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Thread: Capital Punishment: Should Christians support the Death Penalty? - BR XI

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    ...then I woke up. Knight's Avatar
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    Exclamation Capital Punishment: Should Christians support the Death Penalty? - BR XI

    Capital Punishment Debate

    Should Christians support the Death Penalty?

    Battle Royale XI

    Turbo vs. theo_victis


    The Battle will start on Monday September 18th 2006. Battle Royale XI will be a 5 round battle and follow the existing Battle Royale rules.

    BATTLE ROYALE XI DETAILS

    What: The debate will be titled Battle Royale XI: Capital Punishment: Should Christians support the Death Penalty?

    Where: The debate will take place on the Internet at TheologyOnline.com (TOL), the popular online Christian forum, with the moderator, opponents, and spectators all participating and observing over the web.

    Who: The debate will be moderated by the site’s webmaster, through his TOL screen name Knight, who can be contacted at knight@TheologyOnline.com. Turbo and theo_victis will be the combatants

    When: The debate will begin on Monday, September 18, 2006 at noon. IMPORTANT NOTE: BOTH COMBATANTS WILL POST THERE OPENING POST ON MONDAY SEPTEMBER 18th BETWEEN 12:00 and 12:30PM MDT (2-2:30 p.m. Eastern Time). After the opening round theo_victis will post next as determined by my coin flip. Then turbo, then theo and so on.

    Each side will have 48 hours to upload their successive posts, THERE WILL NOT BE A WEEKEND BREAK FOR THIS BATTLE. Each combatant has 48 hours from the time of the previous post to make their next post. If for some reason a combatant cannot make their post on time they can make arrangements with me (Knight) and we can make an adjustment as long as it is a reasonable adjustment.


    How: The debate will last for five rounds. The recommended maximum word limit for the average post is 6,000 words, but any or all posts could be much briefer or possibly longer if need be. For each round, the opponents will login to TheologyOnline.com to upload their posts prior to each round’s 48-hour “move clock” running out of time. The official BR XI clock will be "TOL time" i.e, the time that is listed with each TOL post.

    So why five rounds?

    7 rounds seems a bit too long and 3 too short, so 5 it is!

    Think of the battle like this....
    Round #1 - opening statements
    Round #2 - rebuttals
    Round #3
    Round #4
    Round #5 - closing statements


    Guidelines

    Clarity: Both sides will attempt to achieve clarity and avoid obfuscation.

    Responsiveness: Each side will make an effort to be responsive to the other, to interact, and to answer relevant questions forthrightly, which also ensures that the participants actually debate one another and not simply post material written for other purposes, especially if that material is not specifically responsive.

    Specific BR XI Rules

    Rule 1:
    Question Numbering:
    To help focus the opponent on the topic(s) of a particular post, and to enable readers to follow the debate more easily, participants will sequentially number their questions using TOL’s Battle Royale convention of first part of username, a Q for question, an A for answer, and then the question number. Turbo and Theo would identify their questions with Turbo Q1, Turbo Q2, Theo Q1, and would mark any answer given with Turbo A-TheoQ1 (Turbo answers Theo’s first question), Theo A-TurboQ1, etc. After reading a post of, say, fifteen paragraphs, without such a convention, it may be unclear to the audience and even to the opponent exactly what is being asked. So this also saves participants time in evaluating an opponent’s post. And it discourages unresponsive replies that focus for example on rhetorical questions or incidental details while ignoring the primary challenges. Of course there can be valid reasons why an opponent may refuse to answer a given question.
    Last edited by Knight; February 12th, 2008 at 03:15 PM.
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    Exclamation

    Battle Starts... Monday September 18th 2006
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    Tale of the Tape

    In this corner....

    theo_victis.
    Personal Bio:
    My name is Patrick. I just got engaged a month or two ago! Hooray for me! I like music a lot. I play guitar in a band that we are just starting. I have a strong interest in theology and philosophy.

    Education:
    I graduated high school two years early and started college when I was 15. I am now a senior at Crown College (a small college in Minnesota) graduating with a degree in Theology with a Koine Greek language concentration. I am planning on attending either Princeton Theological Seminary or Trinity Evangelical Divinity Schools. I guess I will just apply to both and see what happens.

    Christian Service:
    I have been on four short term mission trips including two to africa, one to Romania and a state side trip to a homeless shelter in Philadelphia.I served in many churches in many roles including assitant director of Youth Ministry.

    Philosophy:
    I am a Christian. I believe in ethical altruism and consequentialism. I am a soft determinist and adhere to reformed theological thought.

    And in this corner....

    Turbo
    Turbo has worked in the Detroit area as a mechanical engineer in the automobile industry since he graduated from Penn State University in 2000. In the summer of 1997, Turbo first discovered Bob Enyart's ministry and was particularly intrigued by his criticisms of Darwinian evolution and arguments in favor of Creation, the Flood, and a young Earth; and further study eventually led him to turn to Christ in 2001. He became active on TheologyOnline in the spring of 2003 shortly before getting married. His wife has since joined TOL as "the Sibbie," and their first child was born a year ago this month. Turbo currently serves as an administrator on TOL.

    Both fighters have agreed to the stated rules the fight will begin September 18th 2006.
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    Capital Punishment: Should Christians Support the Death Penalty?

    Greetings

    First of all, I would like to thank Knight, Turbo, and of course, TOL for putting this debate on as we will see that this debate is very relevant for us today. Secondly, I would like to say hello to my dearest family and friends who will be reading this, Finally, thanks TOL members and guests for reading this as I hope this will be edifying.

    My Position Stated Clearly


    Capital Punishment/Death Penalty is unwise, stands against the NT ethic of forgiveness, and denies the Lord his rightful place as Judge. I oppose Capital Punishment/Death Penalty and from here-forth this specific view will be referred to as the Abolitionist View. Christians should not support the Death Penalty.

    Introducing the topic

    Capital Punishment is an unusual topic. Its uncanny nature for debating is noted by John H. Yoder who once stated, “This is not a topic into which one can enter ‘from scratch.’” There is no such thing as a neutral ground. There is no bias that lies in between supporting the Death Penalty and rejecting it. This long-standing topic has been argued positively and negatively for centuries. Out of this arises the question, “If this topic has been exhaustively debated for centuries, what is this debate going to bring forth?”

    This is a significant question. My aim for this debate is simple. I am attempting to provide for you a philosophical and theological foundation for an anti-Capital Punishment stance. I believe that by providing a basis of thought by identifying and eliminating common presuppositions, raising essential questions and displaying convincing arguments will demonstrate the need for abolition of the Death Penalty.

    My Plan of Action:

    Significant Questions to be answered in this debate:

    How does the NT ethic of forgiveness and Capital Punishment coincide?
    What is the relationship between God’s judgment and our judgment?
    Is the Death Penalty wise?
    Should Christians Support the Death Penalty?

    Argumentation:


    A Sociological Argument
    A Judicial Argument
    A Theological Argument


    Preliminary Considerations

    The Death Penalty is an ethical issue in which humanity struggles to find comfort. The subject matter is something that transcends every culture though most certainly all societies have implemented it in some form or another.
    Capital Punishment is not an ethical preference. Historically, it has not been evidenced that societies have executed the Death Penalty because it was just a cultural expression or that a peculiar civilization was particularly fond of it. The Death Penalty is driven by a rationality. It is a criminological reaction to criminal activity. Did you catch that? It is a judicial response to an injustice. There is reasoning, a philosophical and a theological system of thought, guiding those who administer the sinister effects of capital punishment.
    Some of the philosophical elements concerned with the Death Penalty are ethics, an anthropic-axiology, a liberation-authoritarian balance and epistemology.
    Capital Punishment makes strong ethical statements tied with the concept of retributive justice. The philosophical category of anthropic-axiology simply means that Capital Punishment makes a value statement about the offender and victim (if there is one available). The Death Penalty makes philosophical statements concerning the rights of the governing authority and the rights of the individual. Finally, within whatever judicial process is used, there is epistemological statements or in non-philosophical terms; it makes statements of certainty concerning the crime and the guilty party.
    Assuming a theistic approach to this issue, there are theological elements within the Death Penalty. Capital Punishment makes statements of God’s immanence and transcendence, statements of God’s justice, and of sin.
    Simply put, statements of God’s immanence (his closeness to us) and his transcendence (his aboveness) are made by the Death Penalty because it tells us how much God interacts with our world and his role in government justice.
    All of these things need to be considered in order to discover the underlying presuppositions that are involved in giving an individual the Death Penalty. Watch throughout the debate to see how my opponent and I differ fundamentally within these issues.

    Defining of Terms

    Capital Punishment/Death Penalty: As you probably already can denote from my post, these two terms have a synonymous relationship. Capital Punishment is governmental action leading the guilty party to death because of the occurrence of an injustice against the statutes of the authorities exercising the execution.

    Abolitionist View: This is simply a name I have given my own view. I didn’t really know what to call my take on this issue/ I didn’t like what was available. I believe I am borrowing this term, so my apology if this confuses you.


    Necessary Abbreviations

    The Death Penalty/Capital Punishment generally will now be assigned the abbreviation: DP.

    Abolitionist View will now be assigned the abbreviation: AV.

    The Debate Begins


    A Puzzling Story

    There was a time where I was a staunch advocate for the DP. I felt that it was God’s justice and his wrath that should never be undermined. I am still convinced of this. Therefore, it was my deepest conviction that if one were to commit a crime worthy of the DP they should receive what they earned. I believe it is only natural to think that way. It is through a professor of mine and his analysis of the following story that had me spending nights awake pondering this issue. This is the famed story of Karla Faye Tucker that you might already be familiar:

    Texas v. Karla Faye Tucker


    It was a stunning case—an eye opener for myself. I had never heard of Karla Faye Tucker or her indecent actions until I took a summer Ethics class. Our class was watching an ABC (or maybe it was a 20/20) presentation of her story. I had learned that this has become the “classical” DP case where the ethics of the DP had become fully questioned once again.
    From the passionate murders to the final moments of Karla Faye Tucker’s life, the case has shaped many peoples’ view on the justice behind executions. In 1984, Karla Faye Tucker was convicted of the murdering of Debby Thorton and Jerry Dean. “During her trial, Tucker admitted that on June 13, 1983, she and her boyfriend at the time, Daniel Ryan Garrett, took a pickax and hacked Dean and Thornton to death while they were sleeping.” It was not just the brutalized bodies that made the case seem to sicken everyone who heard of it; it was the way Tucker repeatedly described the homicides to have given her a sexual thrill (I am showing censorship of her actual words) that sparked instant hatred towards her.
    Prior to Tucker’s murderous behavior, she had lived a life of prostitution, drug addiction, thievery, and anti-socialistic behavior, all which further condemned her during her trial. Tucker was reported to have bragged numerous times to the cold-hearted murders.
    During the trial, Tucker’s own lawyers grew weary of her attitude and actions. Tucker’s own sister testified against her. The jury did not take long for deliberation and promptly suggested that the great state of Texas remove her from society by ending her life. Tucker received the Death Penalty and was sentenced to death row.
    The case and controversy, however, did not end right there. Through a prison outreach group, Karla Faye Tucker found the redeeming quality of God in Christ Jesus. Tucker became a Christian. Her lawyer at the time, David Botsford, testified to the monumental change in his client. Tucker’s sister who bitterly testified against her in court now was a strong supporter of Karla. Tucker’s religious experience had thoroughly changed her life.
    Tucker took it upon herself to receive an education gaining a high school equivalent diploma and strengthening her reading abilities. She led death row bible studies and was a regular witness for Christ. Everyone around her noticed the drastic transformation from her lowly, self-destructive lifestyle to a happy, loving Christian who loved the Lord. Tucker was no longer a threat to society.
    After many appeals and attempts to reduce her sentence to a life imprisonment and a parole option, Tucker was continually denied any sense of hope from her date with death. Tucker’s lawyers, prison guards, fellow inmates, and her family continually insisted that Tucker was a transformed person and no longer a threat to society. Time began to run out on her. Tucker made one last desperate attempt to change her fate. “Karla Faye Tucker's appeal to halt her execution was rejected by the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals on January 28, 1998, less than a week before her scheduled execution.”
    On February 3, 1998, supporters of Tucker flooded the area of her execution just to see her fall to sleep, as George W. Bush did not grant her clemency.

    The True Meaning of Forgiveness Realized

    I remember after hearing this story for the first time in my Christian Ethics class my professor state how it was a shame that Tucker was executed and not granted any form of forgiveness. I recall becoming extremely angry with that particular professor on the account that he was, in my eyes, blatantly ignoring the justice that was carried out with Tucker’s execution. Then he provoked a question that hit me so hard it led me to think through this issue from a different perspective.

    He asked, “When does God’s forgiveness reflect our forgiveness?”

    I had to think for a minute deciphering what he even meant. It dawned on me that he was asking a very important theological question. He was wondering when our character must imitate God’s. If God had forgiven her, why shouldn’t I forgive her? The understanding of this concept prompted me to inquire more from him.

    I asked “What do you mean!?!?!? Should we just let her go then? She certainly needs to pay for her sins!”

    He looked at me and grinned, “You know, in an idealistic setting, I would even allow her to teach Sunday school in Church. I would invite her into my home and let her baby-sit my kids.”

    I knew he said this only to provoke me further. I responded dumbfounded, “What?!?”

    He looked at me directly in the eyes and said, “Patrick, forgiveness is not simply letting go of the offense, nor is it just forgetting as though it didn’t happen. Forgiveness is taking action of sin through Christ whose sacrifice condemns all sin effectively.”

    It was through this simple, truthful understanding of what forgiveness means that I began to realize how serious that concept was. If Karla was forgiven by God, does that mean I should forgive her? My head slowly began to nod yes even though my vengeful-over-emotional heart screamed no!!! It had begun to make sense that maybe the DP was not just.

    This led me to ask a tough question that I would challenge Turbo to respond to:

    Question for Turbo: Should a Christian support the DP for a fellow believer who confessed guilt and asked sincerely for forgiveness?

    Rephrasing Phrases We’ve Heard

    I enjoy an action film from time to time. I love classic movies such as Platoon, Reservoir Dogs, Robocop and Rambo. What can I say? Cheesy action films are just plain entertaining. I recently saw a segment of a newer action flick entitled Doom based on the PC video game (btw, the movie was awful; I didn’t even watch it all). In this 2005 release there is a phrase that I would like to pay specific attention. This phrase is not new nor did it originate in Doom and I am sure it is in many other films as well. It goes something like this:

    “Kill them all and let God sort them out.”

    I draw your attention to this because it draws out a significant philosophical issue between those who support the DP and those who reject its usage. What I am talking about is the kind of attitude found in this phrase. It is the attitude of those who advocate the DP. It is the song of those who sang outside Karla Faye Tucker’s execution site and cheered her death. There is no compassion in this song and no forgiveness is allotted.

