Does the Bible Require the Death Penalty for
Rev. Angus Stewart
The Old Testament theocratic law required the death
penalty for incest in Israel (Lev. 18:7-17, 29; 20:11-12). In the
fullness of time (Gal. 4:4), the Messiah came and brought forth His
catholic or universal church from its Jewish swaddling bands,
necessitating a change in the law (Heb. 7:12). The apostles and
prophets, whom God used to write the New Testament, set forth the will
of Jesus Christ for His catholic church (Eph. 2:20; 3:5; 4:11).
When a man committed incest in the church of Corinth
(I Cor. 5:1), Paul did not require the death penalty for him. Instead,
the apostle required excommunication from the church and kingdom of God,
unless the man repented (I Cor. 5:4-7). Both terrible divine
judgements—execution in the Old Testament theocracy and excommunication
in the New Testament church—preserve the holiness of God’s church, a
reflection of the holiness of God Himself.
Leviticus 20:13 ("If a man also lie with mankind, as
he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they
shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.") required
the death penalty for homosexuality in Israel. (See also Leviticus
18:22, 29). Similar to the example of incest, the New Testament does not
require the death penalty for homosexuals. There were converted
homosexuals in the church of Corinth (I Cor. 6:9-11)! The execution of
homosexuals in Israel (the Old Testament church) is equivalent to
excommunication from the New Testament church. Thus it is a
contradiction in terms to speak of gay church members or gay church
office bearers or gay Christians. Any churches, therefore, that receive
or tolerate impenitent homosexuals as members are therefore false
churches in rebellion to the will of Christ.
The Presbyterian Church in Ireland and Sodomy.
Listen to a
Homosexuality: What Does the Bible Teach?