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

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  • Knight
    replied
    DING DING DING, that's it for Battle Royale XI.

    TOL would like to thank BOTH Theo Victis and Turbo for all the effort in Battle Royale XI.

    - You can discuss the Battle in the Battle Talk thread.

    - Vote on who you think won the battle here.

    Leave a comment:


  • Turbo
    replied
    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).

    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:

    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Knight
    replied
    Turbo is on the clock, he has until Thursday October 5th 9:34AM (MDT) to make his fifth and final post.

    Leave a comment:


  • theo_victis
    replied
    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?

    Leave a comment:


  • Knight
    replied
    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.

    Vote on who you think is winning the battle here.

    Leave a comment:


  • Turbo
    replied
    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:

    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:
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Knight
    replied
    Turbo is on the clock, he has until Saturday September 30th 11:17AM (MDT) to make his forth round post.

    Leave a comment:


  • theo_victis
    replied
    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?

    Leave a comment:


  • Knight
    replied
    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.

    Vote on who you think is winning the battle here.

    Leave a comment:


  • Turbo
    replied
    BRXI Round 3B

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

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

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


    Theo has broken ranks with his professor.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


    The Strawmen of Nineveh

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

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

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

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

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




    Responses to some of your Preliminary Considerations


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



    Consider James 4:12:

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

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



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

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


    theo asks, "Where is this powerful deterrent?"

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

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

    ...The death penalty as it is currently in the United States has no teeth, being neither consistent not painful not speedily executed. And therefore it does little to inspire fear among the people. And as a result we have epidemic crime rates, just as Solomon warned (Ecclesiastes 8:11).
    theo, you posted a quote from an LA police chief in which he expressed doubt that the death penalty deters would-be criminals. But what has God said on the matter?
    And you shall stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. So all Israel shall hear and fear, and not again do such wickedness as this among you. Deuteronomy 13:10-11

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

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

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

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

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

    So is the death penalty (administered surely, swiftly, and painfully as God commands) a powerful deterrent? God says that it is, but an LA police chief says that it is not. Whose judgment do you trust, theo?
    It is better to trust in the LORD
    Than to put confidence in man. Psalm 118:8

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

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

    Theo A-TurboQ21: Yes I do...

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

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

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

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

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




    Response to theo's Judicial Argument

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

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


    If we err, we have committed injustice.
    How many guilty capital criminals are intentionally allowed to live? Every such case is a worse injustice, because it is intentional!
    He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD. Proverbs 17:15

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

    It is axiomatic that any system established and executed by man will fail and commit grievous errors. Why should we administer the DP when we cannot be absolutely certain of one’s guilt?
    Ask God! He said that two or three witnesses are sufficient to establish guilt.
    Whoever is deserving of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses; he shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness. Deuteronomy 17:6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

    Your willingness to favor the intentional sparing of the lives of the guilty in order to eliminate the possibility that an innocent will be unintentionally executed is ungodly. God shows no such bias in favor of sparing the guilty:
    He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD. Proverbs 17:15

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

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



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

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



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

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

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

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

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

    TurboQ4: Should governing authorities punish criminals at all?

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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



    What Is a "Robber"?

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

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

    Can you point out an OT passage that mandates that stealing results in death? If you cannot, please indicate why this was a just administration of the DP.
    A robber is not merely a thief:
    The men crucified with Jesus were] criminals, that is, robbers not from the Greek kleptes for a typical thief, but kakourgos (Luke 21:39) and lestes (Mat. 27:38; Mark 15:27), for a thief who steals openly (Mat. 21:13). This is the same word lestes used for the thieves who attacked the man helped by the good Samaritan. These robbers "stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead" (Luke 10:30), that is, attempted murder.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Regarding Acts 25:11, I asked:

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

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

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

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

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

    Swords are deadly weapons. Were you aware of this?



    Regarding my Crash Course on Forgiveness, you replied:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    TurboQ12: Does God forgive unrepentant sinners?

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

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

    TurboQ36 Are unbelievers under grace?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

    TurboQ38 Do petty thieves deserve to be executed?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





    TurboQ24: Do you therefore believe that everyone deserves imprisonment?

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



    Answering Theo's Questions

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

    Turbo A-TheoQ16: Yes.

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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






    Just a few more questions


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

    TurboQ47 Do most people accept or reject the Gospel?


    TurboQ48 In what way is the passage,
    And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.
    Whoever sheds the blood of man,
    by man shall his blood be shed;
    for in the image of God
    has God made man,
    related to "the sacrificial system"? I don't follow; please elaborate.

    Leave a comment:


  • Knight
    replied
    Turbo is on the clock, he has until Tuesday September 26nd 11:38AM (MDT) to make his third round post.

    Leave a comment:


  • theo_victis
    replied
    BR round 3a

    Preliminary Considerations

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

    General Presuppositions and Misconceptions and Things to be Addressed


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

    What is left to be accomplished?

