December 16, 2017

The Conundrum of a Warrior God (5)

The Seventh Plague, John Martin

Greg Boyd’s The Crucifixion of the Warrior God is the kind of book that gets my juices going. I love thinking and talking about the Bible and how to read, study, and interpret it, and I find Boyd’s book exhilarating. Greg is a wonderful writer, is passionate about Jesus and the Scriptures and relentless in his efforts to look at the Bible in a thoroughly Christ-centered manner.

There are passages in CWG that are luminous. Even when I end up disagreeing with Greg Boyd on many points, as I do, this work will have a place in my library because of the way it exalts Christ and makes clear the gracious, sacrificial, forgiving love of God.

On the other hand, CWG frustrates me. One of the main reasons is that I think Boyd, like so many who do evangelical studies, paints himself into a theological corner from the beginning of his approach. I’ll let our friend Rob Grayson explain one of the fundamental approaches that Boyd takes which ends up requiring him to make many of the decisions he makes when trying to understand difficult texts.

This is from part 3 of Rob’s review of CWG.

It seems to me that much of CWG is, in fact, an attempt to construct a hermeneutic (i.e. an interpretive approach) that is consistent with a particular view of the inspiration of scripture. [emphasis mine] The notion that all scripture is “God-breathed” is a recurring motif throughout the book, and Boyd is quick to emphasise that the Church has “always” held all of scripture to be divinely inspired; I was left with the feeling that he sees belief in inspiration as a marker of orthodoxy, even though the historic creeds make no mention of it.

…To put in another way, Boyd’s view of inspiration feels like an a priori that he has to defend as he grapples with violent OT portraits of God. To my mind, this severely restricts his interpretive freedom and forces him to dismiss other interpretive strategies that might otherwise be entirely valid – some of which, in my opinion at least, have great merit and are worthy of serious consideration.

Let me give an example of how I think Boyd’s commitment to a certain view of what scripture is and how it works forces him down a path toward his conclusions.

…I have argued that as a missionary to our fallen and often barbaric world, God had to stoop as low as was necessary to embrace people as they were if he hoped to gradually transform them to become the people he wanted them to be. This required God to humbly accommodate his revelation to the fallen and culturally conditioned hearts and minds of his ancient people, which means that, to this degree, God had to continue to allow people to view him in fallen and culturally conditioned ways. (CWG II, 763)

So far, so good. In fact, in my view, so far = sufficient. As Pete Enns put it, “God lets his children tell the story” in their own words, according to the socio-cultural perspectives of their day.

But Boyd must continue…

…if the interpretation given by various OT authors as to how God was involved in violent judgments reflects their fallen and culturally conditioned hearts and minds, I obviously must provide some alternative account of how God was actually involved in these judgments. To discern this, I contend, we must return once again to God’s definitive self-revelation on the cross, where we can discern a second dimension of “what else is going on” when biblical authors ascribe violence to God. (Ibid, emphasis mine)

To Greg Boyd, it is “obvious” that he must provide “some alternative account” of OT depictions of God that speak of him as a Divine Warrior, exercising violence in wrathful judgment or instructing his people to wipe out the Canaanites in order to possess their land.

But why is that obvious? Why must something else be going on these stories besides God allowing his people to tell their story in forms and terms that would have been characteristic of the Ancient Near East way of describing such things?

It is only obvious and necessary if one has a certain view of scripture when approaching these stories. Greg Boyd may not be the most conservative of scholars, but his approach here falls squarely within a certain conservative evangelical way of understanding the nature of the Bible. I would call it a more or less “flat” view.

A “flat” view means all scripture, every story, every law, every narrative, every poem is to be viewed as revelatory in the same kind of way: ultimately each tells us something about who God is, what God is like, and in Greg Boyd’s view it tells us that in light of the ultimate revelation of the cross. This foundational commitment puts the emphasis on the divine side of scripture and downplays the human side. It is a univocal understanding of scripture.

