Gun Loving Pastor Poses For The Most Ironic Picture Ever

Shooting guns is fun.

I get that.

I’ve been to the firing range and I’ve been hunting and I’ve had a thoroughly good time doing both.

But as a Christian, the idea of turning those guns on other people – even in the name of self-defense – is something I’m decidedly less enthusiastic about.

The same can’t be said for John Correia, pastor of West Greenway Bible Church in Glendale, Arizona. In a recent interview with The Daily Mail he explained his deep and abiding love for guns which he claims Christians should stockpile for the purpose of self-defense based on the teaching and example of Jesus who, in Luke 22:36, said, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.”

Obviously, Pastor Correia is less interested in literally everything else Jesus said and did concerning the use of violence against enemies, including Matthew 26:52 when Jesus explicitly condemns the use of swords for self-defense, “Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”

Which is what leads us to what might be the most ironic pastoral portrait ever.

Because you see….

gun pastor1

The Sermon on the Mount Carl Bloch, 1890

gun pastor2

(H/T to Christian Nightmares for sharing the original interview)

 

39 Comments
  • Greg
    September 9, 2014

    I dont think Id use ironic to describe him.
    how about NRA poster boy pretending to be a pastor?
    If he was posing with porn, pot or sporting a tattoo of a satanic goat head, it would be easy to call him what he is: a false pastor, exhibiting affections and behaviour biblically reserved for the unregenerate.
    That’s not to say he isnt a Christian, albeit very immature and clearly not discipled yet in the Way of Jesus.
    But certainly not qualified to be a father like overseer of Gods children.
    And it doens’t add cred to his followers either, sadly.
    It makes real pastors look bad, and I even imagine some avid gun slinger’s cringe with him among their circle.

    • Jim
      September 10, 2014

      The real question I have with your post is, “Which sins disqualify a person for the office of pastor?” You mention posing with a gun, porn, pot, or a satanic goat head. Why these? What about lying? What about misparenting? I think misparenting is a much greater sin than holding a gun for a photo. It’s actually something that Paul writes Timothy about in describing the qualities of a good pastor.

      Whatever your list of sins for disqualifying a pastor are, they are wrong. In the 4th and 5th century, the Donatists claimed that Pastors who denied Jesus before the Roman authorities no longer able to function as pastors because of their sin. So a baptism done by one of these pastors was no true baptism. The Christian church, however, called this for what it is: Heresy. A Pastor does not become a pastor by his own merit or holiness, but by the call of a congregation to the ministry. If it’s all about the Pastor, then the ministry will eventually have no one in it.

      Even worse, if it depends on the holiness of the person, you will create doubt in the hearts of the believers who followed him. Was I truly Christian when I followed him? Was my baptism a true baptism? It also gives believers license to write off their pastor any time they want to. They could claim, “Oh. Well, he’s a sinner, so I don’t have to listen to him. He’s not a real pastor anyway.” It opens the door to a lot of bad things in a congregation.

