"Should Christians support the death penalty today? I believe that Christians should hope, pray and strive for a society in which the death penalty, rightly and rarely applied, would make moral sense."on CNN.com. His argument included some references to Scripture - he mentions that Moses, David, and Saul (later Paul) all committed murder, but were not executed - but he leaves out one notable, and often very quotable source: Jesus.
Before I go on, I should say that I have personally been against the death penalty for a couple of decades now. The evidence, as I see it, points to the overwhelming slant based on personal economics and race. That doesn't even mention that the latest studies find at as many as one in twenty-five persons executed are actually innocent! The United Methodist Church's official stance, crafted at the quadrennial General Conference, includes this statement:
We believe the death penalty denies the power of Christ to redeem, restore and transform all human beings.
It was Shane Claiborne's take on all of this that caught my attention this week, though. He was the first to note Jesus' absence from Mohler's statement. Here are snippets of Claiborne's article:
Consistently, Jesus said things like “I did not come for the healthy but for the sick, not for the righteous but for the sinners”…“blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy”…“inasmuch as you forgive you will be forgiven”…“judge not lest you be judged”…“You’ve heard it said ‘an eye for an eye’ but I tell you there is another way....” We dare not forget the story – of a God who so loved the world that Jesus was sent, not to condemn the world but to save it. We must not forget that much of the Bible was written by murderers who were given a second chance. Moses. David. Paul. The Bible would be much shorter without grace.What do you think about the death penalty? Since it's return in the US in 1977, is murder down? Does it work. And finally, do we need Jesus in our conversations about the death penalty, gun rights, healthcare, taxes, Little League baseball, and all of the other stuff that occupies our attention? I think yes.
Grace and Peace, Scott