    As we have seen in Texas v. Karla Faye Tucker that this sort of attitude leads into problems between the NT concept of forgiveness. I will save the next few rounds of this debate to develop what is fully meant of a NT ethic of Forgiveness and its role in the DP debate. For now, I would like to supply this dictum:

    “Forgive them all and let God sort them out.”

    I hope that this debate will champion this phrase and Christians will see the value of forgiveness fully within this political, ethical, philosophical and theological issue.

    Question for Turbo: How do you understand forgiveness?



    Misconstruing My Words and Thoughts

    What I am not arguing in favor of in this debate is any type of anarchy, antinomianism, or idealism that does not believe in justice at any point. Instead, I am simply arguing is that the DP is not a wise punishment, goes against the NT ethic of forgiveness, and denies the Lord his rightful place as judge. I believe that if I get caught speeding I should be given a speeding ticket. I believe that if I beat my fiancé I should receive imprisonment. I will explain in the following rounds the difference between this form of justice and the DP.

    Final Opening Remarks

    To summarize what has been stated in this introductory round: I discussed preliminary philosophical issues that will just generally come up in this debate. I plan to further point out the philosophical differences between the AV and those who support Capital Punishment. I introduced the puzzling story of Tucker and the paradigm shift that occurred in my life. I spoke briefly about forgiveness. Finally, I think this is going to be a lot of F-U-N, FUN!


    Questions for Turbo:

    Turbo. I have a bunch of questions for you and your providing answers will help this debate sail smoothly:

    TheoQ1: Should a Christian support the DP for a fellow believer who confessed guilt and asked sincerely for forgiveness?

    TheoQ2: How do you understand forgiveness?

    TheoQ3: What is the relationship between forgiveness and the DP?

    TheoQ4: How do you render the term, “Capital Punishment?” And can we view it as a synonym with the phrase, “Death Penalty?”

    TheoQ5: What are things that should mandate the DP?

    TheoQ6: Can we come up with a suitable term or expression (especially one that can be abbreviated) for those who support the DP? Sort of like my AV?!?!? That would be nice.

    Irrelevant TheoQ7: Have you ever seen the movie Kill Bill Vol. 1.? Talk about crazy action movie! Anyways...

    Sources Consulted

    House, H. Wayne., Yoder, John H. The Death Penalty Debate. (Dallas: Word Inc., 1991).

    “A Question of Mercy. Accessed September 17, 2006.
    Last edited by theo_victis; September 18th, 2006 at 12:20 PM. Reason: Changing "Christians should not oppose..." to should not support

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    BRXI Round 1B

    Thank you, Knight, for all you have done and continue to do to facilitate not only this debate, but TheologyOnline as a whole. When I first registered four years ago, I could not have imagined the impact TOL would have on my life or the wonderful friendships I would form through this site, including yours.

    And thank you, theo_victis, for agreeing to participate in this debate. I respect your willingness to put it on the line, so to speak, especially since most of the Christians here are in favor of the death penalty. I pray that our debate will be useful to those seeking the truth on this matter. And call me optimistic, but I hope this debate will lead to a change in your position as well, whether it's during the debate itself or sometime long after the dust has settled.



    God has commanded that the Death Penalty be carried out.

    When Cain murdered Abel, he intuitively knew that people (at that point in history, his family) would want him dead for what he did:

    And Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.” Genesis 4:13-14

    But God prohibited anyone from taking vengence on Cain:

    And the LORD said to him, “Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him.” Genesis 4:15

    So in the antediluvian age, God had not authorized any men to punish other men, and He specifically forbade the execution of the first murderer. Man was governed only by his own conscience for sixteen hundred years. And as a result mankind became so utterly wicked that God was sorry that He made man:

    Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” Genesis 6:5-7

    After the Flood, God reiterated His command to "be fruitful and multiply." He altered man's permissible diet to include meat. And he completely reversed his ban on capital punishment for murderers; from that point on every murderer was to be put to death:

    Whoever sheds man’s blood,
    By man his blood shall be shed;
    For in the image of God
    He made man. Genesis 9:6

    It was by this command that God established the institution of human government, and therefore the death penalty is at the foundation of a Godly criminal justice system.


    TurboQ1: Do you agree that after the Flood, God called for the death penalty (to be carried out by men) for all murderers? (Gen 9:6)

    If yes:
    TurboQ2: When do you believe God changed His commandment to execute murderers to instead forbid execution?


    The Death Penalty is Just.

    Just as restitution is equitable punishment for theft, death is equitable punishment for murderers. The criminal justice system God has laid out in Scripture is based on such equitable punishments:

    ...you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. Exodus 21:24-25
    By definition, if a punishment is equitable, it is just.


    TurboQ3: Do you agree that the death is a just and equitable penalty for committing murder? (If not, please explain.)


    The Death Penalty is a Powerful Deterrent.

    When the death penalty is administered consistently, swiftly, and painfully upon conviction of capital crimes, the incidence of those crimes is minimized.

    If a false witness rises against any man to testify against him of wrongdoing, then both men in the controversy shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who serve in those days. And the judges shall make careful inquiry, and indeed, if the witness is a false witness, who has testified falsely against his brother, then you shall do to him as he thought to have done to his brother; so you shall put away the evil from among you. And those who remain shall hear and fear, and hereafter they shall not again commit such evil among you. Your eye shall not pity: life shall be for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. Deuteronomy 19:16-21

    Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Ecclesiastes 8:11

    Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Romans 13:1-4

    Genesis 6 gives an indication of how mankind behaves when there is no threat of punishment for criminal activity. We also get an occasional glimpse of this lawlessness during a riot of in the aftermath of natural disaster; masses of people become criminals when there is no fear of being punished.

    Our broken and Godless criminal justice system lands somewhere in between. Murderers, for instance, have very little chance of being sentenced to death even if the particular state allows the death penalty at all. And those who are sentenced to death are not executed until many years later (if ever), long after the public has forgotten the crime. And on those rare occasions when a murderer is actually put to death, it is carried out via painless lethal injection. Instead, our system favors prison sentences of varying lengths (which were used by the wicked nations during biblical times, but were never among the penalties authorized by God for any crime). The death penalty as it is currently in the United States has no teeth, being neither consistent not painful not speedily executed. And therefore it does little to inspire fear among the people. And as a result we have epidemic crime rates, just as Solomon warned (Ecclesiates 8:11).


    TurboQ4: Should governing authorities punish criminals at all?

    If yes:
    TurboQ5: Specifically, what should the punishment be for murder? (Please provide Biblical support if possible or acknowledge that you cannot.)


    The Death Penalty is at the Heart of the Gospel.

    If the death penalty is immoral, then what does that say about God the Father? For He required that the Son be put to death to pay the penalty for our sin.

    The Law is a teacher that brings men to Christ (Galatians 3:24). When our criminal code is inconsistent with God's, we create an unnecessary stumbling block for unbelievers. Jesus taught that on a spiritual level, getting angry at your neighbor without cause is the equivalent of actually murdering your neighbor (Matthew 5:21-22). But when we teach that murderers do not deserve death, but only a prison sentence to "pay your debt to society," we weaken the gravity of Christ's message. "For the wages of sin is…" prison?

    When our laws are just, it is easier for people to believe in a just God and hence accept the Gospel. When our laws are unjust, forcing a murder victim's family and loved ones to pay for the murderer's care until he dies of old age, people are more likely to doubt the existence of a just God. Remember, Paul wrote that governing authorities are "God's minister" (Romans 13:3,4). Rulers have a responsibility to punish criminals as God has commanded; they should not second-guess Him or try to come up with something better. They should not set aside the commandment of God in favor of their own traditions or ideas, and as Christians, neither should we. We should be diligent to represent God accurately; we should teach others, including governing authorities, that God has commanded that every murderer be swiftly and painfully put to death upon conviction. To allow them to live is to profane God.

    And will you profane Me... killing people who should not die, and keeping people alive who should not live...? Ezekiel 13:19


    Questions for theo_victis

    TurboQ1: Do you agree that after the Flood, God called for the death penalty (to be carried out by men) for all murderers? (Gen 9:6)

    If yes:
    TurboQ2: When do you believe God changed His commandment to execute murderers to instead forbid execution?

    TurboQ3: Do you agree that the death is a just and equitable penalty for committing murder? (If not, please explain.)

    TurboQ4: Should governing authorities punish criminals at all?

    If yes:
    TurboQ5: Specifically, what should the punishment be for murder? (Please provide Biblical support if possible or acknowledge that you cannot.)
    Last edited by Turbo; September 20th, 2006 at 06:31 AM. Reason: Corrected reference to Matthew 9:21-22 and two other typos. Details are in the Battle Talk thread.

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    Exclamation

    DING DING DING, that's it for round number 1.

    OK the opening statements have been made!

    Theo will have 48 hours from 12:00 PM (MDT) to make his second round post.

    Therefore Theo's next post is due no later than 12:00 PM (MDT) on Wednesday September 20th.

    You can discuss the Battle in the Battle Talk thread.
    Last edited by Knight; September 18th, 2006 at 12:21 PM.
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    ...then I woke up. Knight's Avatar
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    Theo made a typo in his opening post and asked if we would let him change it. Both Turbo and I agree that Theo can edit his round one post.

    Theo typed "Christians should not oppose the Death Penalty." he meant to type "Christians should oppose the Death Penalty."
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    Exclamation BR Round 2a

    Opening Remarks

    For this round, I would like to address one of my questions to answer as outlined in my introductory post. I have already posited the question through the story of Karla Faye Tucker. For additional information concerning her crime, trial, and execution click here . It is my intent to answer the question fully and then turn to the sociological argument. After this, I will take a moment to evaluate Turbo’s opening post and then answer his questions.

    A Significant Question


    How does the NT ethic of forgiveness and Capital Punishment coincide?

    Let us recall what my professor had said to me: “Patrick, forgiveness is not simply letting go of the offense, nor is it just forgetting as though it didn’t happen. Forgiveness is taking action of sin through Christ whose sacrifice condemns all sin effectively.”

    Forgiveness is taking action of sin through Christ whose sacrifice condemns all sin effectively.

    I purposely left this statement in a state of ambiguity. Let us return to the classroom to find out what is meant:

    After some time had passed our class was simply stunned by our stoic professor’s profound statements. He grinned. You have to understand this man. He loved getting under your skin and played the devil’s advocate so convincingly as though he had personally met the red-horned fiend himself. I did not respond immediately. Half the class was still trying to recover from his words. Here we are in a well-represented Republican college, staunch advocates for the DP, no doubt, and here this old man had the tenacity to say these words. Profanity!

    Knowing that we were dumbfounded, he raised his eyebrow and said, “Radical forgiveness received, radical forgiveness given!”

    He explained that at the heart of the NT was God’s redeeming qualities in action in Christ. Christ came to take on our sin so that we do not need to suffer the immense excruciating punishment that God had set aside for the devil and his work. It was the purpose of Christ’s incarnation that “he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities” so that “by his wounds we are healed.” Christ took the DP for us so we do not have to. Christ rose from the dead assuring us salvation for whoever believes that he is the Son of God and repents. Isn’t that the Gospel message?


    It became understood and clear that forgiveness was a serious concept to grasp. Our somewhat-maniacal professor pointed out that forgiveness was “taking action” of sin because as Christians we forgive as the Lord forgave us. Let’s look at the NT concept of forgiveness to receive a stronger foundation of this:

    NT Concept of Forgiveness

    First and foremost, it should be pointed out that I am not trying to make a marcionite canonical statement. Marcion (born 110 A.D.) viewed the Old and New Testaments to relate to separate gods. The God of the OT, Yahweh, was evil and vengeful and the God (Christ) of the NT was peaceful and merciful. This dichotomous distinction does us no good. The AV does not support this type of separation. Instead, we must always see that the God of the OT is the same as the God of the NT.

    What we see in Micah 7:18 is that the God of the OT is the same forgiving God of the NT:

    Micah 7:18 Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
    of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.

    It is God’s delight to show mercy!!! I will effectively demonstrate that the NT is the praxis of God’s delight. It is in the Gospels where we find God fully revealing his mercy and forgiveness through his Son, Jesus Christ.

    As we just saw back in the classroom, at the very heart of the Gospel is forgiveness. Through Christ’s sacrifice, we are forgiven. It is through this we are granted the mercy of God (his delight!). Christ’s atoning work nailed our very own sin to the cross and we no longer need to pay the penalty for our sin. This is the grace we receive!!!

    Considering Christ’s death and resurrection, how do we make sense of the following Pauline passage?

    Colossians 3:12-13 “Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (13) Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

    Forgive as the Lord forgave? Does this mean we die on a cross for someone else’s sins? I think this is a little to literal of an interpretation of the Cross. What does this passage tell us? To forgive as the Lord forgave. Just how has God forgiven us?

    Hebrews 8:12 tells us:

    “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

    God forgives our sins and remembers them no more! If we are going to forgive someone, we need no longer to remember his or her sins! Forgive as the Lord forgave you! What an incredible concept! It should be noted that this passage is identical to Jeremiah 31:34. God all along planned for Christ to come in the fullness of time to be able to forgive our sins (Galatians 4:4).

    Capital Punishment and the OT

    I think that it is a common stigma that Capital Punishment is somehow only related to murder. Historically, many societies gave the DP for many different reasons and sometimes murder wasn’t even a reason! (See Code of Hammurabi) In the OT, murder is clearly one of many items punishable by death:

    Things which mandate death in the OT

    Attacking your mother or father (Exo 21:15)
    Kidnapping and with intent to sell person (Exo 21:16)
    If an animal kills another person, that animal deserves death (Exo 21:28)
    If an animal is a repeat offender, animal and owner deserves death (Exo 21:29)
    Desecrating/ Not keeping the Sabbath (Exo 31:14)
    Any one who sacrifices their children to Molech (Lev 20:2)
    Cursing your mother and father (Lev 20:4)
    Committing adultery (Lev 20:10)
    Sleeping with your father’s wife (Lev 20:11)
    Sleeping with your daughter in law (Lev 20:12)
    Homosexual conduct (Lev 20:13)
    Marrying a woman and her mother (Lev 20:14)
    Bestiality (Lev 20:15)
    Consulting a Spirit Medium (Lev 20:27)
    Priest’s daughter turning to prostitution (Lev 21:9)
    Going near the tabernacle (Numbers 1:51)
    False Prophecy (Deut 13:5)
    Enticing others to follow other gods (Deut 13:10)
    Violating God’s covenant (Deut 17:2)
    Showing contempt to a judge or priest (Deut 17:12)
    Disobeying your parents (Deut 21:21)
    Rebellion and disobeying God (Jos 1:18)

    And the list could go on….

    This is the OT perspective on Capital Punishment. This is what Turbo is arguing for. I have a few questions for you Turbo:

    Have you ever disobeyed your parents?
    Have you ever broken the Sabbath?
    Have you ever disobeyed God and were rebellious to him? Maybe before you were a Christian?
    If you answer yes to any of these things then I will remind you that you are also in violation if God’s covenant which demands death!

