What would Jesus do? : the death penalty

neilinphilly
Major Contributor
Posts: 117
Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2005 9:27 pm
Quote: Don't be so open minded that your brains fall out
Location: Philly
Contact:

Re: What would Jesus do? : the death penalty

Unread postby neilinphilly » Sat Dec 08, 2007 11:52 am

musicmonkey wrote:Jesus would do what Canada did in 1976 and fully completed in 1998. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.


Jesus Himself, who was innocent of all crime, was unjustly sentenced to death for a crime he didn't commit. If Jesus had abolished the death penalty, how would He have died for the sins of the world? Had He abolished it, the two thieves who died on the crosses on either side of His would not have died either. Why didn't he stop that capital punishment of the thieves??? Since Jesus is God, He had the power to abolish the death penalty, why didn't He do so? After all, He has the ultimate power. Why didn't He campaign against the death penalty?

Does God give each individual the grace to make these decisions about how to punish a criminal? If so, why are they different? Who is hearing God and who is mistaken? If He does not give each individual the grace, does He give the grace to those in authority who must make the final decision?

Maybe the question is: what did Jesus do? Or possibly, what will Jesus do? If each Christian truly lives his/her life as "the salt of the earth" preserving God's morality, and s/he converts just one individual to Christianity which causes that person not to commit a capital crime, just possibly that will be the greatest impact of all. After all, you can politic to save a person from the death penalty while they are still condemned to eternal death.

Mike Huckabee presented a good point during the recent Republican debate. Christians and conservatives are viewed a pro-life when it comes to abortion, but admits that we haven't done a good enough job to express that the pro-life view is, or should be, concerned with all life, not just the unborn. Can someone be pro-life if they believe that abortion is permitted to save the life of the mother? Some wouldn't think so. Are there some extreme cases where a crime is so heinous that it warrants the death penalty? Can one person really answer these questions in the absolute? I can't!

musicmonkey
Founder
Posts: 2517
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 1:12 am
Favourite TV Show: The Leftovers
Quote: Nevermind, it's pointless
Location: Vancouver, BC
Contact:

Re: What would Jesus do? : the death penalty

Unread postby musicmonkey » Sat Dec 08, 2007 3:47 pm

catt wrote:so it christianity about certen values you keep or the fact that Jesus died in out place for our sins?


Christianity means a lot of different things to different people which is why I don't even like the word. I prefer the term "Christ follower" because it has more to do with trying to live my life with the heart and values of Jesus. Eternity has already begun for each of us, right here, while we are alive on Earth. "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven". To me, the whole "Jesus died for my sins" as the be-all-and-end-all is often an excuse to justify living selfishly, being unkind, apathetic and unforgiving. God gave Adam and Even dominion over the Earth. We need to be good stewards of the Earth and care for even "the least" of His children.

catt wrote:i would say more people understand the grace aspect of christian faith and truly belive in him, in Jesusaland


I don't live in Jesusland and I understand what grace is. People often fall into one of two extremes in this area: (1) all grace with no law and (2) all law with no grace. I think both grossly miss the point. The first implies I can do anything I want (complete disobedience and disregard for God's laws) and still get to heaven in the end (not Earthly minded), the other is legalism and scaring people into empty (religious) actions without changing the heart. Our works should never be motivated by fear of punishment or Hell or "brownie points", but rather out of a true and deep love for one another as Christ loved us. This is precisely why I do not consider following Christ to be a religion. I don't have to go to a church building on Sundays to follow Christ. I don't have to tithe to follow Christ. I don't have to hand out WatchTower magazines to follow Christ. I don't have to have rosary beads to follow Christ. I don't have to go to Mecca once in my lifetime or avoid ham to follow Christ. I don't have to build a temple in Jerusalem or Salt Lake City to follow Christ. All of these are external and have nothing to do with my heart.

catt wrote:is there anywhere in the bible where Jesus expresses the opinion that government should abolish the death penalty?


Specifically, no. But if you look at the totality of what Jesus said in the Bible, the message was love others. 1 Corinthians 13 defines what love is.

neilinphilly wrote:Why didn't He campaign against the death penalty?


God's kingdom is not about Earthly nations or man's laws, it's in our hearts. God knows you can't legislate morality. Love has to come from inside each of us through the power of God.

neilinphilly wrote:If each Christian truly lives his/her life as "the salt of the earth" preserving God's morality, and s/he converts just one individual to Christianity which causes that person not to commit a capital crime, just possibly that will be the greatest impact of all.


