Over the years I’ve graduated from several homicide investigation and officer-involved shooting investigation courses, and taught my share myself.  One of the best I was fortunate enough to go through was Advanced Homicide Investigation, taught by Vern Geberth, the retired commander of NYPD’s Bronx Homicide Task Force and the man who wrote the authoritative text in the field, “Practical Homicide Investigation.” Geberth told us, “The homicide investigator is the last advocate for the murdered dead.  No matter who’s paying us, we work for God.”

I would submit that the same is true for the many dedicated citizen volunteers who perform the armed house of worship security function.  I recently had the privilege of teaching a twenty-hour course in judicious use of lethal force for AZCSN, the Arizona Church Security Network. 

Among other things you’ll find Biblical references which justify the righteous use of arms to protect the innocent from evil.

Nehemiah 4:9 —  But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.

My hat is off to these volunteer protectors, across the spectrum of their faiths. 


  1. Love it! Ted R. Weiland has done the best job of arguing Biblically for self-defense, in my opinion. He argues self-defense, and family-defense, is not a right, but a RESPONSIBILITY.

    Many Christians are pacifists. It’s easy to be a pacifist when you are protected by our police and military.

    The Old Testament has plenty of righteous violence in it. Jesus appears to be a pacifist because He did not want the Church to conquer its enemies with the sword, the way it was God’s plan for the Hebrews to conquer their enemies. In the Book of Revelation, we see a return to the old ways of violence we read about in the Old Testament.

    By the way, there is no war in Heaven, right? WRONG! See Revelation chapter 12, verse 7.

    • Herschel Smith (https://www.captainsjournal.com) also does a good job arguing the responsibility of the Christian for defense of him/her self, family, and community. If you’re interested, I suggest starting here: https://www.captainsjournal.com/2012/09/25/christians-the-second-amendment-and-the-duty-of-self-defense/

      Many Christians are pacifists. It’s easy to be a pacifist when you are protected by our police and military.

      In a way, that’s kind of the ultimate “privilege”, isn’t it? Pacifists only survive because others are willing to risk everything and do violence to protect them. And yet, despite knowing the potential outcomes, pacifists still dial 911.

      I don’t understand it. Then again, I chose to be a responsibly-armed citizen to protect myself and my family, and there’s no room in my response plans for pacifism.

    • Another one is Charl van Wyk, currently a missionary and known for shooting back at the St. James Massacre in South Africa. He wrote the book “Shooting Back: The Right and Duty of Self Defense”, which touches on this subject. He has written at least one more book beyond that one.


  2. Blessed are those who voluntarily put themselves in harms way to protect their fellow parishioners. I never understood why some houses of worship decided that having faith equates with allowing the innocent to be slaughtered by evil.

  3. Armed volunteer church security are shepherds in the biblical sense. In addition to good training, I hope they have good insurance to handle the aftermath of an incident.

  4. Nothing I have to offer compares to the good work these gentleman have done/do, but I have heard the comments around the morality of carrying a loaded firearm in a house of worship. I’m not as involved with my local church as I probably should be but, I attend Sunday mass pretty much every week, always with my concealed carry pistol on my belt under a sport coat. I pray it never has to come out of the holster at services but, there have been more than a few times I was glad it was with me. The occasional person you see that raises a red flag and sets off my situational awareness as a potential issue. Righteous or not I’ll continue take my sidearm with me at church.

    • Karl Jacobsen,

      Here’s a fact that pleasantly shocked me when I first heard it. It is about the controversial idea of having weapons in church. In the 1600s, in the early days of colonial Massachusetts, either the Pilgrims, or the later Puritans, or both, REQUIRED men to bring muskets or blunderbusses to church. Why? Because the church or the village might be attacked by hostile Native Americans. Imagine how vulnerable they were with the whole village in church. Houses could be robbed or set on fire easily. I think they must have had someone to guard their homes to prevent thievery. So, that would mean at least one man was not in the church during the worship service.

      Imagine going to church unarmed, and someone tells you, “Go home and get your gun.”

      As for pacifists, I hope if there was a perpetrator harming others with a gun or blade, a group of pacifists would at least rush the perp and wrestle him to the ground, holding him until the cops arrived. To stand there and do nothing seems like almost being an accomplice to crime. My guess is most pacifists would run or cower and scream.

    • Last time I checked, no one has banned Satan from entering a church. In fact, so many churches seem to be run by that particular gentleman. A bunch of trained, armed congregants would give me a sense of peace.

  5. This isn’t a joke? A conman lies to gullible and desperate people so he can steal their money and fuck their kids. If they really cared about the people, your students would take out the preachers, across the spectrum of their faiths.

