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

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    DING DING DING, that's it for round number 3.

    Theo will have 48 hours from 5:57 PM (MDT) to make his third round post.

    Therefore Theo's next post is due no later than 5:57 PM (MDT) on Thursday September 28th.

    You can discuss the Battle in the Battle Talk thread.

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    Lightbulb BR round 4a

    Preliminary Response

    This is really long. But necessary. I will make sure my fifth round post is shorter.

    Exposing Turbo:

    Turbo’s usage of the Socratic Dialectic Methodology

    Whether Turbo admits to this or not, his distinct usage of the Socratic Dialectical Method of Argumentation does not help his cause. This styling of argument has been attributed to Socrates (through Plato’s writings). This debate technique attempts to dismantle the opposing view, finding logical flaws. This in itself is a noble cause; however, this manner of arguing in a formal debate has found the disapproval of philosophers and orators alike. The reason that this style is ineffective is because of a logical fallacy that goes along with it. The major logical predicament comes through the assumption of the one who makes use of it. The assumption is that if one proves the axioms of the opposing thesis to be untrue it must necessitate that the antithesis is true. Axiomatically, however, this is a logical fallacy:

    In simple English: If Turbo proves that my AV is wrong, then Turbo’s advocacy for the DP must be right.

    This is a false assumption that I have been gleaning by his style of argument. He asks me a billion questions in hopes to provide one logical fallacy in order to state my claims is false, which he then uses to favor his position. However, hypothetically, this does not necessitate that he is right because he is yet to prove his position is factual nor correct. Turbo has spent most of his time analyzing things irrelevant to the debate (such as my view on imprisonment) in order to better position his view. I would like to affirm that even if my position on imprisonment is a false assertion (which I do not believe to be the case) this does not automate his being correct. He needs to prove he is right, something he has not done so far.

    What happens if Turbo proves my view to be false? We have then have two opinions, one false, the other unproven. Turbo needs to prove to us why Christians should support the DP since I have all the scripture in the world that disclaims this. He needs to affirm his view as well as challenge mine. There is some free pointer for ya Turbo!!!

    As one may notice, I have avoided this perilous cross-examination methodology and instead concentrated on affirming the AV. I have provided outlined arguments each step of the way, from weakest to strongest. I have also answered many important questions that the DP must consider. Trying to nitpick me semantically will not win debates. Strong arguments that theologically appeal to Scripture will, not irrelevant questions searching for logical flaws. I challenge Turbo to actually post something, something substantial that would weigh in his favor for this debate because so far, I have dismantled his arguments which, btw, have nothing to do with the nature of this debate.

    You may think this is a straw man’s argument, it however is not, read anything about the Socratic Method and you will find that Turbo is doing precisely this, subconsciously or not.

    Turbo Misrepresenting My View Again

    Turbo had stated:

    In your opening post, you recalled my stating: "It had begun to make sense that maybe the DP was not just.” Which you responded with: “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?”

    My position has been the same the whole time. I have repeatedly stated that I believe we all deserve the DP. It has been my position that because of Christ we no longer need to condemn others. The DP is just, but through Christ, our sin has been justified in him. I can see how semantically you could try to twist my words in favor of your position. However, in light of the rest of my posts, it cannot be concluded that I believe that the DP is an injustice. I will ask you for the last time to stop misrepresenting my views knowing fully what I have been stating. I am getting really tired of this.

    To address this even further: I believe it is an injustice to administer the DP to someone like Karla Faye Tucker who no longer deserves punishment for her sins because she has been forgiven in Christ. Contextually, my statement still stands.

    Moving on….

    Getting back to what this debate is about:

    Once again, this debate is not pertaining to whether or not governments have ever had the right to impose justice, rather, the centrality of this debate lies on the individual believer. Should Christians support the Death Penalty? Turbo has only made arguments suggesting that the DP has been given by God to all governments and is the base of all government authority! The main issue has nothing to do with this. The main issue is: Should Christians support the DP? Should a believer in Christ who is no longer condemned for their sins support the condemnation of another? This is the debate.

    Turbo’s arguments reviewed

    Turbo has so far made only these arguments in support of his position. Everything else has been responsive to my argumentation. Does Turbo really believe that these arguments support his position?

    God has commanded that the Death Penalty be carried out.
    The Death Penalty is Just.
    The Death Penalty is a Powerful Deterrent.
    The Death Penalty is at the Heart of the Gospel.



    Let’s examine each of these again to demonstrate his position ineffective:

    God has commanded that the Death Penalty be carried out.

    Turbo here states that Genesis 9 is where the DP is to be established. I, however, effectively demonstrated that this passage has nothing to do with the DP:

    1. The verse never specifies who this “man” is that shall shed the offender’s 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.

    This passage is a chiasm. A chiasm is a Hebrew poetic feature in which a thought starts with the same thought and ends with the same thought. It really is evident in Hebrew and Greek more so then in English but I will highlight the chiastic features of this passage for you. I will mark in bold segments that demonstrate the chiasm for our English readers:

    The blue segments begin and end the chiasm, green segment the second part, and the middle part is red:

    Genesis 9:1-8

    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." (8) Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him:

    What we can glean from this is the whole chiasm is one thought. That is universal of a chiasm. The meaning is found in it being one thought. Let’s look at the context of this passage to see what we can glean from this:

    In chapter 8 of Genesis, we see Noah commanded to bring clean and unclean animals aboard the ark. The “clean” and “unclean” animals will come into play later. In verse 8:18 we notice that Noah had just left the ark with his wife and family. Next Noah sacrifices clean animals for a burnt offering that pleased the Lord. Then God tells Noah in chapter nine what he can eat.

    (3) Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

    It is everything that lives and moves that Noah is allowed to eat. This comes, however, with clarification. God then states:


    God commands Noah not to eat animals that still have their lifeblood (are still alive) in them. Then God makes an interesting transition:

    (4) "But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it.

    God commands Noah not to eat animals that are still living. Then in the very same breath he states:

    (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.

    The meaning of this is clear. Since we know for a fact that this passage is a chiasm, then verse 5 is not a shift of thought. God was just previously speaking about not eating the lifeblood still left in animals and he shifts to the eating of man. Cannibalism is forbidden. But it is not just the eating of man with its lifeblood that is forbidden. What is being forbidden is the eating of man at all! Look down to the poem at the end of the chiasm:

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

    It is wrong to eat man not just because of their lifeblood but because they are made in the image of God. Therefore, it is wrong to take part in the eating of man regardless if they are alive or dead. Here is where the clean and unclean animals come into play. There must have been dietary laws concerning animals for it seems that all they were allowed to eat were plants (Gen 3:18). Now, God is allowing animals to be eaten, clean or unclean, as long as it is not man nor alive. It will be later during the Passover as recorded in Exodus where further dietary laws are made.

    In the next verse, after God has made this dietary clarification, God finishes his covenant with Noah.

    This passage is all in relation to the primary aspect of the chiasm: “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.” In order for Noah to do this, fundamental dietary laws must be established! Think about it, not to many plants containing fruit or nuts would be any good after being drowned in water for forty days!

    I thought my initial response was evidence enough for Turbo to have to shift his claim 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.”

    TurboQ48 In what way is the passage, (Genesis 9:6)
    related to "the sacrificial system"? I don't follow; please elaborate.
    This relates to the Noahadic covenant and the dietary laws that were formulated under it. I have the stupid knack for calling the OT laws the sacrificial system sometimes. I didn’t even realize I made the mistake. I meant to state that this is a dietary law, not a divine proclamation for a government.

    Turbo’s claim 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.” This is a false assertion. This passage is speaking of dietary laws not governments. Turbo needs to retract his statement that the DP is the foundation of a Godly criminal justice system if he is going to use this passage in his defense. I, however agree principally that God mandated the DP, theologically as well as literally. God ordained the DP, just not at this point.

    Questions for Turbo: Is this passage about human diets? Will you admit that this verse does not speak of the DP in the manner you were referring it to be seen in this passage? Will you retract your statement that “at the foundation of a Godly criminal justice system” is the DP?

    The Death Penalty is Just.

    The DP is Just. However, not for the reasons Turbo has established. He cites Exodus 21:24-25 which states:

    Exodus 21:24-25 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, (25) burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

    Turbo, however, in a sly manner, slips in half of the previous verse (23) in order to escape the context of the verse:

    Exodus 21:22-25 "If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows. (23) But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, (24) eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, (25) burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

    Interesting we see two things: this passage applies to those who hit a pregnant women and contrary to what Turbo states:

    “You should reconsider your advocacy for fines.”

    Fines were administered by the government.
    Hmm… GASP! IS IT TRUE!?!? That fines were administered?

    Let’s see what the Bible has to say about fines:

    Deuteronomy 22:19 They shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver [2] and give them to the girl's father, because this man has given an Israelite virgin a bad name. She shall continue to be his wife; he must not divorce her as long as he lives.

    Questions for Turbo: Does Exodus 21:22-25 make a value statement as a whole on the DP?

    The Death Penalty is a Powerful Deterrent.

    I have already demonstrated that this is not the case. However, Turbo decides that scripture must triumph facts in his literalistic approach to the Bible. I have demonstrated in my previous argument that in the United States the DP has not been an effective deterrent. Let’s examine the scripture Turbo uses in order to ensure the accuracy in interpretation (since he already goofed up Genesis 9 pretty bad!).

    Turbo uses Deuteronomy 13:10-11, 12-13, 19:16-21, 21:18-21, Ecclesiastes 8:11, and Romans 13:1-4.

    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
    The main operative words in these verses that appear to argue for deterrence are: Israel shall hear and fear and then put away the evil deed.

    However, just as God knew that the Law could only add transgression and must be superseded in Christ, he also knew that this would never work. The book of Judges contains numerous accounts of Gods oppression of his people because they disobeyed and followed other gods then after they repented, God would rise up a judge to remove the oppression. However, God’s very own people were not deterred from God’s punishment and repeated this cycle of following other gods-oppression-repentance-removal of oppression. Where is the deterrent? Why didn’t it work?

    Read what the psalmist states:

    Psa 36:1 An oracle is within my heart
    concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:
    There is no fear of God
    before his eyes.


    When we become wicked, when we let sin overcome us, no amount of deterrence will affect us because we have no fear of God to begin with.

    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’s look at a parallel translation:

    When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong.

    Turbo interprets this to be a command that justice must be executed speedily. Solomon, however is saying that this is merely the way it goes. Wicked people will develop even more wicked schemes. That is why Solomon says in verse 12: “Although a wicked man commits a hundred crimes and still lives a long time, I know that it will go better with God-fearing men, who are reverent before God.” Solomon, contextually, is showing that no matter what we do, the wicked will appear better off, however God-fearing men are truly the ones better off. He is not making a command at all! He is pointing out the sinful nature of wicked people!

    Questions for Turbo: Do wicked men fear the Lord?Does the DP deter them from there schemes? If Yes, why do they still plot evil even though they are on trial?


    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

    Interpreting Romans 13


    Here I will fully address Romans 13 and clearly show your eisegesis to be frivolous and destructive to the passage’s intentions.

    Turbo said:

    “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.’”
    Before I explain how you are misinterpreting the passage, let’s actually read the passage for ourselves:

    Romans 13:1-14 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. (2) Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. (3) For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. (4) For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. (5) Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. (6) This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. (7) Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

    Love, for the Day is Near (8) Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. (9) The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet,"[1] and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." (10) Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (11) And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. (12) The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. (13) Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. (14) Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

    Let’s ask some simple exegetical questions:

    Who is Paul’s audience?

    It is most certain by modern scholarship that the audience for this text is a mixture of Christian Jews and Gentiles.

    What was the historical context?

    The epistle can be dated around 58, four or five years after the edict of the Emperor Claudius. This edict expelled the Jews from Rome. This is significant for this epistle because Christians were generally seen as a sect of Judaism in the eyes of the Romans. These Jews and Christians were once expelled and now allotted back into the Roman kingdom, many who lost everything they had because of this expulsion.

    The Meaning of the Text

    Paul is speaking about the government as being a servant to God and as a servant to the Christian in conjunction with the role of the individual believer. God has established governments to exercise authorities. The authority of the government is not the main idea of the passage. If one just stops at v. 1 then the point of this passage is lost. What we see is that submission to the governing authorities is the reason why we pay taxes and obey all of those everyday common laws. All of Paul’s argumentation is leading to this point:
    Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. (6) This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing.

    Why is Paul concerned about paying taxes?

