Is Capital Punishment Christian? by Dr. J. Vernon McGee


The sixth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13), has no reference to governments at all. I have checked the work of several Hebrew scholars, and they agree that a more accurate translation is, “Thou shalt not murder.” It has nothing in the world to do with government but is a commandment given to individuals. And for the breaking of that commandment, God said to the government of that day that they were to execute the one guilty of murder. In fact, God made stoning the method of capital punishment in that day.

Now, the liberal church entered the fray by declaring that capital punishment is unchristian. Liberalism is always out in left field.

It has a hang-up on everything that is off and odd. It began quite a campaign to get rid of capital punishment, saying that it was pagan and heathen, a relic of the Dark Ages, that it was not Christian, and that the Bible did not teach it. As a result, most church members were brainwashed, and I suppose that at that time the majority believed that capital punishment was unchristian and that the Bible opposed it. If a poll were taken today, I am confident that most church members in this country would still oppose capital punishment.

But what does the Bible actually say? Is capital punishment Christian, or is it unchristian? The Ten Commandments dictate: “Thou shalt not kill.” But does that apply to capital punishment carried out by governments? Dr. McGee turns to both the Old and New Testaments to find the answer.



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