Irreverent musings: a devil’s advocate for the death penalty

The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) has revised its resolution on capital punishment to account for evangelicals who oppose the death penalty. CT covered the story by declaring that evangelicals are “now officially divided on [the] death penalty.”

Setting aside the strength and weaknesses of either position, arguments like this are begging the question:

“As Christ taught throughout his ministry, no one is ever beyond redemption,” wrote a group of eight evangelicals, mostly pastors, who asked Nebraska to end the death penalty. “Yet the death penalty risks cutting short the process of redemption in the lives of those imprisoned.”

Enter the devil’s advocate:

  1. Did Christ really teach that no one is beyond redemption? (Mat 23:29-33; Mk 3:28-29; Jn 17:12)
  2. Is it possible to cut short God’s process of redemption? Is redemption ever thwarted because a man dies before God can finish his work? (Psa 139:16)
  3. Couldn’t the death penalty speed up the “process of redemption”? If a man has any inclination to settle his account with God wouldn’t he be more apt to do so prior to his “date certain” death? (Luke 23:39-43)

Just sayin’.*

*The author is hereby immune from any criticisms, especially those that would cast doubt on his Christian bona fides. Further, he has no obligation to respond to niggling comments, counterarguments, or cross-examination although he welcomes feedback. -The Administrator

Study in confusion

Beware doctrinaire campus ministry!

A CT report on a new study from Lifeway Research offers a rather dismal snapshot of current evangelical thinking. The study, which examined the nation’s attitudes toward campus ministries’ faith requirements, surveyed 1,000 Americans. Among the reported findings:

  • Respondents were asked “Should student religious organizations, recognized by publicly funded colleges, be allowed to require their leaders to hold specific beliefs?” 51% of evangelicals said yes, 44% said no.
  • When the same question was asked about student groups at private institutions 60% of evangelicals answered yes, while 36% said no.

So almost half of evangelicals think it’s a bad idea to require ministry leaders on a public campus to hold the doctrinal views of the organization they represent. And more than a third wouldn’t hold ministry leaders to doctrinal standards even at a private institution.


What do we make of these findings? I have three potential conclusions:

  1. The term evangelical has become so broad as to be almost meaningless. (i.e. evangelical has more to do with a certain culture than a set of convictions)
  2. evangelicals are weary (and wary) of being labeled haters & bigots when they allow their doctrine to divide (wherever that dividing line is drawn)
  3. evangelicals are buying into the notion that faith has no place in the public square

Whether you agree or disagree, feel free to discuss.

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