And for Boyd, that means if a text is not directly revelatory (a surface portrait of God that is consistent with the ultimate revelation of his character on the cross), one must look further.

If, as I have argued, all Scripture must bear witness to the crucified Christ, and if we can neither dismiss nor simply embrace the OT’s violent divine portraits, our only remaining option is to look for a way of interpreting these portraits that discloses how they reflect the self-sacrificial love of God revealed on Calvary.

In Origen’s words, a church father from whom Boyd finds support for his Cruciform Hermeneutic, we must “dig beneath ‘the frail vessel of the poor letter’ to unearth the ‘treasure of divine meanings'” (CWG I, 440).

But what if, say, the book of Joshua, with its story of herem (total destruction) in Canaan, is just one ancient perspective, one part of a multivocal conversation within Israel about who God is and what he asks of his people, part of a developing picture throughout the Hebrew Bible of what God is really like?

What if it is the whole conversation that’s important, not any single text or book alone? Why this need to harmonize the hard parts, why try and make them all point to Jesus in the same way?

It is not “obvious” to me that we must find deeper meanings in Divine Warrior texts. It seems much simpler and straightforward to take these texts at face value and attribute their disturbing portraits of God to ancient human authors who looked at things much differently.

Full stop.

It is only a certain view of the Bible that requires us to go further. And I don’t think we need to paint ourselves into Greg Boyd’s corner.

Comments

  1. Thanks for this, Mike. I think you’ve set out the problem very clearly.

  2. It is not “obvious” to me that we must find deeper meanings in Divine Warrior texts. It seems much simpler and straightforward to take these texts at face value and attribute their disturbing portraits of God to ancient human authors who looked at things much differently.

    Full stop.

    It is only a certain view of the Bible that requires us to go further. And I don’t think we need to paint ourselves into Greg Boyd’s corner.

    That. Exactly.

  3. Robert F says:

    Boyd is trying to “fix” the Bible with his hermeneutic; while I agree that it is “broken”, I don’t agree that it should be, or can be, “fixed”. If Jesus Christ cannot be found in it the way it is, warts and all, then he can’t be found in it at all.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > Boyd is trying to “fix” the Bible with his hermeneutic;

      +1. He sounds like a smart guy, but still caged in the cultural OCD that requires everything to be straight-and-narrow, or in this case the term “univocal” seems spot on.

      > while I agree that it is “broken”, I don’t agree that it should be, or can be, “fixed”.

      Nah, I don’t feel it is “broken”. It is what it is. It reads like nearly every other ancient tribal text. The best solution to this sense of “broken” is, IMNSHO, is to go read other texts of similar category and vintage . . . notably something most Americans never ever do – so they find the Old Testament to be strange and brutal – when it is best described as “Normal” – actually quite tame. The OT feels less Strange then many texts [no doubt because Christianity has borrow so much subtle cultural anchors from it].

      > If Jesus Christ cannot be found in it the way it is, warts and all, then he can’t be found in it at all

      I question the notion that Christ must be found ***everywhere*** in Scripture; that it is ***all*** looking forward to Christ. That seems to me yet another kind of univocalism.

      Often it sounds like if Christ cannot be ‘found’ in some section of 2nd Chronicles – then why shouldn’t that be thrown out?

      • “> If Jesus Christ cannot be found in it the way it is, warts and all, then he can’t be found in it at all

        I question the notion that Christ must be found ***everywhere*** in Scripture; that it is ***all*** looking forward to Christ. That seems to me yet another kind of univocalism.

        Often it sounds like if Christ cannot be ‘found’ in some section of 2nd Chronicles – then why shouldn’t that be thrown out?”

        I agree. One of the recent (last 25 years or so) emphases among biblical scholars is that we must let the OT speak on its own, telling the story of Israel, rather than seeing it as simply the prelude to the NT (or worse, a place to mine proof-texts about Jesus). Part of that probably comes from the angst biblical scholars have felt since the holocaust. I think we should see the OT as part of the larger metanarrative – the story of God’s work among God’s people – which is sometimes disturbing (I hate the word ‘messy’), and reflects the culture in which it is set (as does the NT, which is also a little disturbing).

