Monday, November 26, 2007

To the Driver of the Red Minivan on Hwy 3W West of Ada This Morning…

…Yes, that was me driving the white Honda in the lane next to you—the guy wearing a suit and tie with my mouth wide open, my eyebrows arched, and my hands wildly gesticulating. …No, I was not having any sort of seizure or mental breakdown. Neither was I being stung by a hornet. …Actually, I was singing the bass part to "He Shall Purify the Sons of Levi" along with my CD of Handel's Messiah. …Didn't your mother teach you that it's not polite to stare, much less to point and laugh out loud? You're supposed to be operating a motor vehicle, for Heaven's sake! …As far as I'm concerned, anyone who can remain silent while listening to Sir Colin Davis's London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus sing about the Savior needs to examine herself to see whether she be in the faith. :-)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Baptists and Dissent

The idea of dissent as a virtue—whether a Baptist virtue or otherwise—is among the most nonsensical theories promulgated among mankind. Dissent is neither a virtue nor a vice, so far as its intrinsic properties go. Dissenting to pay your taxes is generally a vice. Dissenting to participate in a plot to assassinate the President is generally a virtue. The act of dissenting, in and of itself, is neither noble nor vile—'tis all in the subject matter of one's dissent. Dissent is a part of the Baptist story, but dissent is not a distinctive of Baptist identity (or if it is, it has often been a part of the darker side of our identity). Where dissent is laudatory in Baptist life, it is because Baptists were willing to take unflinching stands on matters that other people saw differently or deemed tertiary. Although dissent is not a Baptist distinctive, religious liberty is. Baptists are a people committed to religious liberty for all people. What is religious liberty? It is important to know, for false versions of this principle are seemingly omnipresent. Religious liberty is the conviction that the temporal sword ought not to be employed in strictly spiritual matters. So, unless it has to do with policemen, armed troops, vigilante mobs, judicial rulings, or legislative dictates, it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Baptist principle of religious liberty. Indeed, it was the conviction of our Baptist forebears that churches and associations had the obligation to govern their own affairs according to their doctrinal convictions. It was precisely because they wanted to be more strict WITHIN their own churches that they wanted the government to be less strict—nay, uninvolved altogether—in governing their churches from without. Those who made scruples over baptism and regenerate church membership, believing in a more restrictive purity in church membership, were the Baptist objects of state-sponsored persecution. Religious liberty enabled Baptists to form congregations composed only of those who did not dissent from their pursuit of obedience to Christ's commands. Certainly there is not the slightest scintilla of biblical witness for dissent as virtue. There are, however, volumes of evidence for the idea that the temporal sword ought not to be wielded in spiritual matters. There are two realms, typified by Roger Williams's idea of the "Two Tables of the Law." The Baptist position is not that spiritual matters ought not to be governed, but simply that the state has not the authority to govern them. Rather, that authority belongs solely to the church. The effect of course, is that every individual has liberty—if one differs with the governing decisions of one's church, one can leave it and join with (or even form) another church more to one's liking, and the church cannot invoke the powers of the state to stop it. Our commitment to religious liberty means that we believe it is the obligation of the government not to punish dissent over matters strictly dealing with one's relationship with God. Yet the biblical model is a church strictly and powerfully governed. I almost mentioned this in my earlier post about the death penalty—the early church not only wasn't opposed to the death penalty, but they also executed it themselves. But please note, they did it by exercise of the spiritual sword—the power of God—and not by the power of the government. The church that slays people for discrepancies in their contribution statements bears absolutely no resemblance to these modern-day coffee klatches so careful to tiptoe around matters that God has declared but people have relegated to tertiary status, but it also resembles not at all the church so spiritually weak that it must call upon soldiers or policemen to do its fighting for it. I'm thankful for the Baptist commitment to religious liberty. It reminds the government not to presume to take up authority that belongs to God alone. It reminds the church not to trust in chariots or horses. Let's not mutilate it into yet another postmodern exaltation of "diversity" over substance. We belong neither to pre-modern society, modern society, nor post-modern society. We are citizens of Heaven, and once we arrive there, dissent will be entirely a thing of our past. Thank you, Lord.

