A friend gave me this book, thinking that I might be interested in it, and when that happens, I always at least take a look. First I looked at the back of the cover for some info on the author, and seeing that he holds a Master’s degree in systematic theology, I took the plunge.
The book is written in two major sections: “Violence and the Old Testament,” and “Violence and the New Testament.” I will be honest with you, I have always struggled with how to reconcile the violence and retribution of the Old Testament with the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament; i.e. “turn the other cheek,” “give water to your enemies,” etc. “Does the Bible describe a God of love or a God of genocide? How are we to reconcile that the apparent answer to this question is that it describes both? As a people of faith, we need to face the sobering fact that some parts of our Bible command us to love our enemies, while other parts command mercilessly slaughtering them.” (Flood p. 2) The author goes on to explain that this contrast is morecomplex than the division between the Old and New Testaments—but will require us to go deeper.
Flood offers an alternative way to read that is thoroughly based on scripture, not discounting anything that we hold to be holy and true. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who is willing to think deeply and honestly about how reading and understanding scripture can impact our lives in profound ways.
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