Friday, June 09, 2006

How Should Christians Respond to the Death of the Wicked?

Over at Boars Head Tavern, blogger Paul Schafer brings up some interesting questions.



“As Christians, are we supposed to rejoice with our nation when our nation killed al-Zarqawi? As Christians, are we supposed to rejoice that one of our physical enemies of Christians and Jews is dead?”


He is looking for some biblical understanding of this. His main point is, should he rejoice?

I found Paul's blog and questions via The Evangelical Outpost.

At the Evangelical Outpost site, Joe Carter states:




As a Christian I believe we must always recognize the dignity of even the most debased human being and we should not take pleasure in their death. What we can take, however, is satisfaction in knowing that evil has been restrained. In fact, we should praise the Israeli government and its soldiers for upholding the “Godly Virtues” of Justice and Mercy. What we must not do is act as if we should regret the death of this terrorist.

As C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity: "War is a dreadful thing, and I can respect an honest pacifist, though I think he is entirely mistaken. What I cannot understand is this sort of semi-pacifism you get nowadays which gives the people the idea that though you have to fight, you ought to do it with a long face as if you were ashamed of it."


These are important questions and thoughts to ponder. Though not very extensive, I shared some thoughts at the site. Here, I have also added some Bible verses.



The definition of the word "pleasure" has the word "satisfaction" in it. I do see what you are saying. Evil has been overcome and that is good. The perspective we hold should be from God's point of view on this.

Yes. The Bible says that God "does not take pleasure in the destruction of the wicked."1 However, in the NT, it also says that when the disciples entered a home and the resident there rejects the gospel message, then the disciples should "shake the dust from their sandals"2 and leave. This indicates that they (person/people in the house) choose to remain in reprobation and do not want to be reconciled with God. They outrightly rejected the quickening of the Holy Spirit.3

We can pray that they one day will change their minds, but we can't force them to accept the gospel message we share.

In Zarqawi's case, his reprobation was solid and complete. Like the hardened heart of Pharoah, his fate was sealed as well.4


1 Ezekiel 18:23 - Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: [and] not that he should return from his ways, and live?

2 Luke 9:5 - And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.

3 Psalm 5:4 - For thou [art] not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.

4 Ezekiel 3:18 - When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked [man] shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
Ezekiel 13:22 - Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life:

Ezekiel 33:15 - [If] the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.

Romans 1:32 - Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

John 3:36 - He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Readers, what are your thoughts on this issue?

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HT: The Evangelical Outpost

12 comments:

Juan Buhler said...

I think it should be ok for you to be happy.

No need to even show pity if they don't believe in god:

Deut 7:16 And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them : neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee.


In fact, you should kill them yourself--no need for them to be terrorists:

Deut
17:3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;
17:4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel:
17:5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die


In any case, you should rejoice:

Psalm 58:10 The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.

Paul Schafer said...

Christine,

Thank you for posting about what i said in BHT. I enjoyed Joe Carter's post as well.

I think of my dad and my wife's dad, both of them not saved, wondering would they die in their sins or would they accept Christ before they die. How different or similar would our dad's deaths be to that terrorist? I wouldn't rejoice over our dad's deaths. They will face God's horrifying wrath for eternity.

Mark said...

juan,
no offense, but you my friend have mastered the Bible! Good job! Your verse knowledge is also known to 'your' God, perhaps you may want to reconsider your EXACT rank with Him, before tossing His words into a mix of justifying Evil, eh? I know of another who did the same thing, and since I know you know Your Bible, you get my drift.

Christine,
God is Sovereign and Perfectly in control. As earthly sinners ourseleves, we are to have a sense of loss, but not from our own earthly experinces, but from God's perspective. That sense of loss for God, draws us closer to Him and not our own earthly 'feelings'. It also helps us to better draw closer to Him and Strengthen our relationship with Him through prayer and self relection of just how vunerable we are to Evil. Great question! keep asking and God Bless!

Mark said...

If I may, Paul Schafer,
Rejoice in the fact that God is all Just! We may never know here on earth the eternal destination of those we love or 'hate'. A man's heart is only known by God. Faith in Christ requires us to surrender our earthly experiences and desires and give them to God. That task, also helps us through prayer, draw closer to His truths and His will for our lives.

Juan Buhler said...

Mark,

It should have been obvious to you that I don't really believe the stuff written in the Bible, no? I'm just throwing a couple of verses back to Christine in a futile attempt at showing how stupidly contradictory that collection of texts is.

I'm really curious though. I wonder what you expect by telling an atheist that he is a tool of Satan. Do you really think that my lack of belief in God is because I believe in the devil or something like that?

Regardless of your motivations, I have to say I'm dissappointed of you. I went to the Bible and made an honest attempt at looking for verses related to Christine's question. Your answer, instead of trying to shed light on the topic, maybe telling me why you think I'm wrong, is just a snide comment.

In your fantasy world, I am a servant of Satan. Tell me, in that same world, how good a servant of God are you?

Juan Buhler said...

BTW, since I am still here: what I find very non-Christian of you (Christine) is that you wouldn't mention the collateral damage. Innocent people were killed by that air attack.

Shouldn't you be able to use the same Bible verses you use to oppose abortion, to also say something about those people?

Mark said...

rjuan,
YOU ASK .."BTW, since I am still here: what I find very non-Christian of you (Christine) is that you wouldn't mention the collateral damage. Innocent people were killed by that air attack.

Shouldn't you be able to use the same Bible verses you use to oppose abortion, to also say something about those people?"

Juan, there is NO GOD, so what are you so upset about? If you think you being able to find some 'bad' Christians makes you feel better, then bravo! that's exactly what 'athiest' do, right?. Relax Man, there is no God, no right and wrong. We are all just like animals, a baby is a fish, a father is just a dog.

Make a note: there are No innocent people, just people at the mercy of God. Accept that, or carry on my friend.

Now I am off to go Killing, I would say Hunting, but that implies a factor of failure. ;)

Juan Buhler said...

Mark.

Your answers are childish. Obviously, you don't care to discuss, of maybe your positions don't lend themselves to discussion because they are not really founded on anything defendable. I do think that someone more capable would have done a decent attempt though.

You are very confused, my friend. One definition of atheist, the one I favor, is someone who doesn't believe there is a god. Note how this is different from believing that there is no god (or is the difference too subtle to you?).

More importantly: atheism--even in the sense that you give to it, does not imply no difference between good and bad. That is a fallacy that people like you keep bringing up. Sorry, it doesn't follow. There's a lot to distinguish between good and bad if you want to form a society of people that can be stable and provide for a place where everybody can try to maximize their happiness.

Better people than me wrote about that. But you're not reading even what I write here, so I don't hold big hopes about you trying to seriously think about any of this.

In your last paragraph, you say there's not innocent people but only people at the mercy of God. So then abortion is OK? Or are those babies not people? If abortion is not OK, then what happens when an American bomb in Iraq kills a pregnant woman?

And no, I don't expect an intelligent answer.

Mark said...

No creature which had any blemish was to be offered in sacrifice to God. We are thus called to remember the perfect, pure, and spotless sacrifice of Christ, and reminded to serve God with the best of our abilities, time, and possession, or our pretended obedience will be hateful to him. So great a punishment as death, so remarkable a death as stoning, must be inflicted on the Jewish idolater. Let all who in our day set up idols in their hearts, remember how God punished this crime in Israel. (I'll use someone else's commentary, since I am too slow to understand your wisdom)

Mark said...

Juan speaks, "In your last paragraph, you say there's not innocent people but only people at the mercy of God. So then abortion is OK? Or are those babies not people? If abortion is not OK, then what happens when an American bomb in Iraq kills a pregnant woman?"

No Juan, killing an unborn child is not ok.

When American's bomb Iraq, people are killed and things get broken.

I must say, mr buhler, these things would appear to be obvious to even the uneducated, like me.

Perhaps, you know the truth but just don't want to accept it?
The only thing Man can claim as his own, is his sin.

Juan Buhler said...


No Juan, killing an unborn child is not ok.

When American's bomb Iraq, people are killed and things get broken.

I must say, mr buhler, these things would appear to be obvious to even the uneducated, like me.


What is not totally obvious is why I don't see *any* outrage at the killings in Iraq by you fundamentalist christians. That second sentence is so full of judgement--contrast it with the third: "when bombs fall, people die, there's nothing we can do about it."

That's kind of the point of this thread. You have alrady lost too many opportunities to express your sadness and outrage at the civilian deaths. You didn't. Christine wrote two posts about Zarqawi, without even mentioning the collateral damage. I'm amazed.

And you people accuse *me* of not distinguishing between good and evil, because I don't believe in your god. It's hard to imagine a more depraved set of beliefs than yours.

Mark said...

really? I think your comments speak for themselves at this point, and so do mine.

Outraged? no
Mature enough to understand that wars kill people, even civilans, yes. Do I equate the two circumstances with your average abortion in the United States, No. So sorry that offends you.

You Juan have already lost too many opportunities to express your happiness over the good US troops are doing for the Iraqi people and Joy for the civilians that were Not killed that may sleep better tonight. You didn't. It's hard to imagine a more depraved set of beliefs than yours!