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Comments

brian

good job, your arguments are very biblical and i totally agree. but just to see where i stand on the conservative chart what do you think about those who get away with death deserving crimes because if "mental problem" i strongly believe they too deserve the death penalty.i also think that america is "too easy on criminals" these days. maybe we would have fewer if we use the death penalty more. i know, im being very judgemental.

Debi U.

Good blog and amen.
Debi

Audrey

Okay, I heartily disagree that the Bible provides that authorities will/can/should and have the authorization from God to put people to death. I do agree and understand that God has appointed all authorities on the earth, from the biggest to the least. But not all of those authorities know Jesus (over 50%, easily, do not, I would assert), and cannot, therefore, administer justice with Godly wisdom.

My flesh says that yes, I would like to see such monsters as child molesters, murders, etc. put to death, and would still pray and hope for their reconciliation to Jesus before that happens. However, I do not believe that God calls for us to destroy the lives HE ALONE CAN CREATE. Now I know that there are many "gray areas" including provisions for war, etc., but I"m talking about purposeful execution in this case.

In searching for the verses that support my view, I would allow that I found many, many verses about justice, in the Old and New Testaments, and that those who love the LOrd would mete it out fairly. However, looking at the verses I quoted below, how can we ignore "It is mine to avenge; I will repay..." Heb. 10:30?

I understand all of your other arguments, Pastor Shane, and I know there are plenty of verses that you can use to defend your line of thinking, but I cannot ignore "...it is mine to avenge, I will repay." And--appealing only to your "world view" here: what of those that we put to death who are innocent? We have seen several examples of this in the past 20 years...those who were on death row for 10+ years and then found to be innocent by some new DNA testing or a new witness who has come forward, etc. It is very dangerous to put the power of execution into the hands of evil men. Most men/women who make such decisions to excute their peers will not know Jesus as their personal Savior, statistically. Is that Godly justice? I know that God has appointed those men/women to be on that particular jury at that time for that person on the stand, but still... I am not questioning God's omnipotence, omniscience or omnipresence, but instead whether His Word truly supports the death pentalty. After all, we are not the ultimate "judge", HE IS.
(See the verses below.)

Proverbs 29:26 says "Many seek an audience with a ruler, BUT IT IS FROM THE LORD THAT MAN GETS JUSTICE." (caps mine)

Luke 18:8 says "And will not GOD bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?I tell you, HE will see that they get justice, and quickly." (caps mine)

Acts 17:31 "For he has set a day when he will judge the world WITH JUSTICE BY THE MAN HE HAS APPOINTED. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead." (caps mine)

Hebrews 10:30 "For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people." --KJV (NIV version: "30 For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"[a] and again, "The Lord will judge his people.")

snowman

I could not add anything biblical to the argument Pastor Shane. Your point is very well defended. I would ask Audrey that if this was a wrong view point to take, why didn't Jesus clear up the issue himself. There was plenty of capital punishment going on in his day. No instead he upheld the law and said none of it would pass away. I respect the fact that we uphold human life, and that God clearly values it. He also made provision for those who take it, unlawfully. I know some would use the argument that "now we live in the days of grace." However, I think we should remember that grace started all the way back at Adam. God could have destroyed him and Eve right then. So every breath that has been drawn by a human since then has been by grace. However, God still exacted a price for murder evem at that point. God does make provision for JUSTICE, and that is the established government. The death penalty for most is just the begining of judgemnt. If the offender does not repent before execution he still has the last judgement to face when all offenders of God will be brought to justice.We should also remember that this is not a man made law. To do anything else, would be disobedience on our part.

Shane

Audrey,

Thanks for your comments. As you know, I always welcome the opinions of those who disagree with me. And, as I mentioned in the blog, I am more than willing to debate this issue, particularly with someone like you who understands the inspiration and authority of Scripture. With that said….
I would first point out that you mentioned several Bible verses….but never addressed the verses I cited in the blog. Romans 13:4 easily stands alone for a Scriptural defense of Capital punishment meted out BY A NON-CHRISTIAN GOVERNMENT. Notice what Paul says: “But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it (the government) does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.” (Romans 13:4 NASB)
Notice that Paul is speaking to Christians living under ROMAN RULE. The Roman government was hardly a group of born-again Christian Governors….in fact you would be hard pressed to find a more pagan and Godless group. YET, Paul calls them “ministers of God who bring wrath upon those who practice evil.”
You had mentioned that you cannot ignore Hebrews 10:30….what about Romans 13:4? You can’t ignore that one either because they’re both Scriptural…..and they go hand in hand. Vengeance DOES belong to the Lord….and He frequently uses men (including governments) to execute that vengeance. In fact, Hebrews 10:30, which is the main verse your case is built on, is actually a verse that SUPPORTS Capital Punishment…when you read it in context. Go back two verses to Hebrews 10:28 and read the whole thing: It says, “Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY." And again, "THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE." It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 10:28-31 (NASB)
The writer of Hebrews is pointing out the BIBLICAL and GOD-ORDAINED mandate for MEN to carry out the death penalty “without mercy” upon those who are convicted. “Vengeance is mine, I will repay” is addressing the eternal judgment that these people will encounter on the other side when they “fall into the hands of the living God.” Rather than being a verse that opposes Capital Punishment, that passage is actually one of the biggest New Testament defenses of it.
You had mentioned that those who aren’t born again Christians are unable to provide Godly justice….and that’s simply not true. If the laws of the land are just, and the authorities are carrying them out….then they are (as Romans 13:4 says) “God’s appointed avengers” even though they themselves may be “Hell-bound” in an eternal sense because of their lostness. Even a cursory look at the Old Testament will provide MULTITUDES of examples where God used pagan, Godless, and evil empires to JUDGE Israel. Habakkuk 1 in only one example of this as God used the Chaldeans to judge (and kill) Judeans.
You mentioned your “flesh” wanted to see monsters (child molesters, murderers, etc.) put to death. Audrey, I want to suggest to you that that’s not your flesh, that’s your God-given conscience telling you they deserve to be put to death. And Scripture supports that. Ultimately, all judgment originates with God. But God does use people to execute the temporal judgments (such as Capital Punishment)….though He will eternally judge all who are not in Christ, in the end.
As for the DNA issue…..nobody wants to see innocent people put to death. But shall we “throw the baby out with the bathwater” and ignore the mandate to execute based upon the few who may have been executed wrongly? In fact, the DNA issue only strengthens the case for Capital Punishment. Now, we can know with even greater certainty, someone’s guilt, and carry out the laws of the land….or we can know their innocence and exonerate them. Either way, justice is served. But just because someone was put to death wrongly in the past, doesn’t mean cold-blooded killers should be spared, when their guilt is obvious, and their crime is worthy of death.
Once again, I encourage you to read Romans 13:4, and read Hebrews 10:28-31 again and see where it leads you. I certainly respect your stance….but ultimately I don’t think it holds water. Thanks again for your comments. I hope this clarification helps. If not, let me know.

God Bless,
Shane

Audrey

Obviously I need to do some more Bible Study, I humbly admit.

Annie

Shane, I say AMEN to it all, I am a little behind in my blog reading but I just had to say, I too think that the death penalty needs to be given to other criminals if they did then we wouldn't have so many 2nd and 3rd and 4th ect. offenders on our hands, it is like they just slap them on the wrist and say quit it. why don't they just give them a get out of jail free card for the next time (and it will)it happens. I feel that when Saddam Hussein was executed it was JUST and I to shudder to think what his tourment in hell is and will be for eternity. I just pray that our goverment will use it more and the perversions of this world will come to CHRIST and repent of their sins, before it is to late!! TODAY IS THE DAY

P.S. I AM SO GLAD THAT WE CHRISTIANS CAN HAVE THESE DEBATES AND NOT START A WAR OF WORDS, THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING SO RESPECTFUL TO OTHERS OPINIONS

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