    The list seems outrageously impossible to keep. Heck, I will admit it. I have broken some of these myself. What Turbo and many supporters of the DP would like you to believe is that it is only an issue about murder. The OT law was concerned with much more than murder!!! It is under this broader spectrum that we realize that all of us have broken the law of God!

    The NT concept of forgiveness and Capital Punishment

    At this point, I will reinstate my original question:

    How does the NT ethic of forgiveness and Capital Punishment coincide?


    I believe that a fair appeal to the NT in order to interpret the law needs to take place. Romans 3:23 states, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” All of us have missed the mark, all of us have been rebellious sons and daughters of God, all of us have gone astray! Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death…” If we truly are going to support the DP theologically, then we all deserve it. However, since the redeeming qualities of God have been found in Christ then Ephesians 2:4-5 can be fully appreciated, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, (5) made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.”

    How then can the NT concept of forgiveness and Capital Punishment be juxtaposed? We are to no longer live by the letter of the law but abide in Christ.

    Hebrews 8:13 makes an outstanding point about following the law:
    ”By calling this covenant "new," he [Jesus Christ] has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.” The OT sacrificial system is fading before our eyes. In the eschaton, when Christ returns, we will no longer see this “life for life, eye for eye, and tooth for tooth…” structure in place. If we continue to read in the book of Hebrews, it entirely destroys the concept of retribution for sin for those in Christ:

    Hebrews 9:14-15 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! (15) For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance--now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

    Hebrews 7:18-19 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (19) (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

    The more we hold on to the OT sacrificial Law in order to codify our lives we see that we do not draw near to God. It is, paradoxically speaking, the introduction of forgiveness through Christ that brings us closer to God.

    We know the law to be incomplete because of what Scripture tells us. The law is actually used to induce transgression in order for us to rely solely on God for his forgiveness and mercy. The Apostle Paul states in Romans 3:20 “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.” So, it becomes very apparent “that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.” (Romans 7:10)

    As Christians, we need to forgive as the Lord forgives. We need to show mercy for God “desires mercy, not sacrifice.” He has called the sinners, not the righteous.

    Questions for Turbo: Have you ever broken one of the decrees of the Law that mandate the DP? Does the entirety of the OT law still apply today? What does it mean to forgive as the Lord forgives?

    I now turn to my first argument:

    A Sociological Argument

    Ever since agreeing to debate this subject I have done extensive research. One particular area of research that has shaped my thinking on this subject is sociology. The sociological aspect of Capital Punishment is a very large topic: a topic that will not be addressed in its entirety. I admit that I am not a statistical expert nor is this my strongest argument. I, however, do believe that this type of argumentation helps us shape our thought from a different perspective. I would like now to base my arguments from an American cultural perspective. All statistics used in this portion are only true to America. The reason I chose America is obvious for two reasons: 1) I am an American and 2) there are many sources based on the United States. In order to understand my argument fully I am going to provide a very brief timeline chronologically displaying the DP in US history.

    Timeline

    1800s to 1972

    Many states retract the DP and reinstate it

    1972

    The US Supreme Court determines the DP to be unconstitutional

    1976 to present (2006)

    The US Supreme Court reinstates the DP

    My Analysis

    The US Justice Department began to take far superior records after the 1976 reinstating and therefore all statistical analysis is based off those records.

    Racial Bias

    An alarming statistic that I found during my analysis of many US Justice statistics concerns a very apparent racial bias. Since 1976, more Caucasians have been put on death row with a national homicide average that is lower than those of the African American heritage.

    The stats:

    Since 1976, Caucasians have committed 46% of all the homicides (293,839 homicides) yet comprise 56% of the death row convictions (37,850 on death row) while African Americans have committed 52% (333,872) of all homicides and only comprise 42% of death row convictions (26,724 on death row).

    What then could be a possible explanation for this? Why would more homicides by a particular racial group equate to less death row inmates?

    Some sociologists seem to suggest that it is because of White sympathizing. Statistically, more white people are murdered (51%). More Caucasians murder Caucasians (45%).

    The theory is that a jury is more likely to sentence someone who murdered a white person to death row than a black person, or Asian person. I cannot verify this point entirely (which is why it is my weakest argument), however, if there is a racial bias (and that is what it appears to be) then how could a Christian support a racially biased system?

    If the US Justice Department’s mission “is to enforce the law, defend the interests of the Unites States, ensure public safety, and ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans” yet the system is corrupted by subliminal racial biases, how could a Christian support it?

    Question for Turbo: Do these statistics taken directly from the US Department of Justice indicate any form of racial bias? (If you are unsure, please suggest the plausibility of it being racially biased)


    Responding to Turbo:



    Turbo's: “God has commanded that the Death Penalty be carried out.”

    The passage that he uses here is Genesis 9:6. This passage states:

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

    Turbo then immediately comments that this passage is indicative of God’s establishing of “human government, and therefore the death penalty is at the foundation of a Godly criminal justice system.” I would like to contend that this point is an incorrect interpretation of the passage.

    The reason for it being a misinterpretation is that contextually the verse is speaking of the sacrificial system, not a governmental authority.

    We know this for three reasons:

    1. The verse never specifies who this “man” is that shall also be shed of his blood.
    2. Contextually, in virtually the same breath the passage is speaking of killing animals and eating them (not government statutes)
    3. Finally, the passage does not speak of murder but that is something read eisegetically into the text.

    Here is the full context:

    Genesis 9:1-7 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. (2) The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands. (3) Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. (4) "But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. (5) 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. (6) "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man. (7) As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it."

    Responding to Turbo’s: “The Death Penalty is a Powerful Deterrent”


    I will object to this fully in the next round but I have a question coming out of this:

    Why did you state the following: “The death penalty as it is currently in the United States has no teeth, being neither consistent nor painful not speedily executed.” (Emphasis mine)

    Do you really want people to suffer? I find it appalling how many of you changed your avatars to some symbolization of the DP. Shouldn’t it break your heart to see someone die? It is bad enough to see other having to suffer the loss of a loved one via murder. It seriously makes my stomach sick.


    Responding to Turbo’s “The Death Penalty is at the Heart of the Gospel”


    You are right; the DP is at the heart of the NT. Fortunately, through Christ’s sacrifice we do not need to experience it! I would hate to be executed for disobeying my parents! Honestly, thank God for his work on the Cross, taking my punishment for me.

    Answering Turbo’s Questions


    Theo-A-TurbosQ1: No. I do not agree. See my response to your interpretation of that passage.

    TheoATurbosQ2: N/A

    Theo-A-TurbosQ3: No, not any more. See Christ.

    Theo-A-TurbosQ4: Of course! Forgiveness, however, is a serious concept not to be ignored. There are many parables of Christ where a rich ruler is about to punish someone but shows mercy instead.

    Theo-A-TurbosQ5: God drove Cain out from the Land: so, removal from society (rehabilitative imprisonment, whatever). I don’t have much Biblical support for this, nor do I have Biblical support to issue speeding tickets and fines for offenders of that!

    Questions for Turbo

    TheoQ8: Are there are other things then murder that demand the DP? Do you support giving the DP for disobeying your mother or father?

    TheoQ9: Have you ever broken one of the decrees of the Law that mandate the DP?

    TheoQ10: Does the entirety of the OT law still apply today?

    TheoQ11: What does it mean to forgive as the Lord forgives?

    TheoQ12: Do these statistics taken directly from the US Department of Justice indicate any form of racial bias? (If you are unsure, please suggest the plausibility of it being racially biased)

    Summary

    I answered my first question for myself. I then presented the first aspect of the sociological argument. I then responded to Turbo’s opening post. I then answered and gave questions of my own.

    Sources

    All statistics were taken from the US Department of Justice: www.usdoj.gov last accessed September 19, 2006.

    http://www.courttv.com/archive/casef...ackground.html

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    ...then I woke up. Knight's Avatar
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    Turbo is on the clock, he has until Friday the 22nd 1:27AM (MDT) to make his second round post.
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    BRXI Round 2B

    theo_victis's answers to my questions.

    For the convenience of the readers, I will pair theo's answers with my questions, and I will comment on some of them.

    TurboQ1: Do you agree that after the Flood, God called for the death penalty (to be carried out by men) for all murderers? (Gen 9:6)
    Theo A-TurbosQ1: No. I do not agree. See my response to your interpretation of that passage.

    If yes:
    TurboQ2: When do you believe God changed His commandment to execute murderers to instead forbid execution?
    TheoATurbosQ2: N/A
    OK, so you disagree that when God said, "Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed," He meant that men should execute murderers. But you did later acknowledge that God later commanded the death penalty for a variety of crimes including murder. Therefore my question is not "N/A." I will ask again:

    TurboQ6: When do you believe God changed His commandment to execute murderers to instead forbid execution? (Please be specific.)


    TurboQ3: Do you agree that the death is a just and equitable penalty for committing murder? (If not, please explain.)

    Theo-A-TurbosQ3: No, not any more. See Christ.


    TurboQ4: Should governing authorities punish criminals at all?

    Theo-A-TurbosQ4: Of course! Forgiveness, however, is a serious concept not to be ignored. There are many parables of Christ where a rich ruler is about to punish someone but shows mercy instead.
    "Of course!" This answer will come back to haunt you throughout this debate because it undermines many of the arguments you will make and have already made. It utterly undermines your so-called "forgive them all" philosophy. I forgive you, but I want you locked up.

    TurboQ7: Do any of those parables you refer to involve a murderer, a rapist, a kidnapper, or the like being shown mercy by a rich ruler?

    TurboQ5: Specifically, what should the punishment be for murder? (Please provide Biblical support if possible or acknowledge that you cannot.)

    Theo-A-TurbosQ5: God drove Cain out from the Land: so, removal from society (rehabilitative imprisonment, whatever).
    Execution removes criminals from society. Does that fall under the umbrella of "whatever"?

    I don’t have much Biblical support for this, nor do I have Biblical support to issue speeding tickets and fines for offenders of that!
    Cain's exile was not the equivalent of prisons, in which criminals are cared for at taxpayers' expense, including that of the victims and their families.

    Let's be frank: There is no Biblical support whatsoever for imprisoning criminals. Prisons, unlike automobiles, did exist in Biblical times. And although wicked pagan nations are recorded in Scripture to have punished criminals by imprisoning them, God never authorized Israel to do such a thing. Instead, they were only authorized to hold suspects until their trial concluded and (if found guilty) their sentence could be carried out(see Lev 24:12, Num 15:34). Imprisonment was not to be used as the sentence itself.


    (As a side note: It's ironic that you defended your lack of Biblical support for imprisonment by pointing out that you also have no Biblical support for the government issuing fines to be paid to the government. God never authorized fines to be paid to the government for any crime. The government should not use crime as a source of revenue; it creates a conflict of interest for the government.

    You should reconsider your advocacy for fines. But this is outside the scope of this debate, so if you want to discuss fines further, let's do it in another thread after this debate is over.)






    The "Puzzling" Story of Karla Faye Tucker is Easily Solved

    Recall this exchange between the criminals crucified alongside the Lord:

    Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”

    But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

    And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:39-43

    You say that the death penalty is not just. But this man, a criminal who had since repented and had become a believer, disagreed with you. He accepted his punishment willingly, and called it just. He called it "the due reward of [his] deeds." Jesus did not correct him. The Holy Spirit inspired Luke to record his words. There is no hint in the text that this man's assessment was wrong.

    TurboQ8: Was the repentant criminal correct in stating that his punishment of death was just?


    Furthermore, while on trial, Paul stated:
    For if I am an offender, or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying; but if there is nothing in these things of which these men accuse me, no one can deliver me to them. I appeal to Caesar.” Acts 25:11

    Paul's statement infers that some offenses are deserving of death, and that he does not object to the death penalty for those offenses.

    TurboQ9 Do these sound like the words of someone who is philosophically opposed to the death penalty?


    And as I mentioned in my first round post, in at the beginning of Romans 13 Paul warns fellow believers not to commit crimes for fear of being punished by governing authorities. Paul had stated at the end of the previous chapter:

    Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19

    Then just a few verses later he explains that God has delegated this responsibility to governing authorities, who are "God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath" on evildoers, who should "be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain" (Romans 13:4).

    Did you catch that? Paul says that Vengeance is God's, and that we should give place to wrath. Then he immediately explains that governing authorities are "God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath."


    TheoQ1: Should a Christian support the DP for a fellow believer who confessed guilt and asked sincerely for forgiveness?

    Turbo A-TheoQ1: Absolutely. Not only that, but the fellow believer should willingly accept his/her own execution rather than challenge it.

    Tucker should not have lobbied for leniency, but rather she should have willingly accepted her execution.






    TheoQ2: How do you understand forgiveness?

    Turbo A-TheoQ2:

    Crash Course On Forgiveness

    The common Christian cliché, which you apparently subscribe to, is that Christians should forgive everyone unconditionally. You put it well: "Forgive everyone and let God sort them out."

    This teaching is entirely unbiblical. Contrast this with how the Lord summed up how we should go about forgiving others in our personal relationships:

    Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. Luke 17:3

    Cliché-following Christians turns a blind eye to the emboldened section. "If your brother sins... forgive him." That's all they see, because that's all they hear. They tend to ignore Scripture that runs contrary to the clichés they're used to.

    "against you"
    They've heard that you are supposed to forgive the sins of others no matter who was sinned against. Someone murders his wife? "We forgive him!" cry a million ignorant Christians in unison.

    We only have the authority to forgive sins committed against us. We don't have the authority to forgive a murderer for his crime any more than we have the authority to forgive our neighbor of his mortgage owed to the bank. Only God has such authority.

    When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.”

    And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Mark 2:5-7

    The scribes recognized that when Christ forgave the sins of the paralytic, He was making a claim of deity. Christ was claiming to have authority that God alone has.

    TurboQ10: Do you have the authority to forgive monetary debts owed to another?

    TurboQ11: Do you have the authority to forgive spiritual debts owed to another? In other words, do you have the authority to forgive someone of the sins they committed against someone else?

    "rebuke him"
    Today's Christians don't like the thought of rebuking someone, for in order to rebuke someone one must first judge them, and to them judging is a mortal sin. These same Christians love to say how they forgive everyone, not realizing that before forgiving, one must judge that there is something to forgive. They also tend to judge "judgmental Christians" while having a hard time forgiving them for being so judgmental. (More on judging later in this post.)

    "if he repents"
    The "forgive 'em all" Christians don't like this condition. They think we should forgive everyone regardless of whether they repent; that it will prevent us from becoming bitter. But what about the one who sinned? Aren't we teaching him that he doesn't need to repent in order to be forgiven?

    TurboQ Does God forgive unrepentant sinners?

    Jesus said, "if he repents, forgive him." So what if he doesn't repent even when confronted and rebuked?

