by Dr. J. Vernon McGee

Is Capital Punishment Christian?
Dr. J. Vernon McGee

Whoso sheddeth man's blood,
by man shall his blood be shed;
for in the image of God
made he man. (Genesis 9:6)

In the months leading up to the execution of Caryl Chessman
back in 1960, the question of capital punishment became the
prime issue. It was not a question of his guilt or innocence. He
was tried, convicted, and sentenced for very brutal and sadistic
crimes. The governor of California at that time did not believe
in capital punishment and wanted to get rid of it in his state.
A great many, of course, agreed with him in that position.
The beatniks (forerunners of the hippies), naturally, were opposed
to capital punishment. In fact, one beatnik carried a
placard at that time which, I think, expressed the hypocrisy of
those who were attempting to defend this criminal. It read:
"JESUS SAID, 'THOU SHALT NOT KILL.'" Now that is the first time
that any of them had ever manifested any interest in what Jesus
said or in anything that is Christian! Jesus also said, "Ye must be
born again," and when any person meets that requirement, then
he can carry a placard that reads, "Thou shalt not kill" - provided
he tells it like it is.
The sixth commandment, "Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13),
has no reference to governments at all. I have checked the work
of several Hebrew scholars, and they agree that a more accurate
translation is, "Thou shalt not murder." It has nothing in the
world to do with government but is a commandment given to
individuals. And for the breaking of that commandment, God
said to the government of that day that they were to execute the
one guilty of murder. In fact, God made stoning the method of
capital punishment in that day.
Now, the liberal church entered the fray by declaring that capital
punishment is unchristian. Liberalism is always out in left field.
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man because he has committed a crime for which he should be
executed. But one o ...

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