There's at least one pastor out there who's not afraid to offend people on both sides of the firearms debate. Shane Idleman of Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster, Calif., is pro-gun ownership, but he's also willing to speak out against some Christians whom he accuses of essentially worshipping weapons.
In a sermon that was delivered this past Sunday, the pastor derided individuals on both sides of the gun debate. He charged that both proponents of firearms control and those who hold dearly to the Second Amendment often misrepresent the issue -- a phenomenon that has led to dysfunction and improper handling of the debate as a whole.
At the heart of Idleman's message was an attempt to get to the heart of the divisive impact the discussion has had on society. Additionally, he challenged those listening to check their relationships with the Lord.
Pastor Shane Idleman talks to his congregation about guns (Photo Credit: Vimeo)
"What concerns me is that in the Church we're starting to use language like 'the next Civil War,' and that's scary. The nation is being divided over some of these issues," Idleman said. "Some of the terminology out there, even from Christian leaders that I'm seeing is alarming, it's disheartening, it's frightening. Are we actually thinking along those lines?"
However, the non-denominational preacher's message extended beyond division and into the personal and spiritual standing of his congregants. Idleman said that he's hearing a great deal about Remington, Smith and Wesson and Browning, but very little about essential issues like "brokenness and humility and surrender." Rather than trusting in these weapons, the pastor reminded his flock that there's a greater calling for believers.
"In Remington, Smith & Wesson … is that what my trust is in?," he asked. "It sounds like it, from what I'm hearing from a lot of Christians. The trust is not in that, the trust is in God and God alone."
Idleman did reaffirm the necessity that exists for people to defend themselves in dire situations, noting that the fact that the nation is in a lackluster moral position in which people need to prepare for self-defense is tragic. However, he was adamant about the right to appropriately use guns for protection.
Many may wonder, though, based on the preacher's comments, if he had an agenda in delivering this controversial sermon. But Idleman told his congregation that he had prayerfully considered the message and had asked the Lord to keep him from injecting personal opinion or perspective. He also admitted that he doesn't have "an axe to grind" on the gun front and that he merely finds himself disheartened with the overall debate.
Idleman encouraged his church to pray about the issue and to take considerations surrounding firearms back to God. In fact, a connection with the Lord, he said, is the best way to make an impact on society.
"The role of the church, your greatest weapon is going to be in the prayer closet. I can't get that point across enough," he continued. "Take this topic back to the prayer closet and see what God says to you on this issue."
Rather than listening and watching too much of "Hannity, and O'Reilly and Fox and Hume," Idleman said that the congregation should consider spending more time with "Matthew, Mark, Luke and John."
Watch his sermon, below:
(H/T: Christian Post)