    This more than likely has to do with the once expelled Jews and Christians felt enmity towards the Roman government for being kicked out of their homes. Imagine being kicked out of your own home for years! Then being allowed to come back but being forced to pay taxes! This is what the Roman Christians were facing. Paul is exhorting them to obey the government. The government, which authority comes from God, was to be honored through its taxpayers.

    Paul, however, after establishing the need for submission to the governing authorities and the need for paying our taxes, makes a key theological point. Paul states:
    (7) “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Love, for the Day is Near”
    Here is a essential shift in thought. There is a imperative metamorphosis that is Paul’s primary argument. From paying taxes to giving respect, to love, Paul is transitioning from the worldly to the corporeal. Paul states:
    (8) Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.

    As F.F. Bruce as noted in his work, Romans: “The quotation in Leviticus 19:18, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself,’ as a summary of God’s requirements, places Paul right within the tradition of Jesus, who set these words as the second great commandment…Paul mentions here the second and not the first [commandment], because the immediate question concerns a Christian’s duty to his neighbour, -- the subject matter of the commandments in the second table of the Decalogue.”
    Paul is speaking about love. The main thought of this passage is loving your neighbor as yourself! In verse 9, Paul describes what loving means because loving summarizes the law. Verse 13 states:

    “Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

    So, we have witnessed the transition from submission based on a deontological status to love. There is a shift from obeying God’s governmental institution because they are his to obey and obeying God’s governments because we are to love our neighbor. We pay our taxes out of love. We pay our fines that the government issues to us out of love. We obey the governments because contained in obedience is the principle of love. Paul is superseding his prior argument and giving greater reason for obedience because we ought to love. This transition is even further evidenced by verse 5:

    (5) Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.

    This passage implicitly deals with the role of the Christian, not the role of the government. If this passage were explicitly about obeying our governments deontologically our ethics would be skewed. What would we do if a government went awry and ordered its people to kill innocent people? Paul’s discussion is not primarily concerned with absolute totalitarian obedience to the governing authorities but rather giving love. If this passage were concerned about blind submission to governments then Paul would have certainly addressed different predicaments. What about authorities such as the Nazis that denigrate the Word of God and put millions of innocent Jews to death? As F.F. Bruce points out, “Paul does not deal with this question here” because it did not pertain to what Paul was speaking about. Roy A. Harrisville writes: “…if Paul were indeed enunciating a principle here, he would have stated it in the positive, he would have addressed himself to the problem of a government’s acting unjustly, praising the evil and punishing the good.”

    Turbo states: “Paul warns fellow believers not to commit crimes for fear of being punished by governing authorities.”

    Contrary to what Turbo thinks, we are charged to obey the government authorities not out of fear but out of love! No doubt, Turbo argues this only to increase his misguided ideas that punishment deters crime! The influx of love in the end of chapter 13 shows the reason why we obey authorities.

    It is extremely hard to discount that at the heart of Paul’s theological vantage was love. Love is so important to Paul that he views it above faith and hope:
    1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

    For Paul, our motivations to do anything should be out of love, not fear!

    Let’s examine what the Bible says about fear:

    In Romans 8:15 Paul states that in Christ we are not given to a spirit of fear:
    “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’”

    And 1 John 4:18 states, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

    If we are compelled to love and we are given a spirit of sonship rather than just fear, why should we fear governing authorities? If we truly are to love, then our love must reflect perfect love, which does not display fear because fear has to do with punishment. As Christians we are not suppose to be afraid of punishment! Persecution, cursing, and death are what the Christian life incurs because those who reject the gospel hate those who proclaim it.

    Turbo is advocating fear, which is contrary to the nature of perfect love.

    I ask Turbo, If we are supposed to love, why would we fear when 1 John 4:18 states that perfect love drives out fear?

    Turbo misinterpreting of this passage continues. Turbo also states:

    “Swords are deadly weapons. Were you aware of this?”
    I will ignore the sarcastic tone and just address your misunderstanding. What Turbo is attempting to point out with this statement is that Romans 13:4, which states, “But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing” implies that the sword was a means of punishment. This, however, is a misunderstanding of the symbolism in the “sword.” Yes, of course I will admit that the sword is a deadly weapon, but the gravity of this statement is not in the using of the sword for death.

    What the sword symbolizes is authority. It was a common image for a ruler to “bear the sword” at their side from their throne. We know this to be a symbol of authority and not punishment or death because of the very Greek word that is used here. Pharo, means to bear but in this context, it should really be seen as wearing the sword. This was an authoritative expression not over life and death but rather over dominion. The latin equivalent seen throughout the Roman Empire is ius gladii (right of the sword) which refers to the governing power of Rome, not capital punishment. Besides, execution was not done so with the sword. This was not Rome’s primary means of execution. The crucifix, noose, and burning at the stake were seen to be far greater spectacles and manners of execution.

    Let’s then supply the imagery into this passage into common words to see if this understanding even fits the text: “For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not have authority for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.”

    This makes better sense contextually considering Paul is speaking about paying taxes and love, not capital punishment. It is ridiculous to suppose that Paul is arguing, “Obey the governments! Pay taxes! Do so or they will kill you!” Exegesis shows that Turbo’s argument is poor.

    As far as Acts 12:1,2 goes, (which tells of Herod putting James to death by the sword), if one makes an argument based on this that the sword must mean capital punishment then the problem with the passage still remains. “Obey the government! Pay taxes! Do so or they will kill you!” It is appropriate, therefore, to interpret this passage in light of the context and the figurative meaning for the word macharia. Romans did not commonly put its citizens to death for tax evasion.


    Question for Turbo: When Paul advocates us to do good out of love and essentially obey out of love, are we to fear punishment by the government (See 1 John 4:18)? Do you believe that Paul wanted us to fear (as in be afraid) of the government despite his appeal to love (which tells us not to fear)? Is it reasonable to assume that Paul is telling his audience to pay taxes otherwise the government will kill them?

    Out of all of this, Turbo’s argument based on Scripture that death is a deterrent falls absolutely to pieces. What we have already seen in my previous arguments is that murder is not deterred in America by the DP and we see theologically this is so because we do not fear the Lord as wicked sinners. I am going to include right now, since we are on the subject, a question asked by Turbo concerning deterrence:

    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.

    Turbo stated: “The implication being that conversely, if the course of action were unjust, the fear of being painfully executed would deter you.”
    Obviously this is not true! SO not true! If this were true, Israel would have never worshipped Baal. If this were indeed true then Texas should have the lowest murder rate per 100,000 people since it has executed the most in America, yet, it has one of the highest murder rates!

    See the facts for yourself:

    2005 murder rate per 100,000 for Texas: 6.2. Compare that with the average murder rate per 100,000 people among states that do not have the DP: 2.8

    Which is a higher number Turbo, 6.2 or 2.8?

    It does not follow that knowing we are more likely to get the DP (like DP-happy Texas) for murder will deter us from crime. Capeesh?

    Here is more statistics for you:

    The murder rate average among states that do have the DP is: 5.3
    The murder rate average among states that do not have the DP is: 2.8

    God’s greatest administration of the DP


    I would like to submit to your attention the account of the Flood. In Genesis 6, the story of Noah and the Flood begins:

    Genesis 6:5-8 The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. (6) The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. (7) So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth-men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air-for I am grieved that I have made them." (8) But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD .

    Recall my vista on Genesis and God’s judgment. Here that same word Ra’ah is used. God is effectively making his judgment, which is pure, omniscient and perfect. God mandates the death of everyone except Noah and his family (they were righteous). Everyone else deserved death. God had mercy on Noah. This is what the Lord tells him:

    Genesis 6:13-14 So God said to Noah, "I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. (14) So make yourself an ark of cypress [3] wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out.

    I am not going to finish the story but I am going to make a significant point. Here God executed his wrath fully unto mankind (except Noah). I have one question to ask Turbo:

    Did this stop mankind from sinning? Was this ultimate global DP a deterrence in the end?

    The answer is obviously NO! Man still sinned.


    The Death Penalty is at the Heart of the Gospel.

    I agree with Turbo! The DP is at the Heart of the Gospel, it however, is superseded by forgiveness! Christ died on the cross for our very sins. Not just spiritual sins, but sins between our brothers and sisters! We can have confidence in the forgiveness of God because Christ had taken our condemnation for us!

    Opening remarks


    Now that I have settled some of Turbo’s arguments into the dust, I will not stop there but continue to work on my own arguments.

    Goals to accomplish in this post:

    Answering the question:

    Is the DP wise?

    Making the argument:

    A Theological Argument

    ----

    Before we get started lets review this concept:

    Punishment v. Condemnation

    Despite what many people state, there is a distinction between punishment and condemnation. They may sometimes be used as synonyms, however, if they are synonyms, I simply ask, why does Christ differentiate between the two types of judgment then?

    The judgment of condemnation is solely reserved for God.

    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.

    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.

    Punishment is different. Punishment should be seen as restoring versus retributive. We are to discipline and condemn.

    God certainly disciplines:

    Rev 3:19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.

    Obviously Punishment seems to go against forgiveness, however, we do it out of love like the Lord:

    Heb 12:11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

    As Christians we should advocate discipline, not condemnation.


    The Theological Argument

    The OT Laws Revisited (Jesus’ thoughts)

    We have already noted that the OT has a huge list of things that condemn us to death! Jesus addresses this very list and surprisingly does not go wimpy on them! He strengthens the Law and demonstrates all of us to be guilty of the impending wrath of the Lord.

    Christ states:

    Matthew 5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

    I think a lot of people confuse the AV as thinking that we need to be antinomian, lawless, followers of Christ. However, I have been consistent in stating that the AV believes the DP is just, however, forgiveness is just as well and supersedes the DP. Forgiveness and love are the praxis of Christianity.

    Christ strengthens the law here:

    Matthew 5:21-22 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' (22) But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.

    Even being angry unjustly is worthy of the fire of hell! It is the same as murder.

    Christ does not stop there:

    Matthew 5:27-30 "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' (28) But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (29) If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. (30) And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

    Lusting is equivalent to adultery! Adultery is one of the things that the OT law demanded the DP for!!!!

    Jesus does not stop there either! He states:

    Mark 10:11-12 He answered, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. (12) And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery."

    Divorcement and remarriage can lead to death!

    Christ strengthens the OT Law to no longer being our actions that condemn us but our internal desires, our very thoughts that condemn us! Immanuel Kant once stated, “In law, a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others. In ethics, he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so.” The OT Law is like a mirror reflecting back our misdeeds. Martin Luther King Jr. resounds this when he states, “The old law about "an eye for an eye" leaves everybody blind.”


    Questions for Turbo: You once stated: “But as for the capital crimes that are based on morality towards my neighbors, I have broken none of those laws.” In response to my question if you ever broke a OT law mandating the DP. Now I ask you simply, have you ever been angry unjustly towards someone? Have you ever lusted after another person? Do you know someone who has?

    I only ask you this because all of these things mandate the DP in Jesus’ eyes. Not only do they mandate being submitted under judgment but they also condemn you to hell!

    As I have asserted a thousand times over. We all deserve the DP. Who hasn’t lusted after another person?!? Who hasn’t been angry without just cause?


    The answer is… Jesus!


    The Atonement

    The only way for us to have our sins cleansed and be forgiven by God is through atonement. The term atonement is simply a theological word describing how God forgives sin. This was originally accomplished through rituals performed by a High Priest on the holiest day of the Jewish year: Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).

    Sacrifices were necessary to complete atonement. Either bloody (animals) or unbloody (grain and wine) sacrifices were needed. Bloody sacrifices were divided into burnt offerings. The whole animal was burnt in order to appease God. Guilt offerings were part burnt and peace offerings, similarly, were only part burnt. Blood was required in order to atone for sins committed. For most sins, atonement could be made by bringing an animal to the temple to shed the animal's blood. For other, more heinous crimes, atonement could only be secured by shedding the blood of the criminal himself.

    Hebrews 9:22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

    What one needs to understand about the OT Law is that justice was done through sacrifices. One could shed the blood of an animal to appease God’s wrath and experience forgiveness. However, sins such as murder required the blood of the criminal. Sacrifice and justice were closely tied.

    The Hebrew word for this type of sacrifice is Korban, which theologically means, “draw near to God.” A Korban was usually an animal such as a sheep or a bull that was ritually slaughtered with parts given to the priests and parts burned on an altar.

    Jesus became our korban. He became our lamb laid out on the alter before God. In this prophecy concerning Christ, Isaiah says in 53:7:

    He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
    he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.