    Well, Luke gave the short version, but Matthew went into more detail:

    "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector." Matthew 18:15-17
    In other words, we are to turn up the heat on the unrepentant sinner, and withhold forgiveness until he repents.
    But all of that is about personal relationships. Jesus was not talking about a government's role in dealing with criminals.

    You asked,
    TheoQ3: What is the relationship between forgiveness and the DP?

    Turbo A-TheoQ3: God never granted governments the authority the option to lighten or eliminate punishments for crimes. God has commanded that governments execute convicted murderers (for example), but He has never granted them the authority to forgive them. Only God has the authority to totally forgive a murderer. Individuals can only forgive a murderer to the extent that he sinned against them, and they should if he repents. But the government still has a God-given responsibility to execute such a criminal, and the criminal should accept his punishment willingly.

    If a judge were to free such a criminal and the criminal went on to murder again, the crime is on the judge's conscience. If the judge imprisons the repentant for decades, he has condemned a him to a manmade hell despite that he is saved by grace. It is better to execute him, turning him over to the Living God who we can trust to judge rightly. In doing so, you would be granting the Lord his rightful place as judge.



    You say, "Forgive them all and let God sort them out." Yet you would still have governments punish criminals. Why would you lock up someone you've forgiven?

    You seem agree with your professor that a murderer should be released if he/she expresses sorrow and asks Christ for forgiveness. You think that governing authorities should "remember... no more" the sins of criminals if they call upon the name of the Lord. Yet you also stated that if you (a Christian saved by grace) were to beat your fiancé, that you should be imprisoned.

    So please clarify:

    TurboQ13 Should a Christian support imprisonment (or any other form of punishment) for a fellow believer who confessed guilt and asked sincerely for forgiveness?



    Crash Course On Judging
    Another common Christian cliché is "Judge not." This short phrase is taken from Christ's words recorded in Matthew 7:1 and is used to teach Christians that it is wrong to judge. But let's take a look at the context of that phrase:

    “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:1-5

    Jesus was not saying, "Don't judge;" He was saying, "Don't judge hypocritically!" He was teaching people not to condemn others for what they are guilty of themselves. Then He says that if we repent and correct ourselves first, we will be better able to see clearly to judge and correct others.

    So anytime a Christian rebukes another Christian for judging, he makes himself a hypocrite. For he believes it is wrong to judge, yet he is judging the Christian who judges. His pet verse actually condemns him.


    God wants us to judge. God appointed judges; there is even a book in the Bible called Judges. We are supposed to judge rightly.

    The Lord taught,
    "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment." John 7:24

    Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers concerning judging:
    But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:15-16

    And he rebuked them for their unwillingness to judge even the smallest matters:

    Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? 1 Corinthians 6:2-5

    You argue that "Capital Punishment... denies the Lord his rightful place as Judge." Yet as Paul wrote in the above passage, we will be active participants on Judgment Day, and we should be willing and able to judge in this life as well.

    You claim that "Capital Punishment... denies the Lord his rightful place as Judge." But God has commanded that murderers (for example) be executed, and He has never changed that command. Who are you to second guess God, and to call His commandments "unwise" and "unjust"?

    TurboQ14: Why do you think God ever commanded that murderers be executed?

    TurboQ15: Was God unwise and unjust to command Israel to execute certain types of criminals?





    Rightly Dividing

    TheoQ5: What are things that should mandate the DP?

    Turbo A-TheoQ5: Capital crimes. These include murder, rape, adultery, homosexual conduct, bestiality, kidnapping, falsely accusing another of a capital crime. (This is not an exhaustive list.) These are moral laws that are an extension of "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Leviticus 19:18). For those of these laws which God has identified as crimes, we should trust His wisdom and advocate the punishments that He has commanded.

    These do not include any ceremonial or religious laws, which God gave exclusively for Israel as a part of their covenant with Him and were often symbolic ("a sign"), and as the author of Hebrews points out, they were often symbolized something about Christ.

    This is the sort of thing Paul was referring to when he said that we should rightly divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). He wrote that the law is written on the hearts of the Gentiles (Romans 2:15), but people's consciences don't tell them that it's wrong to work on Saturday.

    Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. Exodus 20:9-11
    And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you. You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. Exodus 31:12-14
    As these passages reveal, the Sabbath was given specifically and exclusively to Israel, and it was symbolic of God creating in six days and resting on the seventh. It also symbolized the rest we would have in Christ (Hebrews 4:4-8).

    I've chosen to mainly focus on murder because the topic of this debate is whether or not Christians should support the death penalty, and murder is the most obvious crime deserving of death. Seeing as though you don't even think murderers should be executed, I don't think a discussion about whether adulterers should be put to death would be productive.


    You listed a variety of laws that were punishable by death, failing to rightly divide the religious and symbolic laws that were specific to God's covenant relationship with Israel with laws that even you agree should receive punishment of some form. Then you challenged me,
    Have you ever disobeyed your parents?
    Have you ever broken the Sabbath?
    Have you ever disobeyed God and were rebellious to him? Maybe before you were a Christian?
    If you answer yes to any of these things then I will remind you that you are also in violation if God’s covenant which demands death!
    Since you have stated that the government should punish criminals, I can turn this line of questioning right back on you.

    TurboQ16 Should the government punish people who mow their lawns on Saturday?

    TurboQ17 Is it even sinful for people living today to mow their lawns on Saturday?

    TurboQ18 Should the government imprison all unbelievers (who are all rebellious against God)?

    TurboQ19 How do you determine which actions should be criminal, and what are the things that should mandate punishment from the government?


    Was Disobeying One's Parents a Capital Crime in Israel?

    You actually listed one of Israel's capital crimes twice:
    Cursing your mother and father (Lev 20:4) [sic]
    ...
    Disobeying your parents (Deut 21:21)
    The second law is merely a restatement of the first. The word "Deuteronomy" literally means "second law;" most of its laws are restatements of those found in the earlier books of Moses. Here is the law you refer to:

    "And he who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death." Exodus 21:17

    'For everyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother. His blood shall be upon him.' Leviticus 20:9

    What sort of behavior constituted cursing one's parents? It might be hard to discern, but thankfully the law is restated with a descriptive example in Deuteronomy:

    “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city. And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear*. Deuteronomy 21:18-21
    (*Note that the last phrase of that passage once more indicates that the the threat of a painful death serves as a deterrence.)

    Here God is describing an ongoing pattern of disobedience and debauchery. This law apparently isn't even directed at young children; even the brattiest 10-year-olds of today are not drunkards.

    If God had wanted Israelite parents to turn their children over to be stoned at the first instance of disobedience, He would not have also instructed parents to spank their children:

    Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; ?The rod of correction will drive it far from him. Proverbs 22:15

    He who spares his rod hates his son, ?But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.

    Do not withhold correction from a child, ?For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. ?You shall beat him with a rod, ?And deliver his soul from hell. Proverbs 23:13-14

    The rod and rebuke give wisdom, ?But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. Proverbs 29:15

    I expect this sort of tactic from those who hate God, but it sickens me when Christians exaggerate the scope of this law in order to discredit God's laws. Do you not realize that God really did give this commandment to Israel? Do you really think that God wanted Israelites to have their children stoned over minor behavioral problems?

    Even during His earthly ministry, Jesus upheld this very law and rebuked those who dismissed this law:

    *Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”

    He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”— then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Matthew 15:1-7a

    You too, theo, transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition.





    TheoQ4: How do you render the term, “Capital Punishment?” And can we view it as a synonym with the phrase, “Death Penalty?”
    Turbo A-TheoQ4: The term capital punishment is synonymous with the term the death penalty. Both terms refer to execution as punishment for a crime. I refer to any crime that should be punishable by death as a capital crimes.

    TheoQ6: Can we come up with a suitable term or expression (especially one that can be abbreviated) for those who support the DP? Sort of like my AV?!?!? That would be nice.

    Turbo A-TheoQ6: I'm not big on abbreviations, but I submit for your consideration BV (Biblical View) or GV (God's View).

    Irrelevant TheoQ7: Have you ever seen the movie Kill Bill Vol. 1.?

    Turbo A-TheoQ7: No.



    TheoQ8: Are there are other things than murder that demand the DP?

    Turbo A-TheoQ8:Yes.


    TheoQ9: Have you ever broken one of the decrees of the Law that mandate the DP?

    Turbo A-TheoQ6:I routinely mow my lawn on Saturdays without a hint of guilt or remorse, if that's what you're getting at.

    But as for the capital crimes that are based on morality towards my neighbors, I have broken none of those laws.

    TheoQ10: Does the entirety of the OT law still apply today?

    Turbo A-TheoQ10: No, as I've explained we are to rightly divide the word of truth as Christ instructed through Paul.

    TurboQ20: Does any of the OT law still apply today? (If so, please briefly explain what applies.)

    TheoQ11: What does it mean to forgive as the Lord forgives?

    Turbo A-TheoQ11: We are to readily forgive those who sin against us if they repent.

    TheoQ12: Do these statistics taken directly from the US Department of Justice indicate any form of racial bias? (If you are unsure, please suggest the plausibility of it being racially biased)

    It is plausible. They may indicate a bias against blacks. Your statistics show that black murderers are less likely to be sentenced to death than white murderers (42% vs. 56%). And though blacks make up only 12% of the US population, your statistics reveal that 46% of our homicides are committed by blacks, and 45% of homicide victims are black. That is a huge overrepresentation! One contributing factor could be that blacks are less likely to be sentenced to death for committing murder, and thus our nations watered-down death penalty that is made even weaker for blacks. But there are most likely other factors as well.

    Of course, God has commanded that 100% of all convicted murderers should be put to death swiftly and painfully. I'm really not sure how any of these statistics you've cited are relevant to our debate. I'm not arguing that the United States is administering the death penalty properly by any means.






    Execution Should Be Painful

    Why did you state the following: “The death penalty as it is currently in the United States has no teeth, being neither consistent nor painful not speedily executed.” (Emphasis mine)

    Do you really want people to suffer? I find it appalling how many of you changed your avatars to some symbolization of the DP. Shouldn’t it break your heart to see someone die?
    Not if that someone is a capital criminal.
    The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance;
    He shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked,?So that men will say,?“Surely there is a reward for the righteous; ?Surely He is God who judges in the earth.” Psalm 58:10-11*

    Even you find entertainment in movies where the bad guy is killed in the end, don't you? You don't shed a tear for the villain as he dies, do you? The sight of your friends cheering when the bad guy really gets what's coming to him doesn't make your stomach sick, does it?

    It is bad enough to see other having to suffer the loss of a loved one via murder. It seriously makes my stomach sick.
    This is yet another argument from you that is based on emotion. Are you willing to reject God's commandments whenever they offend your personal sensibilities?

    When God specified a particular method of execution, what did He prescribe most often? Stoning. A crowd of people throwing rocks at a criminal until he dies. OUCH!! Try to imagine what that would be like.


    TurboQ21: Do you find the thought of being stoned to death to be scary?

    TurboQ22: If there were a certain course of action you were considering taking, but such a course would very likely result in you being pummel to death with stones, would you be more likely to avoid such a course of action than you otherwise would?

    TurboQ23:Why do you think God so often chose such a painful method of execution?

    Consistently, swiftly, and painfully executing every murderer not only spares countless people from being murdered, but it also prevents people from becoming murderers in the first place.


    There's Death, and Then There's Death

    I believe that a fair appeal to the NT in order to interpret the law needs to take place. Romans 3:23 states, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” All of us have missed the mark, all of us have been rebellious sons and daughters of God, all of us have gone astray! Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death…” If we truly are going to support the DP theologically, then we all deserve it.
    Though you rule out the death penalty as an option, you have agreed that the government should punish criminals; and you suggest imprisonment as an alternative to the death penalty.

    TurboQ24: Do you therefore believe that everyone deserves imprisonment?


    What do you suppose John is talking about here?

    If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death. 1 John 5:16-17

    Is John contradicting Paul, or might they talking about two different things?

    Man's sin results in our eventual physical death (separation from our bodies) through natural causes and our spiritual death (separation from God) unless we accept Christ, but that really has nothing to do with public policy and criminal justice.

    You and I, though we have eternal life and forgiveness for all of our sins though grace, are going to physically die some day.

    Paul is not saying that every sinner deserves to be executed; he's is not even talking about criminal justice in Romans 3 or Romans 6. But he does get around to it in Romans 13, as I have mentioned several times. Perhaps in your next post you will address that passage.

    [line]80%[/quote]



    Questions for theo_victis

    TurboQ6: When do you believe God changed His commandment to execute murderers to instead forbid execution? (Please be sp

    TurboQ7: Do any of those parables you refer to involve a murderer, a rapist, a kidnapper, or the like being shown mercy by a rich ruler?

    TurboQ8: Was the repentant criminal correct in stating that his punishment of death was just?

    TurboQ9: Do these sound like the words of someone who is philosophically opposed to the death penalty?

    TurboQ10: Do you have the authority to forgive monetary debts owed to another?

    TurboQ11: Do you have the authority to forgive spiritual debts owed to another? In other words, do you have the authority to forgive someone of the sins they committed against someone else?

    TurboQ12: Does God forgive unrepentant sinners?

    TurboQ13 Should a Christian support imprisonment (or any other form of punishment) for a fellow believer who confessed guilt and asked sincerely for forgiveness?

    TurboQ14: Why do you think God ever commanded that murderers be executed?

    TurboQ15: Was God unwise and unjust to command Israel to execute certain types of criminals?

    TurboQ16 Should the government punish people who mow their lawns on Saturday?

    TurboQ17 Is it even sinful for people living today to mow their lawns on Saturday?

    TurboQ18 Should the government imprison all unbelievers (who are all rebellious against God)?

    TurboQ19 How do you determine which actions should be criminal, and what are the things that should mandate punishment from the government?

    TurboQ20: Does any of the OT law still apply today? (If so, please briefly explain what applies.)

    TurboQ21: Do you find the thought of being stoned to death to be scary?

    TurboQ22: If there were a certain course of action you were considering taking, but such a course would very likely result in you being pummel to death with stones, would you be more likely to avoid such a course of action than you otherwise would?

    TurboQ23:Why do you think God so often chose such a painful method of execution?

    TurboQ24: Do you therefore believe that everyone deserves imprisonment?
    Last edited by Jefferson; November 2nd, 2006 at 01:24 PM.

  12. #12
    ...then I woke up. Knight's Avatar
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    DING DING DING, that's it for round number 2.

    Theo will have 48 hours from 1:33 AM (MDT) to make his third round post.

    Therefore Theo's next post is due no later than 1:33 AM (MDT) on Sunday September 24th.

    You can discuss the Battle in the Battle Talk thread.
    Last edited by Knight; September 24th, 2006 at 10:44 AM.
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    Exclamation BR round 3a

    Preliminary Considerations

    It seems before I go on I must clearly explain what I have already argued. From reading Turbo’s response in round 2, I was continually purported contrary from what I had originally stated.