      • Greg
        September 11, 2014

        Jim. Im not very well versed in churchiology, having never been part of anything other than a very small, rural and non hierarchical community, so your point about the congregation choosing a pastor seems contradictory to me, in that if they can choose him, why cant they un choose him? Why would that be a problem?
        By the way, I completely agree with your point about any sin disqualifying a pastor, but my original point was more narrowly aimed at shutting him up publicly by calling him out on the obvious.
        I personally dont see how a truly born again child of God could be insensitive to either public or private sin, unless as I mentioned, he’s especially hardened by its deceits, in which case, a congregation that calls him to leadership is equally deficient.
        Makes me wonder if any of them are truly regenerate.
        Personally, I dont see value in castigating leaders behaviour without tying it together with a discussion about the attitudes and affections of the heart.
        This ‘dont judge’ mindset that has crept into our world view and polity in the church has taken the sharp edge off of our vision and speech, causing confusion among the unsaved and newly regenerate.
        Paul called out Elyamas for for bitter heart, and judging him publicly as worthy of perishing,
        But only those who live on the edge of eternity, with their hearts and minds wholly sanctified and their lives transparent in love and holiness, can see and do such things.
        That, I think, is the hallmark of a leader.
        I dont see many of those on podiums ( I dont see podiums for that matter) but I know men ( and women) who live this way each minute. They exhibit the power of Jesus resurrection life, and his death to their own self life, without drawing attention to themselves, leading no one but their own kin, and not even discussing ‘qualifications’ as is done loudly everywhere.
        I suspect when we all stand before the Lord, we are going to be very surprised who’s a leader and who’s not really.
        And, on the discussion of self defence, I have a bit of experience to add another perspective.
        I was a ‘bad’ guy before I was converted, and weapons were part of the tools of my trade in the recreational pharmacology industry.
        Iv’e faced guns and knives, and in my opinion, if U R going to die, its because God numbers the hair of your head, and your number’s up. If u live, its because He wants u alive. And for the record, Im decidedly not a Calvinist, but neither am I an anit Calvinist.
        Most of my friends are, funny enough.
        How staying alive in (all) dangerous situations is controlled by God, (and not just if u trust Him) (notwithstanding any clever or legal plans to use self defence) and the logic of it is often comical, illogical and undeserved in many cases.
        But He definitely controls every minute of every life in every circumstance, always.
        Employing worldly philosophical reasoning as to why someone should be defended is foolish and presumptuous, and reveals (to me at least) that many have not been discipled properly.
        Coming to know God as He is, and not just as our theologies and subjective experiences fathom Him, is (or should be) discipleship, church, community life et al.
        ‘Leaders’ like this gun slinger cant and don’t disciple younger, impressionable and even gullible disciples in anything other than heresy, and we ought to loudly call him out on it, in front of his followers.
        And if we call him out, it can only be done with evidence that is universally agreed upon and available, which he obliged us with by posing for the picture, and any writing he’s done.
        And there are plenty more like him.
        Oh dear, Iv’e just judged millions, havent I?

        • Jim
          September 11, 2014

          It sounds like we agree mostly. My point was simply this: While we can call him out for his behavior, bad behavior doesn’t automatically remove him from the office. As you said, the church can call him and also kick him out. But until they do, he is still a pastor. Your original post called says that he is, “pretending to be a pastor” and “it would be easy to call him what he is: a false pastor.” If he’s acting as pastor of a congregation, then he’s a pastor. Whether he’s a good pastor is up for debate, but one should not say that he is a false pastor or a pretender.

          I’m not in any way condoning a “don’t judge” attitude. When someone sins, we ought to call them out on it. But we need to be careful in how we do this so that we do it faithfully.

          In your second post, you write, “‘Leaders’ like this gun slinger cant and don’t disciple younger,
          impressionable and even gullible disciples in anything other than
          heresy, and we ought to loudly call him out on it, in front of his
          followers.” How do you know this? All we have is a photo and one interview. The rest of his teaching may be orthodox and wonderful, guiding his congregation into acts of discipleship unheard of since Acts. We just don’t know. Let’s discuss what we do know rather than make assumptions about his character and actions.

          • Greg
            September 12, 2014

            Jim. I guess my unorthodox experience outside traditional church life, if that exists, is just too contentious or ambiguous for most, as it appears I wont be able to contribute much to this discussion. Its probable silly of me to offer perspective on something I haven’t experienced, but I did because the perspective and non solutions coming from those who do or are experiencing them seem equally ineffective. It occurs to me lately as I try to interact with these open discussions, that they are very similar to a gossip column or letters to the editor in a daily newspaper, in that they act as ventilation for various and usually conflicting ideas, but rarely if ever are they a path to unity, consensus or even agreement.
            Sadly, being cleverly observant or scripturally right seems to be the important point, while effecting change is left for radical reformers or such.
            Im bowing out, admitting that I have no idea about how to effect change, and i don’t hear anyone else offering them either.
            Happily, having been effectively discipled within a vibrant and loving community, we haven’t had most of the problems I read about here, and many other places, that appear to hold much of the modern western church in its strangle hold.
            And when we did have serious potential rifts, doctrines or questionable behaviours emerge, we tackled them together and resolved them post haste.
            That is clearly not the objective here, ergo Im gone.
            blessings
            Greg

