Justice and capital punishment

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by thjplgvp, Sep 27, 2006.

  1. thjplgvp

    thjplgvp
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    Another death penalty thread :tonofbricks:

    I wish to present the death penalty in a different light. I have not been able to distance my self from the subject of the death penalty and therefore enter this particular thread with some trepidations mostly of the unknown.

    It would seem that from some of the research I have done so far the two elements (secularly speaking) that clash are referred to as the Retributive element or those who hold that punishment (pain, suffering or death) are the deserts for crimes committed against society.

    The other element is that of the Utilitarian that says that punishment is only right when it provides the greatest expression of happiness for the greatest number of people.

    While there are different angles of these two beliefs it would seem that most of us would fall somewhat into one category or the other or somewhere in between.

    There has been much said concerning what would Jesus do or there is nothing in the New Testament that suggests capital punishment. But I ask does this mean that the Old Testament is suddenly not part of scripture? Does this mean that 2 Peter 1:21 is not true? God forbid, we are to accept the whole counsel of God not just those parts that we would agree with.

    While capital punishment is not mentioned justice is, as a matter of fact the Hebrew word for justice is used 150 times. Where it direct meaning ranges from justice being subjective to objective and from rightness to virtue. It is the Strong’s number 6666 and in Theological Word Book of the Old Testament it is 1879b. Vol. II pgs 752-755

    Here is my point justice is demanded by God, Job asked the question “Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice?”. We are told in Psalm 89:14 that justice and mercy come forth from the same throne. We are admonished in Micah 5:9 that the Lord requires of us (you and I) to do justly and to love mercy. The word justly is the word mishpat see as follows…
    jpvm mishpat mish-pawt'
    From 8199; properly, a verdict (favorable or unfavorable) pronounced judicially, especially a sentence or formal decree (human or (participant's) divine law, individual or collective), including the act, the place, the suit, the crime, and the penalty; abstractly, justice, including a participant's right or privilege (statutory or customary), or even a style:--+ adversary, ceremony, charge, X crime, custom, desert, determination, discretion, disposing, due, fashion, form, to be judged, judgment, just(-ice, -ly), (manner of) law(-ful), manner, measure, (due) order, ordinance, right, sentence, usest, X worthy, + wrong.
    Would not capital punish fall under the same heading as biblical justice? I will be gone for a few days but look forward to reading your posts upon my return.


    thjplgvp
     
  2. James_Newman

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    Short answer: yes.
     
  3. canadyjd

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    Jesus Christ never told His followers to make sure criminals are punished. It just isn't there. God is the ultimate deliverer of justice. He has called His disciples to be different from the world; to live a life of mercy, compassion and love; and let Him take care of the matter of justice.

    peace to you:praying:
     
  4. rbell

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    Logical conclusion: Christians cannot be jailers, prosecutors, judges, policemen, or have anything to do with meting justice.

    I just can't agree with c's position.
     
  5. canadyjd

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    That is not my conclusion. Since all those positions you have mentioned are part of a secular government, they may certainly be involved as their conscious allows.

    The church, however, should not be concerned with pushing for "justice" on earth through a secular government.

    peace to you:praying:
     
  6. Bro. James Reed

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    You're so correct.

    Using his view, whether he actually agrees fully with what he said or not, we can not even punish criminals with jail time. That would, after all, be judging them. In fact, even supporting a policeman who gives someone a speeding ticket would be "unChristlike" and sinful, lacking "perfect patience".
     
  7. canadyjd

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    I have never said criminals should not be punished with jail time. I have never said let murderers go free. I have repeated the command of Christ to His followers to have "perfect patience" with the worst of sinnners. Mock scripture if you like; as your conscious allows.

    peace to you:praying:
     
  8. rbell

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    But if we have to let "God take care of justice" as you say, then wouldn't you conlcude that anyone who works in the justice system (i.e., jailer, prosecutor, judge, bailiff, etc.) is sinning against God by "usurping what is rightfully His job to do?"

    All I did was take your assertions to their logical conclusion. No "mocking of scripture" here. These are your ideas.
     
  9. canadyjd

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    Actually, they're God's ideas. Whether or not a person is sinning against God because of their occupation is between them and God, and that is where I leave it.

    peace to you:praying:
     
  10. ktn4eg

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    canadyjd--
    I'm interested in reading your interpretation of Romans 13:4 where it refers to a governmental authority "beareth not the sword in vain: for he is a minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil."
     