    General Presuppositions and Misconceptions and Things to be Addressed


    Just to articulate some of my points that I had already made before and to clear up unfair assertions:

    1. I do not think the DP is an unjust expression of God’s Justice. God has clearly used it before. We all deserve it (as I have stated a few times before). It, however, is superseded because of the event of Christ. Christ took the DP for us. We do not need to administer it to anyone anymore. Christians should be concerned not with condemnation but salvation. There is a HUGE difference.

    2. This debate is not entirely about governments. Turbo continually speaks of the right of the government to do such a thing (I will address that even further). This is irrelevant to the debate. I will remind him that the title of this debate is: “Capital Punishment: Should Christians support the Death Penalty?” Not, Capital Punishment: What is the Government’s role? I am pointing out the distinction because they are entirely different questions. So far, Turbo is only supplying answers to the second, irrelevant question and not stating why Christians should support the DP. I will explain this further in a moment.

    3. The AV is not all about an emotional response. The only emotional response I have ever shown was the displeasure concerning the avatars on this site. S-I-C-K!

    4. Arguing using statistics from the American Judicial system is not against the nature of this debate. Despite what I have read from the Battle talk thread, I believe that these statistics are not wholly American anyways. I believe that in my Sociological Argument and Judicial Argument, there is a transferable principle. Besides, if one country does the DP in an unjust manner, shouldn’t Christians take a stand against it? And from the AV perspective, seek its removal?

    5. Ad hominems are not effective in debates. Telling me that I “transgress the commandment of God because of [my] tradition.” is unnecessary and entirely untrue. I do not have a tradition in regards to the DP. I explained in the opening round that I once advocated the DP. Where is my tradition? Stick to the debate!


    Summarizing what this debate has so far accomplished for the AV:

    1. The concept of forgiveness has been explored raising serious issues with the DP
    2. The first part of the Sociological argument demonstrated effectively that race is a factor in who gets the DP (Turbo admitted in part to this).

    What is left to be accomplished?

    Answering questions:

    What is the relationship between God’s judgment and our judgment?
    Is the Death Penalty wise?
    Should Christians Support the Death Penalty?

    Finishing arguments:

    Sociological Argument (part 2)
    Judicial Argument
    Theological Argument

    The Task at hand for this round:

    In this round, I will finish the Sociological argument and start as well as finish the Judicial argument. Next, I will answer the question, “What is the relationship between God’s Judgment and our judgment?” I will also address my respective opponent’s argumentation and questions to the best of my ability.


    The Difference between Our Views Seen:

    Nineveh’s fate: Version I

    Based on Turbo’s logical presentation of the DP, I am going to submit to you two stories concerning Nineveh during the time of Jonah. One will be the Biblical account, the other how Turbo’s current advocacy of the DP (based on a synthesis of his views) would determine the story. I will not identify which one is which until both are represented, but you people are smart enough to figure this out:

    In Jonah 1:2, God had commanded Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach against it because of the wickedness that was occurring there. Nineveh was located in the enemy state of Assyria. The Assyrians were known for there evil deeds and there lack of mercy. Yet, here is God issuing a decree to Jonah to go and preach the impending wrath that has stored up against them. God had Jonah declare that it was only forty more days until Nineveh would be destroyed (v. 3:4).

    What happens next:

    The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh: "By the decree of the king and his nobles:

    Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish."

    Then…

    Jonah 3:10, “When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.”

    God relinquished his judgment. God was slow to wrath, giving them time to repent and God was quick to forgive.

    Nineveh’s Fate: Version II

    In verse 1:2 of Jonah, God summons Jonah to prophesy against Nineveh.
    I would now like to submit to your attention Nahum 1:1-8. Here is the story of

    God issued a decree to Jonah to go and preach the impending wrath that has stored up against them. God had Jonah declare that it was only forty more days until Nineveh would be destroyed (v. 3:4).

    The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh: "By the decree of the king and his nobles:

    Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish."

    Jonah preached day in and day out, ridiculing the Ninevites and proclaiming that when it was all over that he was going to “wash his feet” in there blood. Jonah declared that he hoped it was excruciating pain and that they all die.

    Then…

    Forty days had passed. God declared, “The time has come!” Even though ever perceiving that the Ninevites were sorry, God declares, “Now that you believe you should accept your fate and die!” God destroyed Nineveh and Jonah washed his feet in blood, just as scripture commanded.

    Stating the Obvious

    The first story was obviously the actual Biblical account of Nineveh. It is a curious thing that God showed mercy even though he promised destruction. Does that mean mercy triumphs over condemnation? I would certainly hope so! I put my faith in that! (See Christ)

    In fact…. That is what the Bible says! Mercy does triumph over judgment! Take a look for yourself:

    James 2:13b, “Mercy triumphs over judgment!”


    What is the relationship between God’s judgment and our judgment?


    God’s Judgment

    God’s judgment is both immanent and eschatological. God’s judgment takes place on earth and in the last days (spiritual world). God is Lord of all. God’s judgment is pure and is only true. God’s judgment is factual because he is all knowing. God’s judgment is authoritative.


    Man’s judgment


    Man’s Judgment is only immanent. We can only make earthly moral appraisals. As Turbo pointed out, we cannot forgive sins in the eternal sense that Christ can (I will make this distinction even further later). Man’s judgment is corrupted by sin nature. Man’s judgment does not derive from a state of authentic knowledge. We are not perfect in our judgment. Our judgment is not authoritative.

    Reread both of these segments if need be. Why do we feel the need to depend on man’s judgment? Turbo makes a big deal about the governments being institutes of God’s wrath, but as we know, Christ has effectively taken upon God’s entire wrath. When we have Christ, sin is atoned for in him, not in our blood!

    Can we Judge as precisely as the Lord Judges? No!!!!! Why do we judge then if ours is no longer necessary (see Christ)?


    A Review of Genesis

    I believe that if we analyze the contents of the first few chapters in Genesis, significant vistas will come about in relation to the topic of judgment.

    What does Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 23, and 31 have in common? Each verse depicts God creating and then making a value statement. Over and over again, we see that the Lord saw (Ra’ah in Hebrew) such and such was good.

    John H. Sailhammer makes the comment, “It is hardly accidental that throughout the book of Genesis and the Pentateuch, the activity of ‘seeing’ is continually pu at the center of the author’s conception of God.”

    It is important to note that the Hebrew word, Ra’ah was not exclusive to sensorial perception. Its definition also extends to the notion of “perceiving.” The author of Genesis in the opening chapter is trying to convey the point that it is God who is making the value statements. God is judging.

    The Fall

    After God had created Adam and Eve, we come across the temptation and the eventual fall of man. It was in that perfect Garden that man experienced imperfection. But what was the sin? In part, the sin committed was disobedience to God’s command. The author of Genesis, however, is trying to setup a greater problem. The problem is that our judgment is apart from God’s. It is most likely at that point, man made a decision purely for himself rather than making God’s value statements his own:

    Gen 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

    It became the curse of man to judge apart from the Lord. This very event led to all kinds of sin and perdition! Why would man desire to make such a mistake again? As Christians we must learn to depend on the judgment of the Lord and not our own. Christ even makes a distinction between human judgment and his in John 8:15.

    Consider James 4:12:

    There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you--who are you to judge your neighbor?

    Two Kinds of Judgment to be Considered

    Now, obviously there is a slew of OT and NT passages suggesting giving judgment solely to the Lord, and there are passages that ask man to make judgments. However, this is because there are two kinds of judgments, one permissible, and the other solely for God:

    The permissible form of judgment has everything to do with church discipline (as Turbo as already discussed).

    The judgment solely reserved for God is condemnation. If we do judge carelessly and condemn someone else then God will judge us according to the same measure we used:

    Romans 2:12 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

    Mat 7:1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

    Mat 7:2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you

    Luke 6:37 "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

    Interestingly that last verse commands us to forgive! Not judge nor condemn!

    To answer the question, “What is the relationship between God’s judgment and our judgment?” simply, we are to reverse the effects of the fall and depend on God’s judgment. But what then is God’s judgment? God has expiated his wrath in Christ. That is a fact. That is his judgment until the end days.

    Responding to Turbo’s problem with this:

    Turbo states, “He [Christ] was teaching people not to condemn others for what they are guilty of themselves. Then He says that if we repent and correct ourselves first, we will be better able to see clearly to judge and correct others.”

    Even though I agree with Turbo, I would like to suggest that this little homiletic does not apply to our discussion. It is important not to judge hypocritically. However, we are not to condemn others. Condemnation is never corrective. This verse has to deal with the type of allotted judgment.

    This question will be revisited after the Judicial Argument has been made.

    Finishing the Sociological Argument

    I promised a while back that I would respond to Turbo’s “The Death Penalty is a Powerful Deterrent.”

    Research taken from the FBI Uniform Crime Statistics contrast immensely with Turbo’s assertion that the DP is a powerful deterrent:

    2005 statistics:

    Region_________Murder rate (per 100,000)________ Executions since 1976

    South- …….......….6.6……………………………………856
    West- ………........5.8……………………………………66
    Midwest -…............4.9……………………………………121
    Northeast-…...........4.4…………………………………….4


    There is an obvious correlation between the two statistics. The South has executed more than any other region yet their murder rate is higher then the states that do not execute any more/ have less executions. The Northeast executes less and has a lower murder rate (btw, and more people). Where is this deterrent? The DP desensitizes us and increases murder.

    Even the Police Chief of Los Angeles does not find this to be a convincing case for the DP: "I am not convinced that capital punishment, in and of itself, is a deterrent to crime because most people do not think about the death penalty before they commit a violent or capital crime."


    Here is the lin to the study, which even provides a state-by-state analysis:

    I simply ask Turbo, Where is this powerful deterrent?


    A More Powerful Deterrent

    The transformation of lives through the Gospel message is the deterrent we should be looking for. The Gospel of Jesus Christ sanctifies our lives! Why not spread the love and mercy of the Gospel instead of the DP?!?!


    The Poor are mistreated:

    “People who are well represented at trial do not get the death penalty. . . . I have yet to see a death case among the dozens coming to the Supreme Court on eve-of-execution stay applications in which the defendant was well represented at trial.”

    - Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (2001)



    I now turn to the Judicial Argument:

    A Judicial Argument

    The DP is neither inerrant nor infallible

    We have already mentioned once before that man’s judgment is not an omniscient judgment. Man’s judgment epistemologically errs. Thus, if we are to administer the DP we must do so with absolute certainty. If we err, we have committed injustice.

    Consider this:

    George H. Ryan (former Governor) reflects back on the reinstating of the DP:

    “We reinstated the death penalty in 1977 in Illinois, and since that time we have executed twelve death row mates. But, thirteen times, judges and juries convicted innocent men of capital crimes based on evidence they thought was beyond a reasonable doubt. On thirteen occasions, innocent men were condemned to die. And thirteen times, innocent men were exonerated after rotting for years on death row. For that to happen even once is unjust. For that to happen thirteen times is shameful and beyond belief.”

    Thirteen men were put on death row unjustly. After reading this, I was reminded of Turbo’s words:

    “The death penalty as it is currently in the United States has no teeth, being neither consistent not painful not speedily executed.”

    Had Turbo’s manner of administering the DP actually been carried out, all thirteen of these innocent men would have been executed. Justice would not have been served. In fact, it would have been unjust!!!

    Our judicial system, and really any judicial system, is not perfect. It is axiomatic that any system established and executed by man will fail and commit grievous errors. Why should we administer the DP when we cannot be absolutely certain of one’s guilt?

    In Christ, we can forgive and we can allow the Lord to make his righteous, perfect judgment.

    For a list of exonerees from the American DP click here :

    You will find that the list exceeds over 120 people who were put on death row unjustly. If the DP was administered speedily all of these people would have perished an unjust death. Just imagine how many people could have been killed as innocent men and women! That is a major reason why Christians should support the DP.


    Taxpayers deserve better

    I believe that taxpayers deserve better. I whole-heartedly agree with Turbo on this point. Why should we have to spend our hard-earned money for a convict? I am glad Turbo reminded me of this point. It makes me furious that we should waste all our money. Think of the victims and their families! Spending their money in an unnecessary manner!

    It costs more to execute a convict then to keep him in prison for life!!!

    In Illinois alone, $800 million more has been spent “to execute people than to put people in prison for life.”

    According to www.uscourts.gov, the average Capital Trial costs $269,139 whereas the average non-capital homicide trial costs around $ 9,159. One of the reasons for its higher cost is that there is more than one trial. Not to mention, all of the appealing that will be made from the defense. Timothy McViegh’s Capital Trial cost over $13 million! “For 10 percent of that amount, we could have held him in prison for the rest of his life.”

    "CLOSING DEATH ROW WOULD SAVE STATE $90 MILLION A YEAR", Sacramento Bee, Published on March 28, 1988. In this article, it describes how California is wasting money on cases when they could just send the person to prison.

    The emotional argument made by Turbo against imprisonment, “criminals are cared for at taxpayers' expense, including that of the victims and their families.” Is debunked when one realizes if cost is actually an issue, the DP is really the burden. “Taxpayers expense,” PUH-lease! The AV thinks about the taxpayer’s expense.

    Imprisonment is better

    Contrary to what Turbo might believe, imprisonment is a means of justice. It is a better solution then to put people to death without absolute certainty of their guilt. We can undue, partly, the effect of imprisonment for innocent people. We can let them go. We can keep those who are not innocent/haven’t proved they are, in prison. It is a lesser evil to imprison an innocent person than to kill someone.

    Supporting the DP is idealistic if you believe that humans would never make a mistake resulting in the wrongful death of an innocent person. Pipe dream!

    DP is Arbitrary

    About one-quarter of Ohio’s death row inmates come from Hamilton County (Cincinnati), but only 9% of the state’s murders occur there. (R. Willing and G. Fields, Geography of the Death Penalty, USA Today, Dec. 20, 1999).


    Baltimore City had only one person on Maryland’s death row, but suburban Baltimore County, with one tenth as many murders as the city, had nine times the number on death row. (L. Montgomery, Md. Questioning Local Extremes on Death Penalty, Wash. Post, May 12, 2002).


    Conclusion of Judicial Argument:

    After we have discovered that, the American judicial system, just like any other, potentially puts innocent people to death, and is more expensive, should we still administer it? Prisons are better because they have greater potential to protect innocent people. Speedily administering the DP is wrong.

    Questions for Turbo: Is it wrong to put an innocent person on death row? Is it wrong to put an innocent person to death? Is it plausible someone has been executed for a crime they did not commit?

    Responding to Turbo


    TurboQ6: When do you believe God changed His commandment to execute murderers to instead forbid execution?
    The incarnation of Jesus Christ changed a lot of things. Read Hebrews 8

    Heb 8:13 By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.