    • You, sir, sound like the sort of whack job these good people have signed up to protect their congregations from.

    • How is what they do any different from the car salesman who suggests that your love life will improve if you buy a Corvette? Or the beer companies who promise you’ll be a masculine football stud if you drink their beer? A preacher provides mental comfort, and however that happens, you’re getting something for your money. Not my cup of tea, but for a lot of people, it’s a useful service.

      • Emmett Kelly,

        Agreed. It may be that “god” has had some negative experiences with religious folks in the past. We have all heard this, but I will repeat it. Good and bad people are everywhere, in all organizations.

        I happen to be Protestant, but I consider the Catholics to be good friends. In the year 2002, we first heard about the pedophile priests. They are terrible, of course, and the Catholic Church should have defrocked them, and handed them over to the secular authorities for prosecution. However, I have heard estimates that there are perhaps 2% of priests who are pedophiles. If that is even close, then the vast majority of Catholics are great, fine, or at least decent people. Their organization should not be condemned because 2% of them are criminals.

        I believe that, throughout history, the Catholic Church has done more good than bad in the world. I simply regret that they ignored Martin Luther when he told them to reform. If they had listened to him, there would not be so many denominations today. Oh well.

  6. If you go to verses 17-18 of Nehemiah, it mentiones that the ones who carried things worked with one hand, and held a weapon on the other. The ones actually building wore a sword on their side while working. They knew the attack was coming, and had their plan in place to counter it.

  7. Regardless of what some may think, there are few – if any – truly ‘safe’ places where people congregate. Safety is a relative condition, not an absolute one. Great respect is due to those who make an effort to protect others, be they LEO’s or just people who care.

  8. Defense of self and others is absolutely a responsibility. We know this because there’s an individual right to self defense. With rights always come responsibilities. A public cost of having guns in private hands is that they sometimes get stolen or used for evil. A public benefit of having guns in private hands is that they make the entire community more resistant to evil, and evil changes its incentives when armed citizens are prevalent. If more people understood this in “gun-free zone” states, they would vote out the morons and open up guns to more responsible, private citizens.

  9. Prototype for the S&W J frame is right out of the Bible. When David faced Goliath the Boble says David took his sling and 5 smooth stones….the first J frame. 1 Samuel 17:40

    • Jeff,

      And both David and J-frames held the same amount of projectiles, five. There may be another biblical tie-in between the J-frame and a weapon in the Bible. In Judges 19:15–19 Samson used the jawbone of a donkey to kill 1,000 men. The names of both weapons, J-frame and jawbone, feature the letter, ‘J.’ {Ha! Ha! Just being silly.}

    • Jeff, four stones can be held securely in reserve one by one in the gaps between the digits of the off hand. Very likely this is what David always did when going after game. I have heard other explanations, like how many brothers davivbut none have seemed as probable.

  10. Mas, a good friend and I attended a first rate church security seminar in Kingman which was invaluable. It was emphasized that we were basically on our own until First Responders could get there, reinforced by several case histories. KPD btw has a first rate chief btw, who supports the Constitution.

  11. As a member of a team barely 2 years old, formed after a member of the congregation was elected to congress, and subsequently the target of DOZENS of death threats, I had a discussion on this very subject with our Pastor.
    We agreed that “God will protect us” is more likely to take the form of a group stepping up to do what we have done, than to rely on the threat never materializing. He agrees that to sit idly by is a dangerous place to wait. We’re still learning and adjusting, attempting to become what will best meet the challenges should they arise. We’re not professionals, but we ARE what they are not, a family.

    • Ed,

      I believe God will protect me on the highway, in a car, but I obey the traffic rules, wear a seat belt, have air bags in my car and a fire extinguisher in the trunk. In my life, I have been in three very minor traffic accidents, in which my seat belt played no part. Nevertheless, I continue to wear it anyway. Owning big vehicles and wearing safety glasses are also good ideas for safety behind the wheel. Mas taught us about the safety glasses.

      God makes the crops grow, but farmers prepare the soil, plant the seeds, pull the weeds and water the crops. God is the First Cause. We are responsible for second causes.

  12. Used to have a Police Chaplin who, when in uniform, wore a sidearm and responded to all calls. I once asked him if his carrying a gun was hypocritical. He responded;
    “Peter and Paul agree with Smith and Wesson.”
    He was right.

    • Uncle Mas tells us of a Philly pastor packing a Glock 27 which he has to deploy one night who would concur. As do I.