      • Headless Unicorn Guy
        September 14, 2014

        Even worse, if it depends on the holiness of the person, you will create
        doubt in the hearts of the believers who followed him. Was I truly
        Christian when I followed him? Was my baptism a true baptism?

        The Church had to make a decision on this exact subject back in the 4th Century. Like a case before the Supreme Court today. They ruled that “the unworthiness of the agent does not make the sacrament invalid”; in the case you cited, the baptism would be valid.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy
      September 14, 2014

      Truth in Advertising:

      Any pastor who poses with a tricked-up M4 and/or preaches Second Amendment Sunday with a Glock on his hip should be required to wear red speedos, black hooker boots, a Fu Manchu, and a ponytail while preaching. Because he’s pounding the pulpit of the First Church of Zardoz.

  • Daniel
    September 9, 2014

    Would you argue that defending one’s family is anti-Christian? I get the whole Jim Elliott and his fellow missionaries’ philosophy of not defending themselves because they knew they were going to heaven, but to take another’s life was to, in essence, send them to hell. Fine. If I were a single guy I might buy into that. But I’m not only a Christian secure in my future hope, but I’m also a father with children who have yet to profess faith in Christ. So, say you have a home of teenagers who have not accepted Christ and an intruder breaks into your home and threatens their lives? Are you saying that Christian duty requires you to allow the intruder to assault your family, in essence sending your children to hell, while you stand passively by?

    • Alise
      September 9, 2014

      The assumption here is that deadly force is the only way to defend. But in hostage situations, isn’t the first line of defense some sort of negotiation with the person doing the hostage holding? Choosing not to perpetuate violence isn’t doing nothing. There are active means of non-violence.

      Also, are you prepared to send the person who you’re shooting to hell? Is it less tragic because you don’t know them and you do know your kids? Hell is bad if it’s your own family, not so much if it’s some stranger? That feels like kind of a reach there.

      • Daniel
        September 9, 2014

        Yes, the assumption that I am making here in my scenario is that deadly force is the only way to defend. To be put in that situation definitely is not the norm but it still does happen so I think the question is a fair one. I live not too far from a state park where just a couple of years back a young Christian couple went on a date and they were attacked. The young man was shot and killed, the young woman was then raped and killed. So what about that situation? Was the young man obliged to, in the name of Christ, attempt a negotiation and hope for the best? To say that these type of scenarios that Jesus had in mind when he said that we should “love our enemies” and “turn the other cheek” is the stretch.

        As for your second question…..really? You would really look at your children and say to them “Sorry, I’m going to have to let this evil man kill you because, after all, I care just as much for his eternal state as I do yours and whether you go to hell or him, in the end it really is all the same to me, so I’m sorry you didn’t profess faith in Christ, but lets hope that one day maybe he will and then my passivity will all be worth it”?

        • Alise
          September 9, 2014

          Honestly? I’m not going to look at my kids and think about their eternal salvation at all in that instance – I’m going to be thinking that I don’t want my kids to die because I like having them around right now. Maybe you’re more holy than I am, but I have a hunch that the eternal destination of ANYONE in that situation is of no concern at all. But if it IS for your kids and not for the criminal? I think the idea that one person’s life is more valuable than another’s is just plain evil. And if love your enemies doesn’t apply to an enemy right in your face? Then what on earth is the point?

          And again, non-violence is not doing nothing. People CAN be talked down from violence. It happens. It’s not sitting by and letting someone hurt your family to choose a non-violent path. I’m not saying that one must choose non-violence, but to assume that the only way to stop one guy with a gun is another guy with a bigger gun is just not true. And it’s certainly not biblical.

