OBU will kick off the fall Philosophy Forum series Friday, Sept. 16, with a faculty dialogue discussing the topic, “Should a Christian Support the Death Penalty?” The OBU Department of Philosophy will sponsor the event, beginning at 4 p.m. in the Tulsa Royalties Auditorium in Bailey Business Center on the OBU campus in Shawnee.
Dr. Galen Jones, assistant professor of church planting and Floyd K. Clark chair of Christian leadership, and Dr. Matthew Arbo, assistant professor of biblical and theological studies, will lead the forum. Jones will support the stance that Christians should support the death penalty while Arbo will be opposing. They will use Shaine Claiborne’s “Executing Grace” as a springboard for conversation and will also host a question and answer session following the dialogue.
“The question of capital punishment has long been divisive within the Christian Church,” said Dr. Tawa Anderson, assistant professor of philosophy and director of the honor program. “Some Christian philosophers and theologians support the death penalty, arguing that it is commanded in the Old Testament law and tacitly approved in New Testament passages like Romans 13:1-5. Others argue that the Old Testament approval of the death penalty is overridden by the New Testament fulfillment of the law in Christ and commands given to Christians to eschew violence in favor of divine justice and mercy.”
“On one hand, some Christians point to the depths of evil and suffering caused by capital crimes, and insist that the only satisfactory and fitting expression of justice is the death penalty,” Anderson said. “On the other hand, other Christians insist that the need to provide second chances, even to capital criminals, combined with past evidence of wrongful convictions and executions, demonstrate that it is time to do away with the death penalty.”
Philosophy Forums are intended to spark interest in and engagement with philosophical topics and issues that have broader rational and practical implications. The fall series will include three more forums, comprising of a faculty panel discussion on Christian worldview Oct. 7, a faculty lecture by Anderson on belief in miracles Nov. 4, and a faculty panel discussion on health care reform Dec. 2. Each session will take place from 4-5:15 p.m. in the Tulsa Royalties Auditorium.