Bryan Fischer
Tiller murder: Scripture prohibits taking law into our own hands
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By Bryan Fischer
June 1, 2009

Notorious Wichita abortionist George Tiller, who collected $6,000 from desperate women to perform abortions on their unborn but post-viable babies, was shot to death in the lobby of his church yesterday by a man who is now in custody.

This act of cold-blooded murder cannot be justified, and, as it should, has already been roundly condemned by the leaders of every major pro-life organization.

The Judeo-Christian tradition forbids ordinary citizens taking the law into their own hands. As the great apostle says in Romans 12:17 and 19, "Repay no one evil for evil ... [N]ever avenge yourselves, but leave it (lit: "give place") to the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.'"

How does God carry out his "vengeance," which is simply a synonym for "justice?" According to Paul's next paragraph, the execution of justice is the province of civil government rather than private citizens. Civil government receives delegated authority from God himself to execute justice.

"There is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God (Rom. 13:1)." Speaking of the one who holds this God-derived civil authority, Scripture says in Romans 13:4, "[H]e does not bear the sword in vain. He is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer."

In other words, the chief God-ordained function of government is justice. Its primary role is to punish those who do harm to a fellow citizen's body or property.

If ordinary citizens take the law into their own hands, anarchy and an ever-increasing cycle of violence are the certain results. To preserve order and tranquility in civic affairs, God has clearly assigned to civil government the responsibility to carry out justice, and has prohibited citizens from taking matters into their own hands.

As much as we can understand the energy generated by the heinous nature of Tiller's crimes, Christians cannot be true to the Scriptures and sanction the bombing of abortion clinics or the murder of abortionists.

The answer to homicidal violence, in other words, is not more homicidal violence.

The solution rather is for the pro-life community to work ceaselessly for legal and judicial reform so that the monstrous things Tiller did under color of law become unthinkable once again.

The place to begin, certainly, is to use our influence to see that the next Supreme Court justice understands that the primary purpose of the legal system is to protect the unalienable right to life.

Sadly, although Tiller should have been prosecuted by civil government for dismembering and killing babies in the wombs of their mothers, civil government instead protected this savagery and inhumanity.

When civil government fails to discharge its God-given responsibility to protect the inalienable and God-given right to life, it is unfortunately possible that someone will ignore the plain teaching of Scripture and take justice out of God's hands and place it in his own.

George Tiller now stands before the bar of God, where he must answer for the shed blood of innocents, and I do not imagine that will be a pleasant experience for him.

But his killer must now stand before the bar of man, and he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

The same God who condemned Tiller's homicidal crusade against unborn babies likewise condemns those who usurp the God-ordained authority of civil government and become self-appointed agents of vengeance.

May justice be done.

© Bryan Fischer

 

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