By Aaron Taylor May 16, For the last two years, debate about the relevance of the Kermit Gosnell case to wider political concerns has focused on the abortion issue. But with Gosnell now found guilty of murder, the possibility of his execution now removed as the result of a deal struck with prosecutors has pitted pro-lifers against one another in a debate over the death penalty.
A Christian View and Biblical PerspectiveOctober 18, Kerby Anderson provides a biblical worldview perspective on capital punishment.
He explores the biblical teaching to help us understand how to consider this controversial topic apply Christian love and biblical principles.
Should Christians support the death penalty? The answer to that question is controversial. Many Christians feel that the Bible has spoken to the issue, but others believe that the New Testament ethic of love replaces the Old Testament law. Old Testament Examples Throughout the Old Testament we find many cases in which God commands the use of capital punishment.
We see this first with the acts of God Himself. God was involved, either directly or indirectly, in the taking of life as a punishment for the nation of Israel or for those who threatened or harmed Israel.
One example is the flood of Noah in Genesis God destroyed all human and animal life except that which was on the ark. Another example is Sodom and Gomorrah Gen. There were also punishments such as the punishment at Kadesh-Barnea Num. The Old Testament is replete with references and examples of God taking life.
The Old Testament also teaches that God instituted capital punishment in the Jewish law code.
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In fact, the principle of capital punishment even precedes the Old Testament law code. According to Genesis 9: The first was murder.
In Exodus 21, God commanded capital punishment for murderers. A second offense punishable by death was involvement in the occult Exod.
This included sorcery, divination, acting as a medium, and sacrificing to false gods. Third, capital punishment was to be used against perpetrators of sexual sins such as rape, incest, or homosexual practice. Within this Old Testament theocracy, capital punishment was extended beyond murder to cover various offenses.
While the death penalty for these offenses was limited to this particular dispensation of revelation, notice that the principle in Genesis 9: Instead, the principle of Lex Talionis a life for a life is tied to the creation order.
Capital punishment is warranted due to the sanctity of life. Even before we turn to the New Testament, we find this universally binding principle that precedes the Old Testament law code. New Testament Principles Some Christians believe that capital punishment does not apply to the New Testament and church age.
First we must acknowledge that God gave the principle of capital punishment even before the institution of the Old Testament law code. The principle is not rooted in the Old Testament theocracy, but rather in the creation order.
It is a much broader biblical principle that carries into the New Testament. Even so, some Christians argue that in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus seems to be arguing against capital punishment.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is not arguing against the principle of a life for a life. Rather He is speaking to the issue of our personal desire for vengeance. He is not denying the power and responsibility of the government. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is speaking to individual Christians.
He is telling Christians that they should not try to replace the power of the government. Jesus does not deny the power and authority of government, but rather He calls individual Christians to love their enemies and turn the other cheek.
Some have said that Jesus set aside capital punishment in John 8 when He did not call for the woman caught in adultery to be stoned. But remember the context. The Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus between the Roman law and the Mosaic law.
If He said that they should stone her, He would break the Roman law. If He refused to allow them to stone her, He would break the Mosaic law Lev. He said that he who was without sin should cast the first stone.
Since He did teach that a stone be thrown John 8: In other places in the New Testament we see the principle of capital punishment being reinforced.In order to prove that capital punishment is inhumane, it is necessary to look at the history of capital punishment.
The execution of criminals and political opponents has been used by nearly all societies-both to punish crime and to suppress political dissent. Jul 31, · Capital punishment is the most harmful punishment available, so the state should only use it if no less harmful punishment is suitable Other punishments will always enable the state to fulfil its.
Decreased crime rates, changes in sentencing guidelines, diminishing support, and demographics (the young and people of color are much less likely to support the death penalty) are all leading toward less capital punishment and its ultimate abolition.
One only needs to look across the Atlantic at Britain, which, within a few decades of abolishing capital punishment, has gone from having one of the most rigorous sentencing systems in the West to one of the most lenient, leading to frequent and widely-supported calls among the general public for the reintroduction of hanging.
Although a majority of frequent and infrequent churchgoers support the death penalty, the data show that 65% of those who attend services weekly or nearly weekly favor capital punishment, compared with 69% of those who attend services monthly and 71% of those who seldom or never attend.
Thesis One: In principle a case can be made on moral grounds both supporting and opposing capital punishment. Thesis two: Concretely and in practice, compelling arguments against capital punishment can be made on the basis of its actual administration in our society.
Two different cases can.