          • Daniel
            September 9, 2014

            And finally we get to the only point I wanted to get to.

            First, I agree that a concern for the eternal destiny of all is incumbent upon Christians. Of course there is a grieving over the fact that someone who was made an image bearer of their Creator is lost and failing to honor Him. But to say that you are going to care as much for them as for your own children is just silly and I don’t believe the Scriptures can be made to require it otherwise.

            But to the point- you write: “I’m not saying that one must choose non-violence, but to assume that the only way to stop one guy with a gun is another guy with a bigger gun is just not true. And it’s certainly not biblical.”

            I would never argue that the only way to stop someone is with a gun and I would much rather it would not require one (I don’t even own one). However, if it would be conceivably permissible in some to defend one’s family with a gun and it not be, by definition, a sin, then I think this whole post should never have been written. So, for someone so concerned about following Christ, poking fun at fellow believer (even mocking him) for doing something/believing something that is not inherently sinful is Christ-like? We all can do better than this.

          • Daniel
            September 9, 2014

            “conceivably permissible in some cases” is what it should say.

          • Eric Masters
            September 10, 2014

            “But to say that you are going to care as much for them as for your own children is just silly and I don’t believe the Scriptures can be made to require it otherwise.”

            Where are you getting that from scriptures? The only thing I can think of is Matthew 5:43-45 and it says the exact opposite:
            “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?

          • Benjamin L. Corey
            September 10, 2014

            Yup, in addition, the Greek word for hospitality is a combination of Philia (brotherly love) and Xenos, (stranger or enemy). So loving enemies like family actually would be quite biblical.

        • Shay
          September 11, 2014

          God did.

    • Abby Normal
      September 9, 2014

      Ummkay, so you would defend the “unsaved” kids primarily for the purpose of keeping them alive long enough that they can pray the magic prayer and get their heaven ticket punched? What if you’re in a room full of “saved” kids? Getting gunned down is okay because they’re going to heaven?

      Here’s a thought–how about trying to protect the kids regardless of spiritual status because–hello?–THEY’RE KIDS, meaning even the good little Jesus-confessing ones might not be ready to become martyrs just yet.

    • ZackHunt
      September 9, 2014

      I am a Christian and a father. So I’m keenly aware of the implications of taking a position of non-violence.

      But, as Alise, points out you’re conflating non-violence with non-action. You’re also reducing Christianity to an intellectual decision or moment when magic words are uttered. But worse, you’re engaging in Christian shaming without taking the time to actually engage what Jesus said and did in regards to violence. I think my 10 month old daughter is pretty innocent and I confess Jesus even more innocent still. But when this most innocent of innocents was faced with a violent death, he not only chose not to fight violence with more violence, he explicitly told his followers to reject the path of violence as well.

      Don’t get me wrong. When I think about my family and boogyman situations like you describe, I wish Jesus never said that or any of that stuff about loving your enemies, praying for those who persecute you, resisting no evil doer, and turning the cheek. If he had kept his mouth shut, my life would be a lot easier. But he did. Which means I have to wrestle with that call.

      And so do you when you’re creating your hypothetical scenarios.

      Or else you need to explain why following the way of Jesus no longer matters when push comes to shove.

      • Daniel
        September 9, 2014

        So you can mock a fellow believer publicly on your blog but when someone simply asks questions concerning your understanding of the subject at hand that is “shaming”? Nice. I’ll simply repeat my point, if there is ever at time when resorting to a violent means to protect those whom God has entrusted to you, then this whole posting was in poor taste.

        I’m not conflating non-violence with non-action, I’m simply stating the obvious- sometimes non-violence is a non-starter when it comes to protecting one’s family.

        And so are you saying that you cannot ever think of a case when you would resort to violence to protect your 10 month old? The ability to read Jesus as forbidding that is really poor exegesis.