    Hebrews 9:12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.

    Christ, who was without sin, became our perfect offering before God. When Christ died on the cross for our sins, he bore our personal iniquity so that we would not have to! Christ was the adequate substitute for our sin. Christ was the adequate sacrifice for our sins. Christ was the adequate justification for our sins!

    Let’s get a better grasp on what this means! It took God’s perfect son Jesus, who never did wrong, who was only good, to make amends for our sin. If it cost God that much, could you atone your own sins? Of course not! Then if it cost God that much to bear our sins and be a sacrifice for us, then would killing someone for an injustice truly bring full justice as the Lord had brought it upon himself? NO WAY! My dying in my sins would never equate to Christ’s dying for my sins. God has propitiated his wrath in Christ. Propitiation simply means to pacify and conciliate.

    God needed to be pacified! His wrath was upon us!

    Ephesians 2:1-4 explains to us our predicament between God. As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, (2) in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. (3) All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. (4) But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,

    Many ask, how could a loving God be just or a just God be loving. It is simple. God poured out all of his wrath against us and sin in Christ. IF he didn’t forgive us in this world, if I am not truly forgiven of my sins right now, then how can I be sure that I will be forgiven after the earth has passed?

    Romans 5:10-11 For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! (11) Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

    But if we very well deserved condemnation to eternal death as well as the earthly DP, why did God do this?

    Read Mark to understand:

    Mark 9:13 But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

    Christ’s death was both, an offering of mercy and the propitiating sacrifice needed for us to experience God’s mercy.

    Questions for Turbo: Do you agree that God’s wrath for all of our sins were appeased in Christ? If yes, why should we give others the DP?

    The OT Laws Obsolete

    It was the priesthood that officiated and authenticated the Israelite’s sacrifices. It was through the priestly office that the sacrifices to God for sins were made.
    However, “The Levitical priesthood, representing the Mosaic system of ceremonial redemption, could not bring perfection and so was intended to be superseded (Heb. 7:11-28) . . (Theonomy, pp. 208-209).

    We have already read that Christ came to fulfill the law (and this was done through his atoning work on the Cross). The result of this was the making of the law obsolete.

    Jeremiah 31:31 prophesied this:

    Jeremiah 31:31-34 "The time is coming," declares the LORD ,
    "when I will make a new covenant
    with the house of Israel
    and with the house of Judah. (32) It will not be like the covenant
    I made with their forefathers
    when I took them by the hand
    to lead them out of Egypt,
    because they broke my covenant,
    though I was a husband to [4] them, [5] "
    declares the LORD . (33) "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
    after that time," declares the LORD .
    "I will put my law in their minds
    and write it on their hearts.
    I will be their God,
    and they will be my people. (34) No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
    or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD ,'
    because they will all know me,
    from the least of them to the greatest,"
    declares the LORD .
    "For I will forgive their wickedness
    and will remember their sins no more.
    "

    The author of Hebrews recognizes this:

    Hebrews 8:13 By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.
    The OT Law is not obsolete in the sense that it no longer condemns us, it however, makes forgiveness just, right, and appropriate.

    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.


    Question for Turbo: What does it mean for the OT Law to be Obsolete? What is the difference between the Old Covenant and the New? Does the Law condemn us for our sins?

    The New Commandment

    We, under the New Covenant, are given a New Commandment:

    John 3:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

    But what is this love? Let’s look at Paul’s description of love:

    1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (5) It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (6) Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. (7) It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (8) Love never fails….”

    How is this love played out?

    It is seen through forgiveness, mercy, compassion, giving:

    Matthew 18:21-22 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" (22) Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[6]

    Luke 6:27-36 "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, (28) bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (29) If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. (30) Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. (31) Do to others as you would have them do to you. (32) "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. (33) And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. (34) And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. (35) But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. (36) Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.


    Concluding the Theological Argument

    We can see that the Law certainly condemns us not only to receive the DP as the OT Law mandated it, but also it condemns us to an eternity to hell. However, Christ came and took the wrath of God for us and made the OT Law no longer a means to condemn us. Forgiveness became available for us to receive and to give. We, under the new commandment are to love and love does not keep record of wrong. We are to be merciful as God is merciful. What does that mean? We are to forgive as the Lord forgives (Col 3:13)!

    There is a huge hypocrisy for Christians to condemn someone for sins they have committed in their heart as well! We are mercifully forgiven from our sins, why would we not forgive others as well?

    Turbo put it beautifully:

    “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.” We are guilty of the same sins in God's eyes as those who actually murder!!!!! Of those who actually committ adultery!!!! WE all sin against our neighbor and God.

    Question for Turbo: Is it fair for us to judge someone for a sin we ourselves have committed?

    The praxis of forgiveness

    Yeah, this is all fine and dandy Theo, but this doesn’t work! We can’t forgive sins that were not committed against us! How absurd of you Theo!

    Certainly we cannot forgive sins in an eschatological sense (condemning to hell or admitting to heaven), but we can be merciful and forgive (propitiate) our own wrath against our fellow man in Christ. If Christ bore an adulterer’s sin, and the adulterer confesses guilt to that then justice is already served! We do not need to kill him as the OT demands!

    Let us observe Jesus in action:

    John 8:2-11 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. (3) The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group (4) and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. (5) In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" (6) They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. (7) But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." (8) Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. (9) At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. (10) Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" (11) "No one, sir," she said.
    "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

    Christ forgave her sins and did not demand her blood be spilled on the street. Where was this swift painful punishment? Here is righteous judgment at work, here is forgiveness at work, and here is mercy.

    Let’s now turn to the Apostle Paul as an example:

    The Apostle Paul testified himself that he persecuted Christians into unjust imprisonments (“Kidnapping”, as Turbo has called it), oversaw the death of Stephen (Acts 8:1) and sought destruction of Christianity. All things that would justify the DP for him. But after his conversion experience on the way to Damascus, notice how the Christians receive him and did not advocate the DP for him. The apostles, instead, accepted him. Where is his blood being spilled?

    I can tell you where! ON THE CROSS OF CHRIST!

    The story of Karla Faye Tucker is no different. She was forgiven by Christ. We should not have supported her DP.

    The reason for “forgive them all” is (as already established in the Judicial Argument) we cannot always be certain of ones guilt, we must practice mercy, we must not judge hypocritically, we are ordered not to condemn, we are commanded to forgive, we are no longer under the OT Law, we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, we are to love God. How much clearer can it get that a Christian should not support the DP?

    Questions for Turbo:

    At this point, I will remind you once again, the question of this debate is: “Should Christians support the DP?”

    Should a Christian support the DP if that means they are to then judge hypocritically (as defined by Turbo), if they are to not show mercy as commanded by the Lord, and if they are to not forgive as the Lord commands?

    The Problem with the argument from the Government

    The problem is simple and two fold: If God wants individuals to forgive and be forgiven why would he still mandate governments not to forgive? Is God contradicting his ambitions?

    The second aspect: If a government goes against the word of God should a Christian support the decision made by the government that conflicts with God’s word? If yes, does that mean German Christians during Nazi-Germany should have aided in the extermination of innocent Jews? If the answer is no, then should Christians support the DP making them hypocrites, unmerciful, and unforgiving?

    Thus, we cannot always follow the government. God has explicitly commanded us to be merciful, forgiving, and to judge without condemnation nor hypocrisy. A Christian who supports the DP breaks the New Commandment.

    Responding to Turbo

    Examining what Theo has supposedly accomplished so far for the AV
    You fail to recognize that administering the DP is disobedient to the Lord's command of being merciful and forgiving, and not judging hypocritically. I will explain my view of prisons and their purpose later. Somehow, in your mind, forgiveness can include death.

    You have serious logical issues.

    Theo has broken ranks with his professor
    I would like to point out, even if I did.. .SO WHAT!!! My professor is not God. However, I did not break ranks with my professor, my professor stated that IDEALISTICALLY he would let them go. Do you know what that term means?

    My professor said: "You know, in an idealistic setting, I would even allow her to teach sunday school......"

    I agreee with my professor. Ideallistically I would let people go. I will explain this at the bottom.

    Theo has undermined his claim that we should be forgiving toward criminals
    Boy are you desperate for something to argue about! Instead of trying to establish why forgiveness apparently does not involve freedom from the consequence of sin, your socratic method makes you committ to frivolous argumentation!

    I have explained the difference between correction and discipline and condemnation. We do this sort of thing all the time. We send our kids to time out so that they learn from their mistakes. We dont kill them! However, in cases where kids really are sorry for what they did and have learned to behave differently, we do not punish them. I am not advocating that everyone who ever has committed a sin goes to prison. You are way twisting my ideas!

    From the Abolitionist View, it is impossible to administer the DP in anything but an unjust manner
    Actually, what I have been arguing is that it is just. However, it is superseded by Christ's taking of the DP on behalf of us. Doesnt Christ count for anything?!? What a lame sacrifice if he died in vain!

    Abolishing the DP altogether does not fix problems, it makes them worse
    Says who? The statistics are pretty plain. States that do have the DP have higher murder rates. States that do not have the DP have lower. You are making things up Turbo. Please provide statistical data to support your opinion.

    You are indeed following the tradition of those who have opposed the death penalty for generations, which you have learned from your professor, not God
    You are just reiterating Bob Enyart. You have no NT passages that support your claim. The law is obsolete buddy (Hebrews 8).

    Do you not see the inconsistency in your view?
    No, actually. I do not. You have the inconsistency, not I. Forgive and then kill? When does God do that?

    Was James talking to governing authorities who had the power to punish criminals?
    Governing authorities apparently are above God's commandments?!? Wierd. I didnt know that. Of course James was talking to Christians. I will remind you this is the subject of the debate.

    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?

    Christians shouldnt condemn their neighbor. They should not support the DP. It is that clear.

    God commanded painful methods of execution because they help to deter would-be criminals
    How painful is painful? Should we put murderers and adulterers in concentration camps leading to their death? You seem to be a masochist of some variety.


    TurboQ26 Were the Israelites, whom God commanded to execute certain criminals, infallible judges not prone to error?
    No, a reason why it was made obsolete!!!!

    His answer is that when the DP is administered properly, instances of such crimes will be minimized.
    I propose two questions:

    Can man properly do such a thing without perfect knowledge?

    Did the Flood reduce sin?

    Our endless system of appeals initiated by defendants is completely unbiblical...
    So God is not concerned with the innocence of man? You know that these appeals are there for a reason, in order as a safeguard, protecting those who might actually be innocent. You dont care about innocence. You want anger and wrath and death! Supporting the DP with this attitude profanes the Lord.

    I stated: DP is arbitrary Turbo stated:
    It shouldnt be
    God clearly has not issued the DP to every murderer in the Bible. Maybe God disagrees with you, on the basis of forgiveness!!!! See Cain, Lamech, Moses, David, the aduteress women, Paul etc....


    TurboQ27 Do you deny that God commanded Israel to speedily execute capital criminals upon conviction?

    Theo-A-Turbo-Q27 Depends on what speedily means. Do I think that God wanted them to execute them without proper proof, without asserting their guilt? NO! Do I think that God wanted them to beleaguer around and take forever? Yes. Speedily is a relative term that is not defined clearly. It is a principle not a methodology.

    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.
    I am not asking if it is a sin. I am asking if it is wrong.

    TurboQ28 Is it plausible that some people have spent the remainder of their lives in prison for a crimes they did not commit?
    Theo-A-Turbo-Q28 Of course.

    In your misguided effort to protect innocent lives, far more lives are lost at the hands of criminals.
    I would like for you to support this statement. Or admit that you cannot.


    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"?
    Theo-A-Turbo-Q 29 No. But executing them sure puts a time limit on it, doesn’t it? Should Christians support the DP if it removes the chances for some to hear the gospel?!


    TurboQ30 Do you think murder victims in heaven have a desire for vengeance or an attitude of forgiveness toward their unrepentant killers?
    Theo-A-Turbo-Q 30Attitude of forgiveness and hope for them to repent. “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Luke 15:7

    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?
    I am saving this for my final round.

    When I am fined, I pay my fine. Thus I submit to the government. That doesnt mean I'm going to defend the governement's inherently corrupt system of fining.
    So, say you were a german in Nazi-Germany. When you were told to not shop at jewish stores, or to aid in their persecution would you submit?

