Mickey Henry is a non de plume of a personal friend of mine who was recently rebuffed by his Church “leadership” for daring to open carry in Church in a state where to do so is legal. This is a letter he wrote to his leadership after being told he may not open carry in his “conservative” Church. Try to keep in mind that there was a time in the history of our country when it was not uncommon for men to carry their weapons to Church. I think that Mickey’s letter is convincing.
Dear Elder Donnie
Since concealed carry is encouraged, we share a lot of common ground concerning self-defense and the errors of pacifism. Suffice to say, armed defense of innocents is simply the application of the positive requirements of the Sixth Commandment. The crux of disagreement, then, is open vs. concealed. Here, in brief, are my arguments for open carry:
1. I am of the strong opinion that open carry acts as a deterrent to violence. Open carry is essentially a clear statement that acts of aggression will be met with strong resistance.
2. To Christ is given all authority; all earthly authority is thus derivative. Because we Christians confess Christ as Lord, submitting to His Law-Word, Christians have a unique responsibility to rule under Christ as His earthly vicegerents. We are, in fact, commanded to do so by the Dominion Mandate. Weapons and related imagery, such as swords, spears, maces, the fasces, halberds, etc., are the customary tokens by which power and authority are symbolized and commonly recognized (the instruments of the death penalty are identified with the authority to execute the death penalty). I open carry as a visible symbol of my submission to Christ’s Law-Word, and my willingness to use the authority He has given me to defend my family and other innocent life.
3. Just as the Gospel is made clear in the symbols and liturgy of the Church, there is a certain visible representation of the Law-Grace dynamic in the open carry of weapons by confessing Christians: grace and mercy to the innocent, justice for those who would transgress His Law.
4. The degenerate culture around us tolerates Christians only if we are weak and impotent. But we are to be standard bearers, a city on a hill, no matter the spirit of the age. I am glad that a number of the men at Redeemer do carry weapons, but open carry makes manifest that ours is a vital faith, and we will not cower or lower ourselves to the popular image of the ineffectual Christian man engendered by the enemies of God.
5. As to scaring away visitors, I humbly submit that this is an expression of the “attractive Gospel” theories of the Kellerite/New Calvinist movement, and is at odds with the historical understanding of Calvinism. A work of God’s grace on His elect is to overcome their sinful aversion to the practical outworking of His Law. Large families, homeschooling, modest dress, infant baptism, all male leadership, advocacy for traditional marriage – these things and others in open view at Redeemer are offensive to the broader culture and even to some of our brethren in other denominations, but we practice them as the people of our Lord and Savior, and depend on the sufficiency of His grace to reach those who visit us. Additionally, this being Texas, I have little doubt that at least some visitors would be attracted by a sign of such vitality.