“Does Capital Punishment Take Away a Person’s Chance to Be Saved?”

I have a question concerning your article “Capital Punishment,” in which you discussed the biblical perspective on the death punishment. My question is, does capital punishment take away a person’s chance to be saved? Don’t we all have the time to accept Christ until we die, and doesn’t the death punishment cut short that chance? I’d appreciate your comment on that. I’m currently looking into the issue of capital punishment, and your article has helped a great deal. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Thank you for your e-mail about capital punishment.

I believe that the overriding concern with capital punishment is whether it is just, whether it is biblical, and whether it is a deterrent. I believe I addressed those issues in my essay.

Your question is an interesting one, but maybe not central to a person’s belief in or against capital punishment. However, let me address it, if I can.

I have heard some argue that the prospect of being put to death focuses a criminal’s attention on what he or she did and how that might affect their eternal destiny. A person on death row usually knows when he or she will be put to death–something that the person they murdered didn’t know. Perhaps that would cause them to accept Christ. I know of many examples of murderers on death row accepting Christ. I wonder how many of them would have done so if they weren’t on death row.

The death penalty might cut short their life, but I don’t think it would necessarily cut short their opportunity to accept Christ. In fact, it may actually force many criminals to make a decision they might have otherwise postponed.

Again, I don’t think this would be a compelling argument against the death penalty. It’s an interesting question, and I hope I helped you think through it a little bit better.

Thank you for writing.

Kerby Anderson
Probe Ministries