    This reponse is in accordance with the What is a "Robber"? section made by Turbo
    This is the same word lestes used for the thieves who attacked the man helped by the good Samaritan
    Nice try. Just because in the story of the good samaritan the robber attacked a man does not necessitate that the theif on the cross attacked people. He was a theif who stole openly, as you pointed out. That is all we can glean. You are eisegetically reading that idea into the text. Btw, use better sources. Besides, your whole argument is an argument from silence. It doesnt say anything about the DP.


    TurboQ32 Do any of those parables involve a rich ruler forgiving a debt but also imprisoning or otherwise punishing the debtor?
    Theo-A-Turbo-Q 32Nope!

    TurboQ33 Can you cite Scripture in which God commanded that runaway slaves be put to death? (If so, please do.)
    Theo-A-Turbo-Q 33 No. But come on! It is the Roman government here! God’s established instrument of wrath! Surely, any law they make must be followed and any law you break must suffer the consequences! (note the sarcasm)

    It is not forgiving to imprison someone
    But apparently it is forgiving to kill someone?!? What logic is this?

    TurboQ34 Do you think the Lord was giving instructions that were impossible to follow when he taught to forgive others only if they repent?
    Theo-A-Turbo-Q 34 No. I don’t think it was impossible at all! I think God commands us to certainly show mercy to our enemies even if they do not repent!

    TurboQ35 (12 reprised): Does God forgive unrepentant sinners or does He condemn to hell?
    Theo-A-Turbo-Q 35 No, he condemns them to eternal death in hell. The key word being “He.” Not you or I.

    Postponing punishment until Judgment Day is not forgiveness
    It may not be forgiveness in the complete idea of the word (eschatologically), it is however, letting God be Judge (James 4:12), something your view objects. Forgiveness, as I have explained is removing of wrath. We can remove our wrath from someone in our incomplete knowledge of that person's eschatological judgment. We can allow God be judge.

    TurboQ36 Are unbelievers under grace?
    Theo-A-Turbo-Q36 This question needs further definition.

    TurboQ37 Therefore you do not have the authority to forgive Tucker for the murders she committed, right?
    Theo-A-Turbo-Q37 Sure I can. Just not in the eschatological sense. I can forgive her as in letting go of my wrath against her, being merciful as the Lord commanded, and allowing the Lord to Judge her (James 4:12).

    TurboQ38 Do petty thieves deserve to be executed?
    Theo-A-Turbo-Q38 Everyone deserves to be executed. DONT YOU READ MY POSTS? Or maybe I should question your understanding.

    TurboQ39 Do those who hate their neighbor without cause deserve to be executed?
    Theo-A-Turbo-Q39 YES!

    TurboQ40 Why did God command execution for some sins and not others?
    Theo-A-Turbo-Q40 This is an OT matter. It is now obsolete. See Christ. All sin required a sacrifice in order for its atonement. Blood sacrifices for heinous crimes.

    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)
    Theo-A-Turbo-Q41 I will address this in my last post.

    TurboQ42 (reprised 19) : How do you determine which actions should be criminal, and what are the things that should mandate punishment from the government?
    Theo-A-Turbo-Q42 Yawn. We have already been over this. Some countries laws will differ, such as speed limits, or whatever. The Bible is silent on issues such as these. I would generally say laws should find a biblical basis. This is such a huge question that it cannot be properly answered in this debate. Think about it Turbo:

    You are asking me to basically instruct you on EVERY manner of criminal justice. This is absurd and irrelevant to the debate.

    I will remind you of the Topic, Should Christians Support the DP? Not, How does one determine which actions should be criminal and what are things that should mandate punishment from the government? Jeesh. Get back to the topic.

    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?
    Theo-A-Turbo-Q43 First question:The Bible.
    Second question: Of course it has to do with God's commands. But I remind you once again that the Law is obsolete.

    TurboQ18: Should the government imprison all unbeleivers (who are rebellious against God)?
    Theo-A-Turbo-Q18 First of all, unbelievers and those who are rebellious against God cannot be linked together in the manner you are doing. Christians are rebellious against God as well. We all sin! The commandment concerning putting to death those who are rebellious against God does not mean just unbelievers.

    Your question is flawed, skewed, illogical. I refuse to answer it based on these grounds.

    TurboQ44: Is the Old Testament of any value in determining what should be criminal and punishable by the government today?
    Theo-A-Turbo-Q44 Yes.

    TurboQ45 So why do you support imprisonment for some sins, and not others?
    Theo-A-Turbo-Q45 I support sacrifice for all sins (the OT law) but since we have Christ it is not necessary. Be patient. You have not even allowed me to explain my rationale for imprisonment. Jeesh!

    TurboQ46 Is the Gospel a deterrent to those who reject it?
    Theo-A-Turbo-Q46 Paul calls it a stumbling block.

    TurboQ47 Do most people accept or reject the Gospel?
    Theo-A-Turbo-Q47 How should I know?


    Imprisonment in the Bible:

    There are three figures in the Bible that concern imprisonment. I suggested that there is not much evidence for imprisoning others. I, however, did not concede that there is no evidence.

    Turbo stated: “nor have you cited any Scripture in support of imprisonment.” Turbo also stated: “Why didn't God ever command imprisonment for any crime?” Here we witness Turbo’s Socratic Method at work. Theo, you haven’t cited any scripture in support of imprisonment, then obviously there is no support! Untrue.

    Zophar the Naamathite in the book of Job seems to suggest it is just for God to place someone in prison in his stating:

    Job 11:10 "If he [God] comes along and confines you in prison
    and convenes a court, who can oppose him?”

    The Psalmist says:

    Psalms 66:5-14 Come and see what God has done,
    how awesome his works in man's behalf! (6) He turned the sea into dry land,
    they passed through the waters on foot-
    come, let us rejoice in him. (7) He rules forever by his power,
    his eyes watch the nations-
    let not the rebellious rise up against him.
    Selah (8) Praise our God, O peoples,
    let the sound of his praise be heard; (9) he has preserved our lives
    and kept our feet from slipping. (10) For you, O God, tested us;
    you refined us like silver. (11) You brought us into prison
    and laid burdens on our backs


    Furthermore, I could appeal to Joseph and in similar fashion like your “The "Puzzling" Story of Karla Faye Tucker is Easily Solved” and argue from silence. I could argue that since Joseph was made in charge of the prison and God did not speak against him then therefore the Lord is not against imprisonment, however, that is fallacious logic. But, what the heck… if you think your “thief on the cross” response is valid, then so is this.

    I stated a few paragraphs ago that there were three figures. I now turn to the third:

    Jesus saw imprisonment as an adequate punishment!

    Matthew 5:25-26 "Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. (26) I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

    Why would Christ speak of imprisonment (he is even talking contextually about murder) if he thought only the DP to be just?

    The real reason I support imprisonment is that it allows us to correct our misjudgments, can rehabilitate/restore sinners (the discipline God commands), and keep society safe. I advocate that if someone truly repents of their sin, we do not need to even imprison them. Let them go. The issue is, what if they do not repent. As Christians we certainly do not condemn them to death, we try our best to rehabilitate them to become functioning repentant members of society. Of course, an injustice is created by sending someone to prison that is innocent but you cannot compare that with taking the life of someone who is innocent.


    Turbo answers Theo's questions


    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).

    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.
    Theo-A-Turbo-Q13 An elaboration for my response:

    I assert that punishment should be disciplining those who have done wrong. We should help them get on their way in society and become good people. You argue that we should just kill them. What is more noble? Killing or the transforming power of Christ.

    Now, if we know for certain that a person has repented and confessed to God, then we should not have to do anything idealistically. Paul is a good example of this. I have mispoken to some degree when I answered Turbo's Q13. I submit to you that we should forgive and discipline (imprisonment) unless we truly know someone has repented. So, in regards to TQ13, I should have stated no. Sorry about that. But hey! I can admit to my mistakes... Can you Turbo?

    Concluding this round


    I demonstrated why Turbo's pro arguments failed. I submitted the theological argument. and I have responded to Turbo.

    I have one thing left to do, ask whether the DP is wise or not and list my questions.

    I will leave this question to Turbo, actually, I am interested in his response:

    Theo-Q-19 Is the DP wise? If yes, why is the DP wise?

    Theo-Q-20 Is this passage about human diets? Will you admit that this verse does not speak of the DP in the manner you were referring it to be seen in this passage?

    Theo-Q-21 Will you retract your statement that “at the foundation of a Godly criminal justice system” is the DP?

    Theo-Q-22 Does Exodus 21:22-25 make a value statement as a whole on the DP?

    Theo-Q-22When Paul advocates us to do good out of love and essentially obey out of love, are we to fear punishment by the government (See 1 John 4:18)?

    Theo-Q-23Do you believe that Paul wanted us to fear (as in be afraid) of the government despite his appeal to love (which tells us not to fear)?

    Theo-Q-24 Is it reasonable to assume that Paul is telling his audience to pay taxes otherwise the government will kill them?

    Theo-Q-25 (referring to the Flood) Did this stop mankind from sinning? Was this ultimate global DP a deterrence in the end?

    Theo-Q-26 You once stated: “But as for the capital crimes that are based on morality towards my neighbors, I have broken none of those laws.” In response to my question if you ever broke a OT law mandating the DP. Now I ask you simply, have you ever been angry unjustly towards someone? Have you ever lusted after another person?

    Theo-Q-27 Do you know someone who has?

    Theo-Q-28 Do you agree that God’s wrath for all of our sins were appeased in Christ? If yes, why should we give others the DP?

    Theo-Q-29 What does it mean for the OT Law to be Obsolete? What is the difference between the Old Covenant and the New? Does the Law condemn us for our sins?

    Theo-Q-30 Is it fair for us to judge someone for a sin we ourselves have committed?

    Theo-Q-31 Should a Christian support the DP if that means they are to then judge hypocritically (as defined by Turbo), if they are to not show mercy as commanded by the Lord, and if they are to not forgive as the Lord commands?

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    BRXI Round 4B

    Unfinished Business from Round 3.

    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.)
    And here we are.


    In my first round post, under the heading The Death Penalty is a Powerful Deterrent, I stated:

    Quote Originally Posted by Turbo in Round 1
    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).
    Just how likely is it that a murderer will someday be executed in this country?

    Examine these two charts from the US Department of Justice website:



    Just as an example, let's look at the year 1999, when the number of executions reached a 40+ year high:

    Population: About 280,000,000
    Murder rate: About 5 per 100,000
    Total number of murders: 280,000,000 x (5/100,000) = 14,000
    Number of executions: About 100

    (100/14,000) x 100% = 0.7%


    So, not taking into account the several-year lag between a murderer's conviction and his execution, murderers in 1999 can expect to have about 0.7% chance of being eventually executed. (Factoring in this delay would actually make this figure even lower, since the murder rate in 1999 was at its lowest in 20 years.)

    "DP-happy Texas" has a population of about 22,900,000. A murder rate of 6.2 per 100,000 means they had about 1420 murders last year. Texas executed 19 death-row inmates last year.

    Therefore murderers in "DP-happy Texas" only have about a 1.34% chance of ever being executed.


    However, even in its watered-down form, the death penalty has some power to deter crime.

    Look at what happens when you overlay the (inverted) murder rate chart onto the executions chart:



    It fits like a glove! As executions were waning and eventually banned in the 1960s, the murder rate climbed rapidly until it doubled. After the ban was lifted and as the number of executions began to climb, the murder rate was halved.

    So even when murderers only have about a 1% chance of being executed, and even though it will be administered painlessly many years after their conviction, the impact on the crime rate is tremendous! Imagine how low the murder rate could drop if the government started executing every murderer swiftly and painfully.








    Romans 13 (Again)

    Let's look at Romans 13:1-4 yet again, in the context of what comes before and after this passage:
    17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore

    “ If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
    For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

    21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.



    1 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. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 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. 4 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. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.


    Your assertion that Paul was talking about paying taxes from the beginning of Romans 13 is downright silly! Paul didn't even mention taxes until verse 6, and note the word "also" in that verse.

    What are words like vengeance, wrath, and evildoer doing in a passage about tax collection? And what did Paul mean when he said not to avenge ourselves? Was he telling us not to tax other people?


    No, a plain reading of this passage makes clear what Paul is saying: Don't avenge yourselves, God will avenge. The government is God's minister to avenge. Therefore you should willingly pay taxes to support the government, God's minister to you for good.


    You also argue that the authorities carried swords solely for symbolic purposes, that they didn't actually use these swords.

    Your argument can be summed up like this:
    Paul: Authorities do not bear the sword in vain.

    Theo: Yes they do!

