Really? Kentucky Baptist Convention Giving Away Guns to Bring People to Jesus
The Kentucky Baptist Convention is outreaching to the unchurched by offering them guns. Calling the evangelistic giveaway an “outreach to rednecks,” the Kentucky Baptist Convention communication director Roger Alford explained that luring in people through guns is an effective way of starting a conversation about Christ.
Describing it as a modern alternative to revivals, last year nearly 1,700 men gave a “profession of faith” at 50 Second Amendment Celebration events held around Kentucky, according to the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s team leader for evangelism Chuck McAlister. Back for the second year, the next event, to be held on Thursday at a Kentucky church, is expected to draw 1000 men and will feature free steak dinners and gun giveaways.
“You have to know the hook that will attract people, and hunting is huge in Kentucky,” McAlister said. “So we get in there and burp and scratch and talk about the right to bear arms and that stuff.”
When asked if he thought Jesus would support raffling off a lethal weapon in his name, McAlister said he was not sure. “I don’t know, but he was pretty handy with the whip when he ran the money-changers out of the temple,” he pointed out.
During the rallies, McAlister, who also serves as host, is also not shy about going political, using his time on the stage to talk about his opposition to gun control. “It’s not the gun, it’s the man behind the gun,” he at a recent pro-gun event, “and criminals don’t care about a bunch of rules.”
Not all clergy though agree that a gun-slinging rally that mixes politics with God-talk is the way to bring people to Jesus or explain Christianity to non-believers.
“Giveaways for God” seem wrong, Rev. Joe Phelps, pastor of Louisville’s independent Highland Baptist Church said. “Can you picture Jesus giving away guns, or toasters or raffle tickets? … He gave away bread once, but that was as a sign, not a sales pitch.”
Fellow pastor and former director of the Kentucky Council of Churches Nancy Jo Kemper agreed. “Churches should not be encouraging people in their communities to arm themselves against their neighbors, but to love their neighbors, as instructed by Jesus,” she said, adding, The followers of Jesus are meant to build the kingdom of God on Earth [where] everyone can live in peace.”
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