Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Would Jesus Throw Stones?

A few comments in a thread at T&S explored the story in John 8 about the woman taken in adultery that was brought before Christ to be stoned. Seth Rogers points out that her guilt is not in question. He goes on to say, "But the law also demanded witnesses to testify who would then cast the first stones. Christ calls for the witnesses." When no witness steps forward Jesus dismisses the woman with a charge to stop her sinful ways. (There is no mention of forgiveness in the story.)

Seth questions the modern understanding of the story which he phrases, "come on guys, we all sin a little now and then, don't be so judgmental!" He goes on to argue that Christ would have accepted a guilty verdict had that been the proper legal result. (He backs away from the assertion in a later comment.)

That is some meat for thinking! I always think of that story in the way that Nate Oman responded, "Gee...and all of this time I thought that story was about forgiveness." But that understanding is clearly incomplete. Jesus only set her on the road to repentance but did not forgive her at that time according to the record we have. While it may be offensive for some to entertain the notion that Jesus "really was a stone thrower after all," it nevertheless remains a plausible reading of the story.

We read in the all the ancient scriptures, including the Book of Mormon and New Testament about times where God kills people in punishment. Why would we assume that it is impossible that he should continue to endorse this practice while in the flesh?

I'll have to chew on this one for a while and see if I find myself agreeing with Seth's assertions in the end, but for the present I am very persuaded.


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  • Nice post. I think we mortals perhaps view death as such a big deal. With an eternal perspective perhaps there are times when it is for the best.

    I also never though that 'go thy way and sin no more' was letting her off the hook for her actions in the long run. Simply one of the first steps to repentance.

    By Blogger Eric Nielson, at 12/22/2005 3:28 PM  

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