Biblical justice for baby-murderers
Patrick Johnston, D.O.
(Christian Gallery News Service, Sept 18, 2002) "Will ye pollute Me among My people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save souls alive that should not live...?" Ezekiel 13:19
Nature and the God of nature have seen to it that a great curse lies upon nations where injustice is practiced, and nations that do justice are blessed with peace. The Bible says that the killing of the innocent brings a curse upon the land and its people. It also says that the curse can only be lifted by executing the shedder of innocent blood. There, I said it! I admitted that I believe the unthinkable truth of God's Word! The curse of innocent blood can only be removed by shedding the blood of the shedder of innocent blood! It's an indictment on the church that one can quote a Scripture and most professing Christians will accuse that one of being unloving and un-Christian.
According to God's law, baby-killers (abortionists) should die, and if they aren't executed then our nation will be! If murderers aren't killed by doers of justice, then the curse of innocent blood rests upon us.
The rebuttal comes, "Turn the other cheek", "Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven", "Love your enemy", and "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord."
These passages are indeed reconcilable with the concept of justice aforementioned. Romans 12:19 says, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay." Certainly, as Rom.12:19-21 and the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 teach, we have an obligation to be slow to judge and quick to forgive, to have a merciful, generous, and longsuffering disposition toward those who offend us; in short, to be morally perfect like God (Matthew 5:42). You may forgive someone who is killing you, but you have no obligation nor right to forgive someone who kills someone else. You may even forgive a thug who is raping you, but you have no right to forgive one who is raping a little baby to death with a sharp surgical instrument while he is yet in his mother's womb! In light of the victims on his dock he's planning on murdering the next day, letting him live may be the most UNLOVING thing our nation could possibly do! Murderers should be executed according to God's Word, our refusal to hold a personal grudge and willingness to feed our enemy when he's hungry notwithstanding.
The principle of civil justice is reiterated in the N.T., quite noticably only three verses after Rom.12:19. See chapter 13, verses 1-7, and see that rulers wield "not the sword in vain, for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." Vengeance is the Lord's, and he delegates authority to exact that vengeance upon whomsoever He will! He endues that power to men, according to the Scriptures. Our leaders are not fulfilling their God-ordained (Rom.13:1-2) obligation to thrust the sword of justice into evildoers, and citizens, the constituents, the voters, the activists, the Christian church at large (half of those who get abortions are professing evangelical Christians) are passively inept, and therefore, we are under a curse and we deserve it. Jesus also affirmed the death penalty, specifically, in Matt.15:3-9, and indirectly in Matt. 5:17-19, and Matt. 23:2-3.
Justice in the fashion of God's criminal justice system as revealed in the Bible may be the most compassionate thing not just for the victims and the would-be victims, but for the criminals as well! Look at the criminals suffering on the cross next to Jesus! Capital punishment had a 50% conversion rate on that day! A planned execution has a way of humbling a man and making him think about eternity. Capital criminals are much more likely to repent and be saved if they know they're going to die in the morning. Furthermore, less people will become capital criminals tomorrow with such a disincentive. Capital punishment = less capital crimes! That's good not only for the would-be victims, but also for would-be capital criminals who would be effectively discouraged from acting out their lust to the detriment of their neighbor.
A common view of government today is that the government is some all-powerful institution that has the power to make law and violate law as they so choose, and that citizens are obligated to be subject to them regardless of what they dictate, just because the majority of us voted them into power. This is an unbiblical view of government. We are to render unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar, and unto God that which belongs to God, but we are NOT to render unto Caesar that which belongs to God. No way! The deification of Caesar is idolatry, and incompatible with a working faith and submission to King Jesus. Jesus is the highest power, and He ordains "higher powers" (Rom.13:1-2) to certain obligations, and He places limitations upon their rights. When a government official or a politician in power usurps power that which God has not granted him, or violates the God-given rights of his subjects, he has become anti-christ, criminal, tyrannical, and illegitimate to that extent.
