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-NAE: Evangelicals Divided Over Capital Punishment

by Dr. D ~ October 21st, 2015


A new resolution from the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) recognizes that there is now a division among Evangelical Christians when it comes to capitol punishment. The membership in the NAE includes 40 conservative Christian denominations and over 45,000 local congregations in the USA. Here’s the story from the Blaze:

The board of directors for the group approved a “Capital Punishment” resolution on October 15 that takes into account the diverse views that many evangelicals hold on the death penalty, abandoning a previous policy that was exclusively supportive of capital punishment.

“[Evangelicals] differ in their beliefs about capital punishment, often citing strong biblical and theological reasons either for the just character of the death penalty in extreme cases or for the sacredness of all life, including the lives of those who perpetrate serious crimes and yet have the potential for repentance and reformation,” it reads. “We affirm the conscientious commitment of both streams of Christian ethical thought.”

It’s essentially a middle-ground approach to an increasingly contentious issue in Christian circles of late, especially considering growing concerns about judicial errors that sometimes lead to false convictions.

<Read the while article>

Response: Traditionally most evangelical Christians have supported capitol punishment citing the Bible. This new resolution from the NAE board reflects a change on this issue among a growing number of evangelicals particularly among pastors and theologians who now believe that capitol punishment should be opposed by those who are pro-life demonstrating a more consistent stand that is fully supportive of the worth of all persons including the living and the unborn.

In many ways I believe that this shift is response to the liberal pro-choice criticism that many conservatives who are against abortion and claim to be pro-life are actually hypocrites since so many of them support capitol punishment.

Over the years, most evangelicals have not been bothered by that accusation since most believed that they were merely supporting the Bible. However the strong emphasis of the teaching of ‘grace’ along with forgiveness among conservative Christians has begun to affect a change among many evangelicals towards extending mercy even to those who may deserve capitol punishment.                *Top

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