A Southern Baptist church located in the Texas panhandle has gained some national media attention for its offering of a state concealed handgun license (CHL) class as service to its community.
“This is an opportunity to meet a real need in our county,” Brad Foster, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Dumas wrote in the church newsletter. “From the biblical perspective, we are especially interested as men to be protectors of innocents,” Pastor Foster said. “Jesus has a special place in his heart for children and innocents, and that’s an important role we have to play.”
The 10-hour class to be held March 2 and taught by a state-certified instructor, will cover all aspects of conceal carry law, including safe use of firearms.
Pastor Foster told the Amarillo Globe News the church isn’t making a political statement, “except we don’t mind being associated with being in support of the Second Amendment.”
“The main purpose of this class is to handle a firearm safely and know when to shoot or just be a good witness,” Foster told the newspaper. “There are parameters. You need to know where to carry, where you can’t carry and know you’re responsible for that round.”
A graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary who has served the Dumas church for 13 years, Foster described the event as part of a larger effort to break out of old traditions in order “to better represent the Lord Jesus through new and fresh wineskins.”
He said his church has “always attempted to think outside the box as far as what the needs of the community are,” and firearms training fits with that philosophy.
Jim Edlin, Sunday school director at Calvary and an organizer of the class, said more than half the class enrollees are women.
“Some of them are teachers, and they’re more passionate about it than anyone else,” he told the Amarillo Globe News.
Founded in 1954 with a total membership of 335 and average attendance of 125, Calvary Baptist Church in Dumas is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention and Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.