Against Capital Punishment

Henry Karlson

When Paul wrote to the Ephesians, he told them that by becoming Christian, they were now to set themselves apart from the customs which they once followed that ran contrary to the Christian faith. They were not to live like the Gentiles they had been:

Now this I affirm and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; they are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart; they have become callous and have given themselves up to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of uncleanness (Eph. 4:17-19 RSV).

Paul, known as the teacher of the Gentiles who welcomed them to the Christian in part by enculturating himself with them so that they did not have to mirror Judaic customs and practices in order to be Christian, knew that they could not remain as they once were. They would have to purify themselves of their base prejudices and practices which came out of their unrefined way of life. To seek the life of God they had to open their hearts and overcome all callousness which allowed them to ignore the plight of their neighbor.

This callousness was not something which only Paul had to face. It is a problem which has been with Christians throughout the centuries. They rightfully look to the good in their own society and embrace it, but in doing so, they often take in biases and prejudices which run counter to the Gospel of Christ.

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