    It is logical to say that this is the event where the Death Penalty also became obsolete. God could have given the DP to all of us, and it would have been just because we are sinners. Therefore, it is also just to end someone’s life based on the OT list I presented earlier. However, since God has forgiven us for our sins; God has declared forgiveness to be just as well. We should take God's example of forgiving. Forgiveness is just because we forgive through Jesus Christ, who took the DP on our behalf.

    TurboQ4: Should governing authorities punish criminals at all?

    Theo-A-TurbosQ4: Of course! Forgiveness, however, is a serious concept not to be ignored. There are many parables of Christ where a rich ruler is about to punish someone but shows mercy instead.


    Turbo's response: "Of course!" This answer will come back to haunt you throughout this debate because it undermines many of the arguments you will make and have already made. It utterly undermines your so-called "forgive them all" philosophy. I forgive you, but I want you locked up.
    No it doesn’t. First of all, I believe in punishment, not condemnation. Society needs to have justice, if people are detrimental to society, they need to be taken out of society (imprisoned) and rehabilitated to "sin no more.” They must serve the amount of time that was decided by the judge. You keep saying that we are to submit to our government's authority, and you will not allow me to disagree with the government with the issue of the Death Penalty, but you keep disagreeing with the government as far as imprisonment, fines, etc.

    Secondly, I believe in corrective punishment, not retributive punishment.

    Third, Forgiveness NEVER equals death or condemnation. Punishment and condemnation are different, imprisonment and death are completely different. We will observe this in the next few rounds.

    The "Puzzling" Story of Karla Faye Tucker is Easily Solved

    Recall this exchange between the criminals crucified alongside the Lord:

    Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”

    But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

    And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:39-43


    You say that the death penalty is not just. But this man, a criminal who had since repented and had become a believer, disagreed with you. He accepted his punishment willingly, and called it just. He called it "the due reward of [his] deeds." Jesus did not correct him. The Holy Spirit inspired Luke to record his words. There is no hint in the text that this man's assessment was wrong.
    I would like to point out three things about this:

    First, let's look into Matthew to read more about this story:

    Mat 27:38 Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.

    Can you point out an OT passage that mandates that stealing results in death? If you cannot, please indicate why this was a just administration of the DP. What the theif was indicating was his sorrow for his sins. We all deserve the death penalty! This man was a sinner and so Jesus did not correct him because he DID deserve to die for his sins.

    Second, this is irrelevant to the story of Karla Faye Tucker. She was not already being executed. The theif on the cross was already about to die. He was already crucified. Karla Faye Tucker was not.

    Third, Christ had not yet died for his sins. The DP was on his own shoulders still. Making this even more irrelevant to the story of Karla Faye Tucker. I would like to point out that Christ forgave him. He did not expound in joy for this man's execution, nor did he for the one who rejected him! Interesting, huh!

    TurboQ8: Was the repentant criminal correct in stating that his punishment of death was just?
    Yes. Duh. Just like if I were to say I deserve death for my sins. See my response above.


    TurboQ7: Do any of those parables you refer to involve a murderer, a rapist, a kidnapper, or the like being shown mercy by a rich ruler?
    No but, arguments from silence are not arguments at all. The principle of forgiveness is still there.


    Furthermore, while on trial, Paul stated:

    For if I am an offender, or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying; but if there is nothing in these things of which these men accuse me, no one can deliver me to them. I appeal to Caesar.” Acts 25:11


    Paul's statement infers that some offenses are deserving of death, and that he does not object to the death penalty for those offenses.

    TurboQ9 Do these sound like the words of someone who is philosophically opposed to the death penalty?
    Philosophically and theologically opposed are different things. I think what you are missing in this passage is that Paul is so convinced of his innocence that he would die willingly if he was guilty of anything. We have all made arguments like that: "I swear I didnt do it, you can even have my __________ or do __________ to me if I did!"

    Paul is theologically opposed to the DP which is evidenced through the book of Philemon. In Philemon, Paul is writing to the slave owner of Onesimus pleading to recognize him as a brother in Christ. The penalty often for runnaway slaves is death. Paul wanted him for ministry. Paul wanted him to be freed. Paul opposed the DP.

    Crash Course On Forgiveness
    I think we both know that its obvious that we cannot forgive sins as Christ forgives. It is also obvious that there is a difference between our forgiveness for others, and God's forgiveness for us. We forgive people through Christ and because of Christ. That's why we can forgive people because the Lord has taken their penalty for their sins already. They need to repent to receive it. But we can never know if someone has repented, therefore forgiveness is our only option, otherwise we might kill (condemn) an innocent man. Forgiveness and salvation are different. Forgiveness is a command (Col. 3:13). Your crash course has crashed.

    While we are talking about things that are crashing:

    Crash Course On Judging
    Why would you kill someone you've forgiven? Forgiveness means nothing then! Also, our views on imprisonment don't matter here, we're talking about the Death Penalty.

    TurboQ10: Do you have the authority to forgive monetary debts owed to another?
    No. What does this have to do with anything?

    TurboQ11: Do you have the authority to forgive spiritual debts owed to another? In other words, do you have the authority to forgive someone of the sins they committed against someone else?
    You ask two entirely different questions here. Spiritual debts are to God. Not between man. Do I have the authority to forgive someone of the sins they committed against someone else? No, not in the spiritual sense. I dont have forgiveness like God's. Do you have the authority to kill someone for sins they committed against someone else?

    TurboQ12: Does God forgive unrepentant sinners?
    Forgivness as in, showing mercy and not punishing or as in not condemning to hell?

    TurboQ13 Should a Christian support imprisonment (or any other form of punishment) for a fellow believer who confessed guilt and asked sincerely for forgiveness?
    Yes.

    TurboQ14: Why do you think God ever commanded that murderers be executed?
    I would like to point out something to the audience. Notice how Turbo never addresses other capital offenses. He never asks me questions like, "Why do you think God ever commanded that adulterers be executed?" Or kids who disobey their parents. Blah blah blah. Does he not have confidence in the OT laws that mandate execution of those who do things other than murder?!?!?! I am confused. Anyways, I am just pointing out that this debate is not entirely based on murder.

    To answer your question: Because murderer's deserve death. Because adulterers deserve death. And it goes on. Notice that the concept of forgivness through Christ is the only reason why we do not need to be condemned.

    TurboQ15: Was God unwise and unjust to command Israel to execute certain types of criminals?
    No.

    TurboQ16 Should the government punish people who mow their lawns on Saturday?
    Government?!?! What you should be really asking is should Christians be supporting death for those who break the Sabbath based on the OT law?

    TurboQ17 Is it even sinful for people living today to mow their lawns on Saturday?
    I am not entirely sure... I go back and forth on this issue.

    TurboQ18 Should the government imprison all unbelievers (who are all rebellious against God)?
    Wha?!?! This has nothing to do with this debate.
    TurboQ19 How do you determine which actions should be criminal, and what are the things that should mandate punishment from the government?
    You are getting off the subject. I believe we are supposed to talk about whether Christians should support the DP. This question cannot be answered here. Please either clarify how this fits into the debate or drop the question. I guess I just don't see its relevancy.

    TurboQ20: Does any of the OT law still apply today? (If so, please briefly explain what applies.)
    We are theologically condemned by the law. But, it is obsolete, replaced by the new commandment. So, essentially none of it.

    TurboQ21: Do you find the thought of being stoned to death to be scary?
    Yes I do. I also find your irrelevant questions to be scary.

    TurboQ22: If there were a certain course of action you were considering taking, but such a course would very likely result in you being pummel to death with stones, would you be more likely to avoid such a course of action than you otherwise would?
    LOL. I see where you are going. To answer this: depends. Would my course of action be just or unjust. If standing for Christ I got stoned to death, I would take it.

    TurboQ23:Why do you think God so often chose such a painful method of execution?
    They didnt neccessarily have guns, electric chairs, lethal injections back then. What are you advocating that we make concentration camps for those deserving death? How painful is painful?

    TurboQ24: Do you therefore believe that everyone deserves imprisonment?
    No. Death. We are forgiven, however, in Christ. How many times do I need to state this!?!?


    Questions for Turbo


    Theo-Q-13 Can we judge people with the same accuracy as the Lord?

    Theo-Q-14 Is it plausible to suggest that there is a reason why States that do not have the DP have a lower murder rate and States that do have the DP have a higher murder rate?

    Theo-Q-15 Is the reason the DP? (See Q-14)

    Theo-Q-16 Is it plausible to suggest that governments have issued the DP to innocent people? If so, should a Christian support the DP if it is given to innocent people?

    Theo-Q-17 Could you phrase any irrelevant questions, Turbo-irrelevant-Q-# like I have done before?

    Theo-Q-18 What does Christ's sacrifice mean for our forgiving others?

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    BRXI Round 3B

    Examining what Theo has supposedly accomplished so far for the AV:

    1. The concept of forgiveness has been explored raising serious issues with the DP
    You fail to acknowledge that these same perceived issues can be applied similarly to imprisonment. Even after I pointed this out to you in round 2, you continued to use these same "forgiveness" arguments against the death penalty throughout his round 3 post. Yet you have acknowledged that even criminals who are forgiven by God should still be punished. But instead of making the punishment for such a criminal swift and sending Him home to the Lord, you would prefer for the government to imprison indefinitely those criminals to whom God has extended grace. Throughout this post I will continue to point out your double standard: You complain that the death penalty is not forgiving. Yet somehow, in your mind, forgiveness can include locking a man in a cell until he dies.
    2. The first part of the Sociological argument demonstrated effectively that race is a factor in who gets the DP (Turbo admitted in part to this).
    Your observation does not necessarily favor abolishment of the death penalty. As I pointed out, a better solution would be to instead follow God's commands to execute every convicted capital criminal.

    If these two points represent your strongest "accomplishments" during this debate thus far, that is an indication that you are struggling badly.


    Theo has broken ranks with his professor.

    TurboQ13: Should a Christian support imprisonment (or any other form of punishment) for a fellow believer who confessed guilt and asked sincerely for forgiveness?

    Theo A-TurboQ13: Yes.
    Then you disagree with your professor.

    Recall this excerpt from your first round post (emphasis added):
    I remember after hearing this story for the first time in my Christian Ethics class my professor state how it was a shame that Tucker was executed and not granted any form of forgiveness. I recall becoming extremely angry with that particular professor on the account that he was, in my eyes, blatantly ignoring the justice that was carried out with Tucker’s execution. Then he provoked a question that hit me so hard it led me to think through this issue from a different perspective.

    He asked, “When does God’s forgiveness reflect our forgiveness?”

    I had to think for a minute deciphering what he even meant. It dawned on me that he was asking a very important theological question. He was wondering when our character must imitate God’s. If God had forgiven her, why shouldn’t I forgive her? The understanding of this concept prompted me to inquire more from him.


    I asked “What do you mean!?!?!? Should we just let her go then? She certainly needs to pay for her sins!”

    He looked at me and grinned, “You know, in an idealistic setting, I would even allow her to teach Sunday school in Church. I would invite her into my home and let her baby-sit my kids.”

    I knew he said this only to provoke me further. I responded dumbfounded, “What?!?”

    He looked at me directly in the eyes and said, “Patrick, forgiveness is not simply letting go of the offense, nor is it just forgetting as though it didn’t happen. Forgiveness is taking action of sin through Christ whose sacrifice condemns all sin effectively.”

    It was through this simple, truthful understanding of what forgiveness means that I began to realize how serious that concept was. If Karla was forgiven by God, does that mean I should forgive her? My head slowly began to nod yes even though my vengeful-over-emotional heart screamed no!!! It had begun to make sense that maybe the DP was not just.

    This led me to ask a tough question that I would challenge Turbo to respond to:

    Question for Turbo: Should a Christian support the DP for a fellow believer who confessed guilt and asked sincerely for forgiveness?

    I asked the very same question of you, replacing "the DP" with "imprisonment (or any other form of punishment)," and you replied, "Yes."

    You had asked your professor, "Should we just let [Tucker] go then?" (Note that you didn't ask whether we should just leave her in prison, since that would not be total forgiveness, remembering her sin no more.)

    And he replied, "You know, in an idealistic setting, I would even allow her to teach Sunday school in Church. I would invite her into my home and let her baby-sit my kids."

    Essentially, he was answering, "No," where you answered, "Yes," to TurboQ13. Your professor does not want repentant criminals who become Christians to remain imprisoned as you do; he thinks they should be set free and treated as though they had never committed a crime.

    Why would you open the debate with this argument from your professor if you don't even agree with it yourself? Or has your position changed since you wrote your round 1 post?


    Theo has undermined his claim that we should be forgiving toward criminals.

    You seemed to support your professors position when you claimed that Hebrews 8:12 was applicable to criminal justice:
    Hebrews 8:12 tells us:

    “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

    God forgives our sins and remembers them no more! If we are going to forgive someone, we need no longer to remember his or her sins! Forgive as the Lord forgave you!
    But now you say that we should not forget the sins of criminals, but that we should continue to punish them by keeping them in prison even when God has forgiven them.


    The Strawmen of Nineveh

    theo, in your "Nineveh's Fate: Version II" argument, you purported to present "how Turbo’s current advocacy of the DP (based on a synthesis of his views) would determine the story."

    But your presentation was completely off-base. I had already clearly stated in my round 2 post that God alone has the authority to totally forgive sins committed against other people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turbo in Round 2
    God never granted governments the authority the option to lighten or eliminate punishments for crimes. God has commanded that governments execute convicted murderers (for example), but He has never granted them the authority to forgive them. Only God has the authority to totally forgive a murderer. Individuals can only forgive a murderer to the extent that he sinned against them, and they should if he repents. But the government still has a God-given responsibility to execute such a criminal, and the criminal should accept his punishment willingly.
    There are several instances recorded in Scripture in which God forgives repentant capital criminals, allowing them to live and sparing them any punishment. (David is a well-known example.)

    Perhaps we could come up with a "Nineveh's Fate: Version III" in which we present how theo_victis's current advocacy of imprisonment and "forgiveness" (based on a synthesis of his views) would determine the story. It would end with God forgiving the repentant Ninevites, but then putting them all in prison. After all, you claim that criminals should be forgiven, but that they should also be imprisoned even if they repent and become saved. That is not forgiveness as the Lord forgives.

    What's more, you brought up the story of Nineveh, in which an entire city repented of their sins at the threat of being executed, shortly before arguing that the death penalty is not a deterrent. You undermine your own arguments at every turn!





    Responses to some of your Preliminary Considerations


    Just to articulate some of my points that I had already made before and to clear up unfair assertions:

    1. I do not think the DP is an unjust expression of God’s Justice.
    Good!

    In your opening post you recalled, "It had begun to make sense that maybe the DP was not just. Now, was it really an "unfair assertion" for me to say that you claimed that the death penalty is unjust?

    TurboQ25 In the above quote from round 1, did you misspeak? Or has your position changed your first post?

