DIVINE VIOLENCE AND THE CHARACTER OF GOD
The issue of divine violence has been a topic of debate in the first two decades of the twenty-first century among scholars, college and seminary students, pastors and lay people, believers and non-believers. There are many reasons for this interest in divine violence. One reason is the rise of secularism and atheism in our society. The rejection of religion leads to the criticism of the God of the Bible.
Another reason is the practical rejection of the Old Testament by many pastors and church members. Some church members believe that Christians do not need to read the Old Testament anymore because the Old Testament has been superseded by the New Testament. This rejection of the Old Testament has created a group of people who could be classified as twenty-first-century Marcionites.
The Marcionites were a heretical group that followed the teachings of a man named Marcion in the second century. Marcion and his followers rejected the Old Testament and taught that the God of the Old Testament was a tyrant. Marcionites believed that the wrathful God of the Old Testament was not the loving and all-forgiving God of the New Testament. They believed that Jesus Christ was not the Son of the God of the Old Testament, but the Son of the good God, who was different from the God of the Old Testament. My book seeks to present a different picture of the God rejected by Marcion.
Another reason for the interest in divine violence is because many people want to know what kind of God the God of the Old Testament is. During my tenure at Northern Seminary, I taught a course titled “Old Testament Theology: The God of the Old Testament” in which I taught my students how to gain a better understanding of the God of the Old Testament. In the process, I developed a model for understanding divine violence in the Old Testament, a model that I will share in this book. Hundreds of students who took my seminary class on Old Testament Theology have had an impact on the development of this book. I am sure those students will want to read this book.
Divine Violence and the Character of God deals with God’s violent acts in the Old Testament in light of God’s character as a gracious and merciful God. In an age when the moral sensitiveness of the human race rejects war and violence, in an age when Christians everywhere follow Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, people ask whether the violence used by Israel in the name of God was justified.
Christians who seek to live their lives in imitation of Christ and try to adhere to the Bible’s teaching on peace, find these violent texts in Scripture to be offensive. In addition, the Bible’s presentation of Yahweh, the God who sponsors and promotes violence, raises serious questions about the nature and character of God. In Divine Violence and the Character of God I provide an approach by which Christians can understand and deal with the problem of divine violence in light of the character and nature of God.
Divine Violence and the Character of God will be published on February 1. 2022. You can order a pre-publication copy of the book at a 40% discount.
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You will receive an email after the book’s publication and receive instructions for finalizing your order at the 40% discounted rate. This discount is available only on pre-publication orders. The 40% discount offer will end on January 31, 2022.
Claude F. Mariottini
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
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