    'Nuff said.


    TheoQ22.5: When Paul advocates us to do good out of love and essentially obey out of love, are we to fear punishment by the government (See 1 John 4:18)?

    Turbo A-TheoQ22.5: No. Only evildoers are to fear punishment from the government.

    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 13:3-4

    TheoQ23: Do you believe that Paul wanted us to fear (as in be afraid) of the government despite his appeal to love (which tells us not to fear)?

    Turbo A-TheoQ23: No. See the passage above, especially the underlined portion.

    TheoQ23: Is it reasonable to assume that Paul is telling his audience to pay taxes otherwise the government will kill them?

    Turbo A-TheoQ24:No. It is not reasonable to assume that Paul is talking about taxes at all until he brings up "taxes" in verse 6.


    Nothing New After the Son

    You brought up Christ's forgiveness of the woman caught in adultery and Paul, as though these are examples of how our criminal justice system should operate. I had already explained that only God has the authority to forgive and pardon a criminal. And just because God chooses to pardon a repentant capital criminal, that does not mean that governments are to from that point on forbidden to execute capital criminals; nor does it give governments the option to pardon criminals. God has never delegated such authority to governments. ("Your eye shall not pity..." Deuteronomy 13:8, 19:13, 19:21)

    A thousand years prior to the two examples you gave, God forgave David for committing murder and adultery. Yet in doing so, you acknowledge that God did not negate his commandments that murderers and adulterers be put to death. The same is true of the two New Testament example you cited.


    Theo's Flimsy "Biblical Support" for Imprisonment

    Wow, theo! When you confessed in Round 2 that you "don’t have much Biblical support for [imprisonment]," you weren't kidding! Here's the best you could come up with:

    Zophar the Naamathite in the book of Job seems to suggest it is just for God to place someone in prison in his stating:

    Job 11:10 "If he [God] comes along and confines you in prison
    and convenes a court, who can oppose him?”
    That's a hypothetical question in which God is confining Job to prison. It's hardly a commandment from God for men to imprison criminals as punishment. It's not even an endorsement of imprisonment. It's just a rhetorical, hypothetical question posed by a man about God's power and authority.


    The Psalmist says:

    Psalms 66:5-14 Come and see what God has done,
    how awesome his works in man's behalf! (6) He turned the sea into dry land,
    they passed through the waters on foot-
    come, let us rejoice in him. (7) He rules forever by his power,
    his eyes watch the nations-
    let not the rebellious rise up against him.
    Selah (8) Praise our God, O peoples,
    let the sound of his praise be heard; (9) he has preserved our lives
    and kept our feet from slipping. (10) For you, O God, tested us;
    you refined us like silver. (11) You brought us into prison
    and laid burdens on our backs
    This verse does not contain a typical Hebrew word for prison. Virtually every translation (other than your NIV) renders it as "the net" instead of "prison."

    This looks to me to be a figure of speech alluding to the entire nation of Israel's captivity in Egypt (or similar).

    It's a far cry from a command or endorsement for men to use imprisonment as a means to punish criminals. (It's a poem, for crying out loud!)


    Matthew 5:25-26 "Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. (26) I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

    Why would Christ speak of imprisonment... if he thought only the DP to be just?
    During Christ's earthly ministry, Israel was being occupied by Rome (one of many wicked nations in the Bible that used imprisonment as punishment that I alluded to in Round 1). The threat of imprisonment after being sued in court was a reality of the day. It would be like me saying, Don't drive drunk unless you want to end up in prison. Now, I don't believe imprisonment is a suitable punishment for driving drunk (or any other crime), but the reality is, that's the punishment drunk drivers often receive in our society. My acknowledgment of that fact is not an endorsement of imprisonment as punishment.


    The real reason I support imprisonment is that it allows us to correct our misjudgments, can rehabilitate/restore sinners (the discipline God commands), and keep society safe.
    In other words, it has nothing to do with Scripture. You had to stretch extra-hard to try to make the Bible appear to line up with your ideas.


    Fine, We Can Debate Fines Here

    Theo, in the two passages you brought up to support our government's policy of fining, the fines are paid to the victim of the crime. It is restitution. In Deuteronomy 22:19 for instance, the seducer pays the father a fine because normally a suitor would pay a bride-price to a virgin's father for the privilege of marrying her. Because his daughter has been violated, no suitor will be paying a bride-price for her. Therefore the seducer must pay instead and marry the girl (unless the father objects (Exodus 22:17)).

    In our corrupt system of fining, the fine is paid to the government. Therefore the government generates revenue from crime, which creates a conflict of interest for the government. The government is supposed to work to prevent crime, but when the government uses crime as a source of revenue it stands to lose money by preventing crime.

    Go back and read what I had said about fines in round 2:
    Quote Originally Posted by Turbo in round 2
    (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.

    Oops! You Did It Again!

    TheoQ26: You once stated: “But as for the capital crimes that are based on morality towards my neighbors, I have broken none of those laws.” In response to my question if you ever broke a OT law mandating the DP. Now I ask you simply, have you ever been angry unjustly towards someone? Have you ever lusted after another person? TheoQ27: Do you know someone who has?

    I only ask you this because all of these things mandate the DP in Jesus’ eyes. Not only do they mandate being submitted under judgment but they also condemn you to hell!

    Throughout my round three post, I pointed out the error and hypocrisy in your arguments against the death penalty by turning them around on you and your advocacy of imprisonment.

    I would think that after all that, you would be more diligent to think through your arguments in this round, but apparently not. You are like the dim-witted lab rat who just never catches on that when he presses that lever, he gets shocked every time. Maybe this time I'll get a yummy pellet! BZZZZT!

    TurboQ49: Theo, you advocate imprisonment as punishment for murder. Do you therefore, based on Christ's words, advocate imprisonment for becoming angry at someone without cause?

    BZZZZT!

    Turbo A-TheoQ26-27: Christ was not talking about criminal justice, but about sin. Spiritually, wanting to commit murder or adultery is just as wicked as fully acting upon those desires and indeed such sinful thoughts condemn an unbeliever to hell as easily as any other. For the would-be victims and society as a whole, it is much better when a sure, swift and painful death penalty is in place to better deter people from acting upon such sinful desires.


    Answers to Theo's Questions

    TheoQ19 Is the DP wise? If yes, why is the DP wise?

    Turbo A-TheoQ19
    Swiftly, painfully and consistently administering capital punishment as God commanded:
    • Minimizes capital crimes.
    • Protects would-be victims.
    • Prevents the wicked from becoming criminals.
    • Makes society safer.
    • Helps people to understand that there is a just God.
    • Leads men toward Christ



    Re: Genesis 9
    TheoQ20a: Is this passage about human diets?

    Turbo A-TheoQ20a: Part of it is, as I pointed out in Round 1. In verses 3 and 4 God expanded man's permissible diet to include the meat of animals. Verses 5-6, however, are not about diet. The topic of those verses is so plainly murder and the death penalty.

    You stated, "The verse [Genesis 9:6] never specifies who this “man” is that shall shed the offender’s blood," as if that somehow supports your case. Yet theo, you never got around to explaining what you think "by man shall his blood be shed" was referring to within your cannibalism paradigm.

    TheoQ20b: Will you admit that this verse does not speak of the DP in the manner you were referring it to be seen in this passage?

    Turbo A-TheoQ20b: Of course not. From the plain reading of the text, as well as a compare/contrast with the three pre-flood commandments (as outlined in my first post), it is obviously about murder and capital punishment.

    TheoQ21: Will you retract your statement that “at the foundation of a Godly criminal justice system” is the DP?

    Turbo A-TheoQ20a:No.



    TheoQ22: Does Exodus 21:22-25 make a value statement as a whole on the DP?

    Turbo A-TheoQ22: I don't understand what you are asking.

    TheoQ25: Did [the Flood] stop mankind from sinning? Was this ultimate global DP a deterrence in the end?

    Turbo A-TheoQ25: God's purpose for the Flood, a one-time event which God promised never to repeat, was not to deter mankind from ever sinning again. God was preserving Christ's bloodline from corruption. (That's a topic for another thread.)

    TheoQ28a: Do you agree that God’s wrath for all of our sins were appeased in Christ?

    Turbo A-TheoQ28a:For those of us who believe the Gospel and accept His grace, yes. For those who reject Christ, His grace will not be accounted to them, no. (Have you read Revelation?)

    TheoQ28b: If yes, why should we give others the DP?

    Turbo A-TheoQ28b: (By "we" I assume you mean "the government" or something to that effect, and are not referring to individuals talking vengeance into their own hands.)

    Because God commanded it. Proper criminal justice acts as a deterrent and makes society safer. Freeing criminals who say they are sorry does not. God has not authorized rulers to show mercy to criminals, but rather He warns even Christians (through Paul) should they do evil to beware His wrath administered through governing rulers who do "not bear the sword in vain."

    TheoQ29: What does it mean for the OT Law to be Obsolete? What is the difference between the Old Covenant and the New? Does the Law condemn us for our sins?

    Turbo A-TheoQ29: Believers according to Paul's gospel are not under the Law, they are under grace. Unbelievers are not under grace, they are condemned by the Law. Works of the Law no longer play a part in a believer's salvation.

    TheoQ30: Is it fair for us to judge someone for a sin we ourselves have committed?

    Turbo A-TheoQ30: If we have repented of that sin, yes.
    You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. Matthew 7:5

    To remove the plank from your own eye is to repent of the sin for which you want to judge your brother. Once that is done, an individual is qualified to judge another for that sin, able to "see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

    TheoQ31: Should a Christian support the DP if that means they are to then judge hypocritically (as defined by Turbo), if they are to not show mercy as commanded by the Lord, and if they are to not forgive as the Lord commands?

    Turbo A-TheoQ31: This question makes no sense because I don't agree with your "if" statements. The Lord has not commanded governments to show mercy to criminals, and I've gone over the forgiveness issue in depth. And you agree that the government should judge criminals and punish them, you just prefer different forms of punishments.







    Seventy Times Seven?

    After some confusion in round 3 (see Theo A-TurboQ13), you reaffirmed your belief that the government should set free fellow believers who confess guilt and ask sincerely for forgiveness, arguing (as your professor did) that since God "remembers [their sin] no more," that the government should do likewise:

    I advocate that if someone truly repents of their sin, we do not need to even imprison them. Let them go.
    theo_victis,
    Suppose you are a judge overseeing a trial. Forget about juries and precedents and anything that has to do with our current court system; in this scenario, you alone decide the suspect's fate. There is overwhelming evidence that the suspect brutally raped and murdered a 10-year-old girl whom he had kidnapped while she was playing outside. During the trial, he confesses to the crime, and also confesses that he has since accepted that Jesus is Lord and that his sins are forgiven. He gives you no cause to doubt his sincerity.

    TurboQ50: Do you therefore completely forgive him as God has forgiven him and set him free?

    If so, suppose that the next day he is back in your courtroom. The previous afternoon, just hours after you released him, he kidnapped another little girl, raped her, and murdered her. But he still confesses Christ. He explains that God is still working with him, and that he's very sorry for what he did. He explains that he recommitted his life to the Lord that very morning, and he reminds you that Christ's death has paid for all of his sins.

    TurboQ51: Do you forgive him and release him a second time?

    He is back a third time. And a fourth. And a fifth. And a sixth.

    TurboQ52: How many times do you forgive him and release him?

    Christ said that we should forgive our brother "seventy times seven" times (Matthew 18:22). That would make for quite a body count at the hand of your "forgiving" judicial system:



    I wonder: Do you take Christ's "seventy times seven" maximum literally, or do you consider it a figure of speech meaning there is no limit to how many times you should forgive and release a serial child rapist/murderer?

    How many children would have to be tortured and killed before you and your professor would no longer find this rapist/murderer to be fit to babysit and teach Sunday School?


    Take a good look at that image, theo. That is the end result of your position. That should also be the end of your position. The only way for you to come out of this debate a winner is by conceding in Round 5, and by repenting of your opposition to God's wise commands regarding criminal justice.

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    DING DING DING, that's it for round number 4.

    Theo will have 72 hours from 11:12 AM (MDT) to make his final post.

    Therefore Theo's next post is due no later than 11:12 AM (MDT) on Tuesday October 3rd.

    NOTE: Both Theo and Turbo had obligations this weekend so we added an extra 24 hours to Theo's deadline for his final post.

    You can discuss the Battle in the Battle Talk thread.

