Downsville Cob

Welcome to the Downsville Church of the Brethren BLOG site. The church is located in Downsville, MD. We are a conservative Christian community lifting up the Name of Jesus daily.

Location: Downsville, Maryland, United States

I am the Pastor of the Downsville Church of the Brethren. This BLOG was set up to allow for interchanges of views, questions, ideas or suggestions concerning the Evangelical Church. While I am a Pastor in the Church of the Brethren all faiths are welcome to join the discussions.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Death Penalty Thoughts

Lately many men and women condemned to die in prisons here in the United States have been arguing that lethal injection, the preferred method of execution in most states, is too painful. What we hear is their cries for relief from the possibility of suffering. Many of these inmates committed unspeakable crimes - causing extreme pain and prolonged suffering to their victims and the families who are left behind.

The human side of me wants to scream "SO WHAT?" Should we as a society be looking into "kinder, gentler" ways to kill these people? Maybe we need to bring back gas chambers and electric chairs. What's wrong with hanging or the firing squad? How can a country that spends billions of dollars on video games, where killing another is the point, object to firing squads?

The death penalty as carried out by the state has several problems. First, it fails to stop others from committing the same crime. Secondly, by the time the execution takes place many years have passed and most of those who might be deterred pay no attention. It turns out to be too little, too late. If it isn't a deterrent then what purpose does it serve? Is vengeance a good enough reason to kill someone?

What was God's plan? Exodus 20:13 - "You shall not murder. " seems clear enough. Yet, in Exodus 22:18 He tells us, "Do not allow a sorceress to live." What is the difference here? Is it that we are not personally to kill someone but the authorities have the right?

Again, let's look at God's original plan. Stoning was a community effort - not the governments - carried out immediately. When one was found to have violated the LAW of GOD (see John 8 - the woman who had committed adultery was brought to Him for condemnation) the entire community gathered to participate in the stoning (See also Acts 7:54-60 - the Stoning of Stephen). Would anyone argue that stoning was anything but "cruel and unusual"?

This is how capital punishment was designed under the LAW - immediate and personal. Yet, Jesus proclaims that He has come to fulfill the LAW (Matthew 5:17). Does this mean we are to take capital punishment back many centuries and carry it out ourselves? Not according to Jesus. If you continue to read further in Matthew 5 you will see that we are called to stand above - to be ready to forgive. So much for the human side of me.

Capital punishment seems like such a simple issue. If only one innocent person is saved from execution it is worth stopping the practice. More to the point, though, we Christians are called to make this a better world by our actions here. We are also called to lead those who commit murder to repentence so that they can spend an eternity with God.

If we carry out the Great Commission we might be able to stop some from turning down the road that leads them to kill another. In today's news I read of a man in Alabama who threw all 4 of his children off a bridge to certain death. In today's news I read of a drifter in Georgia who killed a hitchhiker. In today's news I read of 4 children found dead in an apartment in Washington, DC. The list goes on and on. These lives could have been saved if those who did the killings were shown how their eternal lives could be saved.

In Luke 23:43 Jesus offers eternal life to a man being executed beside Him. "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." It is never too late. The death penalty for our corrupt, earthly bodies doesn't mean the end. Everyone has an eternity to live. We are to offer that eternity in Heaven. We have the opportunity to short circuit lives of crime and to negate the true effects of capital punishment - an eternity separated from God.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Years Resolutions

1 Corinthians 9:24–25 [24] Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such as way as to get the prize. [25] Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

Once again we reach the time of year in which New Year’s Resolutions are a hot topic. We all know the usual list – lose weight, make money, get plastic surgery instead of losing weight, cheat someone out of money instead of earning it. Yes, I know the last two sound a bit dramatic but this is the level of thought we see in our culture these days. Many in our nation are seeking the “crown that will not last” because it is the easiest one to find. Their resolutions for the new year are not going to be very challenging.

We Christians face 2008 with the need to resolve to seek the “crown that will last forever” for everyone in our families and circle of contacts in this world. We Christians face 2008 with the need to become involved in the activities of Christ in this world. Presidential contender, Mike Huckabee, has had to defend a statement he made years ago in which he called upon us all to take this nation back for Christ. He has not backed down from that statement. That is the “crown that will last forever” yet the press rails against such open allegiance to Christ. Let’s resolve to take this nation back for Christ!!

In the upcoming election year let us remember that we are here to give our endorsement TO the Creator of the Universe. We are here to proclaim the "name above all names". We are here to take this world - not just this nation - back for Christ!

We have to resolve to run the race – whether it be at home, in church, at the store, or in the political arena – as if we want to win that eternal crown. The crown was paid for in advance. Our Salvation was paid for in advance. Remember to be resolute in picking up your prize!!!