Getting Along

If you ever need to know anything about the Cancun, Mexico, airport, I'm your man. Our nation's embargo against the island nation of Cuba ensures that the journey to Cuba will always be interesting, in a boring sort of way (please note that I have never in my life set foot illegally upon the soil of Cuba, but have always followed the laws both of my nation and of theirs). One cannot sit at a computer in Dallas and purchase an airline ticket to Havana with one's Visa card. Travel through a third nation is usually required (although I did go once to Santiago from Miami), and purchase of the Cuba-bound ticket takes place after leaving the United States, and by cash. I like to go through Cancun. Spend the night at a cheap Mexican hotel, arrive at the airport first thing in the morning, wait for the ticket counter to open, wait for your religious work visas to come in by fax, pay for your tickets, check your luggage, clear security, and wait for your plane to come. It's all very simple. It also takes about six hours, most of it spent sitting, studying the people, shops, amenities, and ceiling tiles of the Cancun airport. As for me, I'd rather talk to somebody than look at ceiling tiles. Thus on the day in question I struck up a conversation with the older gentleman sitting just across from me. I'll call him Saul (not really his name). There he sat, Israeli passport in hand, waiting for exactly the same flight that we were taking. He was incredibly intelligent—I soon learned that he is the inventor of a revolutionary piece of technology that you all use every day (even if you don't know it). A famous man, stuck here with me in the Cancun airport with nowhere to go. Sounds to me like a great opportunity to present the gospel. It isn't that difficult to steer the conversation to faith when you're talking to an Israeli citizen. Saul was an atheist, but he had grown up in an observant Jewish household. Curious about this birthplace of my faith, I had several questions that I wanted to ask Saul: Suppose I'm an honest, hardworking, nonviolent, democracy-oriented, Jewish-state-supportive, Christian Palestinian…can I achieve citizenship in the State of Israel? Do you really think a two-state solution offers a viable hope for reconciliation in Israel? (Well, you get the gist of things.) We had a fascinating conversation for more than two hours while sitting out in the public concourse. I told him about my faith in Christ…told him what our team was going to Cuba to do. I told him about the gospel. We talked about the war-torn Middle East, and he gave me an insider's perspective (this guy had also invented several military-oriented devices). Then, the visas came in on the fax machine, security opened up, and my team went back into the gate area. In a few minutes, Saul also cleared security, walked into the gate area, sought me out, and sat next to me. Our conversation resumed. Saul eventually said, "The reason we have so many problems in the world is that Muslims, Christians, and Jews don't realize that they are all praying to the same God." "You mean, the One that you don't believe exists?" I smirked (not that I commend to you the idea of smirking as evangelistic technique). "Well, you've got me there," he replied, "but if these three great religions would acknowledge that they all serve the same God, then they would set aside all of this fighting." "Ah," I said, "you mean loosening our doctrine for the sake of peace?" "Precisely" "But you know, Saul, that doesn't work—never works," I answered. "Different varieties of Christianity realize that they are worshipping the same God, yet the Roman Catholic bunch spent centuries killing off people who believe like I do. Sunnis and Shiites worship the same God, yet they manage to hate and kill one another nonetheless. People kill one another because we are sinners, not because we are uninformed." But, I told Saul, there is another way. I explained to him the Baptist ideal of religious liberty. Within our church, we try to be all that God wants us to be. We believe that all people are sinners. We believe that Jesus has died to purchase our pardon. We believe that God has given us voluminous instruction in the Bible as to how we ought to worship and live—enough to keep a person busy for a lifetime pursuing growth as a Christian. We're zealous; we're passionate; we're strict sometimes; we fail often, but we will not water down what we believe to make it match how we sometimes act. However… …We believe that God has given no person the right to coerce another person's faith. "If I will not permit you to say no," I told Saul, "then your yes is meaningless." We will not convert people at the point of a sword or the tip of a gun. Rather, we put before people the gospel of Jesus Christ and we freely say with Him, "Let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost." "So you see, Saul," I concluded, "I do not concede that all people worship the same God. There is One God. He loves all people. He loves me. He loves you. He invites you to worship and serve Him. You face the choice. If you choose to accept Him and serve Him, you will be my brother. If you choose to reject His offer, that does not make you my enemy. I will have no urge to explode incendiary devices in front of your house. I will not berate you or disparage you. I will still enjoy your company and will still consider you my newest friend. But I will accomplish all of this without taking you into my church, embracing your atheism, or watering down at all what I believe and hold dear. I believe that strife comes from failing to do what the Bible teaches, not from being too strict about it. And I invite all people to join me in worshipping and serving the Prince of Peace." Saul did not receive Jesus that day. We visited for at least another two hours, and then our flight boarded. His concluding comments to me: "I visit with Rabbis and religious leaders in Israel all of the time. Their beliefs are much closer to mine than yours, which are a strange version of Christianity that I've never encountered before. Yet, for all of the distance that separates us, I feel much more comfortable talking about God with you than I ever have with anyone else." Those final words gave me hope that the end of our visit was not the end of God's work in Saul's life. When last I saw him, we were in Passport Control in Havana. Something apparently wasn't quite right with Saul's paperwork, and he was having trouble getting into the country. I continue to pray for Saul, remembering the spark of interest in his eyes, praying that God will visit Saul with His grace, and that when I see him hereafter, Saul's papers will be in order, and he will have no trouble at all getting in.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Camel and the IMB Contextualization Guidelines

