73 Pro Death Penalty Quotes by Religious Leaders (Protestant) II

Matthew Henry’s commentary on Genesis 9 verse 6: Wilful murderers must be put to death. This is the sin which is here designed to be restrained by the terror of punishment (1.) God will punish murderers: At the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man, that is, "I will avenge the blood of the murdered upon the murderer." 2 Chronicles 24:22. When God requires the life of a man at the hand of him that took it away unjustly, the murderer cannot render that, and therefore must render his own in lieu of it, which is the only way left of making restitution. Note, The righteous God will certainly make inquisition for blood, though men cannot or do not. One time or other, in this world or in the next, he will both discover concealed murders, which are hidden from man's eye, and punish avowed and justified murders, which are too great for man's hand. (2.) The magistrate must punish murderers (Genesis 9:6): Whoso sheddeth man's blood, whether upon a sudden provocation or having premeditated it (for rash anger is heart-murder as well as malice prepense, Matthew 5:21,22), by man shall his blood be shed, that is, by the magistrate, or whoever is appointed or allowed to be the avenger of blood. There are those who are ministers of God for this purpose, to be a protection to the innocent, by being a terror to the malicious and evildoers, and they must not bear the sword in vain, Romans 13:4. Before the flood, as it should seem by the story of Cain, God took the punishment of murder into his own hands; but now he committed this judgment to men, to masters of families at first, and afterwards to the heads of countries, who ought to be faithful to the trust reposed in them. Note, Wilful murder ought always to be punished with death. It is a sin which the Lord would not pardon in a prince (2 Kings 24:3,4), and which therefore a prince should not pardon in a subject. To this law there is a reason annexed: For in the image of God made he man at first. Man is a creature dear to his Creator, and therefore ought to be so to us. God put honour upon him, let not us then put contempt upon him. Such remains of God's image are still even upon fallen man as that he who unjustly kills a man defaces the image of God and does dishonour to him. When God allowed men to kill their beasts, yet he forbade them to kill their slaves; for these are of a much more noble and excellent nature, not only God's creatures, but his image, James 3:9. All men have something of the image of God upon them; but magistrates have, besides, the image of his power, and the saints the image of his holiness, and therefore those who shed the blood of princes or saints incur a double guilt.

Extraordinary afflictions are not always the punishment of extraordinary sins, but sometimes the trial of extraordinary graces.

Matthew Henry (18 October 1662 – 22 June 1714) was an English commentator on the Bible and Presbyterian minister. He was born at Broad Oak,a farmhouse on the borders of Flintshire and Shropshire. His father, Philip Henry, had just been ejected under the Act of Uniformity 1662. Unlike most of his fellow-sufferers, Philip possessed some private means, and was thus able to give his son a good education. Matthew went first to a school at Islington, and then to Gray's Inn. He soon gave up his legal studies for theology, and in 1687 became minister of a Presbyterian congregation at Chester. He moved again in 1712 to Mare Street, Hackney. Two years later (22 June 1714), he died suddenly of apoplexy at the Queen's Aid House (41 High Street) in Nantwich while on a journey from Chester to London.

Some years ago the United States Supreme Court struck down the death penalty as unconstitutional. Many arguments by many people were used by the opponents and proponents for the death penalty. Those who argued for it did so using moral and Biblical points to support this position. The opponents used human reasoning, part of which was the claim that capital punishment is cruel and inhuman treatment, and that no offense warranted it. Since that time, states wishing to reinstate the death penalty have had an uphill battle. In some states the death penalty is again law, but only for certain crimes. When a criminal is convicted and sentenced to die, there are so-called public interest individuals and groups who do their best to have the death sentence overturned. The process is long and costly; our judicial system is weakened and the criminal exalted. The forces of Satan have done their job well in weakening the judicial system and the abolishing of the death penalty. In spite of Satanic efforts, there remains a judicial system and death penalty that cannot and will not be changed. Please allow me to explain.

Richard Ciarrocca is the founder and director of Pilgrim Fundamental Baptist Press, Inc.

Rights always imply duties. Our right to life is the duty not to take it from others. The very passage that teaches the right to life also teaches the punishment for taking a life. "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed" (Genesis 9:6). The death sentence is part of the justice and mercy of God. But it is not up to us to avenge ourselves. God has given the work of justice to governments - "the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer." (Romans 13:4). We are to turn the other cheek rather than to repay evil for evil. "Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19).