  11. canadyjd

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    I have answered this question several times already, but I am happy to do it again.

    Rom. 13 (in context) is a warning to Christians not to rebel against the government, probably because of high taxes (v.6?) or taxes paid that supported pagan temples. The image of the "sword" is an image of authority, not capital punishment. The punishment for rebellion was crucifixion, not the "sword". The context is clear that Paul is establishing that the authority of the government has been given by God, and Christians should not rebel against it. Nothing is said here about supporting the death penalty.

    The question then becomes, "if the God has given the government authority, and the government implements capital punishment, doesn't a Christian have to obey the government and support the death penalty?"

    The answer is no. A Christian is under no obligation to obey/support a law that is contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ. We obey God, rather than men. It is a logical fallacy to assume that because God uses men/governments to implement the death penalty to evil men that Christians must be in support of the death penalty.

    God uses all governments, even the ones we consider to be "evil" for His own purpose and to accomplish His will. Just because God uses them, doesn't mean we have to support them.

    Christians are called on to have an attitude that is different from the world. I Tim 1:16 tells us that Jesus demonstrated mercy to Paul, the murderer of Christians, as an example of "perfect patience" to be followed by future believers. Supporting the death of someone is contrary to an attitude of perfect patience.

    There are many other places in the New Testament where believers are called upon to demonstrate an attitude of mercy, compassion and love to the worst of sinners; if we will only accept it.

    peace to you:praying:
     
  12. rbell

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    So that means if a Christian serves on a jury, he is sinning?


    hmmm?
     
  13. donnA

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    Jesus nor scripture condemned the execution of the 2 thieves on the cross with Jesus.
     
  14. canadyjd

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    Let them serve on juries as their conscience allows. Do everything for the glory of God.

    peace to you:praying:
     
  15. canadyjd

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    Are you proposing the death penalty for thieves?

    peace to you:praying:
     
  16. rbell

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    Very well. Good answer.

    Another question, and I promise no venom from me, as this is a conscience question...

    Would your conscience allow you to serve on a jury?

    I ask purely out of curiosity's sake.
     
  17. Helen

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    Before the Incarnation, before David and Solomon, before Moses, before Abraham, God Himself spoke to Noah, saying:

    "And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man

    'whoever sheds the blood of man,
    by man shall his blood be shed;
    for in the image of God
    has God made man.'"


    Therefore it doesn't matter how we logic ourselves into or out of any position regarding the death penalty. God has commanded it for murder. It does not matter if we 'like' it. It does not matter if the world agrees.

    Yes, we Christians should be on juries (would you want someone you loved to be tried in front of a jury exclusive of Christians?). Yes, we should be willing to vote for the death penalty for murder.

    The options are actually unviable, although extensive. Life in prison? What does this do for anyone? The taxpayer foots the bill, thus making them double victims; the criminal has no benefit in terms of living; violence escalates (especially in prisons), the recidivism rate is almost guaranteed to be high, there is no deterrent value. As it is now, the criminal system is seen as a joke by career criminals.

    The death penalty for murder
    1. Ensures the recidivism rate will be 0
    2. Saves the taxpayers money
    3. Reduces the load upon the prisons
    4. Acts as a strong deterrent
    5. And, most importantly, is obedient to God

    Why Christians argue about it, I haven't a clue. Do they summarily dismiss the Old Testament? Have they fallen for the caracature of a sweetie-heart Jesus? If the latter, I would encourage them to take a good strong look at Matthew 23-25. It's only three chapters -- go ahead and sit down and read them. Jesus does most of the talking....
     
  18. Jerome

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    Many punishments that governments impose are analogous to acts considered crimes when done by individuals:

    capital punishment-murder
    imprisonment-kidnapping
    chain gang-slavery
    fines-stealing

    The following exchange took place in another thread:
    Imprisonment itself, not prison conditions, is what I am inquiring about.
    You say you "have never said criminals should not be punished with jail time."
    Do you say that they should be punished with jail time?
    Isn't holding someone against their will for years or decades an "unChristlike" act that we should not support?
     
  19. Magnetic Poles

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    #2 is false. Executions cost more from what I have read. And is that our criteria to kill?

    #4 is false also

    #5 Do we kill for all the OT "crimes" that carry the death penalty? Like adultery, thievery, not honoring the sabbath, etc?
     
  20. canadyjd

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    I'll have to think about it some more before I answer you directly.

    peace to you:praying:
     

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