At the recent IMB meeting in Springfield, IL, the board adopted five principles for contextualization. Having mulled over the principles for a few days and having read The Camel carefully multiple times (see series of articles summarized here), I proclaim it an obvious fact to any impartial observer that The Camel is in violation of the new IMB principles.

The first principle is a simple affirmation of the unique nature of the Christian Bible. I believe that the Camel's reliance upon the Qur'an to the near exclusion of the Bible could be construed as violation of principle one, but the Camel does not explicitly violate this first principle. The second principle poses greater problems for the Camel method.

We affirm that there is a biblical precedent for using “bridges” to reach out to others with the Gospel (Acts 17:22-23). The fact that Paul mentioned an aspect of the Athenians’ idolatrous worship was not a tacit approval of their entire religious system. He was merely utilizing a religious element of their setting (an altar to an unknown god) to connect with his hearers and bridge to the truth. Similarly, our personnel may use elements of their host culture’s worldview to bridge to the Gospel. This need not be construed as an embracing of that worldview. It should be noted that Paul not only used their system to connect, he also contrasted elements of it with the truth. Our evangelism must go beyond bridges to present the whole unvarnished truth of the Gospel (1 Corinthains 15:1-4). (HT: SBC Today)

The Camel is long on varnish and short on gospel. It fastidiously avoids the kind of contrast that Paul performed at Athens (see my earlier post on just this subject here). The Camel is just the kind of misapplication of Paul's work in Athens that is explicitly singled out in this principle as faulty.

The Camel is also at odds with the third principle.

We affirm an incarnational approach to missions that is bound by biblical parameters. Following the example of Him who became flesh (John 1:14), it is appropriate that our personnel continue to tailor their ministry to their setting. The Apostle Paul likewise embraced this approach, “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22b). We advocate the learning and appropriate utilization of language and culture. Constant vigilance is required lest contextualization degenerate into syncretism (1). Where linguistic categories and cultural mores are deficient, these must be challenged and corrected with biblical truth (2).

Note that footnote two deals with the use of the name "Allah."

For example, the theological construct represented by the term “Allah” in the Qur’anic system is deficient and unacceptable. However, the primary issue is not the term. The same name is used by devout Christians and it represents a sound, scriptural view of God. In fact, historically, the Christian use of “Allah” predates the rise of Islam. The missionary task is to teach who “Allah” truly is in accord with biblical revelation.

