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John Piper: What Makes it Alright for God to Kill Women and Children?

February 27, 2010
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4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 27, 2010 10:36 am

    I was greatly challenged by some of the statements made on that video, specifically when John Piper talks about Capital Punishment being consistent with Genesis and in line with God’s character. I feel that in the little time he was given, he could have put more emphasis on the New Covenant of grace as oppossed to law and Jesus’command to love our enemies. There is a very fine line between authority given by God to men to do and undo on earth, and man abusing that authority in the name of God. We all know where that has led us in the past.

    Statements like “Capital Punishment” is in line with God’s character, make me physically sick, because I can see the potential for evil to run with that and cloud the discernment of men with disastrous consequences. “Thou shall not kill” said the Lord.

    Whilst I respect John Piper, I have great unease in my spirit about the content of that video.

    What do you think?

  2. February 27, 2010 7:56 pm

    You said: “I feel that in the little time he was given, he could have put more emphasis on the New Covenant of grace as oppossed to law and Jesus’command to love our enemies. ”

    The way God loves is through justice being done. Loving your enemy involves justice, therefore capital punishment, being a just punishment for murder and other crimes against another human is absolutely loving. Loving your enemies does not mean forgoing consequences to devious actions… in fact loving your enemy most of the time involves rebuke, righteous indignation, punishment and in some cases capital punishment. Capital punishment is not the worst thing that could happen to someone. Hell is. Capital punishment is not a deterrent… it is punishment for a crime instituted in Genesis 9.

    Grace without justice is not Grace… what you are talking about is lawless anarchy… that is not Grace. Grace has cost and demands responsibility. The Graciousness of punishment is for the victim not the perpetrator of the crime. To simply let things slide would be a horrendous injustice to the victim… he would be victimized twice: 1. the criminal, 2. the unjust society which did not carry out the consequences for such crimes.

    You said: “There is a very fine line between authority given by God to men to do and undo on earth, and man abusing that authority in the name of God. We all know where that has led us in the past.”

    I would agree with this. I believe God agrees with this. When the Babylonians, under God’s direction, came into Judah and took them captive, killing some… Edom also used this time to put Israel down and kill and destroy… Babylon also took it too far… and God justly condemned them and they were punished for it. Man will and does take things too far, but everything is under God’s sovereign control so nothing happens without His say so. Therefore, when someone sins it is because God allowed it to happen… sometimes it is so God will justly condemn their actions and have the right to say to the criminal, “Guilty!” You should definitely listen to the sermon “Two Wills of God” by Matt Chandler in my box.net on the side of this blog site to understand God’s sovereignty over sin.

    You said: “Statements like ‘Capital Punishment’ is in line with God’s character, make me physically sick, because I can see the potential for evil to run with that and cloud the discernment of men with disastrous consequences. “Thou shall not kill” said the Lord.”

    Murder is wrong always… but killing is not wrong in every instance. If someone were to break into my house and try to take, rape, or kill my family… I would absolutely take their life. Would I want to do it? Absolutely not… it would kill me to have to, but I would because inside me is a greater will to see my family safe from harm than the death of the person inflicting that harm. The same goes for war… inside every just nation is a greater will to keep citizens safe from harm than the deaths of many who would be willing to inflict that harm (Hitler, Stalin, Achmadinijad, etc.).

    The motive within the heart is always what is in question: Does God act in bad motives when He executes judgment of death on people for the crimes they commit? No. Does God have the right to do with His world and universe as He wants? Yes. Is God just? Yes. Is God benevolent and Gracious? Yes. Does God exercise wrath when injustice takes place or sinful abomination takes place? Yes. Did God set up the nations and their governments? Yes. Does He give them the sword? Yes. Can man take it too far… yes. Will God vindicate and exercise vengeance on these circumstances? Yes. Where government and people fail, there is always justice done in the heavens to set these things right.

    Remember, death is not ultimate… the second death is. Ultimate is separation from God Himself – that is true death. This physical death is nothing compared to eternal death… where God will justly condemn and sentence the devils and the wicked.

    I believe life is precious. God believes life is precious… that is why He instituted the Death Penalty in the new and the old testaments…

    RAP

    • February 28, 2010 10:41 am

      I think that we agree on the core principles about justice, and the punishment for a crime, but I do not agree that killing someone for their crime establishes justice (with exceptional circumstances like the one you describe about a criminal coming into your house and attacking your family in a life threatening way). An eye for an eye simply puts us at the same level as the criminal. If we pay death with death, where is the mercy, compassion and forgiveness? How could anyone see the spirit of Jesus in us? What kind of witness would that be to the outside world? God alone is God, not us. I am all for prison sentences, but with the principles and reasoning that you give, where does that leave Jesus’s command to love our enemies? The whole New Testament seems to be thrown out of the window with some of your statements.

      Luke 6:27-36
      “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, [28] bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. [29] If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. [30] Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. [31] Do to others as you would have them do to you.

      [32] “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. [33] And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. [34] And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. [35] But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. [36] Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

      I am sorry but capital punishment is far, far removed from anything I can see in Jesus’ heart through these words. He did not exactly use the authority given to Him by God to avoid the suffering he went through. His voice calls us to pick up our cross and follow him. If we always pay evil with evil, where does that leave our cross?

      Thank you for letting me engage in this discussion

  3. February 28, 2010 2:47 pm

    Is Capital Punishment far from what Jesus would do? Is not Jesus God? Did He not instill Capital Punishment in both testaments of Scripture? Was He not the One who cursed all of mankind to the grave for Sin in both Eden and Romans?

    Balance is very important! If the Bible is God’s Holy Writ, then whatever Jesus does, the Father does and the Father assigned Capital Punishment in both testaments.

    Listen to this by Dr. Russell Moore: http://www.sbts.edu/MP3/henry/20071128MooreSagers.mp3

    Here is a good article found in Journal of Evangelical Theological Society that will also help substantiate that Jesus backed the death penalty: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3817/is_200009/ai_n8905844/

    Here is also a good article on the death penalty from CRT: http://www.equip.org/articles/the-ethics-of-capital-punishment

    Here is an article also about Jesus and CP from bible.org:
    http://bible.org/question/did-coming-christ-end-capital-punishment-set-forth-gen-96

    You see the Death Penalty as hatred… I see it as loving… It is loving because it makes life very valuable and also because we are created in the image of God… so valuable that people should be protected from criminals. This is why when someone murdered another in the OT, they were put to death.

    These articles are from people and organizations I trust. I didn’t just pull them out of the blue.

    RAP

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