Written by Kevin L. Howard   

Letter (#3 from Andrew) responding to article "Christians and Capital Punishment"




All I could really say after reading your response is, "Wow."  I never imagined that my intelligence and honesty would be criticized when I decided to respond to your article.  I tried to be civil in all my responses, and I'm sorry if I somehow insulted you without knowing it.  I tried to not speak too harshly in this e-mail, and I'm sorry if I do, but I am angry that you said my argument was unintelligent and dishonest.  Of course, I'm talking about my dismissal of the Romans 13 passage.  I'm conceding the unbiblical accusation, because how can I give a biblical reason to show why a Bible passage should be applied to modern times.  It's not like there is somewhere in the Bible that says Romans 13:1-5 is applicable from now until the end of the earth.  So, there is no way, but to give reasons that aren't biblical as to the applicability of Bible passages.  Going back to the unintelligent and dishonest accusations.  I don't understand how dismissing this passage is the easy way out, or why the easy way out can't be intelligent, honest, and biblical.  That just makes no sense.  I originally dismissed the passage because it makes no logical sense to support it in modern times.  Romans 13:1 says, "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God."  If you permit me to go back to Hitler, this passage, if applied, obviously shows that Hitler was established by God to be the authority in Germany.  I can say, that I truly do not want to believe in a God who establishes monsters like Hitler in high authority positions.  So, to me it's logical to see that our great and awesome God did not establish Hitler.  If we can't apply this passage to all situations in modern times, then we can't apply it at all.  This was my original problem with the passage.  I realized that if Paul didn't mean it for everyone in the future, then there must have been a good reason for him to tell the Romans.  This is why I turned to my professor for help on the historical context of the passage.  With the context given by my prof. and my logical assumptions, I dismissed the passage.  I, honestly, don't see how this dismissal is at all unintelligent, dishonest, or the easy way out.


But, if you do want to see something that is clearly unintelligent and dishonest because it is unbiblical, I would look at your own comments.  At the start of the James 2 section you say, "Your statement, '. . . since we are all equally as guilty of all sin . . .' misses the point of what I said in my last reply.  We aren't all equally as guilty of all sin."  If you had actually read James 2:10 you would see that it says, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it."  Also, I would like to add the fact that we are all sinners given by Romans 3:23 which says, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  Since we all have sinned, we all have stumbled at one or more points in the law.  So, given James 2:10, every sinner is guilty of breaking all of the law.  If every single person is a sinner, and we are all guilty of breaking all of the law, then I would conclude that this makes us all equal in guilt.  So, we are all equally as guilty of all sin.  That is easy to see if you would read James 2:10.  So, your response says exactly the opposite of what the Bible says.  If that is not unbiblical than I don't know what is.


Now, looking up to the John 8 section, I just want to say something about the Ananias and Sapphira passage from Acts 5:1-10 that you brought up.


You ask, "Was Peter acting in the spirit of John 8 as he brought the death sentence to them?  Why didn't God just let them live?  After all, wouldn't the compassion lesson that Jesus had taught in John 8 dictate this?"  I'm not going to try to guess at God's reasoning for killing those two.  If God wants to kill two people for whatever reason, then I will go along with it, and support it.  If God wants to come and kill everyone on Death Row right now, then I can't say anything to object.  He has His reasons and I"ll believe in Him and support Him.  This passage in no way shows that God likes or dislikes capital punishment.  This passage shows nothing about the state killing Ananias and Sapphira because the state didn't.  God did.  I will wholeheartedly approve of every execution that God wants to enact.  It is when the government is the one with the say in it, that I wholeheartedly disagree.


I think you actually said exactly what I believe in the next paragraph.

You said, "God utterly hates sin and will deal with it in the harshest terms one day."  God will deal with our sin in his own time.  We shouldn't try to take God's role by dealing with someone's sin before He deals with it.  That is not our place.  In fact we are called not to judge everyone else.  They are just as guilty of sin as you and me.


In conclusion, this is my last response to your comments.  I lost just about all respect I had for you when you end your comments with accusations and insults, which leads me to not want to respond to you anymore.  If you ask for someone's thoughts and opinions, which you did at the end of your article, you shouldn't insult their arguments later on.  All I wanted was to show you why I oppose the death penalty, and I'm sorry if I ever insulted you (even in this response, because I feel like I might have been too harsh).  I ask that you don't stoop to that level in future responses to your readers who just want a civil argument about your differences on whatever topic.



Andrew _________



My reply to Andrew's 3rd letter

(responding to my article "Christians and Capital Punishment")




You get the last word on this topic.  We obviously disagree on many things.


As to your character, I wasn't trying to hurt your feelings or insult you.  Sorry about that.





Letter #1 from Andrew

Letter #2 from Andrew

Christians and Capital Punishment