Category Archives: Capital Punishment

Adrian Rogers: Is capital punishment contrary to the word of God?

Adrian Rogers – Does a Loving God Believe in Capital Punishment?

Published on Mar 30, 2012

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Another great article by Adrian Rogers.

Is capital punishment contrary to the word of God?

Scripture tells us that human government is ordained and set up by God. It is very clear in Romans 13:1, “For there is no power but of God: and the powers that be are ordained of God.” And the powers that be are to act for God in the administration of human affairs.

While no individual is allowed to take vengeance for himself (Rom. 12:19), government is ordained of God to act for God as a minister to take vengeance. The Bible says in Romans 13:4, “For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”

The government is ordained of God and one thing that the government does is to bear the sword. Look if you will in Rom. 13:4, “he beareth not the sword in vain.” He is talking about the instrument of death. Is capital punishment, therefore, ordained of God? May I say it is.

Some have the idea that capital punishment would contradict the Ten Commandments. But it does not. Exodus 20:13 says, “Thou shalt not kill.” But Genesis 21:12 says, “He that smiteth a man so that he die, shall surely be put to death.” When the Bible says, “Thou shalt not kill,” it is literally translated, thou shalt do no murder. It does not mean that you should not execute a murderer. The Bible is quite clear on this point. We need to understand that the Bible does not forbid capital punishment. As a matter of fact, God has ordained capital punishment because He loves us.

Romans 12:9 says, “Let love be without dissimulation.” That means real love is without hypocrisy. God is a god of love, but not of weak sentiment. God realizes there must be a restraint upon sin. Softness to the criminal is cruelty to the community. God loves people and because God loves people, God hates sin and God hates crime. God is too good not to punish crime. If God ceased to punish sin, God would cease to be holy. And God would cease to be good. Because God is love and because of the welfare of society, God has ordained capital punishment.

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Reasons for Capital Punishment

I love to read the works of Greg Koukl and I listen to his radio program often. This article below is actually from his radio program.

Reasons for Capital Punishment  

Gregory Koukl

There’s a reason both the Old and the New Testaments promote capital punishment. That reason was applicable then and still applies today.divider

Apparently, Jesse Jackson made some comments on “Meet the Press” this morning referring to the possibility of capital punishment for Timothy McVeigh. He said, allegedly, that executing McVeigh would just be a trophy that the people of Oklahoma City would like to get in their trophy case to make them feel better.Jackson should have been ashamed of his comment. To refer the punishment of a man who is a convicted killer of 168 citizens of Oklahoma City by those who are deeply interested in justice as simply a quest for trophies is an insult to every person who lost a loved one in that explosion. It’s an absolute insult, and it should be an insult to every clear-thinking American.Capital punishment is not about getting trophies in any trophy case, any more than life imprisonment is about putting man in a cage as a trophy in a human zoo. It’s about justice. What the people in Oklahoma City want– and all Americans who are in favor of capital punishment for a man who violently snuffed out the lives of 168 people– is not a trophy. They want justice.I’m actually stunned, to be honest with you, that there are so many Christians who oppose capital punishment on biblical grounds. It ought to be clear to anyone familiar with the biblical record that God is not against capital punishment. It was His idea. He started it.Go back to Genesis 9:6 and you’ll find this: “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.”

You see, the crime of murder is not principally based on the idea that you robbed a person of his life. That confuses the Fifth Commandment with the Seventh Commandment: “Thou shalt not steal.” It’s wrong to take someone else’s possessions, including his life.

No, murder is not a crime of theft, but of destruction. We have destroyed the life of one made in the image of God . God says such a crime deserves the most extreme punishment. You take a life, you surrender your own life.

By the way, read through the Old Testament and you’ll find 21 different offenses that called for the death penalty. Only three include an actual or potential capital offense by our current definition. Six are for religious offenses, ten are for various moral issues, and two relate to ceremonial issues.

So if you’re going to call anybody frivolous about using capital punishment, you can start with God. God instituted it for a wide range of offenses, not just murder. But it included murder, and would certainly be justified, in God’s eyes, for someone who murdered 168 people.

I’m not suggesting we reinstate capital punishment for the offenses of the Old Testament or even that capital punishment is obligatory. I am saying that it’s a moral alternative that is, at least in principle, totally approved by God.

Some feel that even though capital punishment was approved in the Old Testament, the New Testament has changed all of that. I will tell you why that is not a good way to argue. They say Jesus, or some teaching in the New Testament, has somehow changed that. My response is, “Where?”

Actually, capital punishment is strongly assumed in the New Testament. In Romans 13, Paul argues that governing authorities are set there by God. He says, “If you do what is evil, be afraid, for the government does not bear the sword for nothing, for it is minister of God and avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.” God ordains the governing authorities, and those governing authorities have a God-ordained responsibility to execute justice with the sword.

Peter says in 1 Peter 2:13-14 that these authorities were sent by God for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do right.

People say, “Well capital punishment is just revenge.” My response is they’re right in a sense. It is revenge. In fact, it’s just revenge. It’s God’s vengeance based on justice, executed through the machinery of government that God ordained.

Paul uses the word “sword” here. I don’t think he had in mind paddling people with the broad side of the sword. No, capital punishment is in view here as a proper tool government would use to express the vengeance of God in a just fashion against gratuitous evil. That’s the biblical teaching.

What about Jesus? Some say Jesus’ ethic of love and forgiveness requires us to end the death penalty. This was the appeal Mother Theresa made when Robert Alton Harris was facing the gas chamber here in California. She appealed to the governor saying Jesus would forgive.

With no disrespect towards Mother Theresa, I think her comments were mistaken because her view simply proves too much. What should be done instead with capital criminals? Should we put them in prison for the rest of their lives? But Jesus would forgive. Should we put them in prison for ten years? But Jesus would forgive. Should we put a murderer in prison for one day? But Jesus would forgive.

You see, if this argument works it becomes justification for the abolishment of any kind of punishment whatsoever. This argument proves too much.

