Missouri Church Raffles Two AR-15’s to Bring People to ‘Follow Jesus’


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When I think of real Christian values I think of being caring, forgiving, generous, hopeful, loving, accepting – you know, those values for which Jesus Christ stood.

But apparently for a church in Joplin, Missouri, real Christian values involve raffling off AR-15 rifles.

Because nothing says “good Christian values” quite like a military-style semi-automatic assault rifle.  I’m sure Jesus would approve.

On Father’s Day, Ignite Church, in an effort to lure in more males aged 18-35 to the church, raffled off two AR-15 rifles.

“If we get people in the door, we get to preach the gospel,” Heath Mooneyham, Ignite’s pastor said. “If we can get more people to follow Jesus, I’ll give away 1,000 guns. I don’t care.”

Don’t you just love that mindset?  Who cares how you get people to come to church, just get them to come.

Call me crazy, but I would think the main selling point for a Christian church would be, you know, Christianity.  And if your particular message isn’t working, maybe you need to improve your message.

I’m not sure you can call yourself a “Christian church” if you admit that you’re willing to give away 1,000 guns just to get people to show up.  To me, that’s just a group of people reading from the Bible.  Anyone can do that.

At least not everyone in the area thinks this is a good idea.

Steve Urie, pastor at the Joplin Diversity Fellowship, said, “I think giving away weapons, with all the violence in this country, gives way to new violence.  I don’t think it’s just nontraditional. I think it’s careless and reckless.”

And while I’m not claiming that all guns lead to violence, what kind of message does it send when a church is willing to raffle off lethal weapons in the “name of Jesus Christ.”

Jesus Christ, whether you believe he was real or not, was a representation of many good things.  Advocating for weapons and violence wasn’t among them.  So using guns to lure people to church is ridiculous.

Sadly this isn’t the first time I’ve run across a situation like this.  A few months ago a church in Kentucky also used a gun raffle to lure people to church.

I don’t really care what your stance on guns is, using them to lure people to church is asinine.  And if you really think Jesus Christ would support raffling off guns to bring people to church, you’re out of your mind.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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