Phillip Jensen is an Australian clergyman of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney and the Dean of St Andrew's Cathedral. He is the brother of Peter Jensen, the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney. In 2003 Phillip became the Dean of Sydney at St Andrew’s Cathedral and Director of the Sydney Diocesan Ministry Training and Development (MT&D). As Dean he is guiding the Cathedral in its development as a thriving city church with the gospel clearly proclaimed as the Bible is taught. He has planted congregations which are connecting with the city dwellers, workers and players. As Director of MT&D he continues his lifelong passion for training people in ministry as he leads the department in providing ongoing training for ministers in the Sydney Diocese. In conjunction with these roles, Phillip continues to accept many invitations to carry on his work of expounding the scriptures at local, national and international conferences. Currently he is developing a variety of visual media Bible teaching opportunities which are broadcast on TV each week on the Australian Christian Channel, and posted on different websites in Australia and internationally.

The Bible, the Death Penalty, and Legal Nonsense in Colorado - In an interesting twist, the court explicitly found that the Bible was "extraneous" to the case and that for juror to bring the Bible or to take handwritten notes from the Bible "was improper and constituted misconduct." The high court ruled that, since the Bible had not been directly introduced at the trial as evidence, it could not be consulted by jurors in making their own moral assessment of the death penalty. This flies in the face of the fact that the defense had made an explicit reference to the Bible in pleading for mercy in Harlan's sentencing phase. In a bizarre misapplication of the text, Harlan's attorneys apparently argued that as God had extended mercy to Abraham after Abraham had come close to killing his own son, so the jury should extend mercy to Robert Harlan. Of course, the attorney's argument is a complete misconstrual and misunderstanding of Genesis 22:1-18, but the key point is that the defense counsel made an explicit appeal to the Bible in the first place.

The Bible, the Death Penalty, and Legal Nonsense in Colorado - The majority opinion in this case attempted to make a distinction between the Bible as a written authority and the knowledge of the Bible some jurors may have possessed and from which they may have drawn insight during the jury deliberations. "The written word persuasively conveys the authentic ring of reliable authority in a way that recollected spoken word does not," the majority decided. Further, "Some jurors may view biblical texts like the Leviticus passage at issue here as a factual representation of God's will. The texts may also be viewed as a legal instruction, issuing from God, requiring a particular mandatory punishment for murder. Such a 'fact' is not one presented in evidence in this case and such a 'legal instruction' is not the law of the state or part of the court's instructions."

A Southern Baptist seminary president says that according to the Bible, capital punishment is pro-life.

“The death penalty is not about retribution,” Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said in a podcast Sept. 22. “It is first of all about underlining the importance of every single human life.”

Mohler, who has a Ph.D. in theology, said in Genesis 9, where capital punishment is mandated for murder, “it is precisely because the taking of one human life by another means that the murderer has effectively, morally and theologically, forfeited his own right to live.”

“The death penalty is intended to affirm the value [and] sanctity of every single human life, and thus by the extremity of the penalty to make that visible and apparent to all,” Mohler said.

Mohler said the differing reactions to two executions carried out a day earlier illustrated “how fickle we are in terms of our understanding of justice.” Thousands of people protested Georgia’s execution of Troy Davis, a black man convicted of murdering a white police officer on evidence his supporters said was shaky. At the same time, an execution in Texas of a white supremacist for the infamous dragging death of an African-American 13 years ago received far less attention.

"It seems that even those who oppose the death penalty outright believe there are some cases that ought to be opposed more than others,” Mohler said. “And even those who support the death penalty almost always support the death penalty within certain, very clear, parameters. Even if those parameters are not defined by policy, they are defined by moral intuition. There is something within us that cries out for the fact that murder must be punished and that the lives of the innocent, in terms of being the victims of these crimes, must indeed be vindicated.”

He said societal attitudes about issues such as abortion and euthanasia indicate “we really do not now have the bedrock shared consensus that every single human life is a life made in the image of God and that every single human life at every stage of development is to be honored and protected and preserved.”

Christianity produces a system of laws and justice that puts a high premium on both personal moral responsibility and the sanctity of human life. For this reason, the punishment of murderers has been taken with great seriousness. Those who take a human life with premeditation were understood to forfeit their own. [The Post-Christian Condition – Anders Breivik and the Limitations of Justice Fri, Apr. 20, 2012 Posted: 10:13 AM EDT]

At one point, Theil declares the obvious: Norway "considers the idea of punishment barbaric."