    2. This debate is not entirely about governments. Turbo continually speaks of the right of the government to do such a thing (I will address that even further). This is irrelevant to the debate. I will remind him that the title of this debate is: “Capital Punishment: Should Christians support the Death Penalty?” Not, Capital Punishment: What is the Government’s role? I am pointing out the distinction because they are entirely different questions. So far, Turbo is only supplying answers to the second, irrelevant question and not stating why Christians should support the DP. I will explain this further in a moment.
    Actually, I've been saying that it is not only the government's right, but its duty.

    On the other hand, individual civilians (whether they are Christians or not) do not have the right to punish criminals themselves (Romans 12:19). But they should advocate that governments do their God-given duty.

    This is entirely relevant to the debate topic, which is "Should Christians support the Death Penalty?" not "Should Christians take it upon themselves to administer the Death Penalty?" As I explained in round 2, Paul is quite clear that we should not avenge ourselves, but that we should "give place to [God's] wrath" (Romans 12:19) which He has delegated to governing authorities to carry out, calling them "God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil," who "does not bear the sword in vain" (Romans 13:4).


    4. …if one country does the DP in an unjust manner, shouldn’t Christians take a stand against it?
    Yes, Christians should oppose the improper manner in which the death penalty is administered.

    And from the AV perspective, seek its removal?
    From the Abolitionist View, it is impossible to administer the death penalty in anything but an unjust manner.

    Abolishing the death penalty altogether does not fix the problems, it makes them worse.

    God has commanded that every murderer (for instance) be put to death swiftly and painfully, and He has promised that doing so will minimize such crimes. Conversely, He warns that failing to do so results in a crime epidemic (Ecclesiates 8:11).

    Your suggestion to abolish the death penalty would only move us farther away from what God has wisely and justly commanded.

    5. Ad hominems are not effective in debates. Telling me that I “transgress the commandment of God because of [my] tradition.” is unnecessary and entirely untrue. I do not have a tradition in regards to the DP. I explained in the opening round that I once advocated the DP. Where is my tradition? Stick to the debate!
    You are indeed following in the tradition of those who have opposed the death penalty for generations, which you have learned from your professor, not God. You have yet to cite a New Testament verse in which God commanded governing rulers not to execute any criminals, nor have you cited any Scripture in support of imprisonment, nor have you cited Scripture in which God authorized governing rulers to show mercy to criminals. "See Christ" does not sufficiently establish your claims.

    Turbo makes a big deal about the governments being institutes of God’s wrath, but as we know, Christ has effectively taken upon God’s entire wrath. When we have Christ, sin is atoned for in him, not in our blood!
    Paul made a big deal about governments being ministers of God’s wrath.

    If "Christ has effectively taken upon God’s entire wrath," and you take that to include earthly punishments for crimes, why do you support imprisonment, which you call "a means of justice"?

    Can we Judge as precisely as the Lord Judges? No!!!!! Why do we judge then if ours is no longer necessary (see Christ)?
    Yet you still want the government to judge criminals as guilty and to punish them with imprisonment. Do you not see the glaring inconsistency in your view? Maybe I need to point it out a few dozen more times.



    Consider James 4:12:

    There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you--who are you to judge your neighbor?
    Was James talking to governing authorities who had the power to punish criminals? Is this passage pertaining to criminal justice? If not, this passage is irrelevant to the topic of this debate.

    And again I will point out that you advocate that government should imprison criminals, which also requires judgment.



    If we do judge carelessly and condemn someone else then God will judge us according to the same measure we used:
    Of course, I am not advocating that anyone ought to judge carelessly, but as the Lord taught, we are to "judge with righteous judgment" (John 7:24)

    To answer the question, “What is the relationship between God’s judgment and our judgment?” simply, we are to reverse the effects of the fall and depend on God’s judgment. But what then is God’s judgment? God has expiated his wrath in Christ. That is a fact. That is his judgment until the end days.
    Yet you want the government to judge criminals as guilty and to imprison them.


    theo asks, "Where is this powerful deterrent?"

    From my first round post under the heading, "The Death Penalty is a Powerful Deterrent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turbo in Round 1
    When the death penalty is administered consistently, swiftly, and painfully upon conviction of capital crimes, the incidence of those crimes is minimized.

    ...The death penalty as it is currently in the United States has no teeth, being neither consistent not painful not speedily executed. And therefore it does little to inspire fear among the people. And as a result we have epidemic crime rates, just as Solomon warned (Ecclesiastes 8:11).
    theo, you posted a quote from an LA police chief in which he expressed doubt that the death penalty deters would-be criminals. But what has God said on the matter?

    And you shall stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. So all Israel shall hear and fear, and not again do such wickedness as this among you. Deuteronomy 13:10-11

    Now the man who acts presumptuously and will not heed the priest who stands to minister there before the LORD your God, or the judge, that man shall die. So you shall put away the evil from Israel. And all the people shall hear and fear, and no longer act presumptuously. Deuteronomy 13:12-13

    If a false witness rises against any man to testify against him of wrongdoing, then both men in the controversy shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who serve in those days. And the judges shall make careful inquiry, and indeed, if the witness is a false witness, who has testified falsely against his brother, then you shall do to him as he thought to have done to his brother; so you shall put away the evil from among you. And those who remain shall hear and fear, and hereafter they shall not again commit such evil among you. Your eye shall not pity: life shall be for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. Deuteronomy 19:16-21

    18 “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them, 19 then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city. 20 And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21 Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear. Deuteronomy 21:18-21

    Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Ecclesiastes 8:11

    Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Romans 13:1-4

    So is the death penalty (administered surely, swiftly, and painfully as God commands) a powerful deterrent? God says that it is, but an LA police chief says that it is not. Whose judgment do you trust, theo?

    It is better to trust in the LORD
    Than to put confidence in man. Psalm 118:8

    Of course you also undermined your argument that certain, swift, and painful death when you conceded that it would deter you in your responses to TurboQ21 and TurboQ22:

    TurboQ21: Do you find the thought of being stoned to death to be scary?

    Theo A-TurboQ21: Yes I do...

    TurboQ22: If there were a certain course of action you were considering taking, but such a course would very likely result in you being pummel to death with stones, would you be more likely to avoid such a course of action than you otherwise would?

    Theo A-TurboQ21: …depends. Would my course of action be just or unjust. If standing for Christ I got stoned to death, I would take it.
    The implication being that conversely, if the course of action were unjust, the fear of being painfully executed would deter you.

    TurboQ23: Why do you think God so often chose such a painful method of execution?

    They didn't necessarily have guns, electric chairs, lethal injections back then. What are you advocating that we make concentration camps for those deserving death? How painful is painful?
    Come now, surely you aren't suggesting that being pummeled to death with rocks was the most painless method of execution at man's disposal in those times, are you?

    Why would you suggest this immediately after acknowledging that the threat of a painful death would deter you? The correct answer is obvious: God commanded painful methods of execution because they help to deter would-be criminals.




    Response to theo's Judicial Argument

    theo, you argued that humans who administer the death penalty are neither inerrant nor infallible nor omniscient and are therefore ill-equipped to administer the death penalty justly. Yet God commanded the rulers over Israel to execute capital criminals upon conviction.

    TurboQ26 Were the Israelites, whom God commanded to execute certain criminals, infallible judges not prone to error?


    If we err, we have committed injustice.
    How many guilty capital criminals are intentionally allowed to live? Every such case is a worse injustice, because it is intentional!

    He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD. Proverbs 17:15

    Our judicial system, and really any judicial system, is not perfect.
    Including Israel's. Yet God commanded them to administer the death penalty.

    It is axiomatic that any system established and executed by man will fail and commit grievous errors. Why should we administer the DP when we cannot be absolutely certain of one’s guilt?
    Ask God! He said that two or three witnesses are sufficient to establish guilt.

    Whoever is deserving of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses; he shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness. Deuteronomy 17:6

    His answer is that when the death penalty is administered properly, instances of such crimes will be minimized. Thus not only will there be fewer victims and fewer criminals, but there will be fewer opportunities to erroneously punish the wrong person.

    Why should we sentence men to prison when we cannot be absolutely certain of one’s guilt? Holding an innocent man against his will is tantamount to kidnapping, and God commanded that kidnappers be put to death.

    Cost analysis: Room & Board for Life vs. a Few Dozen Stones

    Theo proclaims:
    It costs more to execute a convict then to keep him in prison for life!!!

    In Illinois alone, $800 million more has been spent “to execute people than to put people in prison for life.”

    According to www.uscourts.gov, the average Capital Trial costs $269,139 whereas the average non-capital homicide trial costs around $ 9,159. One of the reasons for its higher cost is that there is more than one trial. Not to mention, all of the appealing that will be made from the defense.
    Again, this argument is irrelevant to the topic at hand. Swift and painful execution would not cost anywhere near $200,000, let alone $800 million.

    Our endless system of appeals initiated by defendants is completely unbiblical and only serves to undermine the system, each higher court undermining the competency of those beneath it.

    The costs you cite should inspire you to oppose our corrupt and wasteful appeals system rather than the death penalty.

    Timothy McViegh’s Capital Trial cost over $13 million! “For 10 percent of that amount, we could have held him in prison for the rest of his life.”
    For less than 1% of that amount, we could have executed him swiftly and painfully, as God commanded.

    Contrary to what Turbo might believe, imprisonment is a means of justice.
    Again you undermine your "Forgiveness to all" ethic in which we were to "remember… no more" the sins of criminals.

    It is a better solution then to put people to death without absolute certainty of their guilt.
    Then why didn't God think of it? Why didn't God ever command imprisonment for any crime? You conceded in round 2 that you "don’t have much Biblical support for [imprisonment]," but you actually offered no Biblical support because none exists.

    Supporting the DP is idealistic if you believe that humans would never make a mistake resulting in the wrongful death of an innocent person. Pipe dream!
    What are you saying of God then? For you agree that He commanded Israel to surely execute capital criminals upon conviction. How dare you!


    DP is Arbitrary
    It shouldn't be! Christians should advocate that every capital criminal be put to death, as God commanded.



    After we have discovered that, the American judicial system, just like any other, potentially puts innocent people to death, and is more expensive, should we still administer it? Prisons are better because they have greater potential to protect innocent people. Speedily administering the DP is wrong.
    TurboQ27 Do you deny that God commanded Israel to speedily execute capital criminals upon conviction?

    Do you consider yourself wiser than Solomon, who wrote:
    Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Ecclesiastes 8:11

    Questions for Turbo: Is it wrong to put an innocent person on death row? Is it wrong to put an innocent person to death?
    Of course it is tragic to wrongly convict an innocent man of a crime, and the more severe the punishment, the more tragic it is.

    But if a wrong conviction is made merely out of error, it is not a sin.

    If a wrongful conviction is based upon false testimony from a witness, then the witness should be punished with whatever was at stake in the trial. In a capital case, the false witness should be put to death:
    If a false witness rises against any man to testify against him of wrongdoing, then both men in the controversy shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who serve in those days. And the judges shall make careful inquiry, and indeed, if the witness is a false witness, who has testified falsely against his brother, then you shall do to him as he thought to have done to his brother; so you shall put away the evil from among you. And those who remain shall hear and fear, and hereafter they shall not again commit such evil among you. Your eye shall not pity: life shall be for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. Deuteronomy 19:16-21

    If a wrongful conviction is made carelessly, based on insufficient evidence (i.e. not based upon at least two or three witnesses or lines of evidence), then the judge who rendered the verdict is culpable. In a capital case, he is guilty of negligent homicide and should therefore be put to death.

    Your willingness to favor the intentional sparing of the lives of the guilty in order to eliminate the possibility that an innocent will be unintentionally executed is ungodly. God shows no such bias in favor of sparing the guilty:

    He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD. Proverbs 17:15

    And will you profane Me... killing people who should not die, and keeping people alive who should not live...? Ezekiel 13:19

    In your misguided effort to protect innocent lives, far more lives are lost at the hands of criminals.



    Is it plausible someone has been executed for a crime they did not commit?
    Yes. Yet that did not stop God from commanding men to try suspects and to execute capital criminals upon conviction.

    TurboQ28 Is it plausible that some people have spent the remainder of their lives in prison for a crimes they did not commit?




    Discussion of your (sometimes unresponsive) responses to my questions
    TurboQ6: When do you believe God changed His commandment to execute murderers to instead forbid execution?

    Theo A-TurboQ6: The incarnation of Jesus Christ changed a lot of things. Read Hebrews 8

    Heb 8:13 By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.

    It is logical to say that this is the event where the Death Penalty also became obsolete. God could have given the DP to all of us, and it would have been just because we are sinners. Therefore, it is also just to end someone’s life based on the OT list I presented earlier. However, since God has forgiven us for our sins; God has declared forgiveness to be just as well. We should take God's example of forgiving.
    By imprisoning those we've forgiven?

    You agreed that one does not have the authority to forgive sins committed against someone else (Theo A-TurboQ11). So why do you keep advocating the forgiveness of criminals?

    TurboQ4: Should governing authorities punish criminals at all?

    Theo-A-TurbosQ4: Of course! Forgiveness, however, is a serious concept not to be ignored. There are many parables of Christ where a rich ruler is about to punish someone but shows mercy instead.


    Turbo's response: "Of course!" This answer will come back to haunt you throughout this debate because it undermines many of the arguments you will make and have already made. It utterly undermines your so-called "forgive them all" philosophy. I forgive you, but I want you locked up.

    Theo's response: No it doesn’t. First of all, I believe in punishment, not condemnation. Society needs to have justice, if people are detrimental to society, they need to be taken out of society (imprisoned) and rehabilitated to "sin no more.” They must serve the amount of time that was decided by the judge.
    Then what you advocate is not forgiveness. You do not punish those you have forgiven. That is not forgiving as the Lord forgave. You are not following your Hebrews 8:12 model when you advocate punishing criminals.

    TurboQ29 When sentencing a criminal to a prison term, does a judge have the capacity to know how long it will take for a criminal to repent and "sin no more"?


    You keep saying that we are to submit to our government's authority, and you will not allow me to disagree with the government with the issue of the Death Penalty
    I have said no such thing. There is nothing wrong with pointing out the errors and sins of our governing authorities. In fact, it is good. Our government is dreadfully ungodly and there is very little justice in our so-called criminal justice system. But every once in a while our government puts a murderer to death, albeit painlessly and years (even decades) after being convicted. Even broken clocks are right twice daily.

    but you keep disagreeing with the government as far as imprisonment, fines, etc.
    When I am fined, I pay my fine. Thus I submit to the government. That doesn't mean I'm going to defend the government's inherently corrupt system of fining.

    Secondly, I believe in corrective punishment, not retributive punishment.
    Swift, painful, and consistent administration of the death penalty is both retributive and preventative. Isn't preventing people from becoming criminals in the first place better than to try to correct them after they have committed murder or rape? I'm sure the victims think so.

    TurboQ30 Do you think murder victims in heaven have a desire for vengeance or an attitude of forgiveness toward their unrepentant killers?


