For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.
It's a good thing Saul wasn't executed for murdering Christians or we wouldn't have Saint Paul. Vengeance is Mine, says the Lord.
I cannot support capital punishment. As long as one has breath there is hope. I support prison reform, life sentences and prayer and to leave the giving and taking of life to the Creator.
I don’t think it’s a fair assumption to state that all Christians believe this way. Or to assume that. I’m new to the website, so I hope I’m going about adding my two cents the right way. I do not believe in the death penalty. I also wouldn’t say that I’m supportive of war. War has been around since the Biblical times and will always be around, and if we could live in a world without it, I think most people, Christian or not, would prefer that it be that way. We have to fight to defend our country. I’m not going to get all political here, but I think that sadly, in our fallen world, war is necessary. As for the death penalty, I don’t understand why people support it myself. We were given a clear command when it comes to killing — “Thou shall not kill.” — and that’s where it ends. There is no “unless”, so this is something that I try to look at as the laws of the land and I can have my own opinion on it, and if I were given the opportunity to vote or do anything to change it I would, but as it stands I have no control over it so I just pray for our leaders and our judges etc., that they will make the decision that God would want them to make. I hope my answer gives some insight, as it’s not really fair to say that Christians believe this or that because we are all individuals, and unless it’s something that the Bible gives as a law, it isn’t fair to assume that “we” believe it. ♡
I agree Christian views are not monolithic, but I do want to clarify:
When it comes to the ten commandments the phrase is "Though Shall not Murder" - not thou shall not kill. If any killing at all violated this commandment, then God would have ordered the Israelites to break His own law over and over in the Old Testament. Furthermore, God instituted Capital punishment into the Israelite legal code - something which would have been impossible if capital punishment was against His very nature.
The Hebrew tir·tzach (Deut 5:17) means to murder/slay, often with premeditation. The Greek word phoneuó (Matt 19:18) mean unjustified homicide. Neither term is as generic as killing.
Kaila Ramesh, I'm with you 100%. A lot of things changed in the Bible, including what is or is not clean to eat. I believe we are not to kill or commit murder, and taking a life via the death penalty is murder, plain and simple. People can argue semantics all they want, many words and intents changed through the years as our understanding and interpretation of languages evolved. It seems so easy for Christians to justify taking a life when it suits them yet it's so repulsive to them to take a life when it doesn't. God will be the ultimate judge, too many have been murdered by humans who never gave their victim a fair and honest trial. And why do some get the death penalty while others who commit the same violation get five years? Until there is a more just system to punish all alike, I will be a double-hater of the death penalty. I've never killed anyone and I surely will not cast stones and become a killer--the very thing Christians (and others) crow against. Who is better? Both are killers and murderers. It's actually quite simple, people make it sound difficult in order to justify their own vengeful hearts. I don't think God will say "Oops, you got the interpretation wrong, but it's okay if you used it to kill another innocent (or not) child of mine--here's a pass". God save us all.
Kelly I agree with you. I think the confusion about what a "christian" thinks of the death penalty is due to faulty "christian science."
I was raised by two of the best people to ever have kids. My dad was a pastor and my mom sang in the choir and was head of the youth department. I and my two brothers don't remember life before church.
Growing up, I did not believe that Jesus was alive, that He was the Son of God, that He was born of a virgin, could walk on water, heal the infirm, turn water to wine, or raise the dead. The whole story sounded like a fairy tale to me. I believed stealing, violence, hatred, selfishness, adultery, fornication, were all wrong ways to live. I was taught to be respectful and gracious. Mistreating people was wrong to me.
My parents taught us all the right things and those teachings still guide me to this day. They told me that Jesus was a Savior and it didn't register for me, I'm happy to report. My parents didn't save me, Jesus did much later in my life.
When I got born again my political beliefs didn't become "christian political beliefs." What changed for me was my knowledge of the truth about Jesus. I also noticed I had a keener conscience than before. I regret not loving everybody, but I haven't figured out how to love people who clearly want me to not love them. It never bothered me before. Killing and stealing was always wrong. Not caring for my enemies made sense to me then; it doesn't now. My heart changed, not my political beliefs.