Many people seem embarrassed by the God of the Old Testament. Especially when He is described as condemning moral behavior that is now widely accepted (i.e. homosexuality) or doing rather violent things to people and nations (i.e. ordering the genocide of certain people groups “because of their wickedness” (Deuteronomy 9:4)).

Popular pastor Andy Stanley argued this past April his sermon, Aftermath, that the church today must “unhitch the Christian faith from the Jewish scriptures.” The reason is that the Old Testament is a stumbling block to post-modern people. Stanley seems embarrassed by the God of the Old Testament. So do many others like Rob Bell, Peter Enns, and popular pastor, Greg Boyd.

In fact, Greg Boyd says that God did not really kill people in the Old Testament. Boyd is the founding Pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. In brief, Boyd argues that we need to read all of Scripture thru the lens of what we know of Jesus on the Cross. Namely, a loving Messiah who refused to be violent. Boyd develops an interpretation of Scripture that he calls a “cruciform hermeneutic.” He wants to show us how the Bible’s violent images of God are reframed and diffused when interpreted through the lens of the cross and resurrection. Say what?!

In a recent book entitled How to Read the Bible and Still Be a Christian, liberal, biblical scholar John Dominic Crossan argues that the Bible does present two conflicting views of God. That’s right…two conflicting views. One view is the meek, mild, loving Jesus. The other view is the violent, vindictive view of Yahweh in the Old Testament (and the book of Revelation). So, who’s really taking God at His word? And who’s creating a god in their own image? And another question: Why all the hesitation to accept God’s violent actions against wickedness and evil?

The musings of such people remind me of the question posed to Eve, by Satan, in the Garden of Eden: “Did God really say…?” It’s always dangerous to claim God didn’t say something, especially when He did so, very clearly– again and again. Just because some of God’s commands or actions are not politically correct, doesn’t give us license to simply dismiss them outright. The question for us is this: Who is our final authority–Ourselves or the Word of God? Your answer will have a massive impact on this life and your eternity.

by Jay Childs, Senior Pastor
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