        • Robert F says:

          Yes, the NT is indeed a little disturbing, containing morally objectionable parts that echo those of the OT. I don’t accept that these parts are inspired by God, however we may define inspiration. I tend to believe that there is as much inspired reading and interpretation (which of course includes as essential good scholarship) of the Scriptures as there is inspired writing and editing of them.

      • Robert F says:

        I didn’t say that Christ can be found everywhere in Scripture. That’s not what I believe. I don’t believe he can be found in the parts that Iare morally problematic, that’s for sure. When I say that I think it’s “broken”, all I mean is that parts of Scripture are morally unacceptable from a humane Christian perspective: those places cannot be incorporated into a meaningful Christian ethic. But that doesn’t justify interpreting what is objectionable out of those places by imposing a hermeneutic foreign to the character of the text; that’s just a bad way of reading and interpreting the text as literature. It would be bad no matter what literary work it was applied to.

    • Rick Ro. says:

      I think I agree with all the points made by Robert, Adam and Greg on this thread of comments thus far. Good stuff. Even CHRISTIAN MOVIES don’t point to Christ 100% of the time. There’s all that back-story plotting that occurs just for the sake of history of the characters.

  4. In this corner we have the Masked Avenger, Greg Boyd, fresh from his appearance at the Michael Bell Arena. And in the other corner, a surprise challenger, The Book of Revelation! Should be quite a match.

    • Michael Bell says:

      I guess someone read my comment from yesterday! 🙂

      • Michael Bell says:

        For those who missed it: Greg Boyd was the guest speaker at the church I attend last Sunday.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Unfortunately, the phrase “Book of Revelation” carries a LOT of baggage from Late Great Planet Earth, Left Behind, Rapture Ready, Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Antichrist, and Christians for Nuclear War.

      Just as Mary Channeling is to Catholics and Monk-a-bee Asceticism is to Orthodox, so End Time Prophecy is the Fundagelical way of flaking out.

      • Yes, I guess a two hundred mile long river of blood could be considered a lot of baggage. I thought it made a pretty good bookend along with the collapse of the walls of Jericho, but it pales in comparison with the Deluge. Actually, your smiting of both Eschatology and the Prophetic Tradition in one blow is pretty impressive in itself. If the title “Book of Revelation” bothers you, why don’t we agree to call it “Revelations”.

  5. Susan and others, I appreciate the interaction you all had this morning and the gracious spirit in which it was conducted. I am going to remove it from the post simply because I want subsequent readers to be able to see discussion about the topic right away so that they can jump in and participate on the subject at hand.

    You all are appreciated.

  6. Ken Nichols says:

    If Boyd’s “going deeper” was to allegorize the text in question in ways that teach us other spiritual truths, or merely seeing these texts as ways in which WE (humanity) “use” God to accomplish our goals.

    Unfortunately, that’s not the direction he goes in.

  7. Stephen says:

    1)There is another factor that needs to be considered and that is the overwhelming consensus among non-fundamentalist scholars that the Conquest as depicted in the Hebrew accounts almost certainly did not take place. The archeological evidence is that the Hebrews were indigenous Canaanites that separated themselves out because of cultural practices. So although the view of God as a Warrior still needs to be addressed the focus shifts somewhat to why the Israelites felt the need to create such an origin story in the first place? Why was the Warrior God their default template?

    2)”This required God to humbly accommodate his revelation to the fallen and culturally conditioned hearts and minds of his ancient people, which means that, to this degree, God had to continue to allow people to view him in fallen and culturally conditioned ways.”

    So to what degree is this true of the New Testament as well?

