Is Capital Punishment Scriptural? – Roger Jackson

Roger Jackson

It has been established time and again that the death penalty is an effective deterrent to crime. Moreover, it has also been proven time and again that God is in favor of the death penalty. No matter how repulsive to the preconceived ideas of some brethren it is still a Bible fact!

In the patriarchal age God authorized capital punishment in these words, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed(Gen. 9:6ff). The law of Moses was taken out of the way with the cross of Christ (Col. 2:14). But this is no part of that law. The covenant was with Noah and his generations, i.e. US!

The law of Moses was yet hundreds of years in the future when it was written. Where is the passage of scripture that will eliminate Genesis 9:6? If Genesis 9:6 is not binding today then neither is Genesis 9:11 which promises that God will never destroy the world with a flood of waters again.

In the Mosaic age capital punishment was commanded for various offenses such as fornication and breaking the sabbath (Num. 15; 25 respectively). In both cases the punishment was authorized of God and performed by men. In the case of Phinehas he was commended for his actions. The brethren who oppose capital punishment today would have disfellowshipped him. It is pertinent to note that these two cases took place in the context of the sixth (6th) commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.” The only explanation is that the sixth commandment applied to something other than capital punishment, i.e., murder. Therefore, to use it as evidence against the veracity of capital punishment is utterly inconsistent with Truth.

In the Christian age God has authorized capital punishment in Romans 13:1-7. This passage plainly states that God has delivered a sword into the hands of men. Brethren, what is a sword used for, spanking with the flat side? “But I don’t believe we can take a man’s life” says one brother, who wants to counsel God. What does it matter what we believe? To say capital punishment is wrong is to tell God He was wrong in giving the sword to the authorities!

Another objection to capital punishment is that we eliminate any possibility of converting that soul if we execute him. What about the soul of the others he kills? Don’t they have a right to protection so their lives won’t be ended in a loss of their souls? Jailing them without parole is no answer as murder is often committed in jail too. If this argument were valid it would work equally as well against God who not only shortened the lives of some but commanded that men carry out the sentence in other cases.

Another objection to capital punishment is that we cannot judge. Do you mean we cannot judge to the limit of capital punishment or we cannot judge at all? We need to read I Cor. 6:1-4 very carefully for these passages and those sentiments are poles apart! Matthew 7:1-3 has been used for everything from denying the validity of church discipline to the protection of false teachers. If we will look at the context the difficulty will disappear. It is forbidding judgments that are made upon faulty evidence. It is not forbidding a just judgment. Were we to take it to mean what most brethren say it means it would abolish all civil law altogether. It would make us all guilty of judging sinfully every time we accused a sectarian of teaching error. Indeed! it would eliminate the Truth and any possibility of our ever finding it again. Believe it who can???

Still another says, “rehabilitate him.” Fine! Let’s do it if we can. But what if you can’t? The practice of turning him loose to see if he will do the same thing again is the thing I oppose. Back in 1973 a criminal convicted of a crime for which the death penalty could and should have been used, went through the streets of Memphis killing innocent people, five to be exact. They found out the hard way that a few years of his life and then parole did not work and who paid for it? Five innocent people! Preach your justice to their survivors!

I have some very strong convictions on this matter as you can plainly see. There isn’t one shred of Bible evidence against the death penalty unless it is in one of the latest perversions and none of them are the Bible. I am not afraid to affirm this any time and any place. I am very sorry that brethren ever got the idea that it is not scriptural for they did not get it from the Word of God. It is their own doctrine. To call upon all brethren to understand it may very well be calling upon them for too much, but surely it is not asking too much to ask that you believe it like it is. To deny that capital punishment is scriptural is to deny some of the plainest teaching in the Bible.

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Author: Editor

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