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God of War

Anthony Weber —  July 13, 2012 — 5 Comments

The entire concept of a God of justice and mercy ordering the slaughter of thousands of people  on many occasions I find abhorrent.This is an issue I have always had profound trouble with and one I suspended judgment on when I began to believe.. The responses to this problem I have seen so far (God did them a favor, they were like cancer, or God’s justice is beyond ours) seem to me to be lame or inappropriate.”   – from a letter to Timothy Keller

Let’s be honest: The Old Testament God sometimes seems cranky and eager to smash something.  That is a daunting image of God, especially when compared to the mild and humble picture of Jesus. If the New Testament God is Mr. Rogers, the Old Testament God is Randy Couture. However, neither of these caricatures is accurate. This post is the first part of a series on an often uncomfortable topic:  God of War.

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Growing up Mennonite, we never talked about God and war.  We read the story about David and Goliath with as much detachment and inner condemnation as we could.  We wondered how much we should cheer for David’s mighty men, who were the elite forces of their day. We cheered when Sampson brought the temple down, but with some guilt.  (Plus he had long hair, and that was a problem for us too.) So what do you think we did with all the God-ordained wars in the Old Testament?

Nothing.

We loved Jesus when he said “love your enemy” and “turn the other cheek,” but God?  God in the Old Testament was sometimes treated like the crazy uncle who shows up at family reunions.  Nobody really knows how to interact with him or explain him to others. Continue Reading…