This footnote calls for the missionary to "teach who 'Allah' truly is in accord with biblical revelation" as an amplification to the idea that "[deficient linguistic categories and cultural mores] must be challenged and corrected with biblical truth. [emphasis mine]" Yet the precise core of the Camel method—that which makes it what it is—is the great care it takes not to challenge or correct Muslim notions about who Allah is. Rather, the Camel craftily suggests that the New Testament simply gives some additional information (sanctioned by Islam, no less!) to broaden the Muslim's understanding of Allah. The IMB offers a footnote about explaining who Allah is as an explanation of a proper situation calling for challenge and correction of false cultural ideas. To be in conformity with principle three, the Camel must incorporate a direct correction indicating that the Christian "Allah" is not the same as the Muslim Allah.

The fourth principle poses an additional hurdle for the Camel in its present adaptation.

We affirm both the sufficiency and unique nature of biblical revelation (2 Timothy 3:14-17). We deny that any other purported sacred writing is on a par with the Bible. While reference to a target group’s religious writings can be made as a part of bridge-building, care should be exercised not to imply a wholesale acceptance of such. [emphasis mine]

Yet the Camel says "I agree with what the Qur'an says about Mohammed" (see my post here), encourages the prospective convert to search the Qur'an as confirmation of the gospel message, and nowhere offers the slightest critique of the Qur'an in its authority, content, or any other thing. Surely one can presume that "[exercising care] not to imply a wholesale acceptance of [the Qur'an]," whatever that phrase might mean, means something other than doing absolutely nothing. Yet the Camel method does absolutely nothing to prevent the presumption that the "Isahi Muslim" is totally convinced of Quranic authority—indeed, the philosophical underpinning of the whole method is a presumption that everyone involved will affirm (even if dishonestly) the reliability of the Qur'an. The Camel violates principle four.

Finally, the Camel method is patently in violation of the last principle.

We affirm the need to be ethically sound in our evangelistic methodology (2 Corinthians 4:2). Becoming all things to all men in an incarnational approach does not necessitate an ethical breach. Jesus instructed his disciples to be as “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). We are to be wise in our bridge building. We are to be harmless in our integrity as we hold forth the truth ( 3).

Be sure not to miss footnote three.

Integrity requires, for example, that we not imply that a false prophet or a body of religious writings other then the Bible are inspired. There is a level of contextualization that crosses the line of integrity. Our Board has dismissed personnel who have refused counsel and deliberately positioned themselves beyond that line.

I have already demonstrated invincibly that the Camel dishonestly handles the question about what Christians believe about Mohammed (see my previous post here). Given the inclusion of the footnote, I do not see how anyone can come to any conclusion other than that the author of principle five had in front of him The Camel open to page 144 as he was penning this proscription. For anyone to suggest that the Camel might be compatible with principle five is to strain the limits of credulity.

Now that our trustees have given us these sound and godly principles, all that remains to be seen is what they and our IMB staff will do to correct an obviously aberrant missiological strategy in our midst—the Camel method.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thank You, Veterans

This Veterans Day I will not dilute the embedded video with any more commentary than a heartfelt thanks to our veterans, whatever toll their service has extracted from them. Explicitly, I honor those who have given their lives for the cause of freedom.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

An Analysis of Fosdick's "Shall the Fundamentalists Win?"

Perhaps the most eloquent oratory championing liberal Christianity is Harry Emerson Fosdick's 1922 sermon "Shall the Fundamentalists Win?" Fosdick himself is a fascinating character in history—one of the most engaging papers I ever heard in seminars dealt with Fosdick. Tonight I offer for your consideration my reflections upon a recent re-reading of Fosdick's magnum opus.

To keep up, you should really spend a few moments first to read "Shall the Fundamentalists Win?" I know that some of you won't bother, but if you don't read the sermon first, don't blame me if you have trouble keeping up within the body of my post.

It strikes me that Fosdick's opening strategy is to contrast "Fundamentalists" with the "evangelical churches." I had forgotten this from my earlier readings of the sermon. Fosdick was writing at a time when liberals were actually willing to own the name. He does unapologetically refer to liberalism within the body of the sermon. But his opening contrast is between "Fundamentalism" and the "evangelical churches," even before he refers to "liberal opinions." I hadn't realized that the roots of the strategy to mask liberalism as evangelicalism went back so far into history.

