Let Anyone who is Without Sin Fire the First Bullet (cf. John 8:7)

Author: nonviolentchristians

Jon Kauffman graduated from Goshen College, earning a BA in Religion. Jon attended a Mennonite Church while growing up and currently attends the Salvation Army Church. Jon works as a drafter at TrueNorth Steel, Fargo, ND.

4 thoughts on “Let Anyone who is Without Sin Fire the First Bullet (cf. John 8:7)”

  1. Wow!

    Thanx for sharing. I woulda missed that.

    I bowed out of that argument when it appeared to me that I was getting no where with it. It looked to me like Ryan was feeling like I attacked his faith. That is what he called it. I would have called it rebutting his argument. But he thought I was attacking his faith.

    I felt like that was malevolent and unproductive. And it didn’t seem I could turn that around while making my case at the same time. But since seeing a similar reaction to others, while this discussion is very important, and while there is very little neutral or common ground between a bullet fired from a gun and not, AND seeing how my words are being repeated again and my pseudonym kicked around a LOT in the meantime I will say … Wow!


    I had given this stuff some more thought for a day or two, but I have other fish in life to fry and let this stuff get on my back burner again since. And I am a little bit fuzzy on this now (sorry, I am literally juggling toddlers while I type), but I took Ryan serious enough to look up I Cor. 13:7 in the Greek and to see how a number of different translaters handle it. I did NOT do a thorough research on the topic, but I did a quick search. Perhaps before arguing the point exhaustively, I should finish that project. But I got far enough to satisfy myself the other day.

    So, despite being a bit fuzzy on it, I notice that among the strong conservative translations the NIV is the only one to say “love always protects”. In fact even among not so conservative translations it was the ONLY one I found in my quick search. The NIV is a good translation, but it is not without problems! It is, in my opinion, the weakest of the good conservative translations, and I think we found yet another reason they call it the Needs Improvement Version.

    But even taking it as the NIV translates it, given the context AND especially placing it within the overarching stage of the rest of the Bible and anything Jesus has to say, finding the use of a gun to shoot others in it is a real stretch.

    I can do lots of things to protect my family that don’t involve that.

    I will say, in all fairness, that based on my quick search, the NIV is not actually out of bounds with this translation. In a wooden sense, it is fair to say it the way they do. However, there is a country mile between saying “Love bears all things” and saying “Love always protects.” The way those two phrases come across in English make for entirely different messages.

    Just off the cuff, I THINK the NIV meaning seems to tap into the idea that LOVE always protects – something like as in God protects. But actually, that is probably above my pay grade.

    The flip side on this is that to use I Cor 13:7 as a means of justifying the shooting of people with a gun flies in the face of the rest of that very passage. It also flies in the face of Jesus who took up a cross and loved God and others in his sacrificial death. And saying that by not taking up a gun and shooting someone in order to protect my family is actually passing judgement then on those who don’t. What about Christians rounded up and thrown to lions? What about Christian families rounded up and thrown to lions? You know the martyrs died like that many times over in the early days of the church. And often they were given a chance to renounce their faith in Jesus and claim that Caesar is Lord and Jesus is not. They didn’t even have to mean it. They just need only say the words publicly and thus PROTECT their families.


    So if I insist Jesus is Lord and refuse to even mutter the contrary to save my children from being burned at the stake does that mean I don’t love because “love always protects”?

    That is an awful lot to hang on one single verse. That is an awful lot to hang on one single translation of one single verse.

    None of this was settled in our previous debate. But the more I talked, the more it seemed my fellow discussant felt I was attacking his faith and judging him. But I am working with BIBLE here, not with other things. My understanding of it of course, but I am not appealing to the Second Amendment or to popular opinion or to hundreds, thousands, or millions of other Christians. Those can all be wrong, but Jesus cannot. The Bible can be misunderstood, but not wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, we are all often wrong. Perhaps I’m right 38.28% of the time. I think we all here are searching for a way to please and follow Jesus. I like to use these quotes.

    In college George Whitfield and John Wesley were friends. They held a Bible study together.

    George Whitfield and John Wesley had great theological differences. George taught eternal security and John taught Arminianism. When one of Whitfield’s followers suggested they would not see Wesley in Heaven, Whitfield said, “Yes, you’re right, we won’t see him in heaven. He will be so close to the Throne of God and we will be so far away, that we won’t be able to see him!”

    And as John Wesley said about George Whitfield, “There are many doctrines of a less essential nature with regard to which even the most sincere children of God…are and have been divided for many ages. In these we may think and let think; we may ‘agree to disagree.’”

    We must remember that we see things differently when we disagree and that loving our brothers and sisters in Christ is far more important than demanding someone agrees with our interpretation of scripture. Dialogue with other Christians about Christian military participation can be very useful to all involved.

    Liked by 1 person

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