The Role of the Christian Church in the Debate over Death Penalty
The Christian Church is the historical conscience of nations throughout the global community and will continue to play an important part in the debate over the abolition of the death penalty. Arguably there are a variety of religious faiths both within and outside of Christendom but it’s evident that the Church has played a central role in the moral development of much of the world. As an instrument of the moral and social fabric of society in the West as well as in areas of the East the Church has earned the important and useful distinction as a moral compass in this debate.
The Church historically offers up seemingly contradictory voices as relates to the death penalty. one section of the Church believes strongly that the taking of another’s life, even in the case of capital crime, is wrong. The command to not kill is taken at face value and applied equally to those operating in private relations and to governments.
An equally convincing section of the Church believes that God’s justice demands that consequences follow actions. It is argued that cause and effect is a demonstrable law of existence in the universe and in the case of a person’s willingly and knowingly taking the life of another the consequence of forfeiting one’s own life is the appropriate consequence. This argument for the existence of the death penalty accepts the understanding of grace in the Old Testament as fulfilled in Jesus Christ but contends that consequences inevitably follow both good and bad actions. Christians here argue that death is an appropriate consequence.
The Christian Church is one of many voices in the debate over the validity of the death penalty but a very important and insightful one. It’s differing views are varying ways at looking at a complex issue.