Further, that Jesus would forgive is a different issue from whether the governmentshould forgive. God can forgive evil. That doesn’t mean the government should forgive it in terms of its exercise of justice.

In fact, Jesus never challenged the validity of the death penalty when He had perfect opportunity to do so. Even in John 8, with the woman caught in adultery, he never challenged the death penalty itself. He didn’t enforce it under what seemed to be an unjust situation because all the witnesses fled. Remember, Jesus said, “Is there no one here to condemn you? Then neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” The Law required witnesses to convict someone.

Jesus did not speak against the death penalty here. It was required by law. Jesus upheld the law. He just realized there was a nasty situation of injustice that was going on and so He found some other way to get around it.

And when Jesus was on the cross He asked God to forgive, not Caesar. He never suggested that capital punishment was inappropriate.

I think that we have to argue for the coherence and consistency of both Testaments on this issue. The question is not, “Was Jesus right or was Moses right?” The question is trying to find a way to bring them all together. Clearly, there was no abrogation of capital punishment in the New Testament.

In fact, if you recall Paul in the book of Acts (25:11) made this appeal for his life: “If then I am a wrongdoer, and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die; but if none of those things is true of which these men accuse me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar.” Paul didn’t take exception with capital punishment, even for himself. His point was that he wasn’t guilty, not that capital punishment was wrong.

Which, by the way, brings us to another point that Mr. Jackson raised this morning on TV. He said Jesus was crucified. Jesus died at capital punishment. To which I respond, “So? What follows from that is…what? The significance of that is…what?” The answer is: nothing. The issue regarding Jesus was not capital punishment, but his innocence. In Acts 2, Peter condemns the act of handing over the innocentJesus to godless executioners.

Now, God’s mercy is always available in God’s court. But man’s court is another matter, ladies and gentlemen. It is governed by different biblical responsibilities. So one can’t say that capital punishment is patently immoral on biblical grounds. It just isn’t. There’s a good reason why. It has to do with something I explained very carefully to the man who interviewed me for US New and World Report on this very issue.

Capital punishment is important. The Bible–Old and New Testament–is for it, not against it. There is nothing in the New Testament that would give us any reason to think otherwise. In fact, it presumes capital punishment in many places.

I was listening a couple of years ago to KABC and talk show host Michael Jackson. He was making the point that capital punishment never works. And of course, he’s thinking of it as a deterrent.

My response is, capital punishment works every time. Every time it’s used, the prisoner dies.

You see, the reason for capital punishment is obviously not to rehabilitate somebody. The deterrent may be a secondary factor. But that isn’t why we use capital punishment. We use capital punishment to punishsomeone (pardon me for stating the obvious).

You see, all of this relates to your view of what human beings are. If human beings are machines determined either by genetics or by environment, then what do you do when a machine goes bad? You fix it. And if you can’t fix it, you throw it away. That’s the basis behind the rehabilitation idea. And of course, the throwaway mentality we see in a lot of other ethical areas.

however, if you think that human beings are personal creatures capable of choosing and, therefore, have moral responsibilities–when they do good we praise them, (which everybody wants), and when they do bad we punish them–then punishment makes sense. Punishment of all kinds. Even capital punishment.

Human beings are moral creatures who either deserve praise or blame depending on the circumstances–when they choose well, we praise them and when they violate a serious moral mandate, we punish them. (When we praise and blame, by the way, in both cases we’re expressing respect for the dignity of man in virtue of the fact that human beings are made in the image of God and have the capability of choosing.)

Punishment may range from a parking ticket to death. What determines which punishment? An ancient principle called lex taliones , “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth”–the point being that the punishment must fit the crime. If somebody steals a loaf of bread, we don’t whack their arm off.

By the same token, if somebody kills 168 people, we don’t just put him in a cage for the rest of his life. He took 168 human lives! He should be punished in a way that fits his crime. He should sacrifice his own life.

That’s the basic question: What is a human being? I think he’s a free moral agent. If he is, then we should praise him when he does well. But if he doesn’t, then he deserves to be punished, and the punishment should fit the crime.

 

This is a transcript of a commentary from the radio show“Stand to Reason,” with Gregory Koukl. It is made available to you at no charge through the faithful giving of those who support Stand to Reason. Reproduction permitted for non-commercial use only. ©1997 Gregory Koukl

For more information, contact Stand to Reason at 1438 East 33rd St., Signal Hill, CA 90755
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Cato Institute criticizes Arkansas’ three freshman congressmen

I have written over and over and over about the arguments concerning raising the debt ceiling, and I have been waiting for this subject to come up again. It did on September 13, 2012.

I have to agree with Tad DeHaven of the Cato Institute that  the CR vote represented a test for Republican freshmen, a.k.a., the “Tea Party Class” and I am afraid that our three Republican Congressman from Arkansas flunked the test:

How GOP Freshmen Voted on Continuing Resolution

Posted by Tad DeHaven

Yesterday, the House passed a continuing resolution that will keep the government funded for the next six months. Republicans and Democrats were eager to avoid a budget fight—and possibly a government shutdown—with little more than a month to go before the elections. With that potential distraction out of the way, the two sides can now focus on convincing voters that their brand of big government is the superior choice.

Politico has a good breakdown of the CR’s contents. Here are a couple of snippets:

[The continuing resolution] restores the higher spending targets set in the Budget Control Act—and with such haste and pique—that billions will go out without any distinction between the merits of different programs. Labor, health, and education spending that’s so often targeted for cuts by the GOP will grow by close to $1 billion. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission budget, the bane of anti-regulatory forces, inches up again, albeit far less than the White House requested…

The new top line for non-emergency appropriations will be $1.047 trillion, an $8 billion increase over what the Congressional Budget Office estimates is the current rate of spending… But in their desire to keep the bill simple—and move fast—Republicans opted to distribute most of the increase, $5.9 billion, through a mechanical formula that automatically ups most accounts by 0.612 percent.