        Speaking of poor exegesis- are you arguing that become a Christian does not involve any “intellectual decision”? I think I’d rather follow Jesus, Peter, Paul, etc. on that one….

        • Abby Normal
          September 9, 2014

          News flash, buddy–you put yourself out there as a leader of some type, getting criticized is part of the job. This guy is not simply a “fellow Christian”–he’s a pastor with people that follow him, who (theoretically) ought to know better.

          And this whole “touch not the Lord’s anointed” business is how we end up with the Gothards of the world.

          • daniel
            September 9, 2014

            Perhaps it would be helpful, not that I would expect anyone to care… I’ve completely lost interest in this conversation myself, but I didn’t read the article on the dude with the guns. I didn’t really care. For all I know, he may have said some stuff that I would have considered absolutely nuts. I was simply responding to what seemed to be a part of the thrust of the post, namely, that self-defense is always wrong. I think that is foolish and a twisting of the biblical text and so I figured I would just try provoke some further thinking on the issue but, absent that, this conversation has run its course.

          • Abby Normal
            September 9, 2014

            Well, don’t get your hoop skirt caught in the door while you stick that flounce, then.

        • mattmcgraw
          September 9, 2014

          I am replying just to say this in answer to your question. There is, in my understanding of Christ’s teaching on love, absolutely NO INSTANCE where killing someone is morally acceptable. Killing someone is ALWAYS sinful. Full stop. You can posit all the hypothetical, imaginary, drug-addled-monster scenarios you want to; killing someone is always wrong

          My 2¢

          Matt

        • ZackHunt
          September 9, 2014

          I didn’t mock you. I criticized what you said. Strong criticism does not equal mockery.

          You’re free to hold whatever beliefs you choose. But as I alluded to in my response, if you are going to portray them as Christian, then you have to seriously engage what Christ actually said and did in regards to violence. You can’t call your position “obvious” when it stands in stark contradiction to the admittedly difficult teaching and example of Jesus. Doing that is not just poor exegesis. It’s no exegesis.

    • Don Lowery
      September 9, 2014

      Daniel…I used to attend a church (before becoming an Anabaptist) where the pastor had no problem with members and attendees openly carrying in church. I brought it up to the pastor that I was uncomfortable with anyone openly carrying in a church. He proceeded to tell me about another church here in Colorado Springs where two girls had been gunned down. This was his argument on why having loaded guns in a church (or anywhere) was a good thing. When I pointed out what Jesus said in Matthew about The Beatitudes and Christians being peacemakers and seeking peace…the pastor just kept saying what if someone comes in here and starts shooting? At this point…there was no use using Jesus to explain why openly carrying was wrong…but I pointed out that just carrying a firearm means you will probably end up shooting someone innocently in the area…shooting yourself or getting shot.
      Then…the pastor at my current church had your scenario happen at his home. Being a lifelong Anabaptist…he came up against the hard truth he and his family could’ve been killed. The choice he made was following Jesus and showing the shooter that his pacifism was the way of following Jesus…NOT hoping and preying your prey with a good shot or a bigger weapon.

    • Sam Carletons
      September 10, 2014

      Daniel, interesting question. I won’t speak for others, but I know in my case I am simply going to follow Christ lead. I will pray to our Father for guidance and have faith that he will provide in a timely fashion. What exactly that provision loos like, I don’t know. What I do know is that love, not violence, is his nature and I am working at making it my nature, too.

      If, for reason unknown he isn’t able to provide for me and/or my family, I rest in the knowledge that his grace is enough for me and my family. I would much prefer my family to see me die at the hands of an enemy while I am at a peace that transcends all understanding rather then see me take another persons life.

      Call me a nut job, but in the end, I have faith that if I and/or my family goes down while we are trying to love our enemy the way Christ did on Good Friday, the like Christ, he will raise us up like he did Christ.