    3)Are we being encouraged to think there is some discontinuity between the Warrior God of the OT and the God who condemns his Son to be crucified in the NT? The Crucifixion is an act of violence. If there is a discontinuity it takes place at the Resurrection.

    • ”The Crucifixion is an act of violence.”

      Boyd isn’t a penal substitution guy. But true, if the “cruciform hermeneutic” is conceived in such a way that it actually confirms a hermeneutic of divine violence then the whole project seems destined to fail right from the get go. How could it not?

      The crucifixion is an act of violence, but it’s our violence. The manifestation of the violence and imagination of the principalities and powers. The cross, I think, is a contrast of ways – our ways and God’s ways.

      • Robert F says:

        But God created a world with a morally ambivalent character. The world was violent long before we ever came on the scene. We didn’t start the fire; God did. God can’t easily be let off the hook for the violent character of the world he created: he is culpable and responsible. Jesus on the cross is him accepting responsibility.

        This does not mean that I believe that God ordered herem, or slew the firstborn of every Egyptian family, or ordered or actively committed any other OT atrocity, or any atrocity ever. But he stood by and watched as every atrocity that has ever actually happened was committed, and he created and sustained the world that made them possible. It seems to me that the act of creation itself was necessarily a morally ambiguous one; yet God created. And he incarnated in Jesus Christ.

        • The world was violent long before we ever came on the scene.

          Very true. I don’t see how the entire history of suffering, death and violence can be laid at the feet of human volition.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            “The world has always been broken…”
            — Chief Bogo, Zootopia

  8. Greg Boyd says:

    Greg said “If Jesus Christ cannot be found in it the way it is, warts and all, then he can’t be found in it at all.” But CWG is trying to demonstrate this very point. JC is present even in the ugliest of warts (violent portraits of God). But Internet Monk is right: Unless one accepts that all Scripture somehow bears witness to Christ, there is no need to look deeper. To this I would only say that most of the church tradition has read the NT as teaching this (Jn 5; Lk 24; I Cor 15).

    • Thanks for participating, Greg. We do have differences, but please don’t miss my words of appreciation for your work in CWG. It’s a great achievement and written wonderfully.

      It seems to me that the early “Gentilization” of the church led us away from the Jewish style of engagement with sacred texts, which fosters debate by setting various perspectives side by side and lets them stand in tension so that an ongoing conversation leading to wisdom might take place. In that model it is the whole conversation and the development of understanding over time that ultimately matters. In the case of the Hebrew Bible, both of us believe it points to Christ. We differ in how it does so.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        It seems to me that the early “Gentilization” of the church led us away from the Jewish style of engagement with sacred texts, which fosters debate by setting various perspectives side by side and lets them stand in tension so that an ongoing conversation leading to wisdom might take place.

        Whereas we the Goyim went the One True Way/It Is Written route.

    • Robert F says:

      Thank you for your comment, Pastor Boyd. And thank you for having the moral and theological courage to thoughtfully wrestle with this difficult interpretative problem on a public stage, before a not always tolerant Christian audience. There is a moral lesson for all Christians in such an undertaking, and a call to openness and tolerance that I hope will be heeded by those with ears to hear.

    • Robert F says:

      Pastor Boyd, I think I must have expressed what I meant poorly when I wrote, “If Jesus Christ cannot be found in it the way it is, warts and all, then he can’t be found in it at all.”. I do not think Jesus Christ can be found in every part of Scripture, nor do I think that all Scripture is positively inspired. There are some places in Scripture where Jesus is clearly found, and there are some places where he is felt only be virtue of his absence. The inspiration of scripture is uneven: in some places, expression of the divine presence is blinding, pure gift from the hand of God; in other places human sin and limitation darkens everything, and the degree of inspiration is at the background level available to all human beings, even when they clutch at idols as they try to reach out to God. But I don’t think we should clean up the parts of Scripture that depict God in a morally problematic way by reading and interpreting them through a hermeneutic that is alien to their world and intention; I don’t think this makes sense as a literary approach to the texts, and, as a result, also think it is theologically ill-advised.