As Roll Call noted earlier in the week, the CR vote represented a test for Republican freshmen, a.k.a., the “Tea Party Class”:

The defining narrative of this Congress has been deficit reduction, pushed mostly by an anti-government-spending class of 87 freshman House Republicans. But as November inches closer, Members will have to balance their promises to slash spending against the reality that a shutdown could be an irreversible gamble in their bid to win back the Senate and White House. For his part, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) seems optimistic, having recently said the group has “matured.”

After the jump, the table shows that only 28 of the 87 Republican freshmen—32 percent—voted against the CR. (A “yes” means they voted against the CR.) I guess that means that, per John Boehner, those 28 members have maturity issues.

________
Here is a clip from Tim Griffin concerning the first debt ceiling vote back in the summer of 2011. Griffin did not join the 66 brave Republicans that stuck with the Tea Party and voted against the debt ceiling increase but he voted to increase it.
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What does the Bible say about capital punishment?

The Bible talks about a lot of subjects and capital punishment is one of them. Greg Koukl has a radio show that I listen to on American Family Radio every Sunday afternoon. His grasp of these biblical issues is very good and I highly recommend his website www.str.org too. I have read hundreds of his articles and he knows what he is talking about.

The Bible and Capital Punishment

By Gregory Koukl

divider

I. The Bible and Capital Punishment

A. Capital punishment was commanded by God in the Old Testament.

1. It preceded the Mosaic Law.

Gen 9:6 Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.

2. It was based on the dignity of man, i.e. man’s transcendent value.

Gen 9:6 Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.

3. It was commanded in the Mosaic Law.

a. Twenty-one different offenses called for the death penalty in the Old Testament.

b. Only three include an actual or potential capital offense, by our standards.

c. Six are for religious offenses.

d. Ten are for various moral issues.

e. Two relate to ceremonial issues.

4. “But King David wasn’t put to death for his capital crimes.”

a. David understood what justice demanded in this case: “As the Lord lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die.” 2 Sam 12:5

b. If God chose to set aside punishment, that doesn’t mean the punishment is unjust when it is executed. God was the one who required capital punishment in many instances.

B. Capital punishment was assumed in the New Testament.

1. God ordains governing authorities:

a. Jn 19:11 Jesus answered [to Pilate], “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above.”

b. Rom 13:1-2 Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore, he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.

c. 1 Pet 2:13-14 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.

2. Those governments may practice capital punishment.

a. Rom 13:3-4 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil.

b. Acts 25:11 If then I am a wrongdoer, and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die; but if none of those things is true of which these men accuse me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar.

C. Jesus’ ethic of love and forgiveness doesn’t disallow capital punishment.

1. “But Jesus would forgive.”

a. This argument proves too much.

1) It becomes an argument against any punishment what-so-ever.
2) What should we do with the criminal we’ve forgiven?
a) Life in prison instead of capital punishment?
b) But Jesus would forgive.

b. Jesus never challenged the validity of the death penalty.

1) In Jn 8:3-11, for example, there were no witnesses left to testify against the woman caught in adultery (the Law required at least two witnesses).
2) Jesus actually upheld the Law here, He didn’t abrogate it, but He did so in a way that wouldn’t allow the evil designs of the Scribes and Pharisees to be accomplished.

c. Jesus asked God to forgive, not Caesar; He didn’t suggest civil punishment or capital punishment was inappropriate.

d. We must argue for the coherence and consistency of both Testaments.

1) The question is not, “Was Jesus right or was Moses right?”
2) We must also factor in Paul and Peter.

2. “Jesus was crucified.”

a. I’m not sure what the point is here? Yes, Jesus was the victim of capital punishment, but what follows from that?

b. The real issue regarding Jesus was not capital punishment, but His innocence.

1) Peter assails the act of handing over an innocent man to godless executioners.
2) Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know–this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. (Acts 2:22-23)

3. But what about forgiveness?

a. God’s mercy is always available in His court.

b. Man’s court is another matter, governed by different biblical responsibilities.

D. One simply can’t say that capital punishment is patently immoral on biblical grounds.

1. Jesus did not “abolish the Law,”

He fulfilled it, but not in the sense that all laws are wiped from the books. Then we would have no punishment for any biblical crimes.

2. Matt 5:17-19

Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven.


II. Retributionism vs. Rehabilitationism

A. Each position is based on a particular view of man.

1. Rehabilitationism

a. Man is man sick, needing healing.

b. Man is a machine needing fixing.

2. Retributionism

a. Man is a free moral agent who makes choices for which he can be held responsible for.

b. Man is worthy of praise, resulting in reward, or blame, deserving punishment.

B. The case for retributionism

1. Man a free moral agent.

a. He is capable of choosing good or bad behavior.

b. He may be influenced by his environment, but not ultimately controlled by it.

c. We have an immediate awareness of our moral natures, that we freely make moral choices.

d. It seems to make sense to praise and reward good behavior. If we’re not responsible for our choices neither blame nor praise make any sense.

e. If we are not free agents, then we are determined and therefore not responsible for our behavior, either good or bad. B.F. Skinner was right; we’ve got to bite the bullet and realize that we’re “beyond freedom and dignity.”

2. Crime is not pathological, deserving rehabilitation, but moral, deserving punishment.

a. The goal of justice is penal, not remedial, moral, not therapeutic.

b. Two purposes of capital punishment:

1) Justice demands punishment of the guilty.
2) Goodness demands protecting the innocent in society.

a) “Capital punishment is to the whole society what self-defense is to the individual.” The Ethics of Life and Death J.P. Moreland, p. 115.
b) Dennis Prager: “We have a war going on here between murderers and society, but only one side is allowed to kill.”

3. The punishment should fit the crime (lex talionis).

4. Capital punishment fits capital crimes (crimes that involve the loss of life).

C. Objections to retributionism

1. Arguments that prove too much.

a. Many arguments against capital punishment prove too much because they apply with equal force against any punishment at all.

b. “Capital punishment is applied unfairly.”

1) Even if this were true, the injustice here applies to those that got away, not to those that got punished. It’s never unjust to punish a guilty man if the punishment itself fits the crime (lex talionis). The injustice is remedied by applying it more often, not less.
2) Better unequal justice than no justice at all.
3) If one man is paid for a job (he gets what he deserves) and another isn’t, how do you rectify the inequity? You don’t take away what the first man deserves, withholding his pay because the second man didn’t get paid. That would double the injustice.

c. “Innocent people get condemned.”

1) This is a criticism of any system of justice, not a particular type of punishment. Life is flawed, not capital punishment.
2) Why must we accept a philosophy that says it’s better for 100 guilty people to go free than for one innocent person to be condemned?
3) Guilty people repeat crimes that injure and even kill other innocent people.
4) “But death can’t be undone.” No punishment can be undone.
5) Our attempts at improving justice here must be at the level of the process of adjudication making any determination of guilt more trustworthy.

2. Other objections:

a. “How can you be for capital punishment but against abortion” (the “seamless garment” argument)?

1) The term “Pro-life” is actually a misnomer. Our case is not for every one’s life or every form of life. Pro-lifer’s are against the unjust taking of innocent human life, particularly the life of the unborn child.
2) The right to life is not an absolute; it can be forfeited. This moral right is only prima facie; it stands only until challenged by some greater law, like justice or protecting the lives of the innocent.
3) We also have a right to freedom, but it can be properly overridden with incarceration when certain conditions are met.
4) An unborn child has committed no crime that forfeits its life.

b. “Capital punishment is cruel and unusual.”

1) It’s not cruel and unusual, but rather the exact punishment that fits the crime.
2) This is an appeal to the language of the Bill of Rights, but the ones who wrote those words believed in capital punishment. If one wants to redefine the term for modern times, then he cannot argue from the Bill of Rights itself, because that has the old definition.

c. “Capital punishment doesn’t work; it doesn’t deter crime.”

1) It always deters the offender. Dead people don’t commit more crimes.
2) If it lacks in deterrence, it might be because it is not widely exercised or not done speedily enough to be a threat.
3) The principal goal of capital punishment is not deterrence, but punishment. In that way it works every time.

d. “Why not a life sentence?”

1) Confuses a life sentence with a death sentence.
2) It’s unjust (doesn’t fit the crime) because the criminal only loses liberty, not life.

e. “This kind of death is undignified.”

1) In one sense, all death is undignified.
2) Argues only against certain aggravated forms of capital punishment and not capital punishment itself.
3) In the final analysis, the question is not the dignity of death, but its equity or justice.

f. “There’s no opportunity of to reform the criminal.” Justice is the goal of punishment, not reform.

g. “Capital punishment violates human dignity.”

1) It is specifically because of man’s value and dignity that we punish his moral wrongdoing. We don’t punish animals for stealing or killing (we don’t punish them, we remove them for our safety).
2) We hold men morally responsible because of dignity.
3) “It is based on the assumption that normal adult beings are rational and moral beings who knew better, who could have done otherwise, but yet who chose to do evil anyway, and who therefore deserve to be punished.” JPM p. 118
4) Arguably it is undignified to force rehabilitation on free moral agents who don’t want it.

h. Roman Catholic objections

1) The Catholic position against capital punishment is somewhat ironic given their position on purgatory, in which even when God forgives a sinner, still he must suffer for his own sins.
2) What of the practice of penance?

©1994 Gregory Koukl. Reproduction permitted for non-commercial use only.
For more information, contact Stand to Reason at 1438 East 33rd St., Signal Hill, CA 90755
(800) 2-REASON (562) 595-7333 www.str.org

Brummett wrong on Capital Punishment

John Brummett on Sept 18, 2011 commented :

…that the debate audience had cheered and whistled the week before at the Reagan library. It happened when a questioner related that 234 death row inmates had been executed in Rick Perry’s gubernatorial tenure in Texas, far more than in any other state.

The question to Perry, after the death glee subsided, was whether he agonized about any of that. He said no, not at all.

How could he have dared to say otherwise? This is no time for a Republican presidential hopeful to stand before a contemporary conservative audience in America and go all wobbly on death and killing.

_____________________

I am a Christian. It is my view that capital punishment is clearly taught in the Bible. I think if Brummett got his way then possibly more prison guards would be killed because capital punishment woujld be banned. Or we would get a crazy society like Norway that allows mass murderers out in 7 years. Below is an article that makes this clear. Also I do believe it is a deterrent. Greg Koukl rightly noted, “I was listening a couple of years ago to KABC and talk show host Michael Jackson. He was making the point that capital punishment never works. And of course, he’s thinking of it as a deterrent. My response is, capital punishment works every time. Every time it’s used, the prisoner dies.”

Also I agree with Koukl that in the case of the Oklahoma City Bombing the murderer deserved to die. The same should be said about this case in Norway!!!

Reasons for Capital Punishment

Gregory Koukl

There’s a reason both the Old and the New Testaments promote capital punishment. That reason was applicable then and still applies today.divider

Apparently, Jesse Jackson made some comments on “Meet the Press” this morning referring to the possibility of capital punishment for Timothy McVeigh. He said, allegedly, that executing McVeigh would just be a trophy that the people of Oklahoma City would like to get in their trophy case to make them feel better.Jackson should have been ashamed of his comment. To refer the punishment of a man who is a convicted killer of 168 citizens of Oklahoma City by those who are deeply interested in justice as simply a quest for trophies is an insult to every person who lost a loved one in that explosion.It’s an absolute insult, and it should be an insult to every clear-thinking American.Capital punishment is not about getting trophies in any trophy case, any more than life imprisonment is about putting man in a cage as a trophy in a human zoo. It’s about justice. What the people in Oklahoma City want– and all Americans who are in favor of capital punishment for a man who violently snuffed out the lives of 168 people– is not a trophy. They want justice.I’m actually stunned, to be honest with you, that there are so many Christians who oppose capital punishment on biblical grounds. It ought to be clear to anyone familiar with the biblical record that God is not against capital punishment. It was His idea. He started it.Go back to Genesis 9:6 and you’ll find this: “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.”