The loss of the Christian worldview often comes with a diminishment of both personal responsibility and the sense of punitive justice. Add to this the redefinition of human life and its value. The result is a nation that takes pride in a notoriously lax system of criminal justice - a nation that considers punishment itself to be barbaric. [The Post-Christian Condition – Anders Breivik and the Limitations of Justice Fri, Apr. 20, 2012 Posted: 10:13 AM EDT]

R. Albert Mohler, Jr. (born October 19, 1959) is the ninth president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Until July 3, 2010 Mohler hosted The Albert Mohler Program, a nationwide radio show devoted to engaging contemporary culture with Bible-based beliefs. He is a member of the board of Focus on the Family and a member of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Mohler formed Together for the Gospel with Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever and C. J. Mahaney. He is married to the former Mary Kahler, with whom he has two children, Katie and Christopher.

The Death Penalty–Cruelty or Necessity? by Craig Alan Myers - Lamech was the first murderer who boasted of his murders (Genesis 4:23-24). His outrageous flaunting indicated the lack of regard for human life that had developed. The pre-Flood civilization was highly developed with sophisticated music, advanced technology and genetic development of livestock. But it was a cruel culture. By the time immediately preceding the Flood, murder was a way of life to earth’s inhabitants. This was the prime reason behind God’s decision to eradicate all human life and to begin again (Genesis 6:13). The low regard for human life today–with as many as one in three humans dying at another’s hand through abortion, war, and euthanasia–is a sign that the return of Christ is near. “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. 24:37, NKJV).

The Death Penalty–Cruelty or Necessity? by Craig Alan Myers – When Noah and his family came off the ark, they immediately offered sacrifice and worship to God. God issued a new covenant with Noah and his descendants–the whole human race–restating His command to multiply and fill the earth (Genesis 9:1, 7). God allowed animals to be used for human food (Genesis 9:3), and issued the decree that the taking of human life was to be met with the ultimate penalty–the forfeiture of the murderer’s life (Genesis 9:5-6).

Why did God issue this command? Not as a deterrent, but because of the importance and dignity of human life; humans are made in God’s image. Human beings, alone among all the Creation, reflect God’s image in the ability to reason, love, make moral decisions, etc. Humans are the only earthly creatures God made to have an eternal relationship with Him. An murderous attack on a human being by another human is an attack against the God who made them.

The Death Penalty–Cruelty or Necessity? by Craig Alan Myers – The commands of God in Genesis came long before those given in the Law of Moses. While the Law was given to the Hebrews (a limited group), the Genesis 9 decrees are given to all mankind (for universal application). People are still to multiply and fill the earth, may still consume animals for food, and are delegated the authority to exact the ultimate price. This principle relating to human government has not been altered. Hence we can say that, for at least one crime–murder–and for all time, God has ordained forfeit of life. The underlying reason for capital punishment–mankind being made in the image of God–has not changed.

In the Law of Moses, God expanded the death penalty for the Hebrews to include a number of crimes, including bestiality, homosexuality, adultery, incest, kidnapping–in fact, eighteen different crimes. Murder was still the highest crime, and God instructed Israel, “Your eye shall not pity, but you shall purge the guilt of innocent blood from Israel” (Deut. 19:13). While the extent of crimes requiring death grew, the standard for conviction was set strictly. Capital crimes had to have two or three eyewitnesses in order to convict the perpetrator. Physical proof alone was not sufficient.

Israel was a human state with a human government. The Israelites were largely unregenerate, and therefore needed force or the threat of force to restrain themselves from falling into wrongdoing and sin. Israel, along with all human states, was given the right by God to engage in war, use force, and demand death in punishment for wrongdoing.

The Death Penalty–Cruelty or Necessity? by Craig Alan Myers - The New Testament says very little directly about the death penalty. This silence is instructive, as apparently the Lord Jesus and His apostles were unconcerned with the operations of the secular state, and more or less upheld the state’s authority in all areas except where that authority expressly contradicted the revealed will of God (Acts 5:29). The Sermon on the Mount, sometimes referred to in discussions of this issue, is addressed to believers, and nowhere is it applied to those outside of Christ or to civil government. This is because it is impossible for the non-Christian to abide by the extremely high standards set by our Lord here.

The Death Penalty–Cruelty or Necessity? by Craig Alan Myers – Some anti-death penalty advocates have focused on John’s account of the woman taken in adultery (John 7:53-8:11) as indicating that Jesus was nullifying the death penalty. But here Jesus called her accusers to account, as they were guilty of violating the strict standards of the Law of Moses, which called for both parties to the adultery to be subject to the same punishment (Deut. 22:22-24). The reference to capital punishment is hardly central to the account, nor does the account relieve civil government of the responsibility to punish wrongdoing. Christ nowhere specifically set aside the clear command of Genesis 9:6.