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  6. #21
    Journeyman theo_victis's Avatar
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    Thumbs up BR Round 5a

    First of all, I would like to thank all of you for your patience and participation during this debate. I sincerely enjoyed this debate and found iron-sharpening-iron. I thank Knight for putting this on, Turbo for being a worthy opponent, and you, TOL, for your eyes and hearts.


    The Grand Finale:


    I have saved my final question for last:

    Should Christians support the DP?

    I will answer this after a few concluding remarks:

    The Problem with Turbo’s view:

    Never answered the question at hand

    In Turbo’s opening post, he never introduced the topic at hand, nor laid out a plan of action, nor did he even answer the question for this debate: “Should Christians Support the DP?” He has, however, worked real hard answering questions like “Should the Government have a role in the DP?” and “Are fines and prisons mentioned in the Bible?” This has nothing to do with our task for this debate. Even if governments are given the authority by to execute others, it does not mandate that God desires for us to support their death, especially since there is overwhelming NT support for Christians not to support the DP. Should Christians go out and hunt down their neighbor and have the government put them to death? Or should Christians preach the gospel message to them? By default, unless Turbo turns it around in his next post, he loses for not even answering the question in a clear fashion!!!! In his first post, he fails to even mention it!

    This debate, however, is not about technicalities. This debate is not about if I win or Turbo wins, or who gets the most votes, it is about whether or not Christians should support the DP. Which they certainly should not support!


    Turbo’s Idealism

    His view was idealistic. Turbo wants the DP to be administered quickly, painfully and all the time. This whole view on the DP is not realistic. Instead of proper trials and appeals process Turbo calls for bringing to death as soon as possible. Way to care about innocence! Instead of caring about the guilty party’s life at all, Turbo wants it to be painfully as possible (which could essentially have no limits). Instead of accounting for the mercy that God has shown on actual sinners deserving the DP (Cain, Lamech, Ninevah, Moses, David, Adulteress women, and Paul) Turbo advocates that we kill them all, ignoring the NT command to forgive (Col 3:13) and to be merciful (Luke 6:36).

    Mat 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

    Ignoring Hebrews 8

    Had I not made it clear in the fourth round that the gigantic list of OT laws that condemn us all is obsolete in Christ? Let me repost the verse that indicates so:

    Heb 8:12 For I will forgive their wickedness
    and will remember their sins no more."
    Heb 8:13 By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.

    Forgiveness ignored

    God commanded us to forgive as he does. God commanded us to be merciful. This is the NT ethic of love. This is what the Apostle Paul received even though he brutally persecuted and imprisoned the early church. He even oversaw and gave approval of Stephen’s death but that did not stop the early church to welcome in a new believer, forgiven and transformed by God’s grace.
    Question for Turbo: Was Paul deserving death for his participation and involvement in the false death of Stephen and the persecution of the early church leading certainly to the death of many early Christians?


    Revisiting Karla Faye Tucker

    Karla Faye Tucker was no different. She, like Paul, received the Lord’s grace but unlike Paul, she was not shown mercy and was executed. Karla Faye Tucker was a Christian, a Christian that when executed, a crowd of other “Christians” cheered on, waving indecent posters and banisters.

    Did the early church do this to Paul? Shouldn’t they have done the right thing and turned Paul in, having Paul willingly give up his own life? Shouldn’t they have at least tried to avenge Stephen’s martyrdom?

    Read this passage:

    Acts 9:23-24 After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him [Paul], (24) but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him.

    Saul, now a Christian preaching Christ, knew they were trying to kill him. Did Paul not realize what he had done to the saints? Shouldn’t he have turned himself in and died?

    What did the early church do? They accepted him after testing him. And shouldn’t Jesus have picked up the largest stone he could find and cast it upon the woman caught in adultery? Did Jesus sin when he forgot to follow the absolute DP?

    I think Turbo, you should address this fully and come up with some explanation for why the early church didn’t turn in Paul or why Jesus didn’t cast the largest stone! Why did Karla Faye Tucker have to die if Paul and the woman didn’t?!? Was she not forgiven by God? How do we know either way?

    See here, it is NOT the Kill them all philosophy at work but the Forgive them all philosophy.

    Where was Jesus’ stone? Where was it? Was Jesus chicken? A liberal sissy?

    Taking James 2 Seriously

    James 2 tells us something remarkable. Someone in the Battle Royale challenged me to tell me where God puts an end to the DP. If you need a clearer passage than this, then you have problems:

    James 2:10-13 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. (11) For he who said, "Do not commit adultery,"[2] also said, "Do not murder."[3] If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. (12) Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, (13) because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!

    We are all lawbreakers. We all deserve the DP. When we break one point of the Law, we are as guilty as Hitler, Stalin, Osama, and any other list of bad guys. We are to speak and act as those who are going to be shown mercy. How is giving the DP a merciful act?

    When someone commits adultery, we are to show mercy and not put them to death as Turbo wants. When someone murders we are to show mercy and not put them to death as Turbo desires. Don’t crave any blood but the blood of Christ that has been shed for our sins.

    Taking Joseph’s example

    We have talked a lot about man’s judgment in relation to God’s. We have witnessed that at the fall man judged for himself for the first time and has continued to do so up until today. Let’s, however, consider Joseph’s example of forgiveness in the book of Genesis:

    Joseph was tormented, brutalized, and left for dead by his brothers for no good reason. When Joseph had not died, his brothers forced him into slavery(37:27). Joseph was then wrongly put into prison in Egypt(39:20). Joseph, being faithful to the Lord, became Pharaoh’s right hand man and gained an abundant amount of authority (45:9). During a particular drought that came over the land, Joseph’s brothers went to Egypt in order to get food. After Joseph saw his brothers beg for food, Joseph decided to confront them about what happened:

    Genesis 50:15-21 When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?" (16) So they sent word to Joseph, saying, "Your father left these instructions before he died: (17) 'This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.' Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father." When their message came to him, Joseph wept. (18) His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. "We are your slaves," they said. (19) But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? (20) You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. (21) So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

    I know what you are thinking: What a wicked man Joseph is for not killing them when he had the chance!?! Oh, wait. You weren’t thinking that. You were thinking, how great and merciful for Joseph to forgive them. Joseph denies his place as God (even though Pharaoh was considered divine and Joseph was his right hand man, making him closer in Egyptian authority to God then anyone else). Joseph forgives his debtors.

    In a state of democracy where we the people run the government, why not forgive as Joseph has?! Why not show mercy as we are commanded in the NT?

    Let’s take the example of the early church, Jesus, and Joseph, whom all forgave.


    Should Christians Support the DP?

    The answer is obviously no. It is very easy to see that the NT teaches us to forgive and to have mercy. How can we support something that is contrary to forgiveness and mercy?

    We shouldn’t support the DP because:

    It does not deter crime
    It does not justify the crime (only Christ’s death can fully do this)
    It does not allow the murderer to come to repentance (especially if we do this swiftly)
    Man will never judge without error (the DP cannot be overturned once carried out)
    There may be a sociological bias
    We are all guilty and deserving of the Death Penalty (everyone one of us!)
    God has fulfilled and made the OT obsolete in Christ
    God has commanded us not to judge hypocritically
    God has commanded us not to condemn anyone
    God commands us to be forgiving
    God commands us to be merciful
    God commands us to act and speak as those being judged under mercy and freedom
    God died on the cross for our sins so we do not have to
    God is to be Judge
    God did not always exercise the DP
    God is love


    It is that clear. Axiomatic!

    Responding to Turbo:

    Deterrence!?! Revisited for the millionth time

    We have already visited this portion of the debate a few times. Let’s review the AV’s position:

    Statistics indicate that states with the DP have an average homicide rater per 100,000 people higher then states that do not.

    In fact, despite Turbo’s fitting together graphs, he failed to properly interpret and account for all of the facts about deterrence. While it is true that one does not run a high risk to receive the DP, it is obvious, however, that the DP does not deter crime.

    In 2003, the South had the highest murder rate in the country, and that continued in 2004 even as the South carried out 85% of the nation's executions. The Northeast, which had no executions in 2004, had the lowest murder rate in 2003 and that position remained the same in 2004. (See FBI Press Release, "Preliminary Crime Statistics for 2004," June 6, 2005. Execution data from DPIC).

    As we can draw from this, not every state executes and the ones that do, have a higher murder rate.

    What Turbo’s analysis fails to inform you is that after 1976, when the DP was reinstated, not all States had the DP. In fact, homicides increased in the South, which was producing the most executions. Furthermore, taking the United States as a whole in homicide rates does not tell the whole story.

    Take a 1995 study on California for instance:

    The average annual increase in homicides was twice as high during years in which the DP was carried out than in years during which no one was executed. The study compared the homicide rates during 1952-1967, when an execution occurred on an average of every two months, with the homicides rates between 1968-1991, a period where no executions occurred. The study found that homicide rates where annually increasing by 10% when California was executing criminals consistently. This declined to an increase of 4.8% when California rescinded the DP. (Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, How have Homicide Rates Been Affected By California’s Death Penalty, April 1995, p. 2-3)

    Even America’s weak DP does not deter as well as countries without the DP:

    Data released by the British Home Office reveals that the United States, which retains the death penalty, has a murder rate that is more than three times that of many of its European allies that have banned capital punishment. (New York Times, May 11, 2002).

    Of the countries listed from 1997-1999:

    US: 6.8 per 100,000
    Sweeden: 1.94
    Netherlands: 1.66
    France: 1.63
    Italy: 1.56
    Britain: 1.45
    Germany: 1.28

    Where is this deterrent? Certainly if Turbo is correct these governments over a two year period should see murder rates sky rocket because they do not have the DP!!!!

    The Bottom Line

    The Flood did not deter crime. Sodom and Gomorrah did not deter sin. The exile of God’s people to Assyria did not deter crime nor sin. God’s exile of the Israelites to the Babylonians did not deter sin. Christ’s death did not deter sin (but sure gave us victory over it). When has death deterred sin? Man will always sin until the last days when God completely obliterates the Law, Satan, and those who do his work. Then God will sanctify us and sin will be revoked. The DP does not deter crime.

    Romans 13

    You are skirting the issue. Bearing the sword is a metaphor (a very common one in fact). Paul is saying the Romans have the right to authority.

    Your assertion that Paul was talking about paying taxes from the beginning of Romans 13 is downright silly! Paul didn't even mention taxes until verse 6, and note the word "also" in that verse.
    Calling it silly does not make my argument false. I have one question for you, is Paul not capable of a complete thought? Historically, contextually, grammatically, all of this argumentation for obedience out of love.

    No, a plain reading of this passage makes clear what Paul is saying: Don't avenge yourselves, God will avenge. The government is God's minister to avenge. Therefore you should willingly pay taxes to support the government, God's minister to you for good.
    So Paul’s argument about love at the end of chapter 13 was tacked on for sentimental value or something!?!?!!!! C’mon, we know that fear is contrary to love and Paul is arguing for love and obedience from good conscience.

    Paul: Authorities do not bear the sword in vain.

    Theo: Yes they do!
    Where are you getting that? Clearly not from my posts!

    A thousand years prior to the two examples you gave, God forgave David for committing murder and adultery. Yet in doing so, you acknowledge that God did not negate his commandments that murderers and adulterers be put to death. The same is true of the two New Testament example you cited.
    But now God has negated his commands (Hebrews 8 and James 2) because of his son. I have to ask you this, Why did King David, an instrument of God’s wrath, not have himself be executed? Or was forgiveness an alternative?

    During Christ's earthly ministry, Israel was being occupied by Rome (one of many wicked nations in the Bible that used imprisonment as punishment that I alluded to in Round 1). The threat of imprisonment after being sued in court was a reality of the day. It would be like me saying, Don't drive drunk unless you want to end up in prison. Now, I don't believe imprisonment is a suitable punishment for driving drunk (or any other crime), but the reality is, that's the punishment drunk drivers often receive in our society. My acknowledgment of that fact is not an endorsement of imprisonment as punishment.
    Ok.. if you can make weak arguments like this than surely this similar argument should fly as well:

    During Paul’s earthly ministry, Rome owned the world (one of many wicked nations in the Bible that used the Death Penalty as condemnation). The threat of the Death Penalty was a reality of the day. It would be like me saying, Don’t commit adultery unless you want to end up executed. Now, I don’t believe the DP is a suitable punishment for adultery, but the reality is, that’s the punishment adulterers should receive. My acknowledgement of that fact is not an endorsement of the DP as condemnation.