You see, the crime of murder is not principally based on the idea that you robbed a person of his life. That confuses the Fifth Commandment with the Seventh Commandment: “Thou shalt not steal.” It’s wrong to take someone else’s possessions, including his life.

No, murder is not a crime of theft, but of destruction. We have destroyed the life of one made in the image of God . God says such a crime deserves the most extreme punishment. You take a life, you surrender your own life.

By the way, read through the Old Testament and you’ll find 21 different offenses that called for the death penalty. Only three include an actual or potential capital offense by our current definition. Six are for religious offenses, ten are for various moral issues, and two relate to ceremonial issues.

So if you’re going to call anybody frivolous about using capital punishment, you can start with God. God instituted it for a wide range of offenses, not just murder. But it included murder, and would certainly be justified, in God’s eyes, for someone who murdered 168 people.

I’m not suggesting we reinstate capital punishment for the offenses of the Old Testament or even that capital punishment is obligatory. I am saying that it’s a moral alternative that is, at least in principle, totally approved by God.

Some feel that even though capital punishment was approved in the Old Testament, the New Testament has changed all of that. I will tell you why that is not a good way to argue. They say Jesus, or some teaching in the New Testament, has somehow changed that. My response is, “Where?”

Actually, capital punishment is strongly assumed in the New Testament. In Romans 13, Paul argues that governing authorities are set there by God. He says, “If you do what is evil, be afraid, for the government does not bear the sword for nothing, for it is minister of God and avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.” God ordains the governing authorities, and those governing authorities have a God-ordained responsibility to execute justice with the sword.

Peter says in 1 Peter 2:13-14 that these authorities were sent by God for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do right.

People say, “Well capital punishment is just revenge.” My response is they’re right in a sense. It is revenge. In fact, it’s justrevenge. It’s God’s vengeance based on justice, executed through the machinery of government that God ordained.

Paul uses the word “sword” here. I don’t think he had in mind paddling people with the broad side of the sword. No, capital punishment is in view here as a proper tool government would use to express the vengeance of God in a just fashion against gratuitous evil. That’s the biblical teaching.

What about Jesus? Some say Jesus’ ethic of love and forgiveness requires us to end the death penalty. This was the appeal Mother Theresa made when Robert Alton Harris was facing the gas chamber here in California. She appealed to the governor saying Jesus would forgive.

With no disrespect towards Mother Theresa, I think her comments were mistaken because her view simply proves too much. What should be done instead with capital criminals? Should we put them in prison for the rest of their lives? But Jesus would forgive. Should we put them in prison for ten years? But Jesus would forgive. Should we put a murderer in prison for one day? But Jesus would forgive.

You see, if this argument works it becomes justification for the abolishment of any kind of punishment whatsoever. This argument proves too much.

Further, that Jesus would forgive is a different issue from whether the governmentshould forgive. God can forgive evil. That doesn’t mean the government should forgive it in terms of its exercise of justice.

In fact, Jesus never challenged the validity of the death penalty when He had perfect opportunity to do so. Even in John 8, with the woman caught in adultery, he never challenged the death penalty itself. He didn’t enforce it under what seemed to be an unjust situation because all the witnesses fled. Remember, Jesus said, “Is there no one here to condemn you? Then neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” The Law required witnesses to convict someone.

Jesus did not speak against the death penalty here. It was required by law. Jesus upheld the law. He just realized there was a nasty situation of injustice that was going on and so He found some other way to get around it.

And when Jesus was on the cross He asked God to forgive, not Caesar. He never suggested that capital punishment was inappropriate.

I think that we have to argue for the coherence and consistency of both Testaments on this issue. The question is not, “Was Jesus right or was Moses right?” The question is trying to find a way to bring them all together. Clearly, there was no abrogation of capital punishment in the New Testament.

In fact, if you recall Paul in the book of Acts (25:11) made this appeal for his life: “If then I am a wrongdoer, and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die; but if none of those things is true of which these men accuse me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar.” Paul didn’t take exception with capital punishment, even for himself. His point was that he wasn’t guilty, not that capital punishment was wrong.

Which, by the way, brings us to another point that Mr. Jackson raised this morning on TV. He said Jesus was crucified. Jesus died at capital punishment. To which I respond, “So? What follows from that is…what? The significance of that is…what?” The answer is: nothing. The issue regarding Jesus was not capital punishment, but his innocence. In Acts 2, Peter condemns the act of handing over the innocentJesus to godless executioners.

Now, God’s mercy is always available in God’s court. But man’s court is another matter, ladies and gentlemen. It is governed by different biblical responsibilities. So one can’t say that capital punishment is patently immoral on biblical grounds. It just isn’t. There’s a good reason why. It has to do with something I explained very carefully to the man who interviewed me for US New and World Report on this very issue.

Capital punishment is important. The Bible–Old and New Testament–is for it, not against it. There is nothing in the New Testament that would give us any reason to think otherwise. In fact, it presumes capital punishment in many places.

I was listening a couple of years ago to KABC and talk show host Michael Jackson. He was making the point that capital punishment never works. And of course, he’s thinking of it as a deterrent.

My response is, capital punishment works every time. Every time it’s used, the prisoner dies.

You see, the reason for capital punishment is obviously not to rehabilitate somebody. The deterrent may be a secondary factor. But that isn’t why we use capital punishment. We use capital punishment to punishsomeone (pardon me for stating the obvious).

You see, all of this relates to your view of what human beings are. If human beings are machines determined either by genetics or by environment, then what do you do when a machine goes bad? You fix it. And if you can’t fix it, you throw it away. That’s the basis behind the rehabilitation idea. And of course, the throwaway mentality we see in a lot of other ethical areas.

however, if you think that human beings are personal creatures capable of choosing and, therefore, have moral responsibilities–when they do good we praise them, (which everybody wants), and when they do bad we punish them–then punishment makes sense. Punishment of all kinds. Even capital punishment.

Human beings are moral creatures who either deserve praise or blame depending on the circumstances–when they choose well, we praise them and when they violate a serious moral mandate, we punish them. (When we praise and blame, by the way, in both cases we’re expressing respect for the dignity of man in virtue of the fact that human beings are made in the image of God and have the capability of choosing.)

Punishment may range from a parking ticket to death. What determines which punishment? An ancient principle called lex taliones , “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth”–the point being that the punishment must fit the crime. If somebody steals a loaf of bread, we don’t whack their arm off.

By the same token, if somebody kills 168 people, we don’t just put him in a cage for the rest of his life. He took 168 human lives! He should be punished in a way that fits his crime. He should sacrifice his own life.

That’s the basic question: What is a human being? I think he’s a free moral agent. If he is, then we should praise him when he does well. But if he doesn’t, then he deserves to be punished, and the punishment should fit the crime.

This is a transcript of a commentary from the radio show“Stand to Reason,” with Gregory Koukl. It is made available to you at no charge through the faithful giving of those who support Stand to Reason. Reproduction permitted for non-commercial use only. ©1997 Gregory Koukl

For more information, contact Stand to Reason at 1438 East 33rd St., Signal Hill, CA 90755
(800) 2-REASON (562) 595-7333 www.str.org

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Where does liberalism lead? Look at Norway and you will see them letting mass murderers out in a few years!!!

In Norway we read of Breivik and what he did at age 32 by killing those people in Norway and now we find out that this socialist country in Europe knows better than us and is letting mass murderers out in just a few years. 

Take a look at this story below: 

Norway | Anders Behring Breivik | 21 Years in Prison 

The alleged mass murderer who killed nearly 100 people in Norway on Friday may be facing just 21 years in prison if convicted. Norway does not have the death penalty.

Oslo police chief of staff Roger Andresen told the San Francisco Chronicle that the maximum prison term suspected killer Anders Behring Breivik could face is 21 years under Norwegian law.

Two law professors at the University of Oslo confirmed Andresen’s assessment.

“21 years in prison is the maximum,” Professor Per Ole Johansen told The Daily Caller.

“The max punishment may — theoretically — be increased, but not for crimes which are already committed,” he said, when asked whether it was possible for the punishment to be increased considering the scale of this specific mass crime.

“[I]f the prisoner behaves, he or she will probably be released several years earlier,” Professor Nils Christie told TheDC while also confirming that 21 years is the maximum penalty in Norway.

Christie, however, said it is theoretically possible for the perpetrator to be held in prison longer than 21 years, though it almost never happens.

“If, however, the person is seen as a particular danger to society, the person might receive a sentence that authorize prison authorities to keep him or her even longer when the 21 years are coming close to the end,” he added. “This wish must again be brought up for a court. As far as I know, such a situation nearly never appear.”

Police are labeling the attacks as acts of terrorism, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Breivik, 32, is suspected of being behind attacks Friday that killed at least 94 people and injured many others. A car bombing in the Norwegian capital of Oslo killed at least seven and a shooting spree at a youth camp on the island of Utoya outside of Oslo killed at minimum 87, many of whom were teenagers.

________________________________

I am a Christian and because of that I firmly believe that capital punishment is clearly taught in the Bible. Below is an article that makes this clear. Also I do believe it is a deterrent. Greg Koukl rightly noted, “I was listening a couple of years ago to KABC and talk show host Michael Jackson. He was making the point that capital punishment never works. And of course, he’s thinking of it as a deterrent. My response is, capital punishment works every time. Every time it’s used, the prisoner dies.”

Also I agree with Koukl that in the case of the Oklahoma City Bombing the murderer deserved to die. The same should be said about this case in Norway!!!

Reasons for Capital Punishment

 

Gregory Koukl

There’s a reason both the Old and the New Testaments promote capital punishment. That reason was applicable then and still applies today.divider

Apparently, Jesse Jackson made some comments on “Meet the Press” this morning referring to the possibility of capital punishment for Timothy McVeigh. He said, allegedly, that executing McVeigh would just be a trophy that the people of Oklahoma City would like to get in their trophy case to make them feel better.Jackson should have been ashamed of his comment. To refer the punishment of a man who is a convicted killer of 168 citizens of Oklahoma City by those who are deeply interested in justice as simply a quest for trophies is an insult to every person who lost a loved one in that explosion. It’s an absolute insult, and it should be an insult to every clear-thinking American.

Capital punishment is not about getting trophies in any trophy case, any more than life imprisonment is about putting man in a cage as a trophy in a human zoo. It’s about justice. What the people in Oklahoma City want– and all Americans who are in favor of capital punishment for a man who violently snuffed out the lives of 168 people– is not a trophy. They want justice.

I’m actually stunned, to be honest with you, that there are so many Christians who oppose capital punishment on biblical grounds. It ought to be clear to anyone familiar with the biblical record that God is not against capital punishment. It was His idea. He started it.

Go back to Genesis 9:6 and you’ll find this: “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.”

You see, the crime of murder is not principally based on the idea that you robbed a person of his life. That confuses the Fifth Commandment with the Seventh Commandment: “Thou shalt not steal.” It’s wrong to take someone else’s possessions, including his life.

No, murder is not a crime of theft, but of destruction. We have destroyed the life of one made in the image of God . God says such a crime deserves the most extreme punishment. You take a life, you surrender your own life.

By the way, read through the Old Testament and you’ll find 21 different offenses that called for the death penalty. Only three include an actual or potential capital offense by our current definition. Six are for religious offenses, ten are for various moral issues, and two relate to ceremonial issues.

So if you’re going to call anybody frivolous about using capital punishment, you can start with God. God instituted it for a wide range of offenses, not just murder. But it included murder, and would certainly be justified, in God’s eyes, for someone who murdered 168 people.

