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Friday, December 10, 2004

Does Capital Punishment Clash with the Bible?

This article was emailed to me, and I find it to be excellent. The research, theory, and clear presentation all come together to show that this article is sound. I personally don't really take a strong stand on the issue of capital punishment. However, I have found it to be rather hypocritical for many "loving Christians" to be so evangelically PRO-death penalty.

I only wish I could watch one of those types read this article and try to explain their case. If you happen to be someone like the abovementioned, let me know what your argument is that the Bible supports the death penalty.

Without further ado, here's the article. Enjoy!


Is capital punishment Biblical?

While many Christians support capital punishment, I have some serious questions . . .If we use the Old Testament as support for capital punishment--shouldn't we support execution for all offenses it lists as capital?

Under the Old Testament law, murder (Numbers 35:16) and rape (Deuteronomy 22:25) were in fact grounds for execution. However to be consistent--if we use the Old Testament as support for capital punishment--shouldn't we support execution for all offenses it lists as capital:

adultery (Leviticus 20:10), homosexual behavior (Leviticus 20:13), kidnapping (Exodus 21:16), loving anything more than God (Leviticusé20:2), occult practices (Exodus 22:18), pre-marital sex (Leviticus 21:9), not observing the Sabbath (Numbers 15:32-36), and striking or slandering a parent (Exodus 21:15, 17)?

Who would be left to pull the switch?!

Under New Testament grace, didn't Christ take our "capital punishment" required under the Law?

"When we were utterly helpless with no way of escape, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners who had no use for him. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since by his blood he did all this for us as sinners, how much more will he do for us now that he has declared us not guilty? Now he will save us from all of God's wrath to come" (Romans 5:6, 8-9)."Well then, are God laws and God's promises against each other? Of course not! If we could be saved by the laws, then God would not have had to give us a different way to get out of the grip of sin--for the Scriptures insist we are all its prisoners. The only way out is through faith in Jesus Christ; the way of escape is open to all who believe in him" (Galatians 3:21-22).

If we still lived under Old Testament Law--not Grace--then, shouldn't the following people deserve execution?

The Woman at the well (John 4:1-42) who was guilty of adultery. The Woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8:1-11).The Christians in Corinth (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NIV) who were formerly "sexually immoral," "idolators," "adulterers," "male prostitutes," and "homosexual offenders"--all of which were capital offences in the Old Testament.

And don't forget, to include everyone of us in that list! "Yes, all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious ideal." " For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 3:23, 6:23 TLB).

I've searched the New Testament for justification for humanly-imposed capital punishment. (God's punishment of unbelievers at Judgment Day is certainly capital!)

What I do find, however, are many passages that warn against judging others, not showing mercy, and mistreating prisoners (Matthew 5:7, 44; 7:2; 25:39-40, 44-45).Admittedly, it is a controversial issue. (And I could be wrong!) But on those issues where there is such disagreement, shouldn't we error on the side of life rather than death?

Adapted from Death & Beyond copyright © 1992 James N. Watkins. All rights reserved.

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