  9. Even if Boyd’s project, isn’t it worth the attempt? It seems like an appropriate ‘next step’ after digging deep into the cultural understanding of the original authors. And I don’t say that casually or dismissively, because my time in seminary — learning Hebrew, unpacking the worldview of the ancient peoples, comparing & contrasting ANE depictions of the gods, understanding inner-biblical criticism (prophets vs. kings, temple vs. sinai, etc., etc.) utterly changed my life. It’s exactly this stuff that made the Bible MAGICAL again for me, because it became even more rooted for me as a thoroughly human book that contained the wrestling match that is the relationship between God and people.

    I’m a few years past that point now, having devoured lots of books and blog posts. Now when I read those texts, I’m equipped to unpack everything I need to in order to come to a somewhat feasibly accurate interpretation of the text. I can say “Ok, here’s what is going on in the political realm. Here’s the ‘sitz im leben.’ Here’s how their depiction of God is working out. Here’s what the redactors may have emphasized.” And so on and so forth.

    I’m not being boastful — it’s just the set of skills that I’ve gone out of my way to acquire (I’m not a scholar, I’ve just learned to read and grasp some of the scholars). So I can do the academic side of things all day. And I’m even fairly adept at translating that stuff into relatable, everyday principles to at least help people sort out their own perspective of God.

    But now I feel like I need a next step in my formation when it comes to those texts. I’m not trying to argue for a perfectly flat, equally authoritative reading of scripture. My lens is Christ. I mean, I’m a certified Anabaptist at this point (they’ve let me in the door, at least). But the Hebrew texts are so rich, and so intriguing, that I’m willing to continue my reading of them to see how they might actually shape my soul… and not just the ones that I’m naturally drawn to. If there is beauty to mine from the ugliness, I want to mine it. Though they read differently, the early church seemed to come up with the helpful (for them) way of interpreting these scriptures, without either dismissing them OR trying to put them in the same sphere of revelation as the risen Jesus.

    All that to say, I’m glad Boyd has worked so vigorously on this project. His presuppositions of what the Bible is may have colored his perspective, but at the same time, those are the same presuppositions that have compelled him to dig, dig, dig for some diamonds. And if they’re not found, it’s ok. But if we’re not called to pursue beauty and truth in the hidden, dark places, what the heck are we doing anyways?

    • Yeesh, just 3 words before my first mistake. That first line should read “Even if Boyd’s project fails…”

    • I agree Sean. It is a most worthwhile book.

    • I’m with you Sean.

      I don’t think Christian theology begins with a theory of biblical inspiration, though many a church statement of beliefs or protestant confession would argue otherwise.

      If a particular lens – a Christotelic/cruciform lens – is what guided much of the early church to allegorize/spiritualize the OT (given their assumptions about biblical inspiration), I’m primarily interested in understanding the lens that guided them in doing so. They were, in effect, recognizing an element of discontinuity. They were rejecting a “plain reading” in favor of allegorical or typological truth. Why did they do what they did? What is this lens that guided them and why does that matter?

      If the combination of a Christotelic/cruciform lens and Boyd’s (for example) axioms about the nature of scriptural “inspiration” necessitates that we draw out a “deeper truth”, I’m still primarily interested in understanding the Christ lens that shapes how and why we draw out this “deeper” thing that the presuppositions require in the first place. What is the lens that shapes and guides this search, that sees a conundrum, that requires a deeper truth to be present within a non-typological reading?

      And likewise, if a Christotelic/cruciform lens is combined with a non-flat view of scripture that recognizes accommodation, multivocality (and therefore the human and the provisional), development from tribal religion, etc., I’m still interested in the nature of this Christ lens that guides the sifting of these voices and the direction/fulfillment of the conversation/narrative.

