Confusion in the SDA Church

Recently I was shown a newsletter from the Adventist Biblical Research Institute, written by Jiří Moskala, (Th.D., Ph.D.) dean of the Theological Seminar, which claims the 6th commandment is NOT “thou shalt not murder”, but claims it’s “thou shalt not kill”, meaning you cannot kill for any reason.
This newsletter can be downloaded from their site here: or you can view it here where I turned the .pdf into a web page by clicking here.

The same day I was reading this newsletter, I also happened to watch a sermon from Doug Batchelor called “Weapons in the Church” where Doug gives a sermon explaining that protecting yourself with a gun, even in church, is acceptable, and he used the Bible to prove this.

There are a couple of reasons I’m writing this. One is to get the truth out before innocent people die. If a father believes Moskala’s view, he would allow someone to murder his child instead of defending him/her. Another reason is to show that all the Bible classes of theology, all the degrees you can earn, mean nothing without wisdom, nothing without the Holy Spirit and a close personal relationship with God.

I’ll start with Moskala’s conclusion:

The sixth commandment should not be translated ‘you shall not murder,’ implying only the specific case of a criminal act, but ‘you shall not kill humans’ in a general sense. The prohibition as ‘murder’ would not
make sense for an activity in which most common people would rarely think of engaging.

This is, well, very irrational. The claim here is that when people kill other people, it’s “rarely” with the intent of murder, really? Tell me what other type of killing do people contemplate that is not murder? This seems very ignorant. Jiří Moskala has a Th.D., a Ph.D. and is the dean of the Theological Seminar of Andrews University yet seems to have a limited understanding of the Bible as well as the English language. I don’t know any other way to describe that statement besides ludicrous. There are many reason someone might want to kill another person, but whether it’s jealousy, anger, hate, financial benefit, it’s still murder. The only other reason I can think of where someone might want to kill another person is self defense. But there is more……

Going back to the beginning of the article, I came across is this:

God is the creator, He is life, and the source of life; this is why only He gives life and only He can take
it away. He is the ruler over life and death (Job 1:21; Deut 32:39; Isa 45:7) and as the creator of life He
has all rights over life and death and the authority to command: “Do not take life.” However, we need to
underline that it is a strange and alien work for God to kill (Isa 28:21); it is done only out of the necessity
to protect life, as in the case of the biblical flood (Gen 6:11–13). The Lord has no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezek 18:23, 32).

Let’s break that down. First thing I see is the statement “God is the creator, He is life, and the source of life; this is why only He gives life and only He can take it away. He is the ruler over life and death”, and to back up this claim he uses these verses, Job 1:21; Deut 32:39; Isa 45:7. The claim here is that the verses he refers to state that only God can take life.

Lets take a look at Job 1:21, “He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD“. Nowhere in that verse do I see where “only” God can take life. All the verse says is that God took away the lives of those in the house that fell from the wind. That verse does not even hint toward the claim Moskala is making. So this is on the edge of bearing false witness against the Bible, but maybe one of the other verses clarifies Moskala’s statement and can vindicate him, lets see.

He used Deut 32:3 which says “See now that I am He; there is no God besides Me. I bring death and I give life; I wound and I heal, and there is no one who can deliver from My hand“. Again, I don’t see where it says “ONLY” God can take life. If I make the statement that “I drive cars”, that’s doesn’t mean I’m the only one who drives cars. Moskala is twisting scripture to fit his idea instead of having an idea that fits scripture.

There is one more verse he used, lets see what Isa 45:7 says: “I form light and create darkness; I bring prosperity and create calamity. I, the LORD, do all these things“. Well, this also says nothing about “only God can kill”, in fact is says nothing about taking life at all. For a dean in an institution such as Andrews, this is pathetic, it sounds to me like blasphemy against the Bible. Moskala made a false claim about what the Bible says, not one verse he used says only God can take a life.

In this news letter from Jiří Moskala, Th.D., Ph.D., Dean of the Theological Seminar of Andrews University, is bearing false witness against the Bible, a sin that he wrote and made public for all to see.

On page 3 we find:

Humans were created in the image of God; thus, theologically speaking, the one who kills destroys the image of God, and no one has the right to kill this image. This is why killing humans is absolutely prohibited: it is a sin. Hamilton rightly proclaims, “To kill another human being is to destroy one who is a bearer of the divine image.”

From this statement, Moskala is claiming that God disobeyed his own laws. We have several instances in the Bible where God commanded or sanctioned people to kill other people. We have David and Goliath, Joshua at Jericho, Samson, and I could probably find many more examples.

Also on page 3:

The sixth commandment is an apodictic law. Apodictic laws are unconditional and make categorical assertions, whereas casuistic laws explain different conditions and how they need to be executed/applied. In principle, killing is killing and cannot be excused

If someone comes at me with a gun, to kill me, and I defend myself by attempting to take his gun, yet during the struggle it goes off and kills the other person, well, I took the life. Moskala says I have no excuse, I will be accountable for murder….. Moskala does <b>not</b> know the Bible. Here is a verse from me: Exodus 22:2 “If the thief is caught while breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account”. So with that, the entire news letter is now proven false.

Later on page 3 Moskala states that the term ratsakh (the 6th commandment term for kill) does not specify whether the killing is murder, manslaughter or justifiable homicide. This is because the word ratsakh is used in several places throughout the Bible for the different types of killing, Moskala deduces when it’s used in the 6th commandment it covers all the different types, including self defence. That is very irrational thinking, again I refer to Exodus 22:2, there are legitimate reasons for killing where God does no punish.

With that, I accomplished what I set out to do, show his entire doctrine on killing is wrong, and with just one verse, Exodus 22:2. The thought of people allowing themselves or loved ones getting hurt or killed because they feel than are not allowed protect/defend, scares me.

I agree that God considers life very precious, which makes Moskala’s view against God. If you kill a mass shooter, you save lives, precious lives, and that would make God pleased. The contrary would be to do as Moskala says, let murderers murder, which would cause more people to be killed.

Something I haven’t mentioned yet, the disciples were armed, they carried swords, and they didn’t carry them to cut food or clean their fingernails. Peter attacked the soldier in the Garden right in front of Christ, and what did Christ say? Put the sword back in your sheath. It’s obvious from this the swords were carried for fighting, not as a tool. If God didn’t want us to protect ourselves with weapons, Jesus would have said get rid of that weapon, well, actually Jesus would have had them get rid of their swords long before then.

I carry a concealed hand gun, and pray I never have to use it. The main reason I carry a weapon is that I have a wife and two daughters, I carry to protect them. I have people who depend on me, and I on them. If someone has to die, what would be a greater loss, the innocent victim or the killer who would most likely kill again?

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