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Friday, March 26, 2004

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amen. i don't get why people have such a hard time with this. thanks for posting this.

Good point; the Holy Spirit gives us the stomach to tackle that big steak. I often critique theoligical liberals by noting that they take scripture on an a-la-carte basis.

I don't think that we should interpret the OT God as a God willing to "wage war" in that way. War is very evil, and I think it is more accurate to say that God helps the side(s) in a war who serve his purpose of peace, love, goodness and freedom. If the Israelites had gone on a rampage and began slaughtering every last man, woman and child who wasn't Jewish in the Middle East the God of the OT would not have supported them because they'd have started a wicked and evil war.

Call me a theological liberal but I think that God is neither a pacifist nor a warrior. To be either would be to become semi-humanlike and seeing how imperfect we are I find attempts to put God in any way on our level to be wrong. I think that God sees that wars are often necessary evils because they remind us what evil is and they are a good impersonal test of character for millions. God doesn't start them, God merely provides us with the means to defend ourselves and end them. There is no doubt in my mind that if the U.S. were today to go around the world waging war everywhere in search of monsters to destroy that God would disown us and let us suffer from our own hubris.

Christians should not lose sight of the fact that the OT, unlike the NT, is very much a record of history from one side. The NT is sort of a history in that it tells a story, but it is primarily about spreading the universal message of Christ's sacrifice. The Jews of the OT were, like all peoples, not immune to the tendency to attribute victories to God's Will as though God wanted them to bring and death and destruction to their enemies.

We should be skeptical of claims that say that God is "warlike." The Jewish people in the OT not only did some very wicked things, but many good and innocent Jews suffered equally wicked things in wars that were supposedly God's Will for whatever reason. I refuse to believe that God is like some warlike pagan God.

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