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The Death Penalty

03 Mar

Bloggers have taken an interest in the Kelly Gissendaner  case as her sentence is coming close to being carried out. As a believer, I have no problem with the death penalty. It is a punishment for certain crimes and God has established that punishment so we really cannot call it criminal, inhumane or some other derogatory term.

If a man takes the life of any human being, he shall surely be put to death. (Lev. 24:17)

So no believer should be arguing about the different nations use of that option. They may fight to ensure that the sentence has been applied justly but they cannot argue against the death penalty. Some people do though because their own sensibilities have led them to disagree with the use of death as a form of punishment, even though the Bible clearly states that death is a just sentence. Not only do we have Noah’s flood as an example of God’s opinion of about using death as a form of punishment ,we also have Romans 6:23 telling us that our crimes (sins) will lead to death:

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I will get to two of the bloggers commenting on this issue in a minute but first, I want to pose a question for you to research and consider:

Where in the Bible does it state that if a man or woman become a believer in Jesus they are relieved of their judicial sentence?

Another question would be, is it just to let those who convert to Christianity receive a lighter sentence for their human crimes? Wouldn’t doing so make a mockery of both Christianity  and legal justice?

For a historical point, Jim West actually does say something worthwhile on the topic:

Dear Everyone Who Says ‘But Christians Can’t Support Capital Punishment’

As a matter of historical fact, yes, yes they can.  That you or I may not support capital punishment is our own perspective informed by our own historical situation.  That our forebears and contemporaries can and do support the execution of the worst of society does not automatically make them unbelievers.

Indeed- you will search the records of Church history in vain to find any Christian before the modern era who saw capital punishment as either criminal, sub-christian, or unacceptable.

So, please, stop being so historically uninformed and parochial.  All reality isn’t determined by your view of reality.  To imagine otherwise is hubris. (https://zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com/2015/03/02/dear-everyone-who-says-but-christians-cant-support-capital-punishment/)

Then West makes some other good points as well:

Is that the #Gissandaner affair shows that we’re just so selective in who we really love.  Christians, yes.  Muslims, not so much.  Prisoners, yes.  Unborn children, not so much. (https://zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com/2015/03/02/i-think-what-troubles-me-most/)

So it isnt just American exceptionalism with which we have to do but Christian.  #WhatIfGissendanerWereAMuslim? (https://zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com/2015/03/02/exceptionalism-is-wrong-except-when-it-serves-our-ideological-agenda/)

It is food for thought to consider the motives behind the drive to commute her sentence to life imprisonment. Is it simply because she is a white woman that she is getting this attention? Is it because she has become a Christian and that it would be wrong to execute a Christian? Hard to say what is driving the pleas for clemency.

We must ask, what makes this case so special among all the other cases where convicts have turned their lives around due to the efforts of those engaged in prison ministries? Is it because she is a woman and most western abhor or react in disgust when a woman is threatened or facing the implementation of honest justice? I cannot speak for those who are pleading her case with the Governor but I can ask these questions to see if their motives are divinely fueled and that they are truly concerned for the welfare of this person.

Christians should not be afraid of death, whether it is going to happen to them or other believers. Longevity on this earth is not our goal nor our gift. Our focus is living with God forever, so we really need to take a better and more honest look at our perspectives of death, the death sentence and so on. Nothing really stops us from commuting her sentence except the question, is it truly the right thing to do? Will God be served by her receiving a reprieve?

What glory will go to God if the pleas to the Governor are successful? I do not think that the many people advocating that her sentence be changed are thinking everything through. I think it is a more personal, emotional drive than anything else because she is a mother and a woman. These people seem to be glossing over the fat that she killed her husband, the person who helped her have those children and they seem to be forgetting to put value on his life. Does he not deserve to receive ‘justice’?

Everyone can quote Micah 6:8

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love [c]kindness,
And to walk [d]humbly with your God?

but justice is for all people not just those we like.

What I do not like are those people who make false accusations against others or distort the issue because their personal views do not support the just sentence handed down by the proper authorities

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/georgia-execution-proves-we-love-vengeance-over-restoration/

What grieves me the absolute most of this pending execution is that it proves what we truly love in America: vengeance over restoration.

Who said it was vengeance? And who said all Americans, or Christians for that matter, have even heard of this case let alone supported it? The owner of that website goes off the deep end because he personally cannot stand real justice.  His arguments fail
Kelly is not the person she was 17 years ago. Instead, she is the epitome of the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to radically transform and renew anyone into a “new creation.” With her death, the world will lose yet another ambassador and a shining example of the Jesus we claim to follow.
Being a different person is not criteria to altering sentences. You will find no scripture verse endorsing such an idea. Yes Mrs. Gissendaner may be an example of Christ’s redemptive work but she is not the first or only one to demonstrate that divine ability. Nicki Cruz comes as do the millions of people who have rejected evil and accepted Christ as their savior. If the state carries out her sentence, we believers have lost nothing, but we have gained a soul for heaven which is one purpose of Christianity.
If she is put to death, Christianity has not lost, nor has evangelism, it has won the battle for her soul:
21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Phil. 1 NASB)
O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:55)
Christ wins no matter what happens. Let’s not distort the situation with personal beliefs that have no foundation in God. I hold no opinion about her sentence or possible reprieve except for what I have stated here. Her life or death does not affect me in any way but her conversion does and that is what believers should be focused upon. God works in all people and that is encouraging to us all. We can strengthen our faith by seeing what he has done in that woman’s life.
God’s work there provides hope to all. We should not be distorting the situation to promote our own personal ideas or feelings about the death penalty but holding up Christ so he can draw all men unto him.
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Posted by on March 3, 2015 in Bible, church, controversial issues, faith, family, General Life, Justice, leadership

 

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