Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Crucifixion of the Warrior God (Introduction)

Summary of Introduction
Greg Boyd believes that Jesus (and especially the cross) is at the center of the Christian faith and the greatest revelation of God's character. He also believes in the divine inspiration of Scripture. But this creates a conundrum. How do we reconcile what we know of Jesus (self-sacrificing, enemy-loving, other-oriented, etc.) and the violent depictions of God that we often find (especially) in the Old Testament? We can't just reject the Old Testament (it's divinely inspired), but we also can't embrace it's violence.

Originally, Greg thought putting the 'best-spin' on these Old Testament texts might redeem them, but he determined that this approach was strained and inadequate. He came to the conviction (helped by Origen), instead, that it would be a better project to consistently apply a cruciform hermeneutic (a way of reading Scripture through the lens of Christ and the cross) to these passages. The way forward wasn't to soften the rough edges of the Old Testament depictions of God, but to see them in a new way (similar to looking at a 'Magic Eye' picture).

Greg came to the conclusion that looking backward from the height of the cross is the best vantage point (following, in this hermeneutic, Luther & Moltmann especially) for understanding the violent portraits of God given in the Old Testament. He hopes that his 2-volume work will help readers see the 'self-sacrificial, indiscriminately loving, nonviolent God revealed on the cross in the depths of the OT's sometimes horrifically violent depictions of God'. In short, he hopes to show that the very idea of a violent warrior God has been crucified in Christ.

I've been waiting for this book for a long while and have heard Greg Boyd preach on the subject multiple times... so I knew what the book was going to be about. This introduction does an excellent job of describing the path which brought Greg to the point (a decade, really) of writing the book and describing, for the reader, the ground that will be covered.

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