DALLAS — Dr. Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of the 13,000-member First Baptist Church of Dallas, issues the following statement in response to the change by Pope Francis Thursday to the Catholic church’s stance on capital punishment, which now reasons that “in the light of the Gospel, that the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person, and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.”
“In a tweet on Aug. 5, I said, ‘Pope Francis is dead wrong about capital punishment. God has commanded government to use the death penalty to demonstrate the seriousness of murder: “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man” (Genesis 9:6).
“Since the beginning of time, God has said that human life is so sacred that anyone who takes the life of another person deserves the most severe punishment of all — the taking of his life. This is the clear and unambiguous meaning of Genesis 9:6.
“Some might say, ‘But isn’t capital punishment an obvious violation of the sacredness of life?’ Not at all. The apostle Paul explains in Romans 13:1-5 that God has given
government the authority — the ‘power of the sword’ — to take the lives of individuals who commit serious crimes.
“When individuals take a human life, the Bible calls it ‘murder.’ When the government takes the life of a murderer, the Bible calls it ‘justice.’
I’m sure Pope Francis is a good man who is sincere in his belief. But the Pope is sincerely wrong on this. Popes, pastors, and churches may change their opinions, but God’s Word never changes. ‘Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven’ (Psalm 119:89).”
Dr. Robert Jeffress is a best-selling author of 24 books, a nationally and internationally syndicated TV and radio host and the senior pastor of First Baptist Dallas, one of the largest and most influential churches in America. Pathway to Victory, Dr. Jeffress’ broadcast ministry, airs daily nationwide on more than 900 radio stations and is broadcast live to 195 countries. His latest book, “A Place Called Heaven: 10 Surprising Truths About Your Eternal Home,” is available in bookstores everywhere. He is an evangelical adviser to the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.
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