Marvin Olasky

As Class 6 rapids are potentially fatal waterfalls, so claims that “God saith” when He hasn’t can be deadly to faith. On some questions (specific foreign trade agreements, for example) we may have no clear biblical position, no historical trail for the discerning to apply, and not much else to mark the path. When WORLD reports a Class 6 story, we are likely to balance different perspectives, and our coverage might be similar to that of a traditional mainstream reporter.

I’ve spent a lot of time analyzing some issues, such as same-sex marriage or abortion, and concluded that the Bible is clearly against both: WORLD is also. I had not spent much time on capital punishment but had thought it also a Class 1 rapids, with the Bible clearly favoring it in cases of murder and other crimes as well. Once I studied more, though, it seemed a Class 3: Scripture demands a reckoning for murder, but Christians should debate whether execution or lifetime imprisonment is best.

Some readers made clear their disagreement with my conclusions. Some wanted me to emphasize particular aspects I hadn’t brought up. Some argued that America’s civil law should be the same as that of ancient Israel. Others disagreed because “the United States has been polluted by the intentional murders that have not been punished with the death penalty.” Some, arguing that our legal system is often unjust, wanted me to argue that capital punishment should be banned. Others worried that if I strayed from the traditional conservative position on capital punishment I would soon embrace homosexual marriage, and said they’d pray for me: Please do pray, but don’t worry.

After doing 10 rugged interviews in Texas, writing 10 pages in WORLD and 10 posts on, and reading 110 letters and comments, I’m filled with thanks for the Bible and thanks to our readers for thoughtfully considering this hard, hard issue.

Marvin Olasky

Marvin Olasky is editor-in-chief of the national news magazine World. For additional commentary by Marvin Olasky, visit
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