The Death Penalty–Cruelty or Necessity? by Craig Alan Myers - Romans 13 is Paul’s treatment of church-state relations. In Romans 13:4, he states that the civil magistrate “does not bear the sword in vain,” for he is “the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer.” This sword refers to the one worn by the superior officers in the provinces who had the authority to inflict capital punishment. Paul does not say that the government should use the sword; he just acknowledges that the state uses it without condemning the state for doing so. According to church tradition, it was the sword of the Roman government that eventually separated Paul’s head from his body.

The Death Penalty–Cruelty or Necessity? by Craig Alan Myers - In Acts 25:11, Paul states, “If I have committed anything worthy of death, I do not object to dying.” In other words, he was not trying to get out of a just punishment. He clearly believed that some crimes were worthy of death, and that the rulers had the authority to exercise that penalty in those instances. Paul did not question the right or authority of rulers to require forfeit of life. It was not an issue about which he was concerned.

The Death Penalty–Cruelty or Necessity? by Craig Alan Myers - God is the Giver of life. He created it, and He may take it. Death is the result of sin. God requires death–both physical death and spiritual death–as the just punishment for sin (Romans 6:23). Christians recognize the pervasive depravity which permeates the human soul. God may delegate to human governments such things as He wills to maintain societal order. He has delegated to all human government the authority to require one’s life in a certain, limited circumstance–the murder of another human being. Capital punishment is not on a par with abortion or euthanasia, for the latter involve the taking of “innocent” life, while the former is carried out in relation to those who have been duly convicted and made lengthy appeals.

The Death Penalty–Cruelty or Necessity? by Craig Alan Myers – Capital punishment, though, is a last resort. It is an option for government to use. It should be exercised carefully, prudently, and sparingly. As an editorial in Christianity Today (9/11/1995, p. 19) says, “Capital punishment is, at best, a barely tolerable punishment. It is not something that we should exult in.” No sensitive Christian rejoices that another human being dies–especially without Christ–but neither should a Christian bear unnecessary feelings of guilt when a convicted murderer receives the ultimate earthly penalty after due consideration of the extreme nature of the crime.

The Death Penalty–Cruelty or Necessity? by Craig Alan Myers - Human government is sanctioned to use force–deadly if necessary–to restrain evildoers overwhelmed by their depravity. Awful as it is, capital punishment is a definite acknowledgment of the terrible force needed to keep evil in check.

The Death Penalty–Cruelty or Necessity? by Craig Alan Myers - Capital punishment, as well as any form of judgment, is a unpleasant business. But it reminds us of the great value of human life. Christians should take advantage of opportunities to minister the Gospel to those facing the punishment and those who administer it. We should pray for the conversion of death row inmates. We all face physical death–separation of the soul from the body–but we need not face eternal death or separation of the soul from God. Jesus Christ died to save sinners. He endured not only physical death but spiritual death so we could have eternal life. This is the Good News that we are called to take to all human beings wherever we might find them–in the church pew, at the workplace, on the sickroom bed, or even on death row.

Craig Alan Myers is the pastor of Blue River Church of The Brethren. He and his wife Laura have four children, whom they educate at home. He is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University and Ashland Theological Seminary. He also received ministry training through the training program of the Western Pennsylvania District. Bro. Myers is chairman of the Brethren Revival Fellowship and president of the Whitley County Ministerial Association. He has served on the Northern Indiana District Board, and was chairman of the District Ministry Commission. He is moderator of the Northern Indiana District Conference, and preaches revivals and Bible Conferences around the country.

I am pro-life because the Bible clearly teaches us that life begins at conception (Psalm 51:5) This truth is supported with ever increasing detail as the science of embryology reveals more and more about the intricacies of human fetal development. The Bible also tells us God is involved when conception takes place (Jeremiah 1:4-5), and that God is involved intimately in the process of maturation and development of a child even prior to birth (Psalm 139:13-16).

In the most sustained passage in the New Testament concerning God’s plan and role for government (Romans 13), we learn that God ordained the civil magistrate to punish those who do evil and reward those who do right.

We also are told, in Romans 13:4, that the civil magistrate bears not the sword in vain. In the original Greek language the word used there for “sword” is the same word used for the type of sword used to execute Roman citizens who were found guilty of capital crimes. Clearly, the Apostle Paul, inspired by God’s Holy Spirit, is granting to the civil magistrate the use of lethal force as one of the options available to punish those who do evil--in the case of domestic criminals, the police force, and in war, the military. [The death penalty can be pro-life On Faith- Can you be pro-life and pro-death penalty? How does one reconcile these positions? 15 September 2011]

Just War theorists have cited this passage for centuries to give biblical justification for the use of government-authorized lethal force in warfare. [The death penalty can be pro-life On Faith- Can you be pro-life and pro-death penalty? How does one reconcile these positions? 15 September 2011]

However, on the other side of the coin, it must be said that people who are pro-life believe that life is sacred, and that when a person, wantonly and premeditatedly takes the life of another person, they have forfeited their right to continued life. And when they are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a jury of their peers, they should be executed. [The death penalty can be pro-life On Faith- Can you be pro-life and pro-death penalty? How does one reconcile these positions? 15 September 2011]

I believe we should keep the death penalty to be used in heinous cases like this, and in cases of treason and other reprehensible crimes against humanity. I believe this is consistent with my pro-life position. [The death penalty can be pro-life On Faith- Can you be pro-life and pro-death penalty? How does one reconcile these positions? 15 September 2011]

I believe that people who are pro-life are horrified by a person taking upon themselves the prerogatives of God and wantonly and premeditatedly taking another person’s life. They believe that when a person is found guilty of doing this with premeditation, they have forfeited their right to life in a civilized society. [The death penalty can be pro-life On Faith- Can you be pro-life and pro-death penalty? How does one reconcile these positions? 15 September 2011]

Dr. Richard D. Land (born 1946) is the president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), the moral and ethics concern entity of the Southern Baptist Convention in the United States, a post he has held since 1988. He is also currently serving as interim pastor at Red Bank Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN.

I find it interesting that few people think about the fact that God started it (Genesis 9:6). He gave man the authority to apply the death penalty when appropriate. By appropriate I mean by God’s standards not man’s. He had reasons; among those are justice (not revenge) and love. [The Death Penalty: Is It The Loving Thing To Do? Part 1 Posted: Monday 14 November 2011]

I think Numbers 35:30-32 is clear. It reads: ‘If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death at the evidence of witnesses, but no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness. 31 Moreover, you shall not take ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death…’”

God actually forbids the taking of a ransom in place of the death penalty. In today’s terms that means we are forbidden to allow anyone deserving death to escape death and then serve a life sentence or some other punishment instead. Biblically, we have no choice.
[The Death Penalty: Is It The Loving Thing To Do? Part 1 Posted: Monday 14 November 2011]

In a society, one of two groups of people is going to live in fear. Either, the citizens will live in fear of criminals or the criminals will live in fear of swift and sure punishment by the government. Where do you think the balance is today?

The death penalty is the loving thing to do for society. How many times has a murderer escaped from custody and killed other people? If the death penalty had been applied, those victims would still be alive. They paid the death penalty themselves because we failed to apply it.
[The Death Penalty: Is It The Loving Thing To Do? Part 1 Posted: Monday 14 November 2011]

I would also submit to you that unless you can discover in Scripture when God changed His mind about the death penalty, the Old Testament is quite sufficient. God was not kidding. [The Death Penalty: Is It The Loving Thing To Do? Part 1 Posted: Monday 14 November 2011]

Today, many Christians argue that the death penalty is not valid in our day and time. They say it is not taught in the New Testament. I disagree. I think it is valid and it is taught in the New Testament.

First of all, why do some assume that God is required to repeat in the New Testament everything that had already been established in the Old Testament? There are many things not mentioned in the New Testament that we still hold true today. Since the Old and New Testaments are really one unified story, it makes more sense to assume things already established don’t need to be addressed again unless they are changed or eliminated.
[The Death Penalty: Is It The Loving Thing To Do? Part 2 Posted: Monday 21 November 2011]

There is nothing in the New Testament that says the death penalty has been done away with. Jesus talked often about the ultimate death penalty: Hell, eternal death! Jesus, Paul, Peter, and many others were executed, although wrongly. However, none argued against the government’s ability and right to do so. Paul even said, “If, then, I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die; but if none of those things is true of which these men accuse me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar (Acts 25:11).”

When I debate the death penalty very few people offer truly biblical arguments. Rather I usually hear a lot of Scripture out of context. I get the arguments like: “It’s not the loving thing to do,” “I know someone on death row,” “We are under grace, not law.” I love that last one. Tell the policeman who pulls you over that you are not under the law. He’ll love it and let you go for sure.
[The Death Penalty: Is It The Loving Thing To Do? Part 2 Posted: Monday 21 November 2011]

And, I repeat that if one wants to argue that God did do away with the death penalty, one must prove when God changed His mind. I can’t find that He did. We have become so desensitized to sin today that we cringe when we think of applying the death penalty at all much less for things God said were capital offenses.

God is a loving God. He is also just, righteous, and holy. Sometimes, the death penalty is the loving thing to do for all concerned. Even the criminal has a chance to get right with God. Not everyone has that advantage at death. And, society will have less deadly criminals running lose. It’s the loving thing to do. It’s also the right thing to do when properly applied.
[The Death Penalty: Is It The Loving Thing To Do? Part 2 Posted: Monday 21 November 2011]

Ralph Barker (born 1947 in Atlanta, Georgia) is the Development Director for North Georgia Pregnancy Center. He is a seasoned public speaker in both Christian and secular venues. Periodically fill the pulpits for traveling pastors. He conduct seminars in DISC Personality Profiles (Double certified). Have been a contributor to www.christianworldviewnetwork.com and currently am a religion editor for www.fetchyournews.com. 1981-2004: Served as Vice President of American Vision Ministry, a biblical worldview ministry, publisher, and think tank. Primary duties were fundraising, arranging events, limited employee management, speaking and public relations. Have a background in both radio broadcasting and television. Hosted a live call-in radio program in the Atlanta area for four years an AM1080 WFTD. Has been a guest on hundreds of radio and television programs over the last twenty-plus years. Had the opportunity to preach and teach in churches of most major denominations around the country.

Moore, who supports the use of the death penalty, argued that Romans 13 gives the government the right to punish those who do wrong. Paul's reference to the government bearing the sword (Romans 13:4), Moore contended, is a specific reference to capital punishment. “I believe that Scripture mandates that the government take this position in order to preserve public justice and order," he said.

The public outcry following the Sept. 11 attacks on America indicate how deeply the sense of justice is imbedded in human consciences, Moore said.

"There are people looking around at the wreckage in New York, and they are saying, 'How can this happen?' They see tapes of Osama bin Laden ... giving orders to his followers," he said. "[We all] have a sense of justice that I think is essential to who we are as human beings."

The public's support for the death penalty -- which is shown in opinion polls -- reflects a certain value for human life, Moore said, as persons recognize that taking the life of another human being demands an ultimate punishment.

"You have a public that recognizes there are certain offenses that are so heinous [and] are so shocking that something must be done publicly," he said, pointing to bin Laden and recently executed bomber Timothy McVeigh. "I think it resonates with us because of who we are as human beings -- created in the image of God."

Moore then argued that a distinction must be made between individuals seeking revenge and governments exacting justice.

"There's a difference between an individual taking it upon himself to assassinate a public figure and a government waging war,"
Moore said. "I believe that Scripture makes that distinction in terms of the state executing justice and an individual doing so."

Dr. Russell D. Moore is Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice President for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Moore is a pastor, teacher, and theologian. Russell D. Moore was born and reared in the state of Mississippi. Moore earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Southern Mississippi . After feeling called to full-time church ministry, Dr. Moore began regularly preaching and teaching the Bible. He was a youth pastor at Woolmarket Baptist Church and Bay Vista Baptist Church in Biloxi, MS. After earning an M.Div. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Moore went on to earn a Ph.D. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Dr. Moore became Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice President for Academic Administration of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky in January, 2004. Dr. Moore is a preaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Dr. Moore writes and speaks frequently on topics ranging from the Kingdom of God, to the mission of adoption, to a theology of country music. He is a senior editor of Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity. He has written books such as The Kingdom of Christ: The New Evangelical Perspective and a forthcoming volume, Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches. Prior to entering the ministry, he was an aide to U.S. Congressman Gene Taylor.

Romans 13:4 does not " . . . directly refer to the infliction of the death penalty; but in the context of first century Rome and against the Old Testament background (Genesis 9:4-6), Paul would clearly include the death penalty in the state’s panalopy of punishments for wrongdoing." Douglas Moo, The Epistle To the Romans, Erdmans, 1996, pg. 802, footnote 54.

