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The Cruciform Beauty of Horrific Divine Portraits

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“Only a person who is aware of the crucified Christ can properly understand Scripture.” Luther (Table Talks) In the last three posts I’ve been wrestling with how insights from Matthew Bate’s book, The Hermeneutics of the Apostolic Proclamation might help us interpret violent portraits of God in the OT in…

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Part 4: An Alternative Cross-Centered Approach

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Image by Karl Pang via Flickr As I mentioned in Part II of this review, I am deeply appreciative of the fact that Flood grasps the centrality of enemy-loving non-violence in Jesus’ revelation of God. And while many, if not most, of the depictions of Yahweh in the Old Testament…

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Greg’s Response to Driscoll’s “Is God a Pacifist” Part III

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This is the last of a three-part response to Mark Driscoll’s post, “Is God a Pacifist?” We’ve seen that, to prove that Jesus was not “a pansy or a pacifist” (meaning that Jesus was okay with justified killing), Mark Driscoll skips over what Jesus actually taught and modeled in the…

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A Cruciform Magic Eye

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In this post I’d like to share the story of how I came upon the thesis I’m defending in the book I’ve been working on for the last four years entitled The Crucifixion of the Warrior God: A Cruciform Theological Interpretation of the Old Testament’s Violent Divine Portraits. It’s a…

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The “Third Way”: Seeing God’s Beauty in the Depth of Scripture’s Violent Portraits of God

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A publishing house recently sent me an advance copy of a book written by a well known scholar on the topic of the non-violent God revealed in Jesus, asking me to endorse it. (Publishing protocol stipulates that endorsers not critique a book before it’s released, so I will not mention…

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What About Jesus’ Violent Parables? A Response to Paul Copan (#7)

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Copan’s Argument. In Crucifixion of the Warrior God (CWG) and Cross Vision (CV) I argue that the violent depictions of God in the OT are incompatible with the non-violent, self-sacrificial, enemy-embracing God who is fully revealed in the crucified Christ. It’s my contention that we therefore need to interpret these…

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Christus Victor Atonement and Girard’s Scapegoat Theory

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Many of the major criticisms of Crucifixion of the Warrior God that have been raised since it was published four weeks ago have come from folks who advocate Rene Girard’s understanding of the atonement. A major place where these matters are being discussed is here, and you are free to…

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The Cruciform Center Part 4: How Revelation Reveals a Cruciform God

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I’ve been arguing that, while everything Jesus did and taught revealed God, the character of the God he reveals is most perfectly expressed by his loving sacrifice on the cross. Our theology and our reading of Scripture should therefore not merely be “Christocentric”: it should be “crucicentric.” My claim, which…

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The Cruciform Center Part 3: How Paul’s Epistles Reveal a Cruciform God

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As we’ve discussed, the four Gospels point to a cruciform revelation of God (click here and here for a review), but what about the most widely read writer of the New Testament? What did the Apostle Paul have to say about how the cross reveals who God is? Before turning…

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Getting Behind the “Letter” of Violent Portraits of God

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“I will do to you what I have never done before… in your midst parents will eat their children, and children will eat their parents…” Ezek. 5:9-10 In my previous post I offered a brief review of Matthew Bates’ fascinating work, The Hermeneutics of the Apostolic Proclamation by Matthew Bates…

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The Violent Vineyard Owner: A Response to Paul Copan (#8)

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In my previous post I addressed two of the three parables that Paul Copan argues present God in violent ways. Today I will address the third, which is the parable of a vineyard owner with hostile tenants (Matthew 21:33-41; Luke 20:9-13). This parable differs from the previous two parables. Whereas…

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Greg’s Response to Driscoll’s “Is God a Pacifist?” Part II

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Waiting For The Word via Compfight To prove that “Jesus is not a pansy or a pacifist,” Driscoll by-passes the Gospels (understandably, given what Jesus has to say about the use of violence) and instead cites a passage from Revelation. This is a strategy Driscoll has used before. In an…

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A Dialogue with Derek Flood: Is the Bible Infallible?

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I’m happy to see that Derek Flood has responded to my four part review of his book, Disarming Scripture. His response—and, I trust, this reply to his response—models how kingdom people can strongly disagree on issues without becoming acrimonious. And I am in full agreement with Derek that our shared…

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Reviewing the Reviews: Tom Belt (Part 1)

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Tom Belt has written a four-part review of Crucifixion of the Warrior God on his blog An Open Orthodoxy. Parts 1 and 2 offer an overall fair and balanced summary of CWG, at least to the point that correcting misunderstandings would feel petty. In Part 3 Tom offers a critique…

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Does God Have a Dark Side?

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In the previous post, I argued that we ought to allow the incarnate and crucified Christ to redefine God for us rather than assume we know God ahead of time and then attempt to superimpose this understanding of God onto Christ. When we do this, I’ve argued, we arrive at…

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Why a “Christocentric” View of God is Inadequate: God’s Self-Portrait, Part 5

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I’m currently working through a series of blogs that will flesh out the theology of the ReKnew Manifesto, and I’m starting with our picture of God, since it is the foundation of everything else. So far I’ve established that Jesus is the one true portrait of God (See: Part 1,…

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Did God Give Violent Laws? A Response to Paul Copan (#13)

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In his critique of Crucifixion of the Warrior God (CWG) at the Evangelical Theological Society annual meeting in November, Paul Copan takes issue with my contention that the violent dimension of OT laws reflects God accommodating the fallen and culturally conditioned perspectives of his people at this time. In my…

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That Weird Episode with the Pigs

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In my opinion, the single strangest episode recounted in the Gospels is the account of Jesus’ encounter with a demonized man that ended with two thousand pigs drowning themselves in the Sea of Galilee (Mk 5:1-10//Mt 8:28-34; Lk 8:26-39). Some find it morally objectionable that this mass suicide was the…

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Who Killed Ananias and Sapphira? A Response to Paul Copan (#6)

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In his critique of Crucifixion of the Warrior God (CWG), Paul Copan makes a concerted effort to argue that the God revealed in Jesus Christ and witnessed to throughout the NT is not altogether non-violent. One of the passages Copan cites against me is the famous account of Ananias and…

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Cruciform Theology in Four Steps

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The culmination of the biblical narrative of the cross reframes everything about who God is, what it means to have faith in God, and how we read the Bible! The entire Old Testament leading up to the crucified Christ must be interpreted with a view toward discerning how it anticipates…

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