  13. Thank you, Massad, for everything you write. I learn so much from everyone of your articles and books. Thank you for calling out house of worship security personnel and programs. If you or anyone else is interested, SemperVerus has published the booklet, The Case for Biblical Self-Defense (https://www.semperverus.com/the-case-for-biblical-self-defense/). For those who consider the Bible to be their authoritative guide for life and personal behavior, the booklet answers in the affirmative the question, “Is it biblical and in accordance with Christian faith to be ready to employ lethal force to protect your life from an imminent and wrongful life-threatening attack?”

  14. If ever God or Jesus decides to carry a gun, it would of course be a Browning 1911 in .45 ACP chosen on the advice of Jeff Cooper who is now up there with John Moses and the other good spirits, flying around and playing the harp.

    • Tom606,

      Why, of course. After all, John Moses Browning, like Rush Limbaugh, had talent on loan from God. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, and God gave Browning the idea for the 1911 and all his other great designs. Aren’t you glad he was on our side? ; )

      • I’ve often wondered if God didn’t appear to JMB in a vision and gave him the inspiration to design the 1911 pistol, and the .45 ACP cartridge. I wouldn’t doubt a few others of JMB’s numerous firearms designs were a product of divine intervention too.

        However, it’s possible JMB didn’t follow God’s directions exactly which specifies that the 1911 design should have a plunger tube housing integral with the frame, larger sights, and no grip safety.

        Based on your third sentence, it seems God didn’t look too favorably on the French and Japanese gun designers. 🙁

      • Tom606,

        You read my mind when you mentioned the French and Japanese gun designers! I was actually going to mention the Chauchat, but didn’t want to insult the French. After all, without their help, we would probably be speaking English still, instead of American. ; )

        I have read that the Arisaka was not as bad as we think it was, but I’m sure it doesn’t compare well to a Mauser, Enfield or 1903 Springfield.

      • I’ve read the Arisaka rifles, especially the type 99 had strong actions, but were crappy from an ergonomic standpoint and the Japanese did give the world their Nambu type 94 pistol. I’m glad the Sons of Nippon carried those in WW II while we armed our soldiers with the Browning 1911, God’s sidearm.

  15. Revalation 1911, I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war.

    Romans 1218, If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

    The author in this blog titled “GOD” has his/her opinion and the words do not upset me as I will try to understand that opinion. Athiest, agnostic and the faithful all have their opinions.

    epstein didn’t kill himself!

    • Jeffery didn’t kill himself, but he did commit suicide involuntarily, skillfully aided at no cost by experts thoughtfully sent by HillBilly who were best buddies of the wealthy pedophile and visited him many times on his Orgy Island. It’s quite possible Jeffery and his female partner had photos and video secretly taken of HillBilly in action. 😮

  16. Too many “Christians” ignorantly believe they have a duty to be murdered, beaten etc and not own any firearms! Our Orthodox priest published this a few years ago and has thankfully helped people understand their God given right to keep and bear arms to defend themselves!

      • Emmett,

        My head spins when I realize the many Jews who support disarmament and gun control. Ever since the Holocaust, Jews teach their children what happened then, and they also teach us Gentiles. I suspect that the Jews who support gun control are really not Jews, but Communists. In other words, they were born Jewish, but their religion is Communism.

        I wonder how many Israeli Jews support gun control? Maybe American and European Jews feel safe being protected in the civilization bubble that is provided by our police and military.

        Support for pacifism can only be found in the New Testament, which the Jews reject. The Old Testament (“Tenakh” in Hebrew) has lots of violence, both wicked and righteous. Consider these examples of righteous violence;

        I Chronicles 11:10–47 King David lists his mighty men (Special Forces heroes)

        Psalm 18:29–42 King David delights in killing his enemies, with God’s help

        Psalm 137:8,9 A soldier’s happiness derived from killing the enemys’ babies

        Psalm 149:6–9 Warrior Saints

        Remember that the Book of Psalms is song lyrics, inspired by God, meant to be sung during worship services. The Hebrews used them that way, and the Christian Church also uses Psalms, usually metrical paraphrases, to sing during worship services.

        I think singing in church, about killing babies, hardly lends itself to pacifism.

        “The LORD is a man of war: . . .” Exodus 15:3

        When I get to Heaven I am going to ask God if He will let me torture a demon.

      • It would be an absolute pleasure to slowly torture a Demoncrat considering what he/she have done to cause untold misery and suffering to so many Americans and other peoples of the world. I bet there’s a long waiting line for Pelosi, Schumer, Cortez and her squad. I’ll bash them over the head with my harp since I can’t play one anyway.

  17. It’s an interesting discussion, the difference in The Ten Commandments between the erroneous “Thou shall not kill,” and the proper translation of “Thou shall not murder.” I believe for the meek to inherit the Earth, the bold need to be there to defend them. Praying in earnest for all those bold enough to stand in the gap.

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