Replying to Gossenius. In line with the comments from A Waco Farmer, it appears to me that it is a reach to interpret the story of Jesus and the Woman Taken in Adultery to signify Jesus’ absolute condemnation of capital punishment. First, note that Jesus' affect is not at all what one would expect if he were indeed making a categorical command. He is neither active (cf. driving the money changers from the Temple) nor angry (cf. “Woe unto you . . . hypocrites”). Second, note that there is no explicit teaching statement attached condemning the death penalty per se. (cf. “You have heard it said, but I say unto you . . .; “But in the kingdom . . .”). Third, the case itself is said to be a trap laid for Jesus (“to test him . . .”) with only one of the two guilty parties brought to him. Any new interpretation of a biblical story must bear a heavy burden of proof. I am not yet convinced.

In addition, Paul will not go away. Specifically Romans 13:1-7 gives the state the sword, the right from God to take human life. It seems to me that with his explanation of John 8:1-11, Gossenius has only two options with regard to Romans 13: either throw out Paul’s teaching here; or, take the Anabaptist option and forbid Christians to participate in government and public justice.