As Christians, we follow the Lord Jesus Christ, who, for the joy set before Him, endured the most wanton and senseless violence in order to bring about the most tremendous peace. As soldiers of the Living Christ, let us shine as lights in this dark and decaying world.
To the Church
As I write to you this day, my heart is filled with tremendous grief and sadness over the events that have transpired in Nashville, Tennessee. On Monday morning, a mentally ill biological woman, who identified as a transgender male, shot her way inside The Covenant School, a Presbyterian school in East Tennessee, firing indiscriminate rounds at both helpless children and adults before being gunned down by local police officers. In fourteen horrifying minutes, 6 innocent people were brutally killed, including three little ones aged nine and 3 adults in their sixties. One of the children who tragically perished was the daughter of Chad Scruggs, who serves as lead pastor over Covenant Presbyterian Church, the church that founded the school.
During such awful instances of darkness, we must remember we are children of the light. We are living examples of Christ to all who are perishing. How we respond to tragedies like this will say much about how we think, believe, and cherish the Gospel. Thus, as we pray for the victims, let us also pray for the victimizers. As we pray for affected families, let us diligently pray for the shooter’s family. And as we are bombarded with all sorts of opinions on this subject, let us be slow to speak, quick to listen, and ready to pattern our response in accordance with Scripture.
With that, I would like to consider how a Christian is supposed to respond to awful tragedies such as this.
This Memes War
Whether you like it or not, you will be inundated in the coming days with a cacophony of “hot-takes” from trolls on Twitter, rants by activists and personalities on social media, biased coverage by the news, and shots fired from both sides of the Left / Right culture war. You will also see this situation entirely weaponized by gun control activists, the news trying to play up the perpetrator’s victim status, and the trans community crying out for justice and days of vengeance, as we have seen in Virginia. Yesterday and today, instead of seeing an empathetic president consoling a wounded nation or addressing the victims, we saw a depraved dottering dolt making inappropriate jokes about what flavor of ice cream he stacks in his fridge before blaming republicans for this incident of gun violence. (Sadly, this was not the only occasion our dunderhead-in-chief quipped sardonically when doing so was both vile and inappropriate). Perhaps you also saw the despicable and insensitive meme posted by Arizona press secretary, Jocelyn Berry, depicting a woman holding two handguns in a threatening pose, captioned: “Us when we see transphobes.” Or maybe you saw any number of shameless responses on the vast interwebs, such as I have found here.
This Means War
From such a smattering of debased opinions, I believe it is obvious that we are in a war. But let me be unequivocally clear here, we are not in the Left / Right “culture war” that has captivated this nation for decades. We are not on the left; we are not on the right; we are on the side of Christ. When the pundits, politicians, and the ideological left blame Christians and gun laws for this attack, we must not respond with the equal and opposite fury displayed among activists on the right. As Christians, we must respond as Christians and not as activists! We are citizens of heaven, not paupers, in this pitiful and polarized political war game.
We have been called to war, but not that one. Instead, the battle that we have been called into is a war – first and foremost – against the flesh (Romans 8:13). We are to be killing that which is wicked and depraved in us, mortifying it by the Spirit so that we may live. As Christians, we do not begin a plank-eyed campaign against a horde of sawdusty sinners without first pointing the lens of Biblical truth upon our own hearts and our own soul. We must make war through repentance, not hollow pharisaism.
But, this does not mean we have nothing to say. In fact, the Bible does call us to a kind of warfare with the world. According to Scripture, for the love of God and the redemption of the planet, we are called to expose the damnable misdeeds of darkness (Ephesians 5:5-13) and to call out pagan philosophies such as transgenderism with the light of the Gospel of Christ (Colossians 2:8; Jude 3). We are to be salt, which preserves the decaying world. We are to be light in the midst of a crooked people, which means exposing and chasing away the darkness (Matthew 5:13-16; Philippians 2:14-15) And if we do that work faithfully, meeting mistruth with love (Ephesians 4:15), we fully understand that the world will still hate us because it first hated Christ (John 15:18). No matter how the world views us, we labor on until every nation has been discipled according to the vision and Biblical standards of Christ (Matthew 28:18-20).
It is also a battle fought against the demonic principalities and satanic powers who wage war against the plain truth of God (Ephesians 6:12). We must remember that the transgender community is not our enemy. Likewise, the LGBTQLMNOP activists are not our foe. We do not wage our warfare against them but for them! We wage a spiritual war against spiritual opponents with unique non-violent weapons that will advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ and take back dominion for our King in a world that is hopelessly lost and dead (Ephesians 6:13-17).
The Christians’ warfare brings life and light to the world, not death and hot-takes, which brings us to an apropos passage for such a time as this. In light of the events that occurred in Nashville, and whenever the next grisly evil is unleashed upon the world, may the words of Romans 12:14-21 become our guide on how to respond to the world, the flesh, and the devil, with uniquely and poignantly Christian warfare. This is our battle guide: