I find pacifism to be a difficult stance to maintain in light of the modern world. I do find the death penalty to be difficult to maintain in light of the tension of putting potentially innocent people to death. That tension drives me to maintain some sense of neutrality on the issue. For those of you who know me, I don't always end up in neutral territory (my thoughts on final punishment or women in ministry), so please don't take my neutrality as a lack of courage or insight. I'm simply quiet on the issue because, well, I don't know enough and I don't feel comfortable taking sides in such a complex issue.
That said, enjoy the discussion. I did. Well. I kinda did.
The death penalty was explicitly grounded in the fact that God made every individual human being in his own image, and thus an act of intentional murder is an assault upon human dignity and the very image of God.Roger Olson:
In the simplest form, the Bible condemns murder and calls for the death of the murderer. The one who intentionally takes life by murder forfeits the right to his own life.
I find Mohler’s defenses of capital punishment weak at best. The Old Testament “clearly calls for” many things—including capital punishment for a broad range of offenses including adolescent rebellion against parents. Certainly for idolatry. Does Mohler think we, as a whole society, should then expand the death penalty for all the offenses for which it is called for in the Old Testament? I doubt it. That makes his appeal to the Old Testament extremely weak.
Mohler seems to believe that IF the Bible calls for something American government should practice it. That’s a huge leap off the pages of the Old Testament to modern, secular government. He speaks disparagingly of secular government. Does he want a return to theocracy? If not, he should explain how his argument is consistent with a rejection of “Christian Reconstructionist” theocracy.--Nick