Douglas J. Moo (born March 15, 1950) is a New Testament scholar who, after teaching for more than twenty years at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois, has served as Blanchard Professor of New Testament at the Wheaton College Graduate School since 2000. He received his Ph.D. at the University of St. Andrews, in St. Andrews, Scotland. He has published several theological works and commentaries on the Bible; notable among them are An Introduction to the New Testament (with D.A. Carson and Leon Morris) and A Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (part of the New International Commentary on the New Testament series). His current research interests are Romans, Pauline Theology (and Exegesis) and Environmental Theology. He is also on the translation committee that produced the TNIV translation of the Bible and is a strong advocate for this translation.


Interview With James Dobson

Aired September 5, 2003 - 21:00   ET

KING: Do you -- what do you make of the execution of Paul Hill?

DOBSON: Well, we did not support what Paul Hill did. Obviously you can't be pro-life and pro-death at the same time. And that was a wrong thing to do. A terrible -- it was murder. And he was tried in the courts and found guilty and was executed. End of story. It is a sad thing.


Interview With James Dobson

Aired September 5, 2003 - 21:00   ET

KING: Do you have thoughts on the death penalty itself?

DOBSON: I believe in the death penalty. I believe especially in those cases where egregious crimes have been committed, children have been raped and killed, I don't know how you can allow those people to live. So I do believe in the death penalty.

James Clayton "Jim" Dobson, Jr. (born April 21, 1936) is an American evangelical Christian author, psychologist, and founder of Focus on the Family (FOTF). Dobson, who founded the nonprofit organization in 1977 and also chaired it until 2003, has never drawn a salary from the organization, but has used it to promote his related books and publications and has an income through them. No longer affiliated with Focus on the Family, Dobson founded Family Talk as a 501c3 organization in 2010 and launched a new radio broadcast, Family Talk with Dr. James Dobson that began May 3, 2010 on over 300 stations nationwide. As part of his former role in the organization, he produced Focus on the Family, a daily radio program which according to the organization was broadcast in more than a dozen languages and on over 7,000 stations worldwide, and reportedly heard daily by more than 220 million people in 164 countries. Focus on the Family was also carried by about sixty U.S. television stations daily. He founded the Family Research Council in 1981. He is an evangelical Christian with conservative views on politics. He has been referred to as "the nation's most influential evangelical leader" by Time, and Slate has indicated him as a successor to evangelical leaders Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson.

They cry for leniency for a convicted cop killer (who had just come from shooting two others), but they stand silent, and even worse, stand in support of the execution of 52 million plus (let the number sink in) legal executions of innocent babies. Talk about hypocrisy. The crime these victims have been executed for is the horrible crime of inconvenience.

The Bible tells us that the purpose of judges is to "Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked." (Psalm 82:3-4, NIV). [PEARRELL: The hypocrisy over capital punishment By John Pearrell Thursday 29 September 2011]

Dr. John Pearrell - Gateway Community Church was formed as an independent, inter-denominational Bible study in November of 1991. In January of 1992, we incorporated as a church. In December of 1994, the congregation met to vote on affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention. Gateway’s roots still date back further than that. Gateway is under the leadership of Dr. John Pearrell, its founding pastor, whose varied true life experiences, which range from early on as a youth counselor to Public Safety and Chaplin of the Conyers Police and Rockdale County Fire Departments and to columnist for several local newspapers, and talents have brought a true light to the fellowship. He believes that each service and activity should be led to glorify God and to honor His Word. Today, Gateway Community Church prides itself in its family-valued spirit with God. Won’t you join our family and rejoice in God’s many rewards?

“I support the death penalty for convicted murderers, and I oppose the death penalty for unborn children. ‘Ha! Caught you! Wiggle out of that one!’ If someone has forfeited their right to life through an outrageous crime on another, and that person is given a fair and complete trial, then executing them is an act of justice. If someone has not done such an act, and they are given no trial or hearing whatever, then executing them is an act of injustice. This is a real puzzler for Dawkins. Trial? Justice? Innocence? Guilt? Injustice? These are strange concepts. I must hear more about this religion of yours.” [The Deluded Atheist: A Response to Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion (American Vision, 2008)]

Douglas James Wilson (born 18 June 1953) is a conservative Reformed and evangelical theologian, pastor at Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, faculty member at New Saint Andrews College, and prolific author and speaker. He is featured in the documentary film Collision documenting his debates with anti-theist Christopher Hitchens on their promotional tour for the book "Is Christianity Good for the World?".

Monday 25 July 2011 - Craig Vincent Mitchell, an associate professor of Christian ethics for the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, says Breivik should "without a question" be given the death penalty for his crimes. To withhold the death penalty, he says, would "reduce the value of life."