John Locke said in his Second Treatise on Government, Chapter 18, Of
The government is not "them" and we are "they" - no, the government and its citizens are made of the same cloth. We're all people, made in the image of God with the same moral obligation, summed up in loving God supremely and our neighbors equally. The government may not do to the people what the people themselves may not do to each other, for the people comprise the government, and the government represents God's and the people's interest in the promotion of peace and justice, and is obligated to lawfully promote their good by leaving them free and making others leave them free. (Frederic Bastiat's classic work, "The Law", provides the philosophical underpinnings of this Biblical idea.) When our ruler usurps authority that has not been granted him, trespasses the boundaries that God has placed upon him, and endorses injustice against those within his jurisdiction, we may respond to him, under God's blessing, just as we may respond to a foreign mercenary who violently ousted our leader and declared himself our ruler thenceforth. Of course, as delineated in the Declaration of Independence such actions are resorted to after much longsuffering and the exhaustion of lesser means.
Very often in the Bible, when Israel is under tyrannical rule, it was a single man (or woman) a "Judge" (hence the book's title, Judges) that rose up and did justice among the people, and then God granted deliverance from tyranny (deliverance from the "curses" of their transgression). This Judge was not democratically elected, he was not of the lineage of a monarch, - indeed, Gideon was of the least tribe and “the least in his father’s house”. They were just God's men who did right where there was wrong, who executed justice where there was injustice, in deference to God's law and in opposition to man's, and the mantle of authority was theirs.
In God's law - and that's our rule for conduct, not man's law - in God's law, it was the people who did justice. If two or three witnesses saw a crime being committed, such as murder, then they brought out the murderer to the public square, and the witnesses were the first to throw the stones. There was no democratically elected politician or judge consulted as to whether the accused was guilty or not. The services of a Levite, who sat in the seats of civil judgment, only became necessary when a murderer fled to a city of refuge, or in difficult cases. In the Bible, the people did the justice. That's God's way, and that's the best way. In our system of government, we have the misimpression that "they" do the judging and "we" are to do the forgiving, but this is not Biblical. We are to be like God, who judges, and we are to be like God, who extends mercy. God judges the impenitent, and extends mercy to the repentant. God commands men to judge, and He commands men to extend mercy. Wisdom and knowledge of God's Word help us to discern what to do when. Speaking forth the wisdom of God's criminal justice system may be a prerequisite to God raising up one into places of power to execute and punish criminals in accordance with God's law. (I'll be running for Pres. in 2012!)
Commonly, the protest will be heard that Jesus did not execute the woman caught in the act of adultery, in John 8. As a matter of fact, Jesus did tell those holding the stones to throw them, if they themselves were not guilty of any crimes! "Cast the first stone!" he ordered to "him that is without sin". This was no new concept - the God of the Old Testament also forbade hypocritical judgment. Convicted in their own consciences, the stones dropped to the ground and Jesus was left alone with the woman. "Where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you?", to which she responded, "No man, Lord." She didn't justify her sin, and confessed Christ to be Lord. He then forgave her on condition of her repentance: "Neither do I condemn you: go and sin no more." First of all, this was no great new dispensationalist way to deal with penitent sinners. God forgave repentant capital criminals in the Old Testament, too (King David, murderer of Uriah and adulterer with Basheba). Secondly, it would have been unlawful for Jesus to put her to death even if she was still impenitent. Executions were to take place publicly and the witnesses were to be the first to put her to death - the witnesses had left and Jesus was alone with the woman. Furthermore, Leviticus 20:10 says, "And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death." The Pharisees claimed that the woman was caught in the act, so where was the man?! One of the Pharisees’ sin was NOT executing God’s judgment properly! So the law of Moses did not demand her execution in this instance and Jesus, therefore, did not neglect it by pardoning her on condition of repentance. I conclude, therefore, that this passage does not undermine, but rather affirms God's criminal justice system.
