Quotes to Chew On: Conflicting Depictions of God

benefit-of-the-doubt1“This is something like the way I believe we should respond when we encounter biblical narratives that depict God doing things we can’t imagine Christ doing. For example, I can’t for a moment imagine Jesus—the one who made refusing violence and loving enemies a condition for being considered a child of God—commanding anyone to mercilessly slaughter anyone, let alone an entire population that included women and infants. And yet, Yahweh is depicted as doing this very thing in a book that Jesus himself considered inspired, and thus a book that I, out of obedience to him, feel compelled to regard as inspired.”

“I submit it would be unfaithful to Christ and the relationship he has forged with us on the cross to allow this or any other narrative to call into question the loving character of God that he reveals. So too, it would be unfaithful for us to invest this or any similar narrative with the same authority we invest in Christ and to thereby conclude that Jesus only reveals part of God—as though there is a merciless violent streak in God that remains hidden behind the cross.”

“A more faithful response, I believe, is to instead assume that there must have been things going on behind the scenes that we are not privy to. And until we can ask him face to face, the faithful thing to do is to try and imagine what this “something else” might have been.”

Boyd, Gregory, Benefit of the Doubt: Breaking the Idol of Certainty, p.192, Baker, 2013

Related Reading

How Much Does the Cross Really Matter?

The cross is as foolishness and weakness to nonbelievers, but Paul wrote that to those who are being saved it is both “the power” and “wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:18, 24). In sharp contrast to the controlling power and wisdom that has been ascribed to God or the gods throughout history—including in much of…

Satan or God: Who Tempted David to Sin?

The author of 2 Samuel says that Yahweh caused David to sin by taking a census of his military personnel (2 Sam 24:1) while the author of 1 Chronicles attributes this temptation to Satan (1 Chr 21:1). It is clear that the author of 2 Samuel had no problem accepting that Yahweh was capable of…

Early Anabaptists and the Centrality of Christ

In a previous post, I wrote about the Christocentric interpretation of the Scriptures espoused by the magisterial Reformers, specifically Luther and Calvin. Their hermeneutic was focused on the work and the offices of Christ, but in my opinion the Anabaptists surpasses their approach because it focused on the person of Christ with an unparalleled emphasis…

Some News and a Giveaway!

We’ve got some exciting news for you. Starting next month, ReKnew will be sending out a monthly e-newsletter to those who are interested in getting a little something extra from our ministry. We’ll be including a personal video message from Greg in each issue as well as other news and updates. If you’re interested in receiving…

“I hope to challenge the assumption that finding the right political path has anything to do with advancing the kingdom of God.” [Quotes]

I do not argue that those political positions are either wrong or right. Nor do I argue that Christians shouldn’t be involved in politics. While people whose faith has been politicized may well interpret me along such lines, I assure you that this is not what I’m saying. The issue is far more fundamental than how we should vote or participate in government. Rather, I hope to challenge the assumption that finding the right political path has anything to do with advancing the kingdom of God.

Why the Rapture is a Bad Idea

Is the Rapture really what you think it is? Most Christians believe that God will take his followers up to heaven before the really bad stuff starts on earth, but is this what the bible says? Is this view consistent with the loving God that Jesus shows us in the New Testament? View the full…