"Human life is not like any sort of life. It is not to be compared to the life of animals or plants... because we are made in God's image," he explained.

Capital punishment is rooted in the Bible.

Genesis 9:6 says to shed the blood of those who shed blood because man is made in God's image and are therefore special. In Romans 13 the government is given the authority to "bear the sword" and punish evildoers.

Breivik, 32, confessed to bombing an Oslo building and shooting dozens of people at the Norwegian Labor Party's annual summer camp at Utoya island. He is depicted in aerial photos shooting campers at the water's edge, even as they begged for their lives. Victim accounts revealed Breivik also screamed he was going to kill them all.

Mitchell said of Breivik, "He shed the blood of those who did him no wrong so he has in fact murdered, and that should be punished."

Craig Vincent Mitchell is an associate professor of Christian ethics for the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. A full-time faculty member since 2002, he teaches courses in Christian ethics and philosophy of religion. He is also a research fellow for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Dr. Mitchell's PhD dissertation is titled Alvin Plantinga's Proper Functionalist Epistemology As A Model For Christian Ethics. His interests include Biblical ethics, Meta-ethics, political philosophy, hermeneutics, and epistomology.

The death penalty is about putting the proper value on the life of the victim. No, executing killers won't bring their victims back. Yet, the death penalty says to our society that the only true price that can be asked for the life of the victim is the life of the perpetrator. It says we value life so much that we can ask the ultimate price be paid for the ultimate crime committed. To do less diminishes the value of the victim's life and thus diminishes all of our lives. [Civilized society demands the death penalty Oct. 9, 2011]

Bryan Dahlke is the pastor of Fallsburg Baptist Church in Frazeysburg, Ohio.

First, all men and women are made in the image of God, and are therefore of great value in God's sight (Genesis 1:27). Capital punishment for the offense of murder was instituted after the Noahic flood, and reaffirmed in the Law of Moses (Genesis 9:6; Exodus 21:12). There are three lines of evidence which indicate that the New Testament also affirms the death penalty in extreme cases. First, there is no instance in the New Testament of any moral standard being abrogated. Second, the Apostle Paul affirms the right of civil authorities to administer capital punishment, stating that they do "not bear the sword in vain" (Romans 13:4). Third, although Jesus himself had ample opportunity to speak out against the death penalty, including his predictions of his own crucifixion, during his trials, and at other times, he did not do so.

We must remember that although God is full of love and grace, He also is perfectly holy and just. Interestingly enough, the Bible also affirms that each of us deserves the death penalty in the spiritual sense, but Jesus took that sentence for us, guaranteeing a place in heaven for those who believe in faith. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).  

James Moriello is the pastor of Firm Foundation Christian Church in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

Kevin DeYoung, pastor of University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Mich., tackles the questions as details on how the killing of bin Laden actually went down continue to emerge and continue to spark debate about the legality of it all.

The evangelical pastor contends that only God has the authority to take human life.

"But," he adds in his blog, "God has ordained that he should exercise that right through the power of the state." - What the Bible Has to Say on the Killing of Osama bin Laden Thu, May. 05, 2011 Posted: 06:54 AM EDT

Citing the New Testament passage Romans 13:4, the evangelical pastor identified governing authorities as God's servants to do good.

"The Navy SEALs that raided bin Laden's compound did not violate the sixth commandment (Thou shalt not kill) because, as the Heidelberg Catechism says, 'Prevention of murder is also why government is armed with the sword.' Surely, this was an instance where the U.S. military, by killing bin Laden, was acting in an effort to prevent more American citizens from being murdered." - What the Bible Has to Say on the Killing of Osama bin Laden Thu, May. 05, 2011 Posted: 06:54 AM EDT

From a biblical standpoint, DeYoung acknowledges that Jesus condemned private retaliation, vigilante justice and hatred. But he also stresses that the Gospels did not overturn the Jewish understanding that some warfare was justified.

Weighing in on the debate of whether bin Laden deserved to die, the Michigan pastor points to the Old Testament passage of Genesis 9:6: "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image."

"Capital punishment for murder is not an assault on the image of God, but a defense of it," he notes in his blog. "It is because human life is so precious, that the taking of human life needs to be punished so severely. The principle of 'eye for eye, tooth for tooth, wound for wound' (Exod. 21:23-25) was not a matter cruel and unusual punishment, but of controlled retribution as a means of protecting the community and valuing the dignity of human life." - What the Bible Has to Say on the Killing of Osama bin Laden Thu, May. 05, 2011 Posted: 06:54 AM EDT