    Anybody else struggle to find anything logical at all with this argument. It is unintelligible to me. In all sincerity, I think you might have been sleepy or something or switched your train of thought because this is all a bunch of scrambled thoughts not relating to one another.

    This doesn’t refute Christ’s speaking about prisons. Notice Christ does more speaking about prisons then giving people the DP for their sins (in fact, he stopped someone from receiving the deserved DP).

    Fine, We Can Debate Fines Here
    This was irrelevant. But, I think it was sorta interesting. I agree with your point that fines should not necessarily benefit the government the way the US is doing so. However, like I said, nothing to do with the debate.

    You are like the dim-witted lab rat who just never catches on that when he presses that lever, he gets shocked every time.
    You know what? These ad hominems are really unnecessary. Why do this? Immature…grow up.

    TurboQ49: Theo, you advocate imprisonment as punishment for murder. Do you therefore, based on Christ's words, advocate imprisonment for becoming angry at someone without cause?
    We cannot judge whether or not someone was angry without cause. I do not know the hearts of men. But I would advocate forgiveness and mercy before condemnation and judgment for someone who was guilty of this.

    BZZZZT!
    What is this? I cannot see how this makes you look like an intelligent debater. Whatever!

    Christ was not talking about criminal justice, but about sin. Spiritually, wanting to commit murder or adultery is just as wicked as fully acting upon those desires and indeed such sinful thoughts condemn an unbeliever to hell as easily as any other. For the would-be victims and society as a whole, it is much better when a sure, swift and painful death penalty is in place to better deter people from acting upon such sinful desires.
    So… apparently if one plots a murder or adultery, or really anything horrific, we cannot bring justice until they have committed the crime? That is at least, your logic played out.

    I don’t think you understand what Christ is saying. You are guilty of murder (not spiritual murder or something else you might make up)!!!! MURDER! If you are unjustly angry in your own heart, it is just as bad as murder. Is murder a sin Turbo? Of course it is. So, is it only then a spiritual debt that condemns us to hell? NO! We deserve the DP if we are angry without cause with our brother JUST AS MUCH as someone who actually murders.


    TurboQ50: Do you therefore completely forgive him as God has forgiven him and set him free?

    If so, suppose that the next day he is back in your courtroom. The previous afternoon, just hours after you released him, he kidnapped another little girl, raped her, and murdered her. But he still confesses Christ. He explains that God is still working with him, and that he's very sorry for what he did. He explains that he recommitted his life to the Lord that very morning, and he reminds you that Christ's death has paid for all of his sins.

    TurboQ51: Do you forgive him and release him a second time?

    He is back a third time. And a fourth. And a fifth. And a sixth.

    TurboQ52: How many times do you forgive him and release him?

    Christ said that we should forgive our brother "seventy times seven" times (Matthew 18:22). That would make for quite a body count at the hand of your "forgiving" judicial system:
    I am going to answer these questions all together. I have stated plainly before that we should show forgiveness and mercy. That is a correct assertion. However, this is exactly why I have been advocating corrective, disciplinary imprisonments that help restore a criminal back into society. I recall stating this:

    “Now, if we know for certain that a person has repented and confessed to God, then we should not have to do anything idealistically.”

    Note the word “idealistically.” I then went on to explain:

    “I advocate that if someone truly repents of their sin, we do not need to even imprison them. Let them go. The issue is, what if they do not repent. As Christians we certainly do not condemn them to death, we try our best to rehabilitate them to become functioning repentant members of society. Of course, an injustice is created by sending someone to prison that is innocent but you cannot compare that with taking the life of someone who is innocent.”

    Now that you clearly see that this situation has already been handled, I merely ask, why are you asking these hypothetical questions?

    TurboQ50: Do you therefore completely forgive him as God has forgiven him and set him free?
    Theo-A-TQ50: See, this depends on the crime. An adulterer is not necessarily going to kill everyone they know when we let them go. Either is a disobedient, rebellious child. We forgive and correct, mend, restore. Just as the early church did so with Paul, the tested to see if he was legit. Acts 9:26-31. We have to rely on the Holy Spirit to indicate whether a believer is true. We cannot let loose cannons who are going to kill back into society but we can try our best to reform them. This is not punishment. Who can call giving them mercy by not killing them unforgiving? We need to help people. If they like Paul prove to be pure, then let them go. Becoming a Christian means you are a new creation, a radical transformation occurs and Christians generally should not repeat murders. If someone is a psyscho path murderer or a repeat adulterer, we offer the man with psychological issues psychological help.

    You are taking what I said way out of context. You bashed my understanding of imprisonment, then try to force me to use something I already beleive in. What logic is this? You have yet to prove that prisons are ungodly. Especially since my model of imprisonment does not equal what our prisons look like today.

    Take a good look at that image, theo. That is the end result of your position. That should also be the end of your position. The only way for you to come out of this debate a winner is by conceding in Round 5, and by repenting of your opposition to God's wise commands regarding criminal justice.
    Emotional appeal. Puh-lease.

    You should really post an image showing 7 billion graves because all of humanity deserves the DP.

    I wonder: Do you take Christ's "seventy times seven" maximum literally, or do you consider it a figure of speech meaning there is no limit to how many times you should forgive and release a serial child rapist/murderer?
    Figure of speech.


    Conclusion:

    I presented the three arguments, sociological, judicial and theological, asked and answered four important questions, and responded to Turbo. I beleive to the fullest of my knowledge that I have answered everyone of Turbo's questions. I have demonstrated that supporting the DP is against NT Christian ethics and God's NT commands. Christians should not support the DP.

    Questions for Turbo:

    Theo-Q-31: Was Paul deserving death for his participation and involvement in the false death of Stephen and the persecution of the early church leading certainly to the death of many early Christians?

    Theo-Q-32: Will you refrain from name calling? It does not help this debate! I apologize if I did any myself.

    Theo-Q-33: Does prisons and other alternate punishments really have anything to do with whether Christians should support the DP?

  7. #22
    ...then I woke up. Knight's Avatar
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    Turbo is on the clock, he has until Thursday October 5th 9:34AM (MDT) to make his fifth and final post.
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  8. #23
    Friendly Neighborhood Admin Turbo's Avatar
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    BRXI Round 5B

    Answering Theo's final questions

    Theo-Q-31: Was Paul deserving death for his participation and involvement in the false death of Stephen and the persecution of the early church leading certainly to the death of many early Christians?

    Turbo A-TheoQ31: Yes, but God pardoned him, just as He did for David a thousand years earlier.

    In forgiving David and allowing him to live, God did not repeal the death penalty, nor did He grant governing rulers the authority to pardon criminals. (Even you agree that God's forgiving David did not mark the end of God's command to execute capital criminals.)

    God's forgiveness of Paul was no different, as evidenced by Paul's own support of the death penalty (Acts 25:11, Romans 13:1-4)

    God alone has the authority to pardon capital criminals. He has not delegated that authority to men.

    Theo-Q-32: Will you refrain from name calling?

    Turbo A-TheoQ32: No. There are times when name-calling is appropriate. Even Jesus engaged in name-calling. We can discuss this elsewhere sometime if you like.

    I apologize if I did any myself.
    Unless you like your apologies to come across as insincere, avoid using the word if in them. Did you call me names or didn't you?

    Theo-Q-33: Does prisons and other alternate punishments really have anything to do with whether Christians should support the DP?

    Turbo A-TheoQ33: Absolutely! You base your opposition to the death penalty on an appeal to "forgive them all and let God sort them out" and a call to "remember... no more" the sins of criminals. Yet you do not truly advocate forgiving and forgetting; you want murderers and other criminals to be imprisoned (a form of punishment that God never authorized).

    This is but one of many examples of arguments you have used against the death penalty that could just as easily be used against imprisonment or any other form of punishment. I have been using your support of imprisonment to highlight the inconsistencies and double-mindedness within your view.





    What about Joseph?

    This wasn't so much an argument against the death penalty as a whole, but it was an argument that governing authorities have a God-given prerogative to pardon criminals. Theo, I believe this was your best argument in all of Battle Royale XI, and it is one that I had never heard.


    The most important thing to realize is that at the time the story of Joseph took place, the only crime for which God had authorized the death penalty was murder (Genesis 9:6). And while Joseph's brothers had plotted to murder him, they decided instead to sell their kidnapped brother to the Ishmaelites. But God had not commanded execution for kidnappers until the time of Moses (Exodus 21:16).

    Also, in this particular case, the judge happened to be the crime victim. But that is a highly unusual circumstance. Normally a judge is not the person who the crime was committed against, and therefore the judge does not have the authority to forgive the criminal (If your brother sins against you... Luke 17:3).

    But even when the victim does forgive the criminal on a personal level, that does not mean the criminal shouldn't be prosecuted. If for instance a rape victim forgives her attacker, the rapist should still be put to death because he sinned against his whole community, making it a more dangerous place to live.

    But in this case, Joseph's authority was over Egypt. The crime did not take place in Egypt, the victim was not Egyptian, the perpetrators were not Egyptian, and Joseph was not sold to Egyptians. The crime did not impact Egypt in any way; it occurred outside of Joseph's jurisdiction.


    (Note that Joseph did not forgive his brothers and then imprison them.)






    Battle Royale XI Highlights

    Theo presented the case of Karla Faye Tucker, a murderer who claimed to be forgiven by God and pled to be spared the death penalty. I pointed out that a repentant capital criminal should willingly accept the death penalty, and I pointed to the repentant criminal executed alongside Christ, who called his execution just (Luke 23:41). Also, while on trial Paul stated, "if I am an offender, or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying" (Acts 25:11). Paul also instructed fellow Christians that the government is "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).


    Things really fell apart for theo when he answered my Round 1 question:
    TurboQ4: Should governing authorities punish criminals at all?

    Theo-A-TurbosQ4: Of course!
    That answer was the beginning of the end for theo, for it undermined nearly every argument theo made against the death penalty. Theo immediately went on to say, "Forgiveness, however, is a serious concept not to be ignored." Indeed! Theo argues that we should not execute criminals, but rather forgive them and "remember... no more" their sins, this is incompatible with his recommendation to imprison criminals.


    Theo offered many statistics in which a region with no death penalty at all had a slightly lower murder rate than another region which painlessly executes murderers many years after their conviction about 1% of the time. He hoped this would prove that the death penalty does not deter crime. Conspicuously missing from theo's stats is Singapore, which is known to consistently execute capital criminals such as murderers, and is also known to have one of the lowest murder rates of any major city (see table 2). Though Singapore has a population density comparable to major US cities, its murder rate is less that 10% of that of Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta, or Philadelphia.

    From Round 1 I had been stating that the death penalty as we know it in America has no teeth, being neither sure, swift, or painful. But in Round 4 I presented historical data from the past half century in the U.S. showing that despite our weakened death penalty, the murder rate increases when executions decrease, and vice versa. I also presented many Scriptural passages in which God assures that a swift, painful, and certain death to a criminal will deter those who remain from committing a similar crime.


    Summary of Refutations to Theo's arguments

    It does not deter crime

    I pointed out in Round 1 that America's death penalty is a weak deterrent because it is not carried out swiftly, painfully, or consistently. America's murderers have a less-than-1% percent chance of eventually being put to death, painlessly. However in spite of this, statistics from the past half-century show that when the number of executions decreases, the murder rate increases and vice versa.


    It does not justify the crime (only Christ’s death can fully do this)

    No argument here. I never claimed that being executed justifies a capital crime. I said that capital crimes, execution is just.


    It does not allow the murderer to come to repentance (especially if we do this swiftly)

    Actually, when someone knows he is about to die he is more likely to consider the condition of his soul than at any other time. A criminal dying of natural causes after being locked in a cage for 50 years had often just become increasingly hardened toward God and his fellow man in that time. I do not discount that some criminals become saved in prison. But a capital criminal who has just been found guilty and knows he will soon be executed may spend more time in that day considering the condition of his soul than the average "lifer" spends in his lifetime. Remember that one of the two criminals executed with Christ repented.


    Man will never judge without error (the DP cannot be overturned once carried out)

    God knew this, yet He commanded that capital criminals be put to death based on two or three strong pieces of evidence.

    The time an innocent person spends in prison cannot be given back either, and you agreed that some innocent people spend the remainder of their lives in prison based on wrongful convictions.


    There may be a sociological bias

    The bias in our ungodly system is irrelevant to whether Christians should support that every capital criminal be put to death swiftly and painfully.

