a ruthless gunman, what do people want to happen? They want police, officers with guns, to go in and stop the deranged killer. I’m not sure how you defund the police and demean the police, then in threat circumstances want police with guns to do more.

So, that said, some Christians argue that properly used guns are a means to peace and non-violence.

As to arguing it’s a “God-given right to own guns,” I’m not sure what Bible these folks are reading. 

In fact, the Word of God says nothing about guns, gun laws, or gun control. It talks about weapons, war, murder, self-defense, but not guns.

This alone should not lead us to think God’s Word offers no guidance for our questions.

  • Scripture reminds us in 2 Peter 1:3, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life.”
  • In Philippians 1:9-10, the foundation for this podcast, the Apostle Paul said, “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” 
  • And finally, in Romans 14, again the Apostle Paul reminds us God has given to us Christian liberty, that we “should be fully convinced in their own mind” what is right and righteous before God.

There are “Dos and Don’ts” in Scripture that we ignore at our own peril, but not that many do this or don’t do that. The rest God leaves to our discernment and our decision making.

The Bible never outlaws guns, nor does it condemn a person for carrying a weapon. In fact, in several passages, the Bible supports self-defense (Neh. 4:15-23; Ezek. 33:1-9; Lk 22:35-38).

So, debates about guns and gun control are more philosophic and political than moral.

But as I said, because God did not speak directly to guns or gun control does not mean we cannot discern and develop our moral perspective on the issue.

Think about this:  the Word of God never condemned human slavery, does not speak to hard drugs or narcotics, offers no 11th Commandment proscribing gambling, but do any of us believe these are worthy activities? No. We have developed our perspective based upon other principles found in Scripture.

We can do the same with guns and gun control. We can honor others’ Christian liberty, recognizing each person can embrace, even passionately, their own convictions about guns and gun control, as long as we don’t violate the other person’s liberty by arguing our view is the only moral view.

What did God say?

  1. God made it clear in Scripture that human beings are made in his image, eternally valuable.
  2. He said murder is always wrong.
  3. God said we are to be good stewards, accountable to him for our behavior, including regarding life, work, safety.
  4. He said the problems in this world are not our toys and our tools but our sinful hearts.
  5. God is not violent and hateful, why do we patronize or purchase increasingly violent movies and video games?

You see, this only scratches the surface of scriptural principles that can be brought to bear on whether and why we buy guns, how we use them, and how as a society we might curtail access to certain kinds of guns.

My point in all this is not to take a position For or Against some form of gun control, much less guns, though I’ve hinted they’re not the only source of our social struggle.

My point is to say that we should develop our perspectives based upon good information and make our arguments on the merits of our ideas, not simply on emotion.

And my point is to say God has given us wide latitude – Christian liberty – to discern what is best when we develop our guns and gun control views…and he expects us to respect those whose views differ from our own.

Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s 

And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022   

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at, or connect with me at  

I support the 2nd Amendment. I even support Concealed Carry laws.

If someone at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Jun 12, 2016, had had a CCW the outcome of that tragedy may have been different.  Same might be said about the San Bernardino office shootings, December 2, 2015.  But, of course, the idea someone on site might have made a difference with a legal weapon cannot be proven.

As to the lone gunman Stephan Paddock who slaughtered 58 and injured 500 more in Las Vegas, October 1, 2017, who can say what, if anything, could have stopped him.  A Mandalay Bay Resort security guard tried and took a bullet in his leg for doing so, but it’s all but impossible to thwart a loner who plans, prepares, and acts so methodically and surreptitiously.  

I've hunted and I own guns. I’m not an anti-gun person.  But I’m not opposed to reasonable discussion of how to limit access to lethal weaponry by certain at-risk categories of people. 

For the record, I believe people's hearts are a bigger issue than their weapons. But that said, I don't think an either/or hardline stance regarding sensible gun control vs 2nd Amendment rights is necessary or productive.  The binary that’s currently beleaguering discussion is a product of our ideologically polarized, all-or-nothing political culture, and it doesn’t make for good debate, much less good policy.

Take for example so-called assault rifles with high-capacity magazines. It seems to me that we could make it far more difficult for people—most mass murder perpetrators have some kind of criminal record—on watch lists or struggling with mental disorders to acquire these weapons, and that we could do this without fear of undermining law-abiding citizens' right to own a gun. Why is the Left so bent upon eliminating guns and the Right so bent on opposing all common sense proposals?

People loved liberal Democrat FDR because he tried, he acted. Not everything worked, but he acted. People loved conservative Republican Ronald Regan because he was faithful to his principles, but also because he was eminently practical. He thought half a loaf was better than no loaf at all. He tried, he acted. Current political leaders seem conflicted, paralyzed by analysis, and most of all, afraid to offend some portion of the population who disagree with them, so they do not act.

It seems to me we need enforcement of laws on the books, and maybe a few new laws that reduce the possibility of watch list people or mentally disturbed people, or abusers acquiring certain types of guns, if any guns at all. This seems no more unreasonable to me than saying we should keep ARs out of the hands of children. Meanwhile, though, politicians on both Left and Right just talk, demonizing the opposition, and sadly, such talk will not curtail or stop evil.


Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2017    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution 

statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at, or connect with me at