I have a real problem with the word "convert". It's not my job to convert anyone, that's God's job. My job is to love others.

neilinphilly
Major Contributor
Posts: 117
Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2005 9:27 pm
Quote: Don't be so open minded that your brains fall out
Location: Philly
Contact:

Re: What would Jesus do? : the death penalty

Unread postby neilinphilly » Sat Dec 08, 2007 11:34 pm

musicmonkey wrote:People often fall into one of two extremes in this area: (1) all grace with no law
Paul challenges Christians in Romans chapter 6. There was a false gospel being taught that sinning more just increases God's grace. It's a heresy of cheap grace which isn't grace at all.
musicmonkey wrote:(2) all law with no grace. I think both grossly miss the point.
The Galatians fell from grace because they believed that that the substitutionary death of Jesus wasn't sufficient for salvation. They taught that a Christian also needed to be circumcised which is a false gospel. They attempted to be justified by the Law.

Which extreme do you fall into? I've fallen into both myself and am sure I'm a little one and/or the other now. Salvation is a process where we grow in Christ through mistakes, including theological errors. This is why we need the church and we can't be lone ranger Christians. I John 1:7 "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another." You can't have one without the other.

musicmonkey wrote:
catt wrote:is there anywhere in the bible where Jesus expresses the opinion that government should abolish the death penalty?
Specifically, no. But if you look at the totality of what Jesus said in the Bible, the message was love others. 1 Corinthians 13 defines what love is.
All people, not just Christians, are required to love others. Christ's message is also to repent. Love only with repentance and sanctification is agape love. Love without is eros; philos at best.
musicmonkey wrote:
neilinphilly wrote:Why didn't He campaign against the death penalty?
God's kingdom is not about Earthly nations or man's laws, it's in our hearts. God knows you can't legislate morality. Love has to come from inside each of us through the power of God.
Your point is well taken. God's kingdom is not about Earthly nations or man's laws. If Jesus didn't get involved in politics, should we? This question as well as my original question are just rhetorical. :) If Caesar abolished the death penalty, Jesus would not have fulfilled God's plan to be crucified for our sins. Since God is perfectly sovereign, we can't say absolutely that the death penalty doesn't serve a purpose? It certainly served a purpose when Jesus came to earth "in the fullness of time." And we need to be just as concerned with the innocent victims as we are with criminals who are given the death penalty.
musicmonkey wrote:
neilinphilly wrote:If each Christian truly lives his/her life as "the salt of the earth" preserving God's morality, and s/he converts just one individual to Christianity which causes that person not to commit a capital crime, just possibly that will be the greatest impact of all.
I have a real problem with the word "convert". It's not my job to convert anyone, that's God's job. My job is to love others.
My statement in context assumes that you know that conversion is always and can only be the work of the Holy Spirit and can't be done in the flesh. I think you know the intent of my original statement.

I need to hang out with some Christian woman. Not as many get hung up in "issues" like this like guys do. Whew! :wink:

the crane
Contributor
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Nov 08, 2006 7:38 pm
Contact:

Re: What would Jesus do? : the death penalty

Unread postby the crane » Sun Dec 09, 2007 12:42 am

"I need to hang out with some Christian woman. Not as many get hung up in "issues" like this like guys do. Whew!"

I take some offense to that comment. Perhaps you didn't know there is a woman on this forum.

As for the death penalty:

These people who commit heinous crimes are no more stained in the Lord's eyes than are we. It is unfortunate that we think we can take someone else's life into our own hands, passing judgement that G-d has told us only He can bring.

We don't want our beliefs. G-d of peace we want You.

neilinphilly
Major Contributor
Posts: 117
Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2005 9:27 pm
Quote: Don't be so open minded that your brains fall out
Location: Philly
Contact:

Re: What would Jesus do? : the death penalty

Unread postby neilinphilly » Sun Dec 09, 2007 9:51 am

the crane wrote:I take some offense to that comment. Perhaps you didn't know there is a woman on this forum.

I'm sorry that I offended you. I do, of course, say the same thing to my Christian women friends who agree with me. It was meant as a compliment to women. :) Men do get too hung up in issues.
the crane wrote:It is unfortunate that we think we can take someone else's life into our own hands, passing judgement that G-d has told us only He can bring.
It is unfortunate. There's no perfect answer in an imperfect world. If we really want to discuss crime and punishment, I suggest we discuss the entire issues like criminals' rehabilitation. It is totally unjust the way criminals are imprisoned without true rehabilitation. Most start out in criminal activities and get involved with the wrong people as they are seeking love and acceptance. When they are incarcerated, that's where they seriously learn about crime. If anyone has a burden here, I suggest they get involved with a prison ministry; that is one of the best ways to start to make an impact.
the crane wrote:We don't want our beliefs. G-d of peace we want You.
Amen. God should the object of our worship, not our faith


Return to “Social Justice”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest