Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Woman Caught in Adultery, The Death Penalty & John 8:2-11

Dudley Sharp

1) Anti-death penalty activist Sister Helen Prejean, often inaccurate, got this right: “It is abundantly clear that the Bible depicts murder as a capital crime for which death is considered the appropriate punishment, and one is hard pressed to find a biblical proof text in either the Hebrew Testament or the New Testament which unequivocally refutes this. Even Jesus’ admonition “Let him without sin cast the first stone”, when He was asked the appropriate punishment for an adulteress (John 8:7) – the Mosaic Law prescribed death – should be read in its proper context. This passage is an entrapment story, which sought to show Jesus’ wisdom in besting His adversaries. It is not an ethical pronouncement about capital punishment." Sister Helen Prejean, Dead Man Walking. (1).

2) What about the woman caught in adultery? From “Why I Support Capital Punishment”, by Andrew Tallman, sections 7-11 biblical review, sections 1-6 secular review See Part 11

"the Pharisees wanted to make Jesus a heretic for opposing capital punishment, but He evaded their trap. The tremendous irony is that now, two thousand years later, people who claim to love Jesus teach that He was precisely the heretic His enemies wanted to paint Him as."

3) Sanctity of Life & the Death Penalty: Flip sides of the same “Divine” coin, Richard Eric Gunby, Quodlibet Journal: Volume 5 Number 2-3, July 2003, ISSN: 1526-6575 John 8:2-11 (NRSV)

"Therefore their motives (to entrap Jesus) were nothing but evil. They were not seeking to follow God’s Law - Word in godly fashion; rather, they were attempting to employ surreptitiously what Moses said, towards their own evil ends of trying to trip Jesus up. What a foul thing."

"This cannot be read as an example of Jesus doing away with the law. Far from it! This is an example of Jesus, again, going by the clear unencumbered dictates of the law and not allowing it to be used towards evil ends in His presence. It is Jesus together with the Law triumphant over His enemies and their tradition. This is clearly an upholding of the law."
as of 4/24/10

4) John 8: The Woman Caught in Adultery – Dealing with Capital Offenses Lawfully

"John 8 in no way sets a precedent that would eliminate the penalties for committing capital crimes such as adultery, murder, rape, sodomy, abduction, etc. Instead, it re-establishes them and demonstrates the continuity of Theonomic Law into the New Testament era initiated by Christ. It is only the ceremonial elements of O.T. Law like instrumental music during worship, blood sacrifices, avoidance of certain meats and food/fabric mixtures, New Moon celebrations etc. that were done away with at Christ's crucifixion. These things are made clear in the Epistles of Paul (Galatians 2-3) who re-establishes the old principle that 'obedience is better than sacrifice'." 

5) The biblical text could hardly be more clear, this was an entrapment story. 

John 8:6 -  "They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. "

6)  The Pharisees made an illegal arrest, in direct contraditon to the Law. You cannot arrest a woman caught in adultery, without also catching the man in that same adultery. Where was he? Likely, the Pharisees let him go, as he was part of the scheme to entrap Jesus. The woman, while guilty, as Jesus recognized, likely did not know of this plan. It most unlikely she would have consented to be at risk of stoning, after being caught. Truly a foul scheme. In addition, it was up to the Romans to impose capital punishment, not Jesus or the Pharisees, another way to try and entrap Jesus, by Him applying the sanction, which, of course, He did not do. They never had a chance to entrap Jesus. All the Pharasees did was to entrap themselves in evil.

A thorough review here:

John 7 - IVP New Testament Commentaries, View John 7:53-8:11, Jesus Forgives a Woman Taken in Adultery,   (from 12/15/13)

7) Excellent review of the challenges to the authenticity of John 8
as of 8/31/13

Start here: • John 7:53 - 8.11: The "woman taken in adultery" story: Metzger's statement. Just before page 105 and through page 201


1)  Sister Helen Prejean: A Critical Review

Sr. Prejean has, completely, reversed her take on this passage, based only upon her anti death penalty advocacy, as opposed to the reality of the passage (1), now saying it is an unequivocal rejection of the death penalty, which is impossible, as she knows, because such an interpretation would mean that God had ordained that no man could impose any sanction, as all men have sinned. The sister would have us believe that Jesus forbid the sanction of all crimes, allowing for evildoers to run free, repeating horrible crimes over and over, again, with no worry of sanction.

The passage, itself, states it is an entrapment story, so there is no honest way for the Sister to change her original position.


Jesus and the Death Penalty

The Death Penalty: Mercy, Expiation, Redemption & Salvation

"Moral/ethical Death Penalty Support: Modern Catholic Scholars".

Christianity and the death penalty.

Catholic and other Christian References: Support for the Death Penalty,

Pro Life: The Death Penalty

Forgiveness and Murder  

"Killing Equals Killing: The Amoral Confusion of Death Penalty Opponents"

"The Death Penalty: Neither Hatred nor Revenge"

"The Death Penalty: Not a Human Rights Violation"

Is Execution Closure? Of Course.

A Refutation of the ELCA Social Statement on the Death Penalty

"The DeLuna Deception: At the Death House Door" Can Rev. Carroll Pickett be trusted?"

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Biblical Requirment: Two Eyewitnesses for Criminal Prosecution?

Is There a Biblical Requirement for Two Eyewitnesses for Criminal Prosecution? 
Dudley Sharp 

Some find that God’s mandate for justice is very weak because capital punishment and other criminal sanctions may require two eyewitnesses for prosecution (Numbers 35:30; Deuteronomy 17:6).  

Such would drastically reduce any society's ability to keep order.

Such concern may be unwarranted. 

First, the two eyewitness requirement is for Jews only and not even Israel has such a requirement, now. 

There is always one eyewitness in a murder trial - the murderer, who is never excluded as a potential witness.

Secondly, according to biblical scholar and ancient linguistic expert  Prof. Gleason Archer, some  wrongly isolate the Hebrew ‘d (1) , "witness",  from its broad biblical context and may have, wrongly, concluded that two eyewitnesses are required in capital cases and some other criminal cases (Deuteronomy 19:15).

(See Archer bio at bottom)

As Prof. Archer observed:

"Did God want nearly all criminals, including murderers, to get off, scot-free, if " . . . (they) had not taken the prudent measure of committing (their) crime where two people did not happen to be watching him?" (2)

Prof. Archer finds that the word "witness", ‘ d (1),  has broad meaning, including, anyone with   . . . pertinent knowledge concerning the crime, even though he had not actually seen it." (Lev 5:1), which can mean such things as motive, opportunity, accomplices, overheard confessions, wiretaps, videotape, etc.;  and physical evidence can also bear witness, also ‘ d (Ex 22:13), which could mean such evidence as bloody clothing, murder weapon, DNA, fingerprints, etc.;  written documents may serve as evidence and witness (‘ d or ‘ dah, Jos 25:25-27), which may mean such evidence as a confession, documents showing motive or implication, etc.; or things such as monuments and memorial stones, such as gal-‘ d in Gen 31:46-49, can also bear witness. 

Indeed, Archer says "there is no contravention of biblical principles in allowing such testimony, even though only one actual witness may be found, or none at all."

Prof. Archer finds that witnesses in the OT means either persons or things, as in to bear witness or provide evidence.

All manner of evidence can be used to bear witness to the guilt of the crime, be that written or oral confessions, various physical evidence against the perpetrator, witnesses with knowledge of motive  and other evidence against the perpetrator and/or eyewitnesses to the crime, just as witnesses, today, rightly take the stand and testify as experts/witnesses in psychiatric forensics, financial forensics, DNA, fingerprints, confessions, etc.

It is not necessary to accept Dr. Archer's position that no eyewitnesses are necessary, to accept that many other forms of evidence are also and instead acceptable for prosecution, as we have, today, with many being more reliable. 

Archer's is an interesting translation, particularly in this context:

Would God intentionally provide an avenue for escape for about 99% of the crimes committed by guilty criminals, if convictions could only be based only upon a two eyewitness requirement? 

Such a requirement would destroy the credibility of the justice system, undermine the government's ability to protect its citizens and their property. Respect for the law would, necessarily, not exist.

In the US, with DNA based confirmation, in those cases were it has been confirmed that an actually innocent person had been found guilty in a court of law, the majority of those wrongful convictions were based upon eyewitness testimony.

A two eyewitness requirement suffers from the well known different eyewitnesses giving  different descriptions of the criminal(s) for the same crime, as well as those occasions whereby other evidence, often more precise, such as confessions, alibis, DNA, fingerprints, pictures, etc. has contradicted the eyewitnesses.

Would God mandate such a framework?

Such interpretation might appear to contradict God's call for justice on earth, something He made clear that He cared about. 

Biblically, God knows all things for all times, which could mean that two pieces of evidence, eyewitness or other, would include DNA, fingerprints, pictures, confessions, etc. and would confirm guilt with much greater accuracy, as both circumstances and technology improved, than would two eyewitnesses.


For example:

The Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy  

The Innocence Project Invents False Confessions 


New Testament Death Penalty Support Overwhelming

The Death Penalty: Fair & Just

NOTE: I have some credible challenges to Archer's position.


(1) 'd - the "d" should have a line over it, which I cannot place. It is important to meaning. 

(2) Dr. Gleason L. Archer, Encyclopedia of Biblical Difficulties, Zondervan Pub., p 143-145, 1982. 

(3) For example:

Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy

The Innocence Project Invents False Confessions 


Victim's Voices - These are the murder victims

Brief Bio: Gleason Leonard Archer, Jr.

Prof. Archer graduated with his Bachelor of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary where he studied Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic. 

He taught languages at Suffolk University in Boston.

1945-1948 Pastor, Park Street Church, Boston

Dr. Archer served as acting dean of Fuller Theological Seminary in 1948-49 and as professor of Biblical Languages, a position he held for nearly two decades (1948-1965). He taught New Testament Greek, biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, Akkadian, Egyptian, and Syriac.

From 1965-86, Gleason Archer served as professor of Old Testament and Semitics at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL, then as Professor Emeritus from 1989-91.

Some have estimated that he spoke thirty languages.

1938 B.A., Harvard University (summa cum laude in Classics)
1939 LL.B., Suffolk Law School
1940 A.M., Harvard University
1944 Ph.D., Harvard University
1945 B.D., Princeton Theological Seminary

Limited selections:

Dr. Archer translated part of the Book of Psalms for The Berkeley Bible (1959); 
Translated Jerome's Commentary on Daniel (Baker, 1958); 
"The Hebrew of Daniel compared to the Qumran Sectarian Documents" (1974);
The Linguistic Evidence for the Date of Ecclesiates (1969);
The Aramaic of the Genesis Apocrython compared with the Aramaic of Daniel (1970);
"A Reassemsment of the value of the Septuagint of 1 Samuel for textual Emendation in the light of the Qumran Fragments" (1981); 
A number of his summers were spent in Bible translation work for the New International Version and the New American Standard Bible;
Dr. Archer wrote A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Moody, 1964; rev. 1974); 
"Isaiah" in The Wycliffe Bible Commentary (Moody, 1962); 
The Book of Job: God's Answer to Undeserved Suffering (Baker, 1982); and 
Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament: A Complete Survey, with Gregory Chirichigno (Moody, 1983).
A Tribute to Gleason Archer: Essays on the Old Testament, a Festschrift in honor of Gleason's seventieth birthday, was edited by Walter Kaiser and Ronald Youngblood (Moody, 1986);
And the list goes on and on and on. 
Gleason Leonard Archer, Jr.
Birth date: May 22, 1916
Death date: April 27, 2004

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Jesus and the death penalty

Jesus and the death penalty
compiled by Dudley Sharp

1) The Holy Spirit, God, through the power and justice of the Holy Spirit, executed both Ananias and his wife, Saphira. Their crime? Lying to the Holy Spirit – to God – through Peter. Acts 5:1-11.

No trial, no appeals, just death on the spot for these two well known early Christians. Why and what for?

2) God/Jesus: 'Honor your father and your mother,' and 'Whoever curses father or mother must certainly be put to death.' Matthew 15:4.  full context

Jesus used this reference to condemn the Pharisees for their  intentional misinterpretation of God's Word, emphasizing that the Truth of God's Word must be enforced, which is precisely what He was doing with this well known passage, which references several quotes by God from the OT. 

"must certainly"

Thorough reviews find about 60 supportive references,

3) God: “You shall not accept indemnity in place of the life of a murderer who deserves the death penalty; he must be put to death.” Numbers 35:31 --  full context

For murder, there is no mitigation from a death sentence, "he must be put to death" although mitigation is offered for all other death penalty eligible transgressions.

4) As Cardinal Avery Dulles, SJ states: (10/7/2000) 

"At no point, however, does Jesus deny that the State has authority to exact capital punishment. In his debates with the Pharisees, Jesus cites with approval the apparently harsh commandment, He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die (Mt 15:4; Mk 7:10, referring to Ex 21:17; cf. Lev 20:9). When Pilate calls attention to his authority to crucify him, Jesus points out that Pilate's power comes to him from above-that is to say, from God (Jn 19:1 l).Jesus commends the good thief on the cross next to him, who has admitted that he and his fellow thief are receiving the due reward of their deeds (Lk 23:41). "

Dulles states that Matthew 15:4 was a command. 

from "The Death Penalty: A Right to Life Issue?" at

NOTE: although Dulles makes secular errors of fact and logic (which I detailed for him)  within the sections "The Purposes of Punishment" and "Harm Attributed to the Death Penalty", it is a solid historical treatment of the Church and the death penalty

5) Jesus: “So Pilate said to (Jesus), “Do you not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?” Jesus answered (him), “You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above.” John 19:10-11

Jesus confirms that power to execute comes directly from God.

Full review

6) Jesus: “You have heard the ancients were told, ˜YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER” and “Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court”. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever shall say to his brother, “Raca”, shall be guilty before the supreme court and whoever shall say, “You fool”, shall be guilty enough to go into fiery hell.” Matthew 5:17-22

Fiery hell is a much more severe sanction than any earthly death.

7) Jesus: Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Jesus) replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23: 39-43.

It is not the nature of our deaths, but the state of our salvation at the time of our death which is most important.

8) Jesus: Matthew 18:6-9 “Whoever causes one of these little ones* who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7* Woe to the world because of things that cause sin! Such things must come, but woe to the one through whom they come! 8e If your hand or foot causes you to sin,* cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter into life maimed or crippled than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into eternal fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye than with 
two eyes to be thrown into fiery Gehenna. 

Suicide or execution is preferable to the consequences of turning a child to sin. 

9)  "It should not be overlooked, in seeking to discover “the mind of Jesus Christ” on the issue of murder and its punishments, that He goes beyond torah to the statement that even verbal abuse makes one deserving of “the hell of fire”.

"Far from releasing believers from prior law, Jesus was a “hard liner” who made things even tougher, stating that He has come not “to abolish the law and the prophets . . .  but to fulfill them.”, offering even stronger interpretations than in the original  (Matthew 5:17-22)."

"Indeed, Jesus admonishes the Pharisees not to misuse torah for their own ends, but to honor God and torah. And of all the text in the Bible, which one does Jesus select to emphasize that crucial point? “HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER, LET HIM BE PUT TO DEATH”(Matthew 15:1-9)."

Partial and approved synopsis of Professor Lloyd R. Bailey’s book Capital Punishment: What the Bible Says, Abingdon Press, 1987

10)  God: Genesis 9:5-6, from the 1764 Quaker Bible, the only Quaker bible.

5 And I will certainly require the Blood of your Lives, and that from the Paw of any Beast: from the Hand likewise of Man, even of any one’s Brother, will I require the Life of a Man.

6 He that sheds Man’s Blood, shall have his own shed by Man; because in the Likeness of God he made Mankind.

Of all the versions/translations, this may be the most unequivocal - Murder requires execution of the murderer. It is a command. The Noahic covenant is for all persons and all times.

11)  As the latest CCC states:

"CCC 2260 The covenant between God and mankind is interwoven with reminders of God's gift of human life and man's murderous violence:

For your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning. . . . Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image.This teaching remains necessary for all time."

 . . . the source for which is the Noahic Covenant, Genesis 9:6, an eternal command, for all peoples and all times, which establishes the sacredness of life as the foundation for death penalty support.

12)  Romano Amerio: “The most irreligious aspect of this argument against capital punishment is that it denies its expiatory value which, from a religious point of view, is of the highest importance because it can include a final consent to give up the greatest of all worldly goods."

"This fits exactly with St. Thomas’s opinion that as well as canceling out any debt that the criminal owes to civil society, capital punishment can cancel all punishment due in the life to come. His thought is . . . Summa, ‘Even death inflicted as a punishment for crimes takes away the whole punishment due for those crimes in the next life, or a least part of that punishment, according to the quantities of guilt, resignation and contrition; but a natural death does not.’ "

"The moral importance of wanting to make expiation also explains the indefatigable efforts of the Confraternity of St. John the Baptist Beheaded, the members of which used to accompany men to their deaths, all the while suggesting, begging and providing help to get them to repent and accept their deaths, so ensuring that they would die in the grace of God, as the saying went.”

much more, here:

The Death Penalty: Mercy, Expiation, Redemption & Salvation

"All interpretations, contrary to the biblical support of capital punishment, are false. Interpreters ought to listen to the Bible’s own agenda, rather than to squeeze from it implications for their own agenda. As the ancient rabbis taught, “Do not seek to be more righteous than your Creator.” (Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7.33.). Part of Synopsis of Professor Lloyd R. Bailey’s book Capital Punishment: What the Bible Says, Abingdon Press, 1987.

Saint (& Pope) Pius V, "The just use of (executions), far from involving the crime of murder, is an act of paramount obedience to this (Fifth) Commandment which prohibits murder." "The Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent" (1566).