    Answering questions:

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

    Finishing arguments:

    Sociological Argument (part 2)
    Judicial Argument
    Theological Argument

    The Task at hand for this round:

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


    The Difference between Our Views Seen:

    Nineveh’s fate: Version I

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

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

    What happens next:

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

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

    Then…

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

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

    Nineveh’s Fate: Version II

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

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

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

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

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

    Then…

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

    Stating the Obvious

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

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

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


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


    God’s Judgment

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


    Man’s judgment


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

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

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


    A Review of Genesis

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

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

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

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

    The Fall

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

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

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

    Consider James 4:12:

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

    Two Kinds of Judgment to be Considered

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Responding to Turbo’s problem with this:

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

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

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

    Finishing the Sociological Argument

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

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

    2005 statistics:

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

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


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

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


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

    I simply ask Turbo, Where is this powerful deterrent?


    A More Powerful Deterrent

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


    The Poor are mistreated:

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

    - Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (2001)



    I now turn to the Judicial Argument:

    A Judicial Argument

    The DP is neither inerrant nor infallible

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

    Consider this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Taxpayers deserve better

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Imprisonment is better

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

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

    DP is Arbitrary

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


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


    Conclusion of Judicial Argument:

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

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

    Responding to Turbo


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

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

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

    TurboQ4: Should governing authorities punish criminals at all?

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


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

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

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

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

    Recall this exchange between the criminals crucified alongside the Lord:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


    Furthermore, while on trial, Paul stated:

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


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

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

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

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

    While we are talking about things that are crashing:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Questions for Turbo


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

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

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

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

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

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

    Leave a comment:


  • Knight
    replied
    DING DING DING, that's it for round number 2.

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

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

    You can discuss the Battle in the Battle Talk thread.
    Last edited by Knight; September 24th, 2006, 10:44 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Turbo
    replied
    BRXI Round 2B

    theo_victis's answers to my questions.

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

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

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

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


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

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


    TurboQ4: Should governing authorities punish criminals at all?

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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






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

    Recall this exchange between the criminals crucified alongside the Lord:
    Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


    And as I mentioned in my first round post, in at the beginning of Romans 13 Paul warns fellow believers not to commit crimes for fear of being punished by governing authorities. Paul had stated at the end of the previous chapter:
    Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19

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

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


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

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

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






    TheoQ2: How do you understand forgiveness?

    Turbo A-TheoQ2:

    Crash Course On Forgiveness

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

    This teaching is entirely unbiblical. Contrast this with how the Lord summed up how we should go about forgiving others in our personal relationships:
    Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. Luke 17:3

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

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

    We only have the authority to forgive sins committed against us. We don't have the authority to forgive a murderer for his crime any more than we have the authority to forgive our neighbor of his mortgage owed to the bank. Only God has such authority.
    When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

    TurboQ Does God forgive unrepentant sinners?

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

    So please clarify:

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



    Crash Course On Judging
    Another common Christian cliché is "Judge not." This short phrase is taken from Christ's words recorded in Matthew 7:1 and is used to teach Christians that it is wrong to judge. But let's take a look at the context of that phrase:
    “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:1-5

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





    Rightly Dividing

    TheoQ5: What are things that should mandate the DP?

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

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

    This is the sort of thing Paul was referring to when he said that we should rightly divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). He wrote that the law is written on the hearts of the Gentiles (Romans 2:15), but people's consciences don't tell them that it's wrong to work on Saturday.
    Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. Exodus 20:9-11
    And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you. You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. Exodus 31:12-14
    As these passages reveal, the Sabbath was given specifically and exclusively to Israel, and it was symbolic of God creating in six days and resting on the seventh. It also symbolized the rest we would have in Christ (Hebrews 4:4-8).

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

    You actually listed one of Israel's capital crimes twice:
    Cursing your mother and father (Lev 20:4) [sic]
    ...
    Disobeying your parents (Deut 21:21)
    The second law is merely a restatement of the first. The word "Deuteronomy" literally means "second law;" most of its laws are restatements of those found in the earlier books of Moses. Here is the law you refer to:
    "And he who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death." Exodus 21:17

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

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

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

    If God had wanted Israelite parents to turn their children over to be stoned at the first instance of disobedience, He would not have also instructed parents to spank their children:
    Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; ?The rod of correction will drive it far from him. Proverbs 22:15

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

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

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

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

    Even during His earthly ministry, Jesus upheld this very law and rebuked those who dismissed this law:
    *Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”

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

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





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

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

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

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

    Turbo A-TheoQ7: No.



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

    Turbo A-TheoQ8:Yes.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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






    Execution Should Be Painful

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


    There's Death, and Then There's Death

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

    TurboQ24: Do you therefore believe that everyone deserves imprisonment?


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

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

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

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

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

    [line]80%[/quote]



    Questions for theo_victis

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

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

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

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

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

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

    TurboQ12: Does God forgive unrepentant sinners?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    TurboQ24: Do you therefore believe that everyone deserves imprisonment?
    Last edited by Jefferson; November 2nd, 2006, 12:24 PM.

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  • Knight
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    Turbo is on the clock, he has until Friday the 22nd 1:27AM (MDT) to make his second round post.

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