I’m not suggesting we reinstate capital punishment for the offenses of the Old Testament or even that capital punishment is obligatory. I am saying that it’s a moral alternative that is, at least in principle, totally approved by God.

Some feel that even though capital punishment was approved in the Old Testament, the New Testament has changed all of that. I will tell you why that is not a good way to argue. They say Jesus, or some teaching in the New Testament, has somehow changed that. My response is, “Where?”

Actually, capital punishment is strongly assumed in the New Testament. In Romans 13, Paul argues that governing authorities are set there by God. He says, “If you do what is evil, be afraid, for the government does not bear the sword for nothing, for it is minister of God and avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.” God ordains the governing authorities, and those governing authorities have a God-ordained responsibility to execute justice with the sword.

Peter says in 1 Peter 2:13-14 that these authorities were sent by God for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do right.

People say, “Well capital punishment is just revenge.” My response is they’re right in a sense. It is revenge. In fact, it’s just revenge. It’s God’s vengeance based on justice, executed through the machinery of government that God ordained.

Paul uses the word “sword” here. I don’t think he had in mind paddling people with the broad side of the sword. No, capital punishment is in view here as a proper tool government would use to express the vengeance of God in a just fashion against gratuitous evil. That’s the biblical teaching.

What about Jesus? Some say Jesus’ ethic of love and forgiveness requires us to end the death penalty. This was the appeal Mother Theresa made when Robert Alton Harris was facing the gas chamber here in California. She appealed to the governor saying Jesus would forgive.

With no disrespect towards Mother Theresa, I think her comments were mistaken because her view simply proves too much. What should be done instead with capital criminals? Should we put them in prison for the rest of their lives? But Jesus would forgive. Should we put them in prison for ten years? But Jesus would forgive. Should we put a murderer in prison for one day? But Jesus would forgive.

You see, if this argument works it becomes justification for the abolishment of any kind of punishment whatsoever. This argument proves too much.

Further, that Jesus would forgive is a different issue from whether the governmentshould forgive. God can forgive evil. That doesn’t mean the government should forgive it in terms of its exercise of justice.

In fact, Jesus never challenged the validity of the death penalty when He had perfect opportunity to do so. Even in John 8, with the woman caught in adultery, he never challenged the death penalty itself. He didn’t enforce it under what seemed to be an unjust situation because all the witnesses fled. Remember, Jesus said, “Is there no one here to condemn you? Then neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” The Law required witnesses to convict someone.

Jesus did not speak against the death penalty here. It was required by law. Jesus upheld the law. He just realized there was a nasty situation of injustice that was going on and so He found some other way to get around it.

And when Jesus was on the cross He asked God to forgive, not Caesar. He never suggested that capital punishment was inappropriate.

I think that we have to argue for the coherence and consistency of both Testaments on this issue. The question is not, “Was Jesus right or was Moses right?” The question is trying to find a way to bring them all together. Clearly, there was no abrogation of capital punishment in the New Testament.

In fact, if you recall Paul in the book of Acts (25:11) made this appeal for his life: “If then I am a wrongdoer, and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die; but if none of those things is true of which these men accuse me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar.” Paul didn’t take exception with capital punishment, even for himself. His point was that he wasn’t guilty, not that capital punishment was wrong.

Which, by the way, brings us to another point that Mr. Jackson raised this morning on TV. He said Jesus was crucified. Jesus died at capital punishment. To which I respond, “So? What follows from that is…what? The significance of that is…what?” The answer is: nothing. The issue regarding Jesus was not capital punishment, but his innocence. In Acts 2, Peter condemns the act of handing over the innocentJesus to godless executioners.

Now, God’s mercy is always available in God’s court. But man’s court is another matter, ladies and gentlemen. It is governed by different biblical responsibilities. So one can’t say that capital punishment is patently immoral on biblical grounds. It just isn’t. There’s a good reason why. It has to do with something I explained very carefully to the man who interviewed me for US New and World Report on this very issue.

Capital punishment is important. The Bible–Old and New Testament–is for it, not against it. There is nothing in the New Testament that would give us any reason to think otherwise. In fact, it presumes capital punishment in many places.

I was listening a couple of years ago to KABC and talk show host Michael Jackson. He was making the point that capital punishment never works. And of course, he’s thinking of it as a deterrent.

My response is, capital punishment works every time. Every time it’s used, the prisoner dies.

You see, the reason for capital punishment is obviously not to rehabilitate somebody. The deterrent may be a secondary factor. But that isn’t why we use capital punishment. We use capital punishment to punishsomeone (pardon me for stating the obvious).

You see, all of this relates to your view of what human beings are. If human beings are machines determined either by genetics or by environment, then what do you do when a machine goes bad? You fix it. And if you can’t fix it, you throw it away. That’s the basis behind the rehabilitation idea. And of course, the throwaway mentality we see in a lot of other ethical areas.

however, if you think that human beings are personal creatures capable of choosing and, therefore, have moral responsibilities–when they do good we praise them, (which everybody wants), and when they do bad we punish them–then punishment makes sense. Punishment of all kinds. Even capital punishment.

Human beings are moral creatures who either deserve praise or blame depending on the circumstances–when they choose well, we praise them and when they violate a serious moral mandate, we punish them. (When we praise and blame, by the way, in both cases we’re expressing respect for the dignity of man in virtue of the fact that human beings are made in the image of God and have the capability of choosing.)

Punishment may range from a parking ticket to death. What determines which punishment? An ancient principle called lex taliones , “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth”–the point being that the punishment must fit the crime. If somebody steals a loaf of bread, we don’t whack their arm off.

By the same token, if somebody kills 168 people, we don’t just put him in a cage for the rest of his life. He took 168 human lives! He should be punished in a way that fits his crime. He should sacrifice his own life.

That’s the basic question: What is a human being? I think he’s a free moral agent. If he is, then we should praise him when he does well. But if he doesn’t, then he deserves to be punished, and the punishment should fit the crime.