Pope Pius XII: "When it is a question of the execution of a man condemned to death it is then reserved to the public power to deprive the condemned of the benefit of life, in expiation of his fault, when already, by his fault, he has dispossessed himself of the right to live." 9/14/52.

"Moral/ethical Death Penalty Support: Modern Catholic Scholars".

Catholic Church: Problems with Her Newest Death Penalty Position:
The Catechism & Section 2267

Christianity and the death penalty.

Catholic and other Christian References: Support for the Death Penalty,

The Woman Caught in Adultery, the Death Penalty & John 8:2-11

Is There a Biblical Requirment for Two Eyewitnesses for Criminal Prosecution?


Pro Life: The Death Penalty

Forgiveness and Murder

"Killing Equals Killing: The Amoral Confusion of Death Penalty Opponents"

"The Death Penalty: Neither Hatred nor Revenge"

"The Death Penalty: Not a Human Rights Violation"

Is Execution Closure? Of Course.

Sister Helen Prejean: A Critical Review

A Refutation of the ELCA Social Statement on the Death Penalty

"The DeLuna Deception: At the Death House Door" Can Rev. Carroll Pickett be trusted?"

Victim's Voices - These are the murder victims

Monday, June 17, 2013

NAACP: Dead Wrong on Death Penalty

To: Governor Hickenlooper, Cabinet & staff
AG Suthers and staff
All Members General Assembly
Colorado District Attorneys
media throughout Colorado

 RE: Rebuttal to:  "Abolishing death penalty would bend the moral arc toward justice", By (the NAACP's) Benjamin Todd Jealous and Rosemary Harris Lytle,  Denver Post, Posted April 9, 2013
From: Dudley Sharp

NAACP: Dead Wrong on Death Penalty
Dudley Sharp

This is a fairly typical anti death penalty op/ed, with the claims being either inaccurate, not proven or both.

I contend all anti death penalty positions are either false or that the pro death penalty positions are stronger.

Here is a brief rebuttal of some points within the NAACP's/Mr. Jealous' and Ms. Lytle's op/ed.

1) I am aware of no Colorado study which shows that the death penalty is more costly than life without parole (LWOP). When, properly, including a) the immense geriatric case cost of elderly prisoners serving LWOP and 2) the significant cost benefit of the death penalty, which allows for a plea bargain to LWOP, it is quite possibly that the death penalty may be less expensive.  If Colorado had more responsible death penalty protocols, as does Virginia, Colorado would, certainly, save money over life without parole (LWOP) (1a). If Virginia can do it, so can Colorado. Colorado's death penalty cost claims are all over the map (1b).

Virginia executes within 7.1 years, on average. 3-5 years of state appeals, 3-5 years of federal appeals. No reason it can't be done.

2) Justice is the foundation of support for the death penalty, as for all other sanctions.

3) The 142 "innocents" released from death row is a blatant fraud, easily discovered by the most basic of fact checking (2), as has been done by the New York Times, as well as many others.

4) The evidence finds that the death penalty is a greater protector of innocent lives (3). Having the death penalty will spare more innocents. No death penalty will result in more innocent deaths.

5) This constant nonsense about blacks being 12% of the population and 43% of death row must stop. How about something relevant? Blacks commit about 50% of the murders (4).  Mr. Jealous, Ms. Lytle, if you are both so concerned about population counts, why aren't you questioning why women don't make up 50% of death row and 50% of the prison population? Because it is not about population counts, but committing crimes.  White murderers are twice as likely to be executed as are black murderers (4).

No one doubts that racism still exists and that it should be condemned. But, let's look at the realities on death row (4).


Colorado Death Row Cases

To understand why Colorado has the death penalty, listen to the case descriptions provided at the recent hearings to consider death penalty repeal.


go to

1 hr 56 min --  2 hr  03 min     testimony by Maisha Fields-Pollard

and then go to hour 7  and listen to the rest of the testimony.

It's all gut wrenching and the reason for the death penalty.


(1)  a)  Saving Costs with The Death Penalty

     Cost, Deception & the Death Penalty: The Colorado Experience

2) a) The 130 (now 142) death row "innocents" scam

b) The "Innocent", the "Exonerated" and Death Row

(3) a) The Death Penalty: Saving More Innocent Lives

b) Innocents More At Risk Without Death Penalty

c) OF COURSE THE DEATH PENALTY DETERS: A review of the debate

99.7% of murderers tell us "Give me life, not execution"

Victim's Voices - These are the murder victims