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I would never take a historical Jesus study and use it as a basis for modern ethics. So, even if Jesus said something like, “I came to bring not peace but a sword.” as he does in at least one of the Gospels, and even if his disciples are armed at his arrest, I would just wouldn’t move that into any kind of modern ethical defense of arm bearing, of gun rights, of violence, of the death penalty.
I don’t believe that the historical Jesus supplies either the foundations for Christian theological faith or proper foundations for Christian ethics. We need to derive Christian ethics from the double love commandment because we find it in Jesus, we find it in Paul, we find it all over the place. …The basis of ethics in Christianity is first the love of God and the love of neighbor; and I don’t believe the gun lobby can defend its positions by sincerely saying they’re doing this out of love of neighbor. I believe they’re doing it out of fear, and fear can never be a basis for Christian ethics. Love must always be the basis for Christian ethics.