      No “theory of inspiration” can or will eliminate the potential for slippery slopes or circular reasoning. I happen to believe that the 3rd one provides the best description of what the Bible is, and that this matters. While this very nearly destroyed my faith a few years ago, I now see it as a feature rather than a bug (still have my moments though). Either way, the point is still the formation of this Christ lens.

  10. “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” Isa. .45:7
    It is not possible to contend that there is the complete absence of violence ir the potential to commit violence in the Lord. He committed the ultimate violence in slaying his own son. You can say the Romans did it, the Jews did it, we, by proxy, did it but he gave us the pattern and the symbol of it when he asked Abraham to slay Isaac. He took the knife out of Abraham’s hand and put it in his own. That was the plan he revealed from before the foundations of the earth. Violence is somewhere in the mix and I think we have to contend with that, like it or not.

    • Robert F says:

      I think that’s true. There is a real sense, a morally culpable way, in which God is responsible for every act of violence that’s ever happened, if only because he could’ve stopped it but didn’t. This is his world, with all its violence and ugliness, human and nonhuman. We didn’t start the fire, he did.

      At the same time, for the sake of my own sanity, I have to believe that in Jesus Christ, the life he lived and the death he died, and int the new creation he birthed in his resurrection, violence has been forever eschewed by God as a tool or tactic for the completion of his intentions and will and world, no matter how it still lingers in the overlap between the old and new aeons.

      • I agree. The only caveat is that spasm of violence foretold in Revelation. I don’t have the foggiest idea how to explain the violence of God but I have an ultimate belief that it somehow co-opts evil and transforms darkness into light (the process of the cross). In the beginning God said let there be light and in the end God will say let there be light ( and there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign forever and ever. Rev. 22:5) Alpha and Omega.

        • Robert F says:

          Parts of Revelation are uncomfortable for me, but I treat them the way I do the morally problematic sections of the OT. I don’t think it or they are God-inspired; neither do I think they have anything to contribute toward the working out of a humane Christian ethic. I just do not engage the violence they portray theologically; I see them as the human dimension of scripture that God allows but does not speak through.

          To be clear: my belief that God is in a sense culpable and responsible for all the violence that has ever occurred is not the result of believing that he actually ordered the herem or any other OT atrocity. I don’t believe that. My belief in God’s moral culpability and responsibility for violence is the result of something more like what is called usually called natural theology than revelation. All you have to do is look around this world of suffering and pain, experience some of it yourself, to realize that there is something in the act of initial act of creation itself that led to morally ambivalent results. Yet God created. I suppose he did so foreseeing the New Creation that would be wrought in Jesus Christ, when violence, and the moral ambivalence it gives rise to, would be transcended forever.

          • I can’t do that. Simple as that. Perhaps I’ve been programmed against it but I can’t remove scriptures I’m uncomfortable with. The scriptures themselves in more than one place warn against that and I believe that is meant to keep us looking for and open to the whole picture, seemly or unseemly. Somehow the necessary violence is part of the equation. We believe in the same outcome. Transformation and transcendence are where it is going.

            • Robert F says:

              I understand your point. But what could I be missing that is necessary to the big theological picture, if I wind up with the same outcome that you do? And my theological perspective acknowledges the moral responsibility that God has for violence? Our views of inspiration are different; that’s the only difference I see. Please keep in mind that I’m not removing any of the canon; I’m looking at its contents as having varying degrees of inspiration, along a continuum from brightly divine to darkly human, with a lot of stops in between. I guess there’s always some degree of inspiration involved in humanity’s reaching out to God, however morally problematic the expressions of that; but the blinding inspiration happens when God reaches out, and down, to humanity.

            • Robert F says:

              It almost seems that you’re saying I’m in mortal peril of some kind for not believing that God wills, or has willed, or will will, specific violent acts. Will God be mad at me? Am I failing to obey him by not believing that of him? It doesn’t make sense to me.

              • Good points all. I don’t think you are in mortal peril, only me. Just saying that’s how I approach it. I will say this, when we get to heaven, if I find out that you were theologically incorrect I’m going to put in a requisition for you to spend 30 to 50 in purgatory for your bad behavior. That’s the only punishment I see coming your way.

                • Robert F says:

                  Lol!

                  • I’m putting the same purgatorial request in for the guy who invented the toilet where the water sits about an inch and a half below your butt. Yeah that guy. I will make sure he is appropriately dispatched until he has seen the error of his way. Also, anyone who has ever printed indecipherable directions for furniture assembly. They will be doing decades of construction without the appropriate allen wrenches. That’s all now.

                    • Just a little purgatory humor.

                    • Robert F says:

                      I suppose there are no toilets in purgatory of any kind; I probably would even settle for the ones you’re complaining about. Hardly seems civilized. Sh**ty deal.

          • Re: God’s responsibility, yeah I do wonder if the perceived comfort wrought from God “permitting” something but not “approving” it is a farce and is mostly irrelevant. Goodness, look at the inescapable violence of nature. It feeds on itself to survive. That haunts me.

            I don’t think that’s the last word though.

    • —I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.”

      A good example of why prooftexting doesn’t settle things for me.

      He committed the ultimate violence in slaying his own son.

      I’ll agree that if God “commits the ultimate violence” then we’ve no right to think that violence is anything other than the beating heart at the center of everything.

      For arguments sake, what about the lashings and the crown of thorns? A little something extra from the father to the son when a simple slaying would have been enough? Or from the hands of humanity? How do we divide up the duties?

      • How do we divide them up? I’m not sure.
        I saw a guy walking down the street the other day with a shirt that said, in bold white letters, “Fear God”. He was walking with a very stern look on his face. That all seemed to me to be wildly inappropriate. I think I felt that way because of the age in which we live. Peaceful dispensation you might say. Nonetheless I do not think, in fact I’m sure, God is not to be trifled with. While we are given all the freedoms of children of the king to play in his palace, the king is nonetheless unfathomable in power and magnitude and we would be well advised, even in this dispensation, not to forget that. I have often wondered about the violence at the heart of things and have had an ongoing email discussion with my brother in Ukraine on that very subject for about two years.

  11. I don’t have so much trouble looking thru the lens that Jesus looked thru when he looked at the Hebrew Scriptures. It seems quite plain that he believed they spoke of him, something he said more than once. It also seems plain to me that he believed they spoke of his crucifixion as preordained. It is not plain to me that a Christocentric heurmeneutic is the same thing as a Cruciform heurmeneutic. It seems to me that the Christocentric contains the Cruciform, but is a bigger lens that also contains other parts of the puzzle as well. Thus I am most comfortable at the suggestion that we can find Messiah scattered everywhere in the Olden Testament like springtime flowers in a meadow, even in the ruins of war, not so comfortable that all points to and is to be explained in terms of the cross.

    Fortunately the whole New Testament, my primary go to book, is only a third or even a quarter the size of Boyd’s tome, and surely Greg did not have me in his demographic sights when he wrote this book. I hope it gets picked up as required reading in many seminaries, and I hope Boyd himself continues to stop by and set us straight from his perspective. Also grateful for the perspectives of CM and Rob Grayson, since I expect the book to become influential and would like to end up with a one page summary in my mind, direct from the horse’s mouth if possible.

    As to the “inspiration” of the Scriptures, is this a red herring to distract us from the main point, or is it the main point? Now we’ve got three heurmeneutical balls up in the air at the same time, Inspiration, Christocentric, and Cruciform. You can only look thru one telescope at a time, but you can sit down on a three-legged stool. I hope this series can sustain itself until we get a good handle on Boyd’s perspective, which I don’t have yet, and don’t want to wait for the Reader’s Digest version.

  12. The ONLY way to reconcile YHWH with Jesus is to accept that Scripture was written by humans and filtered through their own experiences, prejudices, and opinions. Anything else is overly complex wishful thinking. If only my SBTS professors could hear me now…