Letter to the Editor: Jan. 1, 2016

Another view on capital punishment

[In response to the commentary “As state wrestles with death penalty, a call to remember redemption” by the Rev. Stephen Copley, Nov. 6 issue]

The issue of capital punishment has been debated for many years in Methodist circles. Belief for or against capital punishment is not an essential to the faith. So Christians can and do disagree on the subject. However, I respectfully disagree with my liberal friends. We Methodists start with Scripture. So what does the Bible say?

Some have contended that capital punishment is wrong because it violates the Sixth Commandment. But the Hebrew word translated “to kill” in the Decalogue is “rasah.” It really means “thou shall not murder.”

What does the crucifixion mean in terms of this discussion? As we read the Passion narrative, there is no evidence that Christ used this chance to abolish the death penalty. In Luke’s version, we find the penitent thief admitting, “For we are receiving the due rewards for our deeds.” In this case redemption wasn’t perverted, but enhanced by capital punishment, because Jesus promised him a special place in paradise. My liberal friends get their words confused. A reprieve comes from the governor. It is temporary. Redemption is from God and it is forever. Capital punishment is the last resort of a just society.

Rev. Roger E. Glover
Mt. Carmel UMC Benton


 

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