    Theo's statistics revealed that blacks who murder blacks are less likely to be executed than whites who murder whites. I pointed out that blacks are extremely over-represented as murderers and murder victims. This is all the more reason to execute every murderer, as God commanded. Eliminating the death penalty is not the answer, it is a move farther away from God's will.


    We are all guilty and deserving of the Death Penalty (everyone one of us!)

    Theo blurs the distinction between spiritual and physical death. God has not commanded the death penalty for every crime, let alone every sin. Christ's death will not prevent any of us from dying physically.

    I explained the distinction between physical and spiritual death in my Round 2 post under the heading There's Death, and Then There's Death. I pointed out that in 1 John 5:16-17, John mentioned that "there is sin leading to death" and "there is sin not leading to death." Theo promised to give an example of each in Round 5, as well as clarify his position regarding physical and spiritual death, but he did neither.

    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?

    Theo non-answer I am saving this for my final round.

    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)

    Theo non-answer I will address this in my last post.

    God has fulfilled and made the OT obsolete in Christ

    Yet theo still thinks that criminals should be punished by the government and that what is considered criminal should be based on the Bible.


    God has commanded us not to judge hypocritically

    This means that we should not judge others for the same sins that we ourselves commit (unless we've repented of thos sins). Of course a murderer is unqualified to be a judge.

    Theo thinks it means that if we are guilty of any sin whatsoever that we are not qualified to judge another of any sin. This renders meaningless Christ's commands to judge.

    What's more, theo still wants governing judges to find criminals guilty and punish them.


    God has commanded us not to condemn anyone

    Theo confuses condemning to hell with "condemning to death." In the Battle Talk thread, I pointed out that people also commonly use the phrase, "condemn to life in prison," which theo eventually conceded.

    The context of Luke 6:37 is the same as that of Matthew 7:1. Christ is speaking out against hypocrisy. Those who reject Christ are condemned (to hell) already (John 3:18)

    God commands us to be forgiving

    …to those who sin against us and are repentant (Luke 17:3). This is not applicable to criminal justice; a judge cannot forgive a criminal who has sinned against another directly and against all of society indirectly. Although God has pardoned a handful of criminals throughout history, God never authorized governments to forgive criminals.

    Even theo agrees that while God forgave David, the death penalty was not done away with at that time.

    Theo says that we should forgive and "remember... no more" the sins of criminals, yet he wants criminals to be imprisoned. His is a funny sort of forgiveness.


    God commands us to be merciful

    Your brand of mercy profanes God.
    And will you profane Me... killing people who should not die, and keeping people alive who should not live...? Ezekiel 13:19

    Regarding criminals deserving of death, God commands, "Your eye shall not pity..." (Deuteronomy 13:8, 19:13, 19:21.)

    The reality is, for our fallen world the death penalty is actually merciful! It is merciful to the victims both living and dead who will not have to watch criminals escape justice (and even pay for their care). Others in society are spared from even becoming victims, and the wicked are restrained from becoming criminals. The death penalty is even merciful to capital criminals, who will not be given the opportunity to compound their sin. And repentant criminals who turn to the Lord and are forgiven will be united with Him rather than first spending decades in a man-made hell.


    God commands us to act and speak as those being judged under mercy and freedom

    Yet you do not advocate that we should generally grant freedom to murderers, do you?

    This statement of yours does not have any bearing on whether or not God wants certain criminals to be executed.


    God died on the cross for our sins so we do not have to

    That is about spiritual death, not physical death. We are all going to die a physical death whether we are saved by Christ's blood or not. You are distorting the Gospel; Christ did not die to lighten capital criminals' sentences to imprisonment. He died to provide a way for sinners to be saved from being eternally separated from God.


    God is to be Judge

    God has appointed humans to judge criminals and generally commands Christians to "judge rightly" as well.

    You likewise want governing rulers to judge and punish criminals.


    God did not always exercise the DP

    So what? God alone has the authority to pardon a criminal; He has never delegated that authority to governing rulers.


    God is love

    God commanded that Israel execute certain types of criminals. Even theo agrees with that. Was God was unloving when He commanded Israel to execute certain criminals?

    No, it is out of love that God commanded that certain criminals be put to death surely, swiftly, and painfully. For doing so prevents epidemic crime (Ecclesiastes 8:11).



    Theo's Inconsistencies

    Theo says we should forgive all criminals and "remember their sins no more," yet he wants criminals to be imprisoned. How can you punish someone for something you've not only forgiven, but forgotten?

    He claims that we should forgive unconditionally because we cannot know for certain whether someone has repented, that we ought to assume everyone is repentant (despite Christ's instructions in Luke 17:3 and Matthew 18:15-17).

    Quote Originally Posted by theo_victis in Round 3
    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.
    But this universal forgiveness and assumed repentance does not spare criminals (or wrongly convicted innocents) from prison. He wants criminals to be released only if we are really, really sure they are truly repentant:

    Quote Originally Posted by theo_victis in Round 5
    We cannot let loose cannons who are going to kill back into society but we can try our best to reform them. This is not punishment. Who can call giving them mercy by not killing them unforgiving? We need to help people. If they like Paul prove to be pure, then let them go. Becoming a Christian means you are a new creation, a radical transformation occurs and Christians generally should not repeat murders. If someone is a psyscho path murderer or a repeat adulterer, we offer the man with psychological issues psychological help.
    So much for forgiving criminals "seventy times seven" times.


    Throughout this debate, theo has said that we should "punish" criminals by imprisoning them. But in the above quote, suddenly imprisonment is no longer punishment. Then, just a few paragraphs later, theo goes back to calling imprisonment punishment:

    Theo-Q-33: Does prisons and other alternate punishments really have anything to do with whether Christians should support the DP?
    Theo says he rejects the death penalty because the Old Testament laws are obsolete, yet he agrees that our laws should be based on Old Testament laws. (Though he utterly refused to outline any principles as to which laws should be enforced today and which should not, which I had done in Round 2.)

    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?

    Theo-A-Turbo-Q43: First question:The Bible.
    Second question: Of course it has to do with God's commands. But I remind you once again that the Law is obsolete.


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

    Theo-A-Turbo-Q44: Yes.
    So if theo thinks murder, rape, and kidnapping should be criminal based on God's commandments, why would he reject the penalty that God prescribed for those crimes? Why would you say that none of the OT laws should apply today, yet cite these very laws as the basis for what should be considered criminal?


    Theo, these are just a few of the many glaring contradictions found in your posts. You often accused me of twisting your arguments throughout this debate. But in reality you twisted his own arguments; all I did was bring that to light. You contradicted yourself at nearly every turn. If I could sum up your argumentation in this debate pictorially, it would look like this:






    More Unanswered Questions.

    I believe to the fullest of my knowledge that I have answered everyone of Turbo's questions.
    Oh really? In addition to those I've already mentioned (TurboQ30, 31, and 41), these questions went unanswered in this debate:


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

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

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

    Theo non-answer: Wha?!?! This has nothing to do with this debate.

    I explained:
    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?
    And theo still refused to answer:
    Theo non-answer: First of all, unbelievers and those who are rebellious against God cannot be linked together in the manner you are doing. Christians are rebellious against God as well. We all sin! The commandment concerning putting to death those who are rebellious against God does not mean just unbelievers.

    Your question is flawed, skewed, illogical. I refuse to answer it based on these grounds.

    Does theo really think that this Old Testament law he referred to, which God gave to Israel to actually enforce, calls for the death penalty for all sinners?

    The point of these questions was to demonstrate theo's double standard. He argued that since I believe some Old Testament laws that were punishable by death should be enforced today, that I should advocate that all of them should, including working on Saturday. I outlined why some laws are applicable today and some aren't. Then I turned the tables on theo. He supports imprisonment as punishment for murder and rape, so according to his argument he should likewise support imprisonment for breaking the Sabbath.

    He opposes the death penalty, but he still thinks that certain OT crimes should be enforced today while others should not. However he was utterly unwilling (or unable) to outline any sort of principles guiding which Biblical laws should be enforced today:


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

    Theo 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.


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

    Theo non-answer: Yawn. We have already been over this. Some countries laws will differ, such as speed limits, or whatever. The Bible is silent on issues such as these. I would generally say laws should find a biblical basis. This is such a huge question that it cannot be properly answered in this debate. Think about it Turbo:

    You are asking me to basically instruct you on EVERY manner of criminal justice. This is absurd and irrelevant to the debate.

    He claimed that it was "such a huge question that it cannot be properly answered in this debate," but I answered it in Round 2 in the section Rightly Dividing.

    But there were hints that theo does not know how to rightly divide. He admitted that he goes "back and forth" on whether it is "sinful for people living today to mow their lawns on Saturday" (see TurboQ17). I wonder if theo faced a moral dilemma when he was on the clock the past two Saturdays. "Should I start working on my response now, or should I wait until sundown?"


    TurboQ36: Are unbelievers under grace?

    Theo non-answer: This question needs further definition.

    Does theo not know what it means to be under grace? This is a very basic concept.

    Of course unbelievers are not under grace, but theo builds much of his arguments as though they are. "Forgive them all" whether God forgives them or not.


    TurboQ45: So why do you support imprisonment for some sins, and not others?

    Theo non-answer: I support sacrifice for all sins (the OT law) but since we have Christ it is not necessary. Be patient. You have not even allowed me to explain my rationale for imprisonment. Jeesh!

    Note that this was in Round 4, and I had been asking theo to provide a Biblical defense for imprisonment since Round 1 (see TurboQ5). And note that Theo never got around to answering TurboQ45 despite his request that I "be patient."

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

    Theo non-answer: Paul calls it a stumbling block.

    That is not what I asked.

    The obvious answer to this question is "No." The Gospel and love for God does not deter those who reject the Gospel and despise God from committing crimes.

    I asked this question because theo argued that the Gospel is a superior deterrent to the death penalty, and that therefore the death penalty should be done away with.

    In my follow-up question (TurboQ47) I asked whether most people accept or reject the Gospel.

    Theo asked in response, "How should I know?"

    He should know from reading the Bible:

    Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Matthew 7:13-14

    It is true that Christians ought to be motivated by love to do what is right. But the reality is, most people are not Christians.

    And even Christians struggle with their flesh. Paul warned Christians in Romans 13:1-4 that if they commit crimes they should fear the sword of God's avenger, His minister to execute wrath. But Paul also said that those who do good need not be afraid.

    We need not choose between the Gospel and the death penalty. They are synergetic.


    I wonder why theo doesn't draw such a dichotomy between the Gospel and prison.


    Murder Victims to God: We Long For Vengeance

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

    Theo-A-Turbo-Q30 Attitude of forgiveness and hope for them to repent. “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Luke 15:7
    But as I pointed out in Round 2's Crash Course on Forgiveness, Christ instructs us to withhold forgiveness from the unrepentant. Indeed, Scripture tells us that murder victims in heaven cry out for vengeance upon their unrepentant murderers:

    When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed. Revelation 6:9-11

    Apparently those in heaven, who no longer struggle against the flesh, do not share theo's "forgive them all" philosophy.





    In conclusion,

    Theo failed to identify any new passage that explicitly bars the death penalty, nor was he able to show where God has ever authorized imprisonment as a punishment for criminals. His arguments against the death penalty were unbiblical and self-contradictory in light of his support of imprisonment.

    This debate really starts and ends with Romans 13:1-4. Paul so clearly stated that governing rulers are God's minister to execute wrath upon evildoers, who should be afraid because these rulers do not bear their deadly swords in vain.

    Should Christians therefore support the death penalty? Of course. Through Israel God outlined what sorts of criminals should be put to death. Christians should therefore "give place to [God's] wrath" (Romans 12:19) and encourage governing officials to carry out their God-given duty as His ministers to execute that wrath. When a government allows a capital criminal to live, it profanes God.

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





    Thanks to Knight for arranging this debate. It's been a blast!

    And thanks to theo! Theo, I am encouraged by your concession in round 5 that our government's profiting from crimes through fining is corrupt and unbiblical. As your brother in Christ, I truly hope you come around on the weightier matters of this debate as well, not just on the death penalty, but on even more fundamental issues such as forgiveness and judging. We'll probably continue to scrap in the grandstands and elsewhere for quite some time, but please know that even when I come off as harsh I do so out of love.

    Thank you to everyone who has been following and commenting on this debate.

    And a special thank you to Becky for inspiring Round 4's Executions vs. Murder Rate graph.

  9. #24
    ...then I woke up. Knight's Avatar
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    DING DING DING, that's it for Battle Royale XI.

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