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Two Questions to Unlock Violent Divine Portraits

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There are two basic questions that help us to interpret what is going on in the violent portraits of God in the Old Testament, as I propose in Crucifixion of the Warrior God. The First Question: What does the “God-breathed” revelation of the cross teach us about the nature of…

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A Revelation of Beauty Through Ugliness

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In my recent post, Getting Honest About the Dark Side of the Bible, I enlisted no less an authority than John Calvin to support my claim that we need to be forthright in acknowledging that some of the portraits of God in the OT are, as he said, “savage”…

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The Phinehas vs. Jesus Conundrum

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I’ll be frank. This is not a blog that will be easy for some people to read. But it’s a blog I believe every follower of Jesus should read – even if you have to force yourself to press on. It’s about something we all wish was not true….

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Is the New Testament Ambiguous About Non-Violence?

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One could argue, with some legitimacy, that the portrait of God in the NT is not unambiguously non-violent, the revelation of God on Calvary notwithstanding. It can’t be denied that there are violent-appearing images of God in certain teachings of Jesus and certain NT authors, especially when it comes to…

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The REAL Problem with Divine Violence in the OT

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As I mentioned in my previous blog, while I will continue to offer video-blogs responding to questions that come in, I’m also planning on sprinkling in reflections based on my forthcoming book, Crucifixion of the Warrior God, over the next couple months. Today, I just want to state what…

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What Does It Mean that God Hardens Hearts?

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Some argue that passages which speak of God hardening human hearts (Jos 11:19-20; Ex 7:3; 10:1; Rom 9:18) demonstrate that God controls everything, including people resistant to this declared intentions. He hardens whomever he wills, they argue. He could just as easily have softened their hearts, but for his own…

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Who Curses the Earth?

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After the “fall” of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, their sin results in a five curses: on nature, on marriage, on human life, on the serpent, and on women during childbirth. Who is it exactly that afflicts the world with these curses? While the author speaks about…

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When God Endorsed Polygamy

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We often find God acting as if he supports things we know, by other means, that he does not. For example, though his ideal was monogamy, it’s clear in the biblical narrative that, once God decided to permit men to acquire multiple wives and concubines, he was not above bearing…

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God’s Heart to Prevent Judgment

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In Ezekiel we read a passage that depicts Yahweh as warning his people about their impending punishment by saying, “I will pour out my wrath on you and breathe out my fiery anger against you” (Ezek 21:31a). As we find in several other texts, Yahweh is here depicted as a…

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The Cross and the Witness of Violent Portraits of God

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In my previous post I noted that the prevalent contemporary evangelical assumption that the only legitimate meaning of a passage of Scripture is the one the author intended is a rather recent, and very secular, innovation in Church history. It was birthed in the post-Enlightenment era (17th -18th centuries)…

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Does the Author of Hebrews Condone Capital Punishment? A Response to Paul Copan (#12)

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In his critique of Crucifixion of the Warrior God (CWG), Paul Copan argues that several New Testament authors condone capital punishment as directly willed by God. The most challenging for my thesis, in my estimation, is Hebrews 10:26-29, which reads: For if we willfully persist in sin after having received…

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Does the Lord “Devastate” the Earth?

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There is this passage that has sometimes been labeled “Isaiah’s Little Apocalypse” that proclaims how the Lord will “lay waste,” “destroy,” and “ruin” the earth. (The following builds on this previous post which identifies a dual speech pattern of God). It begins with: The LORD is going to lay waste…

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How do you respond to Joshua 11:19–20?

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“There was not a town that made peace with the Israelites, except the Hivites…all were taken to battle. For it was the Lord’s doing to harden their hearts so that they would come against Israel in battle, in order that they might be utterly destroyed…” (cf. Exod. 7:3; 10:1; 14:4;…

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