Liberalism is emphatically convinced that our moment in time is so consequential as to invalidate all that went before it. Consequently, it desperately postulates that Christianity cannot much longer endure except liberals be allowed to make it relevant. It is "the last generation" that has been enlightened to a "great mass of new knowledge." The tailoring of Christianity to update it with the latest fads of thinking is "indispensable to the Christian Church." Indeed, if Christianity is not immediately steeped in liberalism, then it will surely lose the newest generations, for no "man who is worthwhile" could ever be interested in a conservative church. Dr. Mark Dever has spoken recently regarding the link between liberalism and the quest for relevance. Dr. Dever is 100% right. "Shall the Fundamentalists Win?" is dripping with panic over the numeric decline that would surely follow the triumph of Fundamentalism. Of course, we who live eight decades after Fosdick preached this sermon know that precipitous decline actually came to those who heeded Fosdick, not to those who remained true to God's Word. Then again, perhaps in Fosdick's estimation most of those people aren't "worthwhile." In contrast, those who deny the virgin birth are people whom the church "needs."

Fosdick complained that the Fundamentalists were wrongly elevating non-essential (dare I say, "tertiary") ideas beyond the gravity that they deserved. The Fundamentalists were "driving in their stakes" around such trivia as the virgin birth of Christ, the inspiration of the Bible, the atonement, and the second-coming of Christ (not in what sequence Christ is coming back, but whether Christ is coming back). According to Fosdick, these things simply were not primary questions of doctrine.

Fosdick's clarion call, mind you, was simply for magnanimity in cooperation among Christian brethren. He was more than willing to cooperate with people who held to such a quaint notion as Christ's propitiatory death on the cross; they just weren't willing to cooperate with him. The sin of the Fundamentalists is their insistence that they "have the right to deny the Christian name to those who differ…on such points." Essentially, Fundamentalists simply aren't "tolerant." Fosdick worried that the Fundamentalist movement was causing problems on the "foreign field," where Fundamentalists were doing damage to the missionary cause.

Of course, Fosdick included the obligatory insinuation that the Fundamentalists are closet papists.

Fosdick closes the sermon by reiterating his two main points: Christians need a "tolerant, liberty-loving church," and Christians need to put aside the "quarreling over little matters" (the atonement, the Bible, the incarnation) in favor of the "main issues of modern Christianity" (the "great needs" of the world for "justice," which perhaps Fosdick could prompt the church to address through some sort of new covenant?)

Fosdick's sermon is poison. If you don't believe me, examine the corpses of "churches" that made a repast of his brew. It kinda makes you want to be careful what you swallow.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Measured Action by the IMB

I've heard many dissimilar rumors as to what would happen at the Springfield IMB meeting. In fact, I've heard similar rumors surrounding every trustee meeting at the IMB for the past year. Today we learn that the trustees of the IMB have censured Wade Burleson and have further restricted his participation in board functions for violations of trustee guidelines. I analyze these events as follows: First, for the past year I've heard many rumors as to what the trustees were planning to do at this meeting or that meeting to "deal with" the Burleson issue. The action taken by the trustees yesterday was far from the most severe remedy that I have heard. I have even heard people suggest that the trustees could unilaterally remove Burleson from their body. At one point, I even drafted a post decrying Burleson's removal as a violation of our polity, holding the post in waiting should the unthinkable ever occur. Having witnessed the tone of Burleson's recent posts, and suspecting that the climax of this drama might lie within this act and scene, I had that response ready to go today. I am so thankful that I did not have to post it. Only the Southern Baptist Convention can select our entity trustees. Thank you, IMB trustees, for respecting that important distinction and working within it. I appreciate the measured nature of your response. Second, I do not see how the Indianapolis convention can fail to take note of a formal censure adopted against a sitting trustee from one of our boards. This thing is coming to the floor in Indianapolis—they might as well go ahead and draw up a time-slot for it in the convention program. The trustees have taken what is (in my opinion) the strongest step that is within their power to express their dissatisfaction with Burleson's tenure on the board. Third, I have to wonder "Why now?" Criticism of IMB policies has been somewhat less strident on the Internet of late. I predict that phenomenon to reverse itself now. Was Burleson's recent criticism of the idea of life beginning at conception (and consequently, his next potential step away from yet another article of the Baptist Faith & Message) some sort of precipitating problem leading into this meeting of the board? Fourth, I predict that this event will initiate a spike in activity by all involved parties in the blogosphere. Fifth, I'm not nearly as interested in Wade Burleson's status as trustee on the IMB than the current status of the Camel method. I hope that we will have some opportunity in the near future (maybe the next meeting?) to hear that trustees have reviewed the contents of Kevin Greeson's book and are prepared to propose solutions to a problem that strikes to the heart of the gospel.