    Third, Forgiveness NEVER equals death or condemnation.
    But in your view forgiveness often equals imprisonment, apparently. Go figure!



    What Is a "Robber"?

    When I pointed out that the repentant criminal crucified alongside Christ called his punishment just, you replied:

    Mat 27:38 Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.

    Can you point out an OT passage that mandates that stealing results in death? If you cannot, please indicate why this was a just administration of the DP.
    A robber is not merely a thief:

    The men crucified with Jesus were] criminals, that is, robbers not from the Greek kleptes for a typical thief, but kakourgos (Luke 21:39) and lestes (Mat. 27:38; Mark 15:27), for a thief who steals openly (Mat. 21:13). This is the same word lestes used for the thieves who attacked the man helped by the good Samaritan. These robbers "stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead" (Luke 10:30), that is, attempted murder.

    Josephus, the first-century Jewish historian, speaks of many robbers, one of whom was Judas, son of Ezekias, who, in the aftermath of Herod's death, assaulted the palace in Sepphoris in Galilee, stole its weapons, and was purposely vicious with everyone to build a reputation for himself[J-ToBp.49]. Robbers, were also murderers. Elsewhere[J-ToBp.118], Josephus speaks of the Judean Procurator Felix, in AD 52 hiring robbers to kill the High Priest. After that accomplishment, the robbers returned again and again to murder others in the city and in the temple itself. Josephus claims that this is likely the reason God rejected Jerusalem and its impure temple and brought the Romans upon the Jews (AD 70).

    God's Criminal Justice System, © 1999 Bob Enyart
    Consider also Barabbas, who is identified as a murder by Mark, but a robber by John:
    And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection. Mark 15:7

    Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber. John 18:40

    Thus, the "robbers" crucified alongside Jesus were violent criminals who had committed capital crimes.


    Christ had not yet died for [the repentant robber's] sins. The DP was on his own shoulders still.
    When I asked you, "TurboQ6: When do you believe God changed His commandment to execute murderers to instead forbid it," you pointed to the incarnation of Christ, which took place when Jesus was conceived within Mary's womb. But here it seems you are pointing to crucifixion as the moment when the death penalty became forbidden.

    If God suddenly disapproved of the death penalty at the moment Christ was conceived, or at the moment of His death, why didn't God make that known immediately?

    You argue that the two criminals' punishment was just only to the degree that we all deserve death as sinners, but in my round two post I brought up this passage:
    If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death. 1 John 5:16-17

    theo, you have not addressed this passage, or my argument surrounding it from round 2.

    TurboQ30 Can you give an example of a sin not leading to death?

    TurboQ31 Can you give an example of a sin leading to death?

    TurboQ7: Do any of those parables you refer to involve a murderer, a rapist, a kidnapper, or the like being shown mercy by a rich ruler?

    TheoA-TurboQ7: No but, arguments from silence are not arguments at all. The principle of forgiveness is still there.
    The principle of forgiveness, eh?

    TurboQ32 Do any of those parables involve a rich ruler forgiving a debt but also imprisoning or otherwise punishing the debtor?


    Regarding Acts 25:11, I asked:

    TurboQ9: Do these sound like the words of someone who is philosophically opposed to the death penalty?

    Theo A-TurboQ9: Philosophically and theologically opposed are different things. I think what you are missing in this passage is that Paul is so convinced of his innocence that he would die willingly if he was guilty of anything.
    No theo, he didn't say he would die willingly if he was guilty of anything. He said he would die willingly if he was guilty of anything deserving of death.

    Yet you claim that at this point in history, no crime was deserving of death.

    Paul is theologically opposed to the DP which is evidenced through the book of Philemon. In Philemon, Paul is writing to the slave owner of Onesimus pleading to recognize him as a brother in Christ. The penalty often for runnaway slaves is death.
    TurboQ33 Can you cite Scripture in which God commanded that runaway slaves be put to death? (If so, please do.)

    Paul wanted him for ministry. Paul wanted him to be freed. Paul opposed the DP.
    Paul opposed the death penalty only for those who have not committed capital crimes, as do I. For those who do commit capital crimes, he warns them that the government is "God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath" and that they should "be afraid; for [the government] does not bear the sword in vain" (Romans 13:4).

    Swords are deadly weapons. Were you aware of this?



    Regarding my Crash Course on Forgiveness, you replied:

    I think we both know that its obvious that we cannot forgive sins as Christ forgives. It is also obvious that there is a difference between our forgiveness for others, and God's forgiveness for us. We forgive people through Christ and because of Christ. That's why we can forgive people because the Lord has taken their penalty for their sins already. They need to repent to receive it. But we can never know if someone has repented, therefore forgiveness is our only option, otherwise we might kill (condemn) an innocent man. Forgiveness and salvation are different.
    It is not forgiving to imprison someone!

    As for forgiving those in our personal relationships, Christ instructed that we should forgive "if he repents,"(Luke 17:3) and if he will not repent, we should withhold forgiveness (Matthew 18:16-17). But you say, "we can never know if someone has repented, therefore forgiveness is our only option."

    TurboQ34 Do you think the Lord was giving instructions that were impossible to follow when he taught to forgive others only if they repent?

    Forgiveness is a command (Col. 3:13).
    The verse you cite states, "Forgive as the Lord forgave you."

    The Lord forgave you when you repented from your sin. The Lord forgives those who repent, and commands us to do likewise. The Lord does not extend grace to those who refuse to repent of their sins, and likewise He commands that we should withhold forgiveness from the stubbornly unrepentant.

    Now that I've gone ahead and answered TurboQ12, maybe you will take a crack at it:

    TurboQ12: Does God forgive unrepentant sinners?

    Theo's non-answer: Forgiveness as in, showing mercy and not punishing or as in not condemning to hell?
    Forgiveness as in forgiveness. Postponing punishment until Judgment Day is not forgiveness.

    TurboQ35 (12 reprised): Does God forgive unrepentant sinners or does He condemn to hell?

    TurboQ36 Are unbelievers under grace?


    Why would you kill someone you've forgiven? Forgiveness means nothing then!
    Why would you imprison someone you've forgiven? Forgiveness means nothing then!

    Also, our views on imprisonment don't matter here, we're talking about the Death Penalty.
    I'm showing the flaws in your arguments by applying them to your own beliefs about punishing criminals.

    TurboQ10: Do you have the authority to forgive monetary debts owed to another?

    Theo A-TurboQ10: No. What does this have to do with anything?
    Remember when you brought up those parables about a rich ruler forgiving a monetary debt? The monetary debt is analogous to a spiritual debt, that is, a sin committed against another (whether man or God).

    TurboQ11: Do you have the authority to forgive spiritual debts owed to another? In other words, do you have the authority to forgive someone of the sins they committed against someone else?

    Theo A-TurboQ11: Do I have the authority to forgive someone of the sins they committed against someone else? No, not in the spiritual sense. I dont have forgiveness like God's.
    Good answer.

    TurboQ37 Therefore you do not have the authority to forgive Tucker for the murders she committed, right?

    Do you have the authority to kill someone for sins they committed against someone else?
    No. As civilian I don't even have the authority to kill someone for sins they committed against me. But I am not a governing authority. Governing authorities are God's minister to execute wrath. It is their duty to execute those criminals whom God commands should be executed. When they refuse to do this, we Christians should let them know that they sin against God.


    I would like to point out something to the audience. Notice how Turbo never addresses other capital offenses.
    Actually, I gave an overview of how to determine what should be a crime and which crimes should be capital crimes in my round two post. (See Turbo A-TheoQ5)

    He never asks me questions like, "Why do you think God ever commanded that adulterers be executed?"…
    I openly explained why that is at the end of Turbo A-TheoQ5:
    Quote Originally Posted by Turbo
    I've chosen to mainly focus on murder because the topic of this debate is whether or not Christians should support the death penalty, and murder is the most obvious crime deserving of death. Seeing as though you don't even think murderers should be executed, I don't think a discussion about whether adulterers should be put to death would be productive.
    You continue:
    …Or kids who disobey their parents.
    I devoted an entire section to the particular issue in my round two post. (See the section, Was Disobeying One's Parents a Capital Crime in Israel?) In it I also explained how you had grossly misrepresented the God-given law, which Jesus affirmed during His earthly ministry. And here you are, twisting it again. This time, you are surely without excuse.


    TurboQ14: Why do you think God ever commanded that murderers be executed?

    Theo A-TurboQ14: To answer your question: Because murderer's deserve death. Because adulterers deserve death. And it goes on. Notice that the concept of forgivness through Christ is the only reason why we do not need to be condemned.
    Yet criminals still need to be imprisoned, in your view.

    TurboQ38 Do petty thieves deserve to be executed?

    TurboQ39 Do those who hate their neighbor without cause deserve to be executed?

    TurboQ40 Why did God command execution for some sins and not others?

    TurboQ41 Do you recognize a distinction between spiritual death and physical death? If so, please explain the distinction or simply acknowledge that you agree with mine, if that's the case. (You may refer to my section entitled, There's Death, and Then There's Death from round 2)

    TurboQ15: Was God unwise and unjust to command Israel to execute certain types of criminals?

    Theo A-TurboQ15: No.
    Even though the Israelites, being fallible, might have unintentionally executed some innocent people? Interesting.

    TurboQ16: Should the government punish people who mow their lawns on Saturday?

    Theo A-TurboQ16: Government?!?! What you should be really asking is should Christians be supporting death for those who break the Sabbath based on the OT law?

    TurboQ17: Is it even sinful for people living today to mow their lawns on Saturday?

    Theo A-TurboQ17: I am not entirely sure... I go back and forth on this issue.
    You can't even figure out whether mowing one's lawn on Saturday is a sin, yet you suggest that I should advocate that it be a capital crime, even after I explained why that law does not apply to anyone today?

    TurboQ18: Should the government imprison all unbelievers (who are all rebellious against God)?

    Theo's non-answer: Wha?!?! This has nothing to do with this debate.
    Yes it does.

    You suggested that I should support the death penalty for those who are rebellious against God since I advocate the death penalty for murder.

    I'm therefore asking if you support imprisonment for those who are rebellious against God since you advocate imprisonment for murder. In other words, I testing your argument against your own beliefs regarding the punishment of criminals.

    It was a simple yes-or-no question. Why would you not simply answer?

    TurboQ19: How do you determine which actions should be criminal, and what are the things that should mandate punishment from the government?

    Theo's non-answer: You are getting off the subject. I believe we are supposed to talk about whether Christians should support the DP. This question cannot be answered here. Please either clarify how this fits into the debate or drop the question. I guess I just don't see its relevancy.
    In my second round post, I gave an overview of how one should determine what sorts of behavior should be considered criminal under the heading, "Rightly Dividing".

    I am simply asking you to do the same, since you advocate punishment such as imprisonment for crimes. In fact the wording of the second half of my question is based on your TheoQ5, "What are things that should mandate the DP?"

    When you asked your questions about racial bias in America's current administration of the death penalty, I commented that it was not relevant to the topic, but I also indulged you by answering your questions.

    Your unwillingness to answer several of my questions because they are "off topic" reveals a lack of confidence in your position. Most of the questions you objected to could have been answered with a yes or a no. If the truth is on your side, what do you have to lose by answering my questions?

    TurboQ42 (19 reprised) : How do you determine which actions should be criminal, and what are the things that should mandate punishment from the government?

    TurboQ20: Does any of the OT law still apply today? (If so, please briefly explain what applies.)

    Theo A-Turbo20: We are theologically condemned by the law. But, it is obsolete, replaced by the new commandment. So, essentially none of it.
    TurboQ43: On what basis then do you advocate that murderers, rapists, and kidnappers be punished then? Does it have nothing to do with God's commandments against these crimes?

    TurboQ44: Is the Old Testament of any value in determining what should be criminal and punishable by the government today?





    TurboQ24: Do you therefore believe that everyone deserves imprisonment?

    Theo A-TurboQ24: No. Death. We are forgiven, however, in Christ. How many times do I need to state this!?!?
    TurboQ45 So why do you support imprisonment for some sins, and not others?




    Answering Theo's Questions

    Theo-Q-13: Can we judge people with the same accuracy as the Lord?

    Turbo A-TheoQ13: No. And God has always known this. Yet God appointed men as judges and commanded them to execute capital criminals convicted based on the testimony of two or three witnesses (i.e. lines of evidence).


    Theo-Q-14: Is it plausible to suggest that there is a reason why States that do not have the DP have a lower murder rate and States that do have the DP have a higher murder rate?

    Turbo A-TheoQ14: The statistical correlation is not as cut and dry as you suggest, but yes, in fact there is likely to be several reasons for the differences from region to region.


    Theo-Q-15: Is the reason the DP? (See Q-14)

    Turbo A-TheoQ15: No. (I will explain in more detail during my next post.)


    Theo-Q-16: Is it plausible to suggest that governments have issued the DP to innocent people? If so, should a Christian support the DP if it is given to innocent people?

    Turbo A-TheoQ16: Yes.

    Christians should support the execution of every convicted capital criminal. Your question is somewhat loaded. Of course Christians should not support that suspects who have not been sufficiently proven guilty be convicted and punished. But recognizing the risk that improper verdicts will sometimes be reached unknowingly, Christians should still support the death penalty because overall the shedding of innocent blood will be reduced. God knew the risk to innocent life when He commanded the death penalty, but He knows the risk is much greater without it..


    Theo-Q-17: Could you phrase any irrelevant questions, Turbo-irrelevant-Q-# like I have done before?

    Turbo A-TheoQ17: I have not asked any irrelevant questions so far, and I have no intentions of starting now. The relevancy of the questions you refused to answer is surely apparent to the readers of this debate. The context in which I asked them makes it pretty obvious. But any time you want to assert otherwise, that's fine. It gives me an open opportunity to explain the faults in your reasoning. Besides, no one ever wins a debate by dodging questions.

    I can't help but wonder if you are even reading my posts in their entirety before you respond to them. Take for instance your responses to questions 21 and 22. To 21, you indicated that my question was irrelevant. But to 22, you declared that you had figured out the relevancy. Had you not read question 22 before replying to question 21?


    TheoQ18: What does Christ's sacrifice mean for our forgiving others?

    Turbo A-TheoQ18 I have already explained this in my round two post under the heading, Crash Course on Forgiveness. But I will sum up:

    We are to forgive others as Christ has forgiven us. Christ forgives those who repent of their sins, and has instructed us to do likewise in our personal relationships.

    But that does not mean that murderers, rapists, etc. should not be punished by the government regardless of whether they repent, and even you agree with that (see your response to TurboQ13).







    Just a few more questions


    TurboQ46 Is the Gospel a deterrent to those who reject it?

    TurboQ47 Do most people accept or reject the Gospel?


    TurboQ48 In what way is the passage,
    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,
    related to "the sacrificial system"? I don't follow; please elaborate.

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