 

This is a transcript of a commentary from the radio show“Stand to Reason,” with Gregory Koukl. It is made available to you at no charge through the faithful giving of those who support Stand to Reason. Reproduction permitted for non-commercial use only. ©1997 Gregory Koukl

For more information, contact Stand to Reason at 1438 East 33rd St., Signal Hill, CA 90755
(800) 2-REASON (562) 595-7333 www.str.org

Related post:

Max Brantley and Betsey Wright on Death Penalty

HALT:HaltingArkansasLiberalswithTruth.com (2 min Mike Huckabee on Death Penalty in Republican Primary) Max Brantley rightly noted that “no one has been executed in Arkansas since 2005″ (Death Penalty in Decline, Arkansas Times Blog, Dec 27, 2010). However, the debate is clearly not over. In the July 13, 2006 article “Waiting for Death” by Max Brantley and […]

Max Brantley and Betsey Wright on Death Penalty

HALT:HaltingArkansasLiberalswithTruth.com

(2 min Mike Huckabee on Death Penalty in Republican Primary)

Max Brantley rightly noted that “no one has been executed in Arkansas since 2005” (Death Penalty in Decline, Arkansas Times Blog, Dec 27, 2010). However, the debate is clearly not over. In the July 13, 2006 article “Waiting for Death” by Max Brantley and Betsey Wright there is a case put forth on biblical grounds for rejecting the death penalty. Mike Huckabee is addressed in the article as “my brother in Christ,” and an appeal is made to Huckabee to listen to Christ’s words: “Love your enemies.”

To her credit Betsey Wright is true to her convictions no matter what circumstances she has encountered in her life. I was quite saddened to learn of the death of Mrs Wright’s niece in the May 11, 2006 article “Tested on the Death Penalty” published by the Arkansas Times . This violent death was senseless and Mrs Wright wants to see justice done. I hope to deal with this issue in a logical way.

First, the biblical issue has been brought up by Mrs Wright. According to Genesis 9:6, capital punishment is based upon a belief in the sanctity of life. It says, “Whoever sheds man’s blood by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God, He made man.”

Second, if someone is not punished by the death penalty then there is always a chance they will kill a guard later in their life. Others like Arthur Shawcross have been paroled. This occurred after serving 15 years for the brutal rape and murder of two children in upstate New York. In a subsequent 21 month killing spree, he took 11 more lives before being caught.

Third, I think it is great that Christian ministries are trying to reach prisoners with the gospel but I do not want to be a part of trying to get these prisoners weapons so they can try to escape.

Ex-Clinton Aide Betsy Wright arrested in death row smuggling case

By Patrick McMahon.
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Betsy Wright, former chief of staff to then-Governor Bill Clinton, is facing felony charges for trying to smuggle in numerous illegal items to prisoners on Arkansas’ death row.
Wright, 66, was caught trying to smuggle contraband during a visit to the state’s death row prison called the Verner Unit. A guard noticed items in Wright’s bag as it went through an X-Ray machine in May. Among the items found include a knife, a box cutter, tweezers, and 48 tattoo needles concealed inside of a bag of Doritos. Yesterday, prosecutors filed 51 charges against Ms. Wright, who is an outspoken death penalty opponent. In an interview, Wright denied the charges against her and of any wrongdoing. She claimed to have found the bag containing all of the illegal items, not knowing what was in it. “Inside of a prison, not only could (tattoo needles) potentially be a weapon, but they most definitely can be a health hazard,” State Prison spokesperson Dina Tyler said. Hepatitis has been on the rise throughout the prison system and the needles are said to be one of the prime reasons.

For further reading check out a fine article by Kerby Anderson or go to probe.org and search “Capital Punishment,” or check out a short article by my former pastor Adrian Rogers called Is capital punishment contrary to the word of God?”

______________________________________

I am profiling today State Senator Johnny Key.

Senator Johnny Key of Mountain Home represents Senate District 1, which includes all of Baxter and Marion counties and the eastern half of Boone County. Senator Key has been in public service since 1997, when he was a justice of the peace on the Baxter County Quorum Court.

In 2003 he began a six-year term in the Arkansas House of Representatives and in 2009 began serving in the Arkansas Senate.
Currently, Senator Key is chairman of the Academic Facilities Oversight Committee and vice chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Retirement and Social Security Programs. He is a member of several committees and subcommittees including the Senate Education Committee; Senate Committee on City, County and Local Affairs; Joint Budget Committee;
Legislative Joint Auditing; Arkansas Lottery Commission Legislative Oversight Committee; and Joint Adequacy Evaluation Oversight Committee.

Regionally, he serves on the Fiscal Affairs and Government Operations Committee of the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC)
and the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB).
Senator Key has a conservative political philosophy and his legislative priorities are a reflection of his beliefs. He has sponsored legislation to reduce taxes on families and businesses. He was a sponsor of the bill cutting the sales tax on groceries in half and also sponsored legislation to exempt retirement and pension income. He sponsored legislation to
authorize Eden Alternative and Green House projects, which are long-term care facilities that emphasize quality of life.
2
A supporter of higher education, Senator Key has allocated a significant share of General Improvement Funds to Arkansas State University at Mountain Home to pay for capital projects. Additionally, he sponsored legislation to make it easier for families to save for college tuition through tax-deferred savings allowed under Section 529 of the IRS code.
He has consistently supported expanded job training and technical education for students who do not go to college and need job skills. Key has also worked with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to curb drinking by teenagers, successfully supported legislation to create drug
courts, expand criminal drug task forces and give law enforcement the tools needed to control the growing abuse of methamphetamine.
Senator Key is a graduate of Gurdon High School, Class of 1986, and in 1991 earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering at the University of Arkansas. Key and wife Shannon own three childcare centers, two in Mountain Home and one in Flippin.

They have one son and one daughter, and are members of First Assembly of God Church in Mountain Home.