New Praisegod Research Poll

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Capital Punishment

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord."But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head."Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore, whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.

(Romans 12:14-13:4, NASB)

As the Supreme Court considers the concept of the death penalty, and as Christians find reason to contemplate the issue afresh, I find helpful these words from God's Word. Romans 13:4 asserts the relevance of this passage to the issue—Roman soldiers did not employ their swords to spank people with the flat of the blade; the sword was a tool of death. The government "does not bear the sword for nothing." John Wesley's notes on this verse state the matter plainly: "The sword - The instrument of capital punishment, which God authorizes him to inflict." Here Bro. Wesley is right-on-the-money.

Furthermore, the government wields the sword as a "minister of God." The executioner as someone "called to ministry"?! Not in the sense that we employ the phrase "called to ministry" these days, but literally, according to the Bible, yes, the executioner is a minister of God in a limited sense. Some will assert that the death penalty is contrary to the will of God. One cannot possess this view without contradicting Romans 13, where we read not only that God is not opposed to capital punishment, but that the state performs this action as an agent of God and in His stead.

Perhaps something of the rationale behind government-sanctioned capital punishment is revealed in this passage as well. There is a reason that I have included in the quotation those verses from Romans 12. Immediately prior to Paul's discourse on governmental punishment, he reminded the Roman believers of Christ's calling upon them to renounce vengeance. We are to "never pay back evil for evil to anyone." This statement is understandable, universal, and absolute. Yet, God does not call upon believers to abandon the hope for justice. Indeed, when we cease to care about justice, we have stepped away from the holiness of God. Vengeance is part of justice. We are not told that vengeance isn't right; we are told that vengeance isn't ours. Rather than taking our own vengeance, we are instructed to "leave room for the wrath of God," knowing that God has promised in His Word, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay."

Summarizing up to this point: We are to get out of the vengeance business entirely, confident not that vengeance is unnecessary, but that God will deal out vengeance served in helpings of His own wrath."

Then, in the very next paragraph, Romans 13:4 tells us that this sword-wielding government is "a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath." God, who has promised to avenge evil in our place, has committed some portion of that task to government. This is the sense in which government is God's minister—God, through the agency of human government, metes out reward to those who do what is right and vengeance to those who do what is wrong. Of course, the ultimate reward and the ultimate retribution occur directly from God's hand in eternity, but some partial measure of justice God has chosen to dispense here and now.


  • Vigilante justice is not justice at all. Earthly justice ought only to be rendered by duly authorized institutions of God (parents, government, etc.). Part of the function of penal systems in general and capital punishment in particular is to forestall vigilanteism.
  • To the degree that government punishes those who do right or fails to punish those who do wrong, it has deviated from its Divine design. To the degree that it does more than establish justice (within its borders through the policing forces and beyond its borders through the military), it reaches beyond its primary purpose.
  • In a democracy, we find ourselves in a situation unaddressed by the book of Romans and the New Testament—Christian believers who also are the government. The Old Testament does, however, address the idea of God's children in the magistracy. In the Old Testament, God expected governmental leaders to punish wrongdoers through the force of the state, including capital punishment.
  • Capital punishment is a positive biblical ordinance in both testaments.
  • The difference between criminal actions ("The State of Texas v John Doe") and civil actions ("Bart Barber v John Doe") is the difference between Romans 13 and 1 Corinthians 6, between Romans 13 and Romans 12, between the state seeking vengeance for the sake of justice and me seeking vengeance for the sake of myself.