Church opposes death penalty

Faith, Normal

The National, Thursday 6th June 2013


HEADS of the Assemblies of God (AOG) church in the highlands region are against the death penalty.

AOG Highlands regional superintendent Peter Ropra said while the death penalty had been introduced in the hope that it would reduce certain types of crime in society and the country the church disagreed that it would serve as a deterrent.

“The death penalty in itself will not deter serious crime,” he said.

Speaking from Goroka on Tuesday, Pr Ropra said that while the church agreed that methods should be sought to deter serious crime, life imprisonment in solitary confinement with hard labour should suffice.

He said perpetrators of crime had a behavioural problem that was rooted in the biblical heart where evil thoughts resided and controlled a human being.

“The contemporary world will not be able to understand this heart realm of the human person, and so will not be able to fully comprehend the heart’s power and ability to control a human person and its lust, pride and wicked desires,” he said.

Pr Ropra said unless the heart was re-generated through a born-again experience that was made possible through the power of God’s word, it remained wicked and controlled by evil forces.

“The mind of the heart must be renewed and transformed through the power of God’s word so the person can think and act rightly and become a better person in society,” he said.

Ropra said schools and higher learning institutions were working to increase the capacity of the brain but nothing was done about the heart.

“…although the brain thinks and plans and stores information, it is at the mercy of the heart mind that controls it,” the church leader said.

The AOG church said it was morally wrong and unjustified to take a life when ignorance was the factor, Ropra said referring to the death penalty.

“The Word of God is the real power that can change a person from the heart out and we cannot change a person from the outside in,” he said.

“The death penalty in itself will not deter serious crime,” he said.

Ropra said the Government should look at supporting Christian churches that teach sound Christian doctrines.

“Jesus on the cross did not say “kill them father,” but instead said “forgive them for they do not know what they are doing,” (Luke 23:34) he said.