DEATH PENALTY, A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE
THE EXECUTION OF KARLA FAYE TUCKER
From a biblical perspective, shouldn't she have been let go, or a least given life in prison? After all, thousands of Christians INCLUDING THE FAMOUS PAT ROBERTSON have prayed for her and testified and claimed that she was indeed saved and has become a new person, worthy of a second chance. According to them via the leading of the Holy Spirit, she indeed was a new person, with much better behavior and certainly did deserve another chance. Imagine her now giving such a wonderful testimony on Channel 58, and at hundreds of churches around the country. And then perhaps a book or two reaching the best seller list - what a testimony of what it takes to be saved and what immediately happens once you are saved: immediately becoming a moral, loving upstanding individual deserving of a second chance. The personal benefits to her re: money, fame, a great job constantly talking abour her salvation experiences notwithstanding. What a turn around.
On the other hand, she never once mentioned what it actually takes to become a born again Christian: faith alone in Christ alone as Personal Savior, nothing else.
Certainly one should know that and be happy to express what the true gospel of salvation is so that others could share in her experience as well. Nor, in what I heard, did she express remorse at the taking of another life in such a manner as she did upon contemplating how God so mercifully saved her in spite of the fact that she had no mercy for the one she killed. There was no indication that she understood that she did not deserve salvation, but received it as a result of God's grace. The Apostle Paul constantly addressed his unworthiness at being saved. I heard no sense of this in her testimony, only that she was now a worthy person. Actually, the bible does not say that a born again Christian becomes a new person. It does state that he/she becomes a new creation, neither Jew nor Gentile, but a member of the Body of Christ. Therein is the big difference. You still keep your 'ugly, old personality', i.e., person, to work on as the days and years go by, via study, obedience to God's Word via leading of the Holy Spirit.
The only worthiness that any Christian has is that which God as attributed to him as a result of what His Son did on the cross. Even forgiveness of temporal sins is provided on the basis, not of worthy behavior, but because the blood of Jesus has been shed, (1 Jn 1:7).
Finally, the consequences of sinful behavior are not always removed when one has confessed one's sins and begun to walk faithfully. Scripture has much to say on this topic also, I just haven't gotten around to isolating a specific study on this point. Anybody have one that they would like to contribute?
A RESPONSE WAS RECEIVED FROM AN OBJECTOR:
She did admit her crime and her guilt. Even if her salvation was a hit-or-miss....., she was certainly pointed in the right direction and, living the life she knew now, she most likely would have come into contact with accuracy in the years ahead. She was spreading what she knew of the Lord for 14 years. And she paid with 14 years of prison PLUS her life.
TO WHICH BOB RESPONDS:
Accuracy relative to the gospel unto salvation must be immediate, otherwise the rest is unacceptable. One cannot have a hit or miss salvation, either it is totally on the faith alone basis in Christ as Savior or it is not salvation at all. (1 Jn 5:9-13, Eph 2:8-9, Jn 3:15-18, Romans Chapter 4). Admission of one's crime and expressing remorse for it are two related but separate things. I did not hear any remorse, as for example, Paul expressed. The demonstration she gave of her lifestyle was similar to what I have observed in pentecostal circles - an emotional demonstration to be sure, which is not wrong in and of itself, unless that is all there is. After 14 years, one would expect a bit more demonstration of a walk as led by a knowledge of what God has to say in His Word and the following of same if one were to be convinced that she were truly saved. What she actually was spreading had all the trappings of lordship salvation - a false gospel, of leading a better lifestyle in order to be saved via some kind of committment to the Lord to repent of the old attitudes and behaviorisms - a works salvation. I have had dozens of conversations with people who acted in a similar manner but who hadn't the foggiest idea of what the gospel really is - perhaps never did. And my heart always skipped a beat as I anxiously attempted to relay what the true gospel is, not knowing for sure that their eternal destiny in heaven was secured.
I do not have sufficient information to convince me that Karla Faye Tucker is saved. I can only hope now that she was. (I actually do have feelings, but they must be controlled by truth and reality). Her 14 years imprisonment and execution were in line with the Word of God. I may feel terribly that she went through all of that, but her victims went through more, and the Bible counts it as justice done.
FURTHER RESPONSE FROM THE OBJECTOR:
I didn't say she was saved; I said she deserved mercy. Being genuinely saved would still not be qualification for mercy. Mercy is Basic Bible--always added to justice. Did you not show your own children mercy?
MY FURTHER ANSWER:
What kind of mercy would Scripture permit in her case, especially since she was apparently not saved and therefore never out from under God's continual wrath? And where in Scripture does it say that God always adds mercy to His justice? I find no basic Bible doctrine that I am missing in these matters. Please provide an exegesis of those passages. Whether or not I have been merciful in my life especially toward my children does not change what Scripture says. It is evident that I am being perceived as cold hearted, and that may certainly be the case. But that still will not alter the truths that I have written if they are indeed true. I am a despicable character after all is said and done, I freely admit to that. Thank God for His saving grace!!!
"We have just finished a study on David on our Sunday Services. Talked about how after he was confronted with his sin with Bathsheba he said he had sinned. Nathan said God has taken away your sin but there still were consequences. (II Samual 12:13) Also when at the end of II Samual he counted the fighting men he realized he sinned but God still told him to choose his punishment."
FURTHER OBJECTION TO THE STANCE THAT THERE WAS JUSTICE PROPERLY DONE TO KARLA FAYE TUCKER:
"bob evans wrote: What kind of mercy would Scripture permit in her case, especially since she was apparently not saved and therefore never out from under God's continual wrath?"
OBJECTOR'S RESPONSE TO ABOVE POINT:
ALL HUMANITY HAS ALWAYS BEEN UNDER A GENERAL GRACE-- IF IT WERE NOT SO, NO ONE WOULD BE SAVED UNDER CONTINUED SCHEDULED-TO-COME WRATH FOR SURE I THINK SHE PROBABLY WAS SAVED--SHE DIDN'T PREACH THE SERMON
FORGIVENESS OF SIN RELATIVE TO ETERNAL LIFE AND/OR A REPENTANT LIFESTYLE DOES NOT GUARANTEE A FREEDOM FROM THE TEMPORAL CONSEQUENCES OF ONES DAILY SIN'S.
The general grace that all humanity is under is not the subject at hand. The subject is whether the temporal consequences of an individual's actions in murdering another without remorse at the time should now be rescinded as a result of an apparently repentant lifestyle relative to the old lifestyle. If general grace always applied to a situation such as this, then there would be few temporal consequences meted out for an individual's sins and probably a lot more sinning, if that were possbile; for most would resort to some sort of repentant lifestyle in order to avoid the consequences of ones previously committed sins. What about pregancies that are illegitimate but now the child has to be taken care of, cancelling prison terms for those who have broken the law in other ways besides murder but now the individual has become a Christian, money stolen that no longer has to be restored because the thief has become a believer, items destroyed that have to be replaced but no longer does the individual have to pay because she has turned over a new leaf, rules broken that disqualify an individual from a particular position but now all is forgiven in the contemplation of a sincere repentant attitude, preachers who have committed sin but now it's ok to restore him immediately because he is deemed as having a sincerely repentant attitude? Should there be no consequences at all for any of these actions if the individual demonstrates what is apparently a repentant lifestyle? How much of a repentant lifestyle is sufficient to avoid the consequences of ones illicit actions? Is there a schedule available in Scripture that we can go by, or is this matter an emotional feeling without basis in actual fact?
God in His grace forgives sin on what basis - on the basis of what His Son did on the cross; but forgiveness of sin does not guarantee a freedom from the temporal consequences of ones sins. David paid dearly for his sin, although he was not executed, trouble followed him for the rest of his days, (see Terri's comments above). Whether or not God in His mercy totally or partially removes the consequences of an individual's sin depends upon a number of things, not the least of which it seems that the individual must be a believer who has confessed that sin and humbled himself before God for a period of time. But even then there were consequences with David for example.
The Bible is filled with godly men still receiving the consequences for their sins in spite of being born again, repentant and now on the faithful track: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Noah, David, Solomon, Paul, etc., etc. An exegesis of these points available upon request.
Furthermore, I did not hear Karla Faye Tucker express anything in the way that would indicate that she knew what she should do in order to be saved. I did not hear the word believe or trust or faith relative to salvation uttered by her - On the other hand I did hear the false doctrine that since she was a Christian she now was a new person. Click here for an exegesis of this point. Please advise if she did express herself in such a way that was an accurate reflection of what Paul told the Philipian jailer: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.", for believe is the operative word which provides an individual with eternal life provided it is directed solely and exclusively toward Jesus Christ without anything else contributed by the individual.
Furthermore, since God is sovereign, perhaps it was God's will that the consequences of Karla Faye Tucker's actions not be mercifully rescinded, giving her a second chance, since she indeed was executed.
"And where in Scripture does it say that God always adds mercy to His justice?"
"CAIN, KING DAVID. ALL SINNERS TOUCHED BY JESUS JESUS TOUCHING THE SOLDIER'S EAR--ON AND ON"
We have already mentioned David. A further exegesis is available upon request
Cain did pay for the consequences of his sin. At the time there was no death penalty instituted by God. Cain was banished to wander the rest of his life, (recall that people in those days lived for hundreds of years):
(v. 10) "The LORD said, 'What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground.
(v. 11) Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand.
(v. 12) When you work the ground, it will no longer
yield its crops for youl. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.'
(v. 13) Cain said to the LORD, 'My punishment is more than I can bear.
(v. 14) Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.....etc., etc. "
There is no scriptural evidence that all sinners touched by Jesus did not pay for the consequences of their sins, which is a different matter than receiving a miraculous healing from the Lord. All individuals are still under the principle that one is responsible for one's actions and repentant lifestyle notwithstanding there will still be consequences.
Click here for an examination of 1 Jn chapter 1.
A FINAL POINT: THE THIEF ON THE CROSS
Just as the thief on the cross who trusted in Christ as Savior was extended mercy unto eternal life, (Lk 23:39-43), but was not given mercy relative to paying for his crimes via capital punishment on the cross, so mercy is not man's option to give relative to properly witnessed capital crimes today.