The rebuttal comes forth that executing murders is murder in and of itself. That is foolish. Killing a murderer isn't "murder" any more than arresting a kidnapper is "kidnapping". Arresting kidnappers and executing capital criminals is enforcing the law, not breaking it. One simply requires an education on God's criminal justice system to see the superiority of theism over humanism. Biblical theism's got humanism beat hands down with regard to criminal justice! Humanism says to imprison the thief, give him three square meals a day, basketball courts and weight benches, free libraries and lawyers, keep him cool in summer and warm in winter, and send the taxpayer, the law-abiding victims, the bills for groceries and the rent! God says that the thief should pay back to the victim four to five times the value of the object stolen. Twice the value if he turns himself in! (God's law encourages criminals to turn themselves in.) This way, the criminal is released back to care for his family, and the victim is appeased. I could keep going, right down the list of crimes. God's way of dealing with crime is much better than autonomous man's.
Reject God's criminal justice system, and you're left with humanism. When a democratic consensus can dismiss the penalty for a crime, they can just as well dismiss the crime and call it "legal." God's way to deal with crime is best. I'm not embarrassed to say what the punishment for the crime is anymore than I'm embarrassed to admit that child-killing is a crime! Abortionists should be killed, so that the innocent may be defended and the curse of innocent blood be lifted off our land. God's way is loving and brings blessing, autonomous man's way is unloving and brings God's curse.
"If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not: doth not He that pondereth the heart consider it? and He that keepeth thy soul, doth not He know it? and shall not He render to every man according to his work?" Proverbs 24:11-12
EDITORIAL POLICY: Due to the grave, life and death, nature of the subject of this article, I intend to publish relevant reader feedback to the contents of this article in an attempt to avoid any appearance of injustice in the presentation of this material. [Neal Horsley]
Interesting piece. I do want to express one concern, however. Patrick Johnson has a website where he publishes prolifically. This piece is a lightening rod and I have to question why he asked others to publish it on their own sites (he sent me the same request) instead of putting it on his own, asking for links and then taking the heat it will generate. He hints at individual vigilantism in this piece, and elsewhere he has written on the idea of the Phineas-avenger. For those of us who desire the execution of abortionists, but believe that the duty to do so is invested in the lawful magistrate (per Romans 13), vigilantism is not on the table; as a practical matter, promoting individual retribution gives the lawful magistrate cause to come after pro-lifers. Further, I have observed that those who talk it up most are satisfied to stir up the issue, criticize Christians for "not doing anything" and then grabbing headlines when some individual decides the logical consequence of this line of argument requires him to become a shooter. The talkers never take up the gun themselves, of course. Also, from his website, he holds non-Orthodox views on the Trinity (although he won't spell out what they are). This kind of spreading questions about orthodox doctrine and trying to plant seeds of vigilantism in others people's gardens (but not his own) makes me very cautious about who I am dealing with.
The subject matter is very important. Much of biblical argument is right on. But the whole package doesn't sound right to me (and I could be wrong). I just don't want to see you loaded down with more attacks for someone else's ideas.
Doctor Johnston's Reply to comments above:
In my response to your critique, I will be placing my article on my website in the near future. I have not done so yet because I do not presently have a webmaster and don't know how to do it myself.
Although you claim that I hint at "individual vigilantism", I want to reiterate the fact that all I did was teach what the Holy Bible says about criminal justice. That's all. It appears to me that you've got a problem with what the Bible says about crime and how it should be punished, and favor a democratic consensus or or [sic] what the Supreme Court says or what is politically correct over the plain teaching of God's Word on the matter. When the Supreme Court contradicts the Supremest Court, whose side do you take? As I said, if you reject the authority of God All-mighty and His Word on criminal justice, you are left with humanism by default. If you think you have not rejected God's Word on this issue, but only my interpretation of it, I would appreciate an alternative, contextual explanation for the proof texts I have cited.
Lastly, my position on the Trinity is orthodox and on my website you can read my article, which refutes the UPC's "oneness" doctrine as well as the Jehovah Witness' and Mormon's heresy that Jesus is not deity.
Patrick Johnston, D.O.
THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO SHINE THE LIGHT YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN. THIS SUBJECT MUST BE DISCUSSED AND STUDIED AND CONCLUSIONS REACHED. BECAUSE THE JUSTICE WE ESTABLISH OR FAIL TO ESTABLISH WILL DETERMINE THE HISTORICAL DESTINY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA JUST AS SURELY AS THE SAME SUBJECT DETERMINED THE HISTORICAL DESTINY OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE.