School Shootings: A Biblical Perspective
Once again our nation is in shock and mourning over another school shooting. Our hearts break for families who have lost loved ones. We grieve with them, and pray for them, knowing their only hope of comfort can come from a personal relationship with the God of all comfort who has revealed Himself through the Person and work of His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and His Word, the Bible.
Whenever this kind of evil surfaces, our citizens, politicians, law enforcement agencies, and political pundits in the media try to come to grips with how and why these things happen and how to prevent them from ever happening again. Immediately we hear people calling for better mental illness screening and treatment. Others call for more gun control through legislation and even confiscation. Still others demand increased security in our schools and arming teachers. Some blame school bullying, others accuse the breakdown of the nuclear family unit and suggest we do more to address issues related to culture.
But with all the rhetoric, at the end of the day reasonable people know in their heart there is no perfect solution. Nothing recommended offers any real confidence that our society can stop a person from killing innocent people without remorse. Moreover, down deep, if we’re really honest, we all know there is something dreadfully wrong with our society, something far beyond the increasingly common phenomenon of school shooters. But like the proverbial six-hundred-pound gorilla in the living room, most people refuse to address it. Most won’t acknowledge the moral freefall we are witnessing in America.
For example, in the aftermath of the recent school massacre in Florida, I’ve heard numerous people lament, “Our schools have become one of the most dangerous places on earth!” While I understand and sympathize with their sentiment, in truth the most dangerous place on earth is a mother’s womb! Less than 325 people have been killed in school shootings since 1980, compared to over 46 million babies that have been murdered during that same period of time, 4,383 every hour in the United States alone. In the 4 minutes it took for the Florida shooter to kill 17 innocent people, 292 innocent babies were slaughtered in the safe haven of their mother’s womb.
If our society is serious about addressing the hideous violence of school shootings, it must look beyond human explanations and solutions and in humility turn to God and see what He has to say. Here it is in a nutshell:
The reason that young man entered that school and killed innocent people is because he is utterly dominated by his sin nature and has yielded himself completely over to Satan—who has so thoroughly deceived the people of this nation that God has lifted His restraining grace upon it and abandoned it to the consequence of its idolatry and immorality. (I defend this position biblically in a recent exposition entitled: School Shootings: A Biblical Perspective found on the Calvary Bible Church, Joelton, TN website: www.cbctn.org).
God has made it clear in His Word that “sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4); it is high treason against the Most High God. Both the Hebrew word used for sin in the Old Testament and the primary Greek word used in the New Testament mean, “to miss the mark,” referring to a failure to obey God’s Law.
The testimony of Scripture reveals that sin is man’s innate inability to conform to the moral character and desires of God. It is the defining disposition of his very nature, having penetrated and corrupted the whole of his being, including his body, mind, will, and heart. It is both deceptive and deadly, and infinitely more offensive to our holy God than we could ever imagine.
God has also revealed that Satan and his demonic hoard function in the context of orderly systems in the world that are opposed to the person and purposes of God. Systems like government, political parties, media and entertainment organizations, editorial offices, courts of law, school systems, colleges and universities, and especially religious institutions like seminaries and churches. In fact, “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). Satan’s diabolical purpose is simple: he seeks to deceive, blind, persuade, destroy and murder. In fact, Jesus says, “he is a liar” and “a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44).
Think how his ingenious deceptions have appealed to man’s sin nature just in our own culture. Millions of people today live in a fantasy world where they create their own reality on the Internet. How else can you explain the wanton self-promotion on Facebook and the idolatrous slavery to smartphones and pornography? In our culture, everyone is considered a winner—even if they finish last—producing a generation that demands reward without responsibility. It is little wonder we now witness colleges providing safe spaces for students who fear they have been offended. Our youth are being raised in a fool’s paradise of political correctness invented by the liberal left and metropolitan elite that demonize and censor those who do not subscribe to their values, especially Bible-believing Christians. Ours is a culture that has no moral compass, one that is quite comfortable with killing unborn infants, but outraged over a school shooting (an outrage I share).
Our youth are products of a culture that resents authority. The hallmark of America is freedom—independence from any kind of tyranny. Unfortunately, freedom has been so abused that it has now produced its own kind of tyranny. In the name of freedom, the boundaries of morality and common decency have been demolished to allow every imaginable form of wickedness to flourish and thus enslave people to a multitude of sins. In the name of personal freedom people are proud to rebel against all authority, especially God’s, and thereby incur His condemnation and judgment (Rom 1:18).
Our children are taught that God is not their Creator, but that man is nothing more than a sophisticated germ that slithered out of some primordial swamp millions of years ago. Our youth are taught that the Bible is a silly myth, that there is no such thing as absolute truth (an assertion of which they are absolutely certain). God and His Word have been removed from our public schools, our government, and even many churches. He is unwelcome in places of public prominence and discourse, so as not to offend those who hate Him. Today, Bible-believing Christians are increasingly marginalized and mocked, considered by the cultural elite to be a Christian version of the Taliban, a vile hate group that inhibits the advancement of society. We see the systematic destruction of the family unit, the elimination of the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman, and an inspired hatred of manhood and fatherhood.
As a people we have sown the wind and we are now reaping the whirlwind—a harbinger of far greater judgment that will not only come upon the earth when Jesus returns in power and great glory, but a judgment far worse that will ultimately end in an eternal hell for all who refuse to repent and humbly trust in Christ as Savior. The apoplectic response by most who will read this article is a testimony to the level of sin and satanic deception that has now corrupted the moral fabric of the United States of America. With such a milieu, it is no wonder we have school shooters and an escalation of many other forms of violence. Frankly, I’m convinced the metastasizing corruption of sin will continue to eat away at our country, resulting in more and more of the same.
So what’s the answer? The Gospel of Jesus Christ! When we acknowledge our sin and cry out in repentant faith for undeserved mercy available only through the atoning work of Jesus Christ who paid the penalty of the just wrath of God on sinners, God saves us. He forgives our sins, even declares us to be righteous because of the imputed righteousness of Christ in whom we are united, and He radically changes our nature: “. . . if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17). This refers to the miracle of regeneration: the supernatural, instantaneous impartation of spiritual life to the spiritually dead.
But we will only see our sin in proportion to our willingness to see the holiness of God, the all-encompassing attribute of God that portrays His consummate perfection, His majesty, and eternal glory. Like no other attribute He used to describe Himself in Scripture, holiness stands alone as the defining characteristic of His person. It alone is the quintessential summation of all His attributes. And it is only in the ineffable light of His holiness that sinful man can see the dreadful darkness of his depravity. Only then can he truly sing, “Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.”
This and this alone will stop school shootings. The answer is not a change of laws, but a change of hearts. Instead of more gun control, we need Spirit control. People need to be told they are depraved, not deprived, and that God in His infinite love and mercy has made a way to change all that, through faith in Jesus Christ—man’s only hope of salvation and transformation. Man simply cannot stop supernatural evil, but God can. And in this we find both help and hope.