Killing for Jesus is NOT Okay

As I was scanning the news headlines this morning I was captivated by this story which is further explained here.

Apparently  Michigan rifle sight manufacturer  Trijicon has been inscribing New Testament verse references such as  2 Corinthians 4:6 (For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ) and John 8:12 (Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”) on their products, which are used by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The company, which was founded by a “devout Christian” has defended its actions as an exercise of “faith” and something they have been doing for more than twenty years. Some within the military have found it problematic for several reasons, one of which is that they believe it may further the opposing fighters belief that they are fighting a religious war.

In my opinion, Trijicon’s actions are dangerous, despicable and detrimental to the cause of Christ. As far as I can tell, their misuse of scripture equates killing enemies with proclaiming and following Jesus.

Because of the language and cultural barrier we often miss the political and social significance of Jesus’ words and deeds. “The Gospel”  is a technical term from the empire of Jesus’ day. Essentially, when a new king came to power a crier would go and spread the “good news” of his reign. This is where we get the term “Gospel.” The Good News  of Jesus Christ is this- God is bringing his Kingdom from heaven to earth. Jesus is now our righteous King, and we are his willing subjects though we were once his enemies.  While not too many think in these terms, I would venture to say many Christians would not disagree with this much. The point of contention seems to be over what bringing God’s Kingdom to earth looks like.

Please don’t get me wrong, violence is part of God’s Kingdom. He used violence on Christ, which redeems Christ’s followers, and he will use violence on judgment day on those who reject Christ. However, judgment and punishment is God’s business and the business of Christians is to live as Jesus lived while he was on this earth. We who have been recipients of grace should not jump to judgment, we should extend the same grace.

Jesus’ life is the ultimate example of what God’s Kingdom should look like as lived out by Christians. Jesus lived a sacrificial life that didn’t make much sense by our standard (Philippians 2:5-8)  . When Jesus was questioned before the government before his execution he defended his followers lack of fighting because his Kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). Furthermore, when Jesus was being arrested, Peter, his closest disciple,  used violence against the arresting mob. Jesus rebuked Peter and healed his enemy.  (Luke 22:50-51, Matthew 26:51-52) Jesus loved his enemies to the point of dying for them and followers of Christ should as well (1 John 2:6, 1 Peter 2:21–24, Matthew 5:38-48, Romans 12:17-21). It is not okay for us to use Jesus as a justification to kill others. Instead we should follow Jesus’ example and go as far as dying for our enemies in order to redeem them, just as Christ did for us (Romans 5:8-10) . If we are not willing to do that we are not truly willing to let the “light” of Christ shine in the darkness as Trijicon’s scopes proclaim.

2 replies
  1. Michael Clary
    Michael Clary says:

    Ryan

    I agree with the premise of your post, however I disagree with your assertion that Trijicon is guilty of this. I didn’t read the article you linked to, but simply inscribing Bible verses on a weapon used by the Armed Forces does not constitute a Crusade. I agree that this is not wise to do. Does Trijicon say that they are doing this because they believe this to be God’s war or something? If so, then I would be inclined to agree with you more. Otherwise, I think the inscriptions are boneheaded, not blasphemous.

    Reply
  2. Ryan Kupiec
    Ryan Kupiec says:

    Michael,
    I think you’re probably right on the “blasphemous” statement. It potentially is blasphemous, but we don’t have enough information about their reasoning for the inscriptions to know one way or another, so it’s not a word I should throw around. Point taken and thanks for your correction.

    I really don’t know if Trijicon thinks it is involved in a Crusade. I imagine they probably just have the “God is on our side” mentality. It’s not an unusual thought, but as Christians it is particularly dangerous since our citizenship in the Kingdom of God is what defines us and where we should have our allegiance, not in our nation.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Reply

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