      • Mike
        October 23, 2014

        Amen Sam.
        I studied under this guy for a while at the Christian University I used to attend. Needless to say as I have matured as a Christian violence seems to be more and more antithetical to the Gospel, making it hard to stomach seeing a former professor I looked up to preaching a proactive self-defense so intensely when we are called to love our enemies and to not return evil with evil. It’s a hard road, but that is the only road that leads to Jesus. It’s costly, but there isn’t a way to “follow Jesus” AND be dedicated to killing people who stand in the way of your peace at the same time. I also believe you can be forgiven for killing someone, which also means that killing people is wrong and not something that is in God’s design for the Kingdom. I’m specifically ignoring difficult possible implications (ie what about my loved ones) of this because: (a) I think as a Christian those are the wrong questions to start with and (b) we are called to learn to suffer first.
        Much peace

  • Benjamin L. Corey
    September 9, 2014

    This dude came on my blog once because he was upset I used one of his images in a piece where he twists Luke 22:36 to make it look like Jesus “commanded” we own weapons. I’m guessing he’s making some extra $$ preaching this message since he’s also connected to a self defense company. But hey, three cheers for the exegesis department at Phoenix Seminary.

    • Jim
      September 10, 2014

      Funny. Jesus actually says to buy a sword, not a gun. I wonder where the Biblical literalism got lost in this one.

      • Benjamin L. Corey
        September 10, 2014

        It’s also sad that they only quote half the verse– in the second part, Jesus tells them why he wanted them to bring two swords (and ONLY two swords, which he called “enough”) to his arrest: he said it was to fulfill prophesy that he would be “counted among the law breakers”. Had nothing to do with self defense, but for some reason folks like to cut the verse in half as if it’s some bizarre proof text for modern day weapon bearing.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy
        September 14, 2014

        Joke: “When Jesus spoke against swords, he really meant ‘Wait til the AK-47 is invented’.”

  • Joel Kessler
    September 11, 2014

    Great visual. Shows the contradiction perfectly

  • Amy O'Shaughnessy
    September 12, 2014

    How about instead of tearing each other apart we lift each other up. I am pretty positive that Jesus is less concerned with an image on the internet than he is that we are preaching him to the lost…

  • Ric Peavy
    September 14, 2014

    Hmmm…..using religion to justify one’s political agenda. Kinda like ISIS is doing…

    • Chuck
      September 14, 2014

      As a Christian living in the Middle East I find this post incredibly offensive in it’s ignorance. This guy preaching that it’s ok to defend oneself using weapons is nothing close to what ISIS or other groups in the Middle East are doing to terrorize people and forcefully convert them. I think debates in America would go much much further if people like you would quit using (what to me seems like obvious) hyperbole. When this guy start raping children and cutting off heads or exiling people they won’t convert to Christianity then would be an appropriate time to compare him to ISIS. Until then why not just say, “this doesn’t seem an appropriate teaching for a pastor based on these clear biblical teaching [insert desired argument here].” But this just overplays what this guy is doing and seriously underplays what ISIS is doing.

      • Ric Peavy
        September 14, 2014

        That’s okay. I find your ignorance offensive, too.

        • Guest
          October 12, 2014

          Yeah Ric,Christians haven’t acted like Isis since the Crusades.

          • Ric Peavy
            October 13, 2014

            Quite true. Christians haven’t acted like ISIS since the Crusades.

            Christians follow the teachings of Christ.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy
    September 14, 2014

    “FOR ZARDOZ YOUR GOD GAVE YOU THE GIFT OF THE GUN!
    THE GUN IS GOOD!”

    Analysis of the rifle Pastor Zed of the Church of Zardoz is holding for the interview: Appears to be a retractable-stock AR-15 or M4 with some sort of custom forearm. Not sure why it’s mounting a scope, though. Usually a scope is for long-range precise shooting and that type of rifle is more optimized for close-in, high-volume-of-fire gunfighting.

    In many ways, civilian-modded assault rifles like Pastor Zed is holding are the Muscle Cars of firearms. Once you understand that, a LOT falls right into place.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *