Psalm 67:1-7 God’s Blessings That He Gives Me

Psalm 67:1-7 God's Blessings That He Gives Me Are For God's Glory

Psalm 67:1-7 God’s Blessings That He Gives Me

Psalm 67:1-7 God’s Blessings That He Gives Me Are For God’s Glory

Why does God bless you? Why does He give you what He has given you? Is it for your own pleasure? Is it to satisfy your own desires? Is it to make you happy? No.

The purpose of God’s blessing on us is for His glory. God uses us and what He gives us to point people to Him.1

May God be gracious to us and bless us; look on us with favor Selah so that Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.” (Psalm 67:1–2, HCSB)

This verse is a hint of the priestly benediction:

May Yahweh bless you and protect you; may Yahweh make His face shine on you and be gracious to you;” (Numbers 6:24–25, HCSB)

The shining of God’s “face” is associated with God’s favor, manifested in deliverance, redemption, and salvation (Psalms 31:16; 80:1, 3, 7, 19; 118:27).23

John Piper in his book Finishing the Mission: Bringing the Gospel to the Unreached and the Unengaged(, he recalls God’s purpose:

According to Psalm 67 God’s purpose is to be known and praised and enjoyed and feared among all the peoples of the earth. This is why he created the world, why he chose Israel, why Christ died, and why missions exists—missions exists because the knowledge of God, the praise of God, the enjoyment of God, and the fear of God don’t exist among the nations.4

Incidentally, this statement closely aligns with the five purposes that God has given every Christian, according to Rick Warren in his book, The Purpose-Driven Life (see my review). Let’s look at this psalm and see God’s blessings are for God’s purposes designed for His glory. In this psalm, I want to show you that God expects from us His five purposes which He has given to every Christian. These five purposes are given from God’s point of view. In other words, these are purposes (or results if you want to use that term) He expects from us as Christians and as churches when He blesses us.

GOD’S FIVE PURPOSES REVEALED IN PSALM 67

1. God wants to be known (missions) – Psalm 67:2

so that Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.” (Psalm 67:2, HCSB)

I believe that this verse reveals the first of God’s purposes: missions.

God designed us for a relationship with Him. He created us so that He could love us. Just as Paul points out in his sermon to the Greeks:

From one man He has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. He did this so they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” (Acts 17:26–27, HCSB)

God wants to be known. He has made that the mission of the church:

Then He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15, HCSB)

2. God wants to be praised (worship) – Psalm 67:3, Psalm 67:5

Let the peoples praise You, God; let all the peoples praise You.” (Psalm 67:3, HCSB)

Let the peoples praise You, God, let all the peoples praise You.” (Psalm 67:5, HCSB)

God wants to be known so that He can be worshiped. This reveals the second purpose that God has for me. God desires my worship. He wants me to look to Him and praise Him for what He has done for me.

3. God wants to be enjoyed (fellowship) – Psalm 67:4

Let the nations rejoice and shout for joy…” (Psalm 67:4, HCSB)

The third purpose is fellowship. God also wants to be enjoyed. He wants a relationship that is not just based on praise. He doesn’t just want to be looked up to. He also wants to have a positive relationship with His creation. He wants me to spend time with Him. He wants to be part of my life. He wants me to make my life part of His. He’s already involved in my life. He wants me to acknowledge it and enjoy it.

4. God wants to be entrusted (ministry) – Psalm 67:6

The earth has produced its harvest; God, our God, blesses us.” (Psalm 67:6, HCSB)

I believe that this verse reveals another of God’s purposes: ministry.

John Calvin commented on this verse and about being “bestowed benefits”:

And here it is to be remembered, that every benefit which God bestowed upon his ancient people was, as it were, a light held out before the eyes of the world, to attract the attention of the nations to him.5

The idea here is God bestows everything to us. He gives everything to us. We entrust back to God everything that you and I produce (or make, or manufacture). Whatever comes from our hands, we are to give back to God for God’s service.

When God gave us the earth to use, He gave us a command in Genesis. It was a trust:

God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.”” (Genesis 1:28, HCSB)

But you, be fruitful and multiply; spread out over the earth and multiply on it.”” (Genesis 9:7, HCSB)

In both of these statements God entrusted to us work and relationships. But He never expected that we would do the work and build the relationships apart from Him. That’s why Paul says this in Ephesians:

For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10, HCSB)

The point is that God has created us and has given us work. But the work is not for our personal benefit alone. God has blessed you with material blessings but they are for God’s glory.

This is part of the reason that we are called to give ten percent of our finances to God.

Bring the full tenth into the storehouse so that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this way,” says the Lord of Hosts. “See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure.” (Malachi 3:10, HCSB)

But there is more to it than just financial things. We are entrusted with abilities, gifts, opportunities, and challenges. God has given us these “harvest opportunities” not just to make you skillful and rich. The reason He has given these is for His use, His opportunities, His desires, and His glory.

5. God wants to be feared (discipleship) – Psalm 67:7

“…and all the ends of the earth will fear Him.” (Psalm 67:7, HCSB)

God also desires to be feared. I believe this reveals the fifth purpose that God has for me. How is related to the purpose of discipleship or growth?

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline.” (Proverbs 1:7, HCSB)

God doesn’t just want to be known. He wants to accepted and respected. He wants people from all over the world to come to Him. He wants to the ultimate Authority to which everyone will listen.

God’s blessing to me should increase the influence of God’s mission (Psalm 67:1-2). I don’t ask for God’s blessing for me. I ask for it so that I may spread God’s mission.

What is the result when God blesses me? It should make me a better witness. (Psalm 67:7)

God’s blessing to me should increase the influence of God’s mission (Psalm 67:1-2). I don’t ask for God’s blessing for me. I ask for it so that I may spread God’s mission. When God blesses us, it should lead each of us to a better witness to the world (Psalm 67:7)6

This brings us back to the first purpose in Psalm 67:1. Both the beginning of Psalm 67 and the end of Psalm 67 connect the five purposes together, like links in a circular chain.

The psalm begins and ends with the connection between the people of God being blessed by God so that the nations will be blessed by us. What we have not noticed is that when the connection is repeated at the end of the psalm it is harvest time, and the blessing on the people of God is mainly a material blessing. Verses 6–7:

The earth has yielded its increase [there has been a great harvest—this is a harvest psalm];

God, our God, shall bless us.

God shall bless us;

let all the ends of the earth fear him!

So the immediate blessing in view is the way God has provided all the material needs of his people. Yet, the entire focus is not on material blessings for the world but spiritual ones—that is, God himself. Derek Kidner in his commentary says:

If the setting of the psalm seems to be a festival of harvest home, it is remarkable … how nature is overshadowed by history, and the psalmist [is] stirred by hopes that have no material or self-regarding element.… Here, nothing matters but man’s need of God Himself.7

• Oh, Lord, let your way be known.

• Let our salvation be known.

• Let praise arise to you from all the peoples.

• Let joy overflow from the hearts of the nations.

• Show yourself a righteous judge, and a powerful guide.

The pervasive concern for the nations is that they would experience the true God—God himself.

God gives his people material wealth for the sake of the world’s spiritual worship. That is, he blesses his church with riches for the sake of reaching the nations. He gives a bountiful wheat harvest for the sake of a bountiful world harvest. He gives us more money than we need so that we can meet the world’s greatest need—the need to know God through Jesus Christ.8

Let me end with a story by Jon Courson:

In the north of Israel lies the Sea of Galilee. It teems with life. But in the south, there is another body of water: the Dead Sea. There’s no life there. Why? In the Sea of Galilee, there is inflow and outflow. The Jordan River comes in and flows through. In the Dead Sea, however, although there is an inflow, there is no outflow. Consequently, the saline content of the water has built up to the point where nothing can grow. The same thing can be true of us spiritually. If you feel like the Dead Sea, it could very well be because there is not an outflow in your life.

If I’m not looking for people to reach out to, I miss my calling, my purpose and suddenly, my walk is dry. Bible study will be boring. Prayer will be meaningless. Devotion will be nonexistent. Praise will be an effort. But when I say, “Lord, bless me so I can go to work and share the gospel, so that I can tell someone he’s loved by You,” suddenly my prayer life will have purpose, the Word will come alive, and praise will overflow once again.9

1 Jim Erwin, “God’s Blessing for God’s Glory,” 30 April 2016, Lectionary Reflections Year C (2015-2016), Logos Bible Software Notes, accessed on 23 September 2016.

2 Wilson, Psalms, 1:927.

3 C. Hassell Bullock, Psalms 1–72, ed. Mark L. Strauss and John H. Walton, vol. 1, Teach the Text Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2015), 507.

4 John Piper, “Let the Peoples Praise You, O God! Let All the Peoples Praise You!,” in Finish the Mission: Bringing the Gospel to the Unreached and Unengaged, ed. David Mathis (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012), 138.

5 John Calvin and James Anderson, Commentary on the Book of Psalms, vol. 3 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010), 4.

6 Jim Erwin, “God’s Blessing for God’s Glory,” 30 April 2016, Lectionary Reflections Year C (2015-2016), Logos Bible Software Notes, accessed on 23 September 2016.

7 Derek Kidner, Psalms 1–72, vol. 15 of Tyndale Old Testament Commentary (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2008), 236.

8 John Piper, “Let the Peoples Praise You, O God! Let All the Peoples Praise You!,” in Finish the Mission: Bringing the Gospel to the Unreached and Unengaged, ed. David Mathis (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012), 145–146.

9 Jon Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary: Volume Two: Psalms-Malachi (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2006), 80–81.

Revelation 15:1-8 Seven Characteristics of the Celebration of God’s People

Revelation 15:1-8 Seven Characteristics of the Celebration of God’s People

Revelation 15:1-8 Seven Characteristics of the Celebration of God’s People

Two simultaneous scenes are played out there in Revelation. In the first scene (Revelation 15:1) , we are introduced to the players of the last set of judgments, the angels. In the second scene (Revelation 15:2-4), we see the celebration of God’s people in worship. Finally, we return to the first scene in Revelation 15:5-8, we see the angels leave the sanctuary to perform the task of pouring the bowls of wrath.

This scene reminds me of Isaiah 6, where worship plays a prominent role. In that case, we see Isaiah enter into God’s holy place, become cleansed of sin, and then challenged to go on mission. In Revelation 15, we see John watch as the angels prepare for God’s final judgment. He watches as God’s people are victorious over the temptation and rule of the Antichrist.

Introduction to the Last Seven Judgments (Revelation 15:1)

Then I saw another great and awe-inspiring sign in heaven: seven angels with the seven last plagues, for with them, God’s wrath will be completed.” (Revelation 15:1, HCSB)

This chapter forms a set of book-ends before and after the last seven judgments. This chapter presents the future plagues as if they will be successful. Seven angels stand to prepare these last plagues in Revelation 15:1. The text shows that God will complete His wrath with these last bowls. No one will be able to stop Him.

When one looks at this chapter, one can also find elements of worship. In the Old Testament in Isaiah 6, one can see the progression of worship using the temple as a guide. Here, we see God’s people worshiping God. The elements of worship are clearly shown here in these verses.

One of the truths we see from this chapter is that God is still on His throne even to the very end. We have the privilege to worship God, with the full certainty that God will complete what He started. These worshipers take the time to glorify God because they know that God’s plan will soon be completed. Even though they are being persecuted, they still see reasons to praise God.

SEVEN CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CELEBRATION OF GOD’S PEOPLE

1. The platform for worship – the sea of glass

I also saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had won the victory over the beast, his image, and the number of his name, were standing on the sea of glass with harps from God.” (Revelation 15:2, HCSB)

There is a platform for worship. Here is the “sea of glass mixed with fire.” The question is where are these people? These people are worshiping in Heaven. As with the seals (Revelation 5:1–2) and the trumpets (Revelation 8:2), the bowl judgments are also introduced with a heavenly scene, showing that these earthly disasters have been “determined by God’s sovereign vindication of his saints.”12

Since fire is often the accompaniment of God’s judgment, the crystal sea of glass now mixed with fire may well denote the just judgment of God.3 The “sea of glass” is mentioned twice in the Apocalypse. In [Revelation] 4:6 it was said to be as “clear as crystal,” while in the present passage it is “mixed with fire.”

Several options are offered as to the intent of this image.4 Jon Courson suggests: “I believe the sea of glass is actually a glassy sea of literal water, of which the laver in the temple was a picture (Exodus 30:18).”5

““Make a bronze basin for washing and a bronze stand for it. Set it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it.” (Exodus 30:18, HCSB)

Paige Patterson suggests that “Since fire is often the accompaniment of God’s judgment, the crystal sea of glass now mixed with fire may well denote the just judgment of God.”6 I would add that the participants are standing on the glass over the fire, which suggest victory over the judgment that is to come.

At the same time, most likely it is nothing more than a descriptive detail intended to heighten the splendor of the scene.7 No matter how one interprets the scene, the point is to emphasize the importance of worship. Just as a music star might use smoke and fire on the stage to build excitement and draw attention from the audience, God is using His own “stage show” to help the audience draw attention to Himself.

2. The participants of worship – persecuted but victorious Christians

I also saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had won the victory over the beast, his image, and the number of his name, were standing on the sea of glass with harps from God.” (Revelation 15:2, HCSB)

You can’t have a platform without participants. In this case, the worshippers are Tribulation saints – most likely saints who have died. These saints have overcome the difficulties that came under the rule of the Antichrist.

3. The praise instruments of worship – the harps from God

I also saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had won the victory over the beast, his image, and the number of his name, were standing on the sea of glass with harps from God.” (Revelation 15:2, HCSB)

Personally, I think there will be more instruments than harps.

4. The program of worship – celebrating God’s works and ways

They sang the song of God’s servant Moses and the song of the Lamb: Great and awe-inspiring are Your works, Lord God, the Almighty; righteous and true are Your ways, King of the Nations.” (Revelation 15:3, HCSB)

There is going to be some good singing during this celebration. God’s people will show their affection for Him through their worship. It is not immediately clear to the reader, however, to which version of Moses’ song John refers—whether to Exodus 15 or Deuteronomy 32.8 John takes these songs of Moses and merges them to reflect the work of Christ in accomplishing His mission. This verse also reminds us of the 144,000 and their worship song:

They sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders, but no one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are the ones not defiled with women, for they have kept their virginity. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. They were redeemed from the human race as the firstfruits for God and the Lamb.” (Revelation 14:3–4, HCSB)

It’s the song of redemption. It’s the song of deliverance. It’s the song of victory.

5. The proclamation of worship – Fear and glorify God!

Lord, who will not fear and glorify Your name? Because You alone are holy, for all the nations will come and worship before You because Your righteous acts have been revealed.” (Revelation 15:4, HCSB)

The actual content of the song highlights God’s actions and character and the worshipful response of his people. Lyrics from various Old Testament passages are combined to form a hymn with two parts. The first half features synonymous parallelism with a description of God’s actions and ways, followed by titles reflecting his attributes:

Great and marvelous are your deeds, [Psalm 86:10; 111:3]

Lord God Almighty. [Revelation 4:8; 11:17; 16:7; 19:6; 21:22]

Just and true are your ways, [Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 145:17; Revelation 16:7; 19:2]

King of the nations. [Jeremiah 10:7]9

The program was God’s works and ways. The proclamation was to fear God and worship Him.

6. The priority of worship – the presence of God

After this I looked, and the heavenly sanctuary—the tabernacle of testimony —was opened.” (Revelation 15:5, HCSB)

This heavenly sanctuary, is where God’s holiness dwells. That is shown by the Ark of the Covenant opening up in Heaven. The Ark contained the Ten Commandments and Aaron’s buds. What we can infer from this section is that God wanted to show us that His presence is precious and holy.

Indiana Jones didn’t find the Ark of the Covenant. No one will find it because it is in Heaven. This is no the Earthly copy that the book of Hebrews speaks about. This is the real thing.

God’s presence is real and ready to be experienced. This leads us to the purpose of worship.

7. The purpose of worship – to experience the glory of God

Out of the sanctuary came the seven angels with the seven plagues, dressed in clean, bright linen, with gold sashes wrapped around their chests. One of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven gold bowls filled with the wrath of God who lives forever and ever. Then the sanctuary was filled with smoke from God’s glory and from His power, and no one could enter the sanctuary until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.” (Revelation 15:6–8, HCSB)

The point of this chapter is to celebrate God. The saints celebrated Who God is, What He has and will do, and What He has shown of Himself. The purpose of worship is to experience God’s glory. Here on Earth, we will experience just a tiny amount of that glory. In heaven, there will be so much of God’s glory that God kicks out the seven angels until they fulfill their mission.

As a reminder, two events are occurring here: The song is celebrated while the bowl judgments are introduced and executed. The sandwiching of the celebration song between the introduction to the bowl judgments (Revelation 15:1) and the inauguration of those plagues (Revelation 15:5–8) suggests these two realities should be interpreted together. In other words, the saints’ suffering provides the reason for, and their celebration offers the response to, the coming judgments (Revelation 16:5–7).10 In addition, both the trumpet and the bowl judgments have opening sections (Revelation 8:2–6 and 15:1–8) that link God’s justice with the prayers of his people.11

As Warren Wiersbe notes: This scene would give great assurance and endurance to suffering saints in any age of the church. It is possible to be victorious over the world system! One does not have to yield to the “mark of the beast.” Through the blood of the Lamb, we have deliverance. Our Lord’s work on the cross is a “spiritual exodus” accomplished by His blood. 12

1 Keener, Revelation, 386.

2 J. Scott Duvall, Revelation, ed. Mark L. Strauss and John H. Walton, Teach the Text Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2014), 209.

3 Paige Patterson, Revelation, ed. E. Ray Clendenen, vol. 39, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B&H, 2012), 299.

4 Kiddle understands a “heavenly Red Sea” through which the martyrs have come and which is about to submerge their enemies (300–301). Others take the reference to fire as a symbol of judgment.

5 Jon Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2003), 1755.

6 Paige Patterson, Revelation, ed. E. Ray Clendenen, vol. 39, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B&H, 2012), 299.

7 Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), 284.

8 Robert W. Wall, Revelation, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011), 193.

9 J. Scott Duvall, Revelation, ed. Mark L. Strauss and John H. Walton, Teach the Text Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2014), 210.

10 Osborne, Revelation, 559.

11 J. Scott Duvall, Revelation, ed. Mark L. Strauss and John H. Walton, Teach the Text Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2014), 208.

12 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 609.

#OrganicJesus by Scott Douglas

#OrganicJesus by Scott Douglas

#OrganicJesus by Scott Douglas

#OrganicJesus by Scott Douglas is a book that the author states is about “finding your way to an unprocessed, gmo-free Christianity.” The book is divided into two parts: (1) “Not Yo Mama’s Christianity,” and (2) “Not Yo Mama’s Faith.”

Douglas writes like he has a short-attention span. His book is organized for people of the digital generation who are easily distracted. While I appreciate what he says, I found the additional forms he used very distracting. Whether it was writing the sentence backwards, upside-down, useless polls, “getting social”, “Bible hero quizzes,” “WikiBreaks,” or inserted with tidbits of information, the point of the book gets lost (unless that was his point – that the message gets lost because people are easily distracted.)

Douglas says that he wants to find the real Jesus, the real Christianity. He wants it organic in the sense that it is pure, stripped from traditions and ideas inserted by churches and time. Yet, his book is filled with so many extra things that it makes it hard to find the organic point that he is trying to make.

Douglas claims that if we really want to find the true Jesus, what he calls the “Organic Jesus,” then we need to doubt everything (63). Essentially, Douglas uses a postmodern hermeneutic of suspicion. Douglas clearly believes in Jesus, and shows the historical reliability of Jesus’s existence (31-34). Like Descartes, Douglas uses doubt as a way to come to faith in Jesus (37). However, at times, Douglas makes claims that seem strange for Christians to make:

  1. He claims that Christianity created atheism (61).

  2. He suggests that Christianity is a journey, not a lifestyle (65).

  3. He claims that the Bible is a myth (69-80).

  4. He dismisses the rapture (173).

In the midst of all these claims, Douglas makes the central thesis of the book as he makes the transition between parts one and two. He presents the hypocrisy of Christianity that makes the Christian life seem cheap (97):

“If Christianity is so great that the very Spirit of God indwells believers, then why are so many Christians so flawed? There’s a popular slogan: “I’m not perfect. I’m just saved.” It’s what many Christians use to excuse their unrighteous behavior. Under this theory, Christians can essentially do anything and then shrug their shoulders and say, “I’m not perfect. I’m just saved.””

At times, Douglas presents interesting Biblical analysis. For example, he shows that Genesis was clearly written with a series of patterns (70-72). He gives a great study into the Holy Spirit and the Trinitarian nature of God (185-193). He shares about worship (163-172), prayer (193-207), and He mentions that the best place to learn about other religions is not at a Christian university. The reason Douglas suggests is that he wanted to learn from someone who’s not trying to disprove other religions. He was never trying to disprove anything. He only wanted to have a better understanding (90). His best statement is in the center of the book. He makes a very clear statement about understanding the truth of Christianity (100):

“Here’s the thing: if you really want to understand Christianity, you can’t look to see who all the sinners are, and you can’t look to see who all the saints are. You can only look at who Jesus Christ is. When we look at the church for answers, we see those who have fallen; when we look at God, we see the relationship he wants to have with us.”

Douglas shares his personal experience with bad events that happened in his life and which shook his faith. These included: losing a child (138-143) and growing up as an acolyte in the Methodist church (145-146). These experiences have taught him to be critical of the church. In summary, Douglas promotes a postmodern Progressive Christian theology. He honestly believes in Jesus, but he is disappointed with the church.

Jesus created the church (Matthew 16:18). It’s His idea. As a result, I wish Douglas had provided more positive examples of the way in which the church lives out the Christian faith. Yet, if you have questions about the disconnection between the church and the Christian faith, then this book might be helpful.

Douglas provides more resources as well as opportunities to connect with him. For example, you can visit the OrganicJesus website, or get bonus content download the free app.

You can also connect with Scott Douglas on social media: TwitterInstagramPinterestFacebookLinkedIn, as well as everywhere else.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.

Patmos by C. Baxter Kruger

Patmos by C. Baxter Kruger

Patmos by C. Baxter Kruger

Patmos by C. Baxter Kruger is a fanciful tale of a meeting between Aidan and the Apostle John. The writing style is solid, conversational, and helps to make an easy read. The tales that are told during the imaginary conversation between Aidan and John draw the reader in. Except for a lull portion in the middle of the adventure, the relationship between these two people drive the plot along.

The best part of this book is the fact that Kruger has a high view of the Holy Spirit. How he describes the work of the Holy Spirit is impressive. God can still work amazing miracles through the Third Person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is able to translate through time and dialects to help people communicate. Kruger takes what he interprets was the experience in Acts 2 and applies it the gift of tongues. This is what allows Aidan and the Apostle John to communicate.

Instead of Aidan speaking Greek and Aramaic, the Apostle John speaks American English with a Southern accent. He explains that the Holy Spirit doesn’t translate the meaning of such words as “dude” and “bless your heart.” It is humorous to read the Apostle John speak like a Southerner, especially since he notes that he is from Southern Galilee. The humor does helps move the story along between the action scenes when the two are being chased by Roman soldiers.

The primary discussion is about the importance of the Nicene Creed and the union between God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. At first, this union is described in a relationship between Jesus and His followers. For example, the Apostle John explains about how “the Word dwelt among us” or “in us.” Later, the Apostle John reflects on the way in which the Trinity exists throughout the Old Testament. John explains how God did not abandon Jesus on the cross. Even though Jesus quoted Psalm 22:1, He was intending His audience to know the entire psalm. The psalm prophecies the cross event and the fact that God would not abandon Jesus (Psalm 22:24).

My major difficulty with this book is that Kruger uses poetic license with the Biblical text. At times, it is helpful. For example, in Appendix, we read a paraphrase by Aidan of John’s Prologue (John 1). At the same time, this poetic license allows Kruger to present ideas which are Biblically false. His Apostle John presents the Holy Spirit as a woman, when the real Apostle John wrote that the Holy Spirit is male (John 14:17 John 14:26, John 15:26, John 16:7-15).

My other main concern is that this story presents the fanciful form of communication via time-travel. Again, instead of relying on the Biblical text, Kruger presents the idea that Holy Spirit can transport you through time. If this were true, we should have people who would claim this ability together. Still, the book is an interesting read, and along the way, Kruger will challenge your beliefs about Scripture. Kruger uses many arguments from the original Greek and Hebrew in the Biblical texts. As a result, some of these conversations may be hard to understand of the common Christian.

In summary, Patmos is a great work of fiction that may challenge some of your theological assumptions. Like the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, one should use the novel to interpret the Bible. In the end, it is a theologians’s time-travel story – one in which the reader can enjoy, but take the theological discussions with a grain of salt.

Kruger maintains a website where you can learn more about this book as well as other books he has written.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.

Vote Your Conscience by Brian Kaylor

Vote Your Conscience by Brian Kaylor

Vote Your Conscience by Brian Kaylor

Vote Your Conscience by Brian Kaylor is a book that encourages people to not let party trump principles. This book was written as a guide for the 2016 election. The main thrust book is to encourage Christian to vote their conscience, and not just follow party politics. The audience in general, is the voter, but specifically, Kaylor addresses the Christian evangelical voter.

Kaylor addresses the moral dilemma of choosing between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. He makes the case against voting for Hillary Clinton by showing that she has the following problems: (1) unethical governance, (2) rejection of the sanctity of life, and a (3) hawkish foreign policy. Kaylor then turns to Donald Trump and shows how he is just as an immoral choice. He states the following problems about Donald Trump: (1) vulgar misogyny, (2) religious bigotry, (3) promotion of violence, and (4) authoritarianism. It is this authoritarianism for which Kaylor has a real concern. While addressing Trump’s love for authoritarianism, Kaylor cites how Robert Jeffries (pastor of First Baptist Church Dallas) and Jerry Falwell, Jr. would rather have a “strong leader” than follow Jesus and His teachings. Kaylor shows how evangelicals are willing to accept an authoritarian like Donald Trump because they want to have political influence and power. Kaylor states that he himself will vote for a third-party candidate during this election. Yet, it is clear that Kaylor dislikes that his own “tribe” prefers the Republican candidate, even when that candidate does not fit the values that evangelical Christians wish to have in a candidate for president.

Kaylor addresses the hypocrisy of the Republican establishment nominees, as well as evangelical Christian leaders. Kaylor specifically names Mike Huckabee, Ralph Reed, James Dobson, Franklin Graham, Ann Graham Lotz, and Jerry Falwell, Jr. as people who have allowed party politics to trump principles. The point that Kaylor makes very clearly through examples is that evangelical Christians are willing to put their prophetic voice aside in order to be “in bed” with the Republican Party.

Kaylor strives to let the Christian voter know that their role in this 2016 election (as well as any election) is to be a prophetic voice to the government, not a political puppet of the government. He warns of the dangers of letting the political party influencing the church. The following quote by John Danforth summarizes this thought:

“We have a strong inclination to let our politics determine our faith rather than the other way around,” “When we vest our personal opinions with the trappings of religion, we make religion the servant of our politics. By confusing faith and politics, we become transformed to this world.”

Kaylor takes the reader through a brief of the connection between religion and politics in America. He then contrasts this with examples from the Bible. He shows how the Old Testament influenced the government without being beholden to it (Jeremiah 3:16, Jeremiah 6:13-14, Psalm 106:39, Hosea 9:1, Ezekiel 16:16, Ezekiel 16:32-34, Isaiah 1:21). He also shares how Jesus called the church to influence the political culture. Kaylor shows how Jesus was tempted by the power of political influence (Matthew 4:8-9). He warns of the dangers of this temptation today. Kaylor shows how the Bible encourages the church to embrace immigration (Leviticus 19:33-34, Deuteronomy 10:18-19, Psalm 146:9). Yet his main focus is for evangelical Christians to think independently of their leaders concerning this election. Taking his cue from Ted Cruz, Kaylor comes to the pulpit and challenges people to “vote their conscience.” He ends his book by describing practical ways the church “can be the church” during this election. Kaylor describes five actions the church can take: (1) vote your conscience, (2) gently rebuke, (3) craft alternative messages, (4) study the Bible (and the news), and (5) election communion.

Kaylor has written a book that every Christian needs to read before they vote in this election. One may disagree with some of the concerns which Kaylor addresses. However, I believe this book will help the reader make a better-informed decision before they vote.

You can also read  my review of Brian Kaylor’s book Sacramental Politics,.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this book review are the views of this author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Missouri Baptist Convention.

Genesis 18:1-33 Prayer and God’s Blessing

Genesis 18:1-33 Prayer and God's Blessing

Genesis 18:1-33 Prayer and God’s Blessing

We can respond to the promise of God’s blessing by FEAR or FAITH.

Two blessings were about to happen. Two prayers were about to be answered.

  1. God was going to provide a son as promised.

  2. God was going to save a son as promised.

One promise was for Sarah. Another promise was for Abraham.

Sarah was praying to have a family. Her prayer (or lack of it being answered) was the reason she dismissed God’s blessing with a laugh. If we trace the promise of a son, we see that Sarah doubted this promise all along. Sarah tried to make it happen before God wanted it to happen. She tried to rush God’s timing. When we act like this, we are operating out of fear. We can’t trust. We think things won’t work. We worry. We want to make happen when God has not timed it to happen.

Abraham was praying to save a family. I think Abraham has been praying for Lot since they parted ways. Everyone knew that Sodom was wicked. Would Lot still have faith in God even in a place that placed no faith in God?

The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah was from Abraham. It explains the conversation between Abraham and God immediately after God decides to find out if the outcry is true. God confronts Abraham. It looks like Abraham confronts God. But in reality, it’s the other way around. God desires to see if Abraham will trust God in faith.

Sarah’s response was based on FEAR. Abraham’s response was based in FAITH.

So the question becomes when we contrast these two responses is this: How can learn to go from FEAR to FAITH?

I believe in these verses there are FIVE SKILLS one can learn to go from FEAR to FAITH in prayer.

FIVE SKILLS IN PRAYER NEEDED TO GO FROM FEAR TO FAITH

1. Stop doubting the joy of God in your life (Genesis 18:12)

So she laughed to herself: “After I have become shriveled up and my lord is old, will I have delight?”” (Genesis 18:12, HCSB)

Someone comes to your door and promises that next year you will come into a million dollars. Do you believe them? Or do you dismiss it with a laugh – “Nah, that won’t ever happen to me. I’ll have to work until I die.” Replace the word “money” with “child” and “work” with “be barren” and now you have Sarah’s dilemma.

But considering all that she has gone through, can you blame her? Abraham tells her “God told me we are going to have many descendants.” They obviously tried many times and it didn’t take.

Which makes you wonder if the problem was Abraham’s fault. This may be the reason that Sarah approved Abraham sleeping with Hagar. She probably thought: “Maybe it’s my husband’s fault that we can’t have children.” It also explains why she reacts to Hagar later. Sarah knows that it’s not Abraham that can’t conceive, it’s Sarah.

So from Sarah’s point of view, it’s all hopeless. Nothing can work now. Age has caught up with her. You don’t see women get pregnant when they are in their 90s. Three guys come to the house and one of them says: “I will certainly come back next year and your wife Sarah will have a son.” (Genesis 18:10). God said it loud enough for Sarah to hear. Sarah dismisses the comment under her breath with a comment: “Ha, I’m too old now. I’ll never know the joy of having children.”

God heard her laugh. He doesn’t take kindly to our dismissals of His promises (Genesis 18:13-14).

But the Lord asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Can I really have a baby when I’m old?’ Is anything impossible for the Lord? At the appointed time I will come back to you, and in about a year she will have a son.”” (Genesis 18:13–14, HCSB)

Sarah denies it, because she is afraid (Genesis 18:15).

Sarah denied it. “I did not laugh,” she said, because she was afraid. But He replied, “No, you did laugh.”” (Genesis 18:15, HCSB)

Wouldn’t you be in her situation? She’s been expecting this child and has seen the opportunity pass her by. God comes and gives her a promise and she doesn’t believe. That’s the danger she is sensing in her fear. God gives Abraham a promise and Abraham responded in faith. God gives Sarah a promise and Sarah responded in fear.

That’s us in a nutshell when we dismiss God’s promises. We are acting out of fear. Quietly, Sarah is reminded of that fear (Genesis 18:15). Thankfully, God didn’t give up on His promise to Sarah even though she had dismissed Him.

What about you? Are you giving up on God’s promises in your life? Are you dismissing God with a laugh? Are you responding out of fear instead of faith? Sometimes it’s hard to believe when everyone says it’s not possible. But as Christians, we have to believe that God can do the impossible. That’s what He is in the business of doing.1

So don’t give up or give in when God makes a promise of a blessing to you. God keeps His promises. We may not know everything surrounding the promise. In this case, Sarah had been waiting for years. Now God has narrowed the timeline. He said: “The baby’s coming.” Your blessing is coming. Don’t let the joy of God’s promises turn into fear.

2. Start believing the Word of God for your life (Genesis 18:14, Genesis 18:20-21)

Is anything impossible for the Lord? At the appointed time I will come back to you, and in about a year she will have a son.”” (Genesis 18:14, HCSB)

You can see the turn in this passage between Sarah and Abraham. God reminds Sarah that God can do anything.

Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is immense, and their sin is extremely serious. I will go down to see if what they have done justifies the cry that has come up to Me. If not, I will find out.”” (Genesis 18:20–21, HCSB)

Then God tells Abraham that God can even listen to the outcries of people who pray to Him.

Who is crying out? The right and just people are crying out to God. Who are the right and just people? Abraham knows that his family is there – Lot and his family. Could Lot and his family be crying out to God? One might think that Lot and his family be the right and just people who are asking for help? However, I think the outcry is from Abraham.

It appears that the outcry is from Abraham because God reveals to Abraham what He is about to do to Sodom and Gomorrah.

Then the Lord said, “Should I hide what I am about to do from Abraham? Abraham is to become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him.” (Genesis 18:17–18, HCSB)

Scholar and theologian Matthew Rowley noticed something interesting in the way God spoke to Abraham about Sodom and Gomorrah. To me, Genesis 18:17-18 always seemed strange to me, like God was talking to Himself. Rowley mentioned this about the passage2:

In Genesis 18:16–33 God appeared to Abraham and told him that he would destroy the city of Sodom. Genesis 18:17–18 read:

The LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do [to Sodom], seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?”

When one reverses the ordering, the logic of this statement becomes apparent:

Since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and since all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him, therefore I shall not hide from Abraham what I am about to do [to Sodom].

That word “seeing” shows that Abraham was to learn from Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham experienced the reality and power of God through what he heard, felt, smelled, and saw in the Sodom and Gomorrah event. God told him of the miraculous destruction and then performed this act before his eyes.

God lets Abraham ask Him questions to find out how may right and just people are in the town. God lets Abraham learn from this event. This allows Abraham to deduce that the only right and just people are people from his family.

Yet, God gives us the chance in prayer to discover His ways. We learn to discover God’s work and what He plans to do. We also learn to how to pray for others who are asking for God’s intervention in their lives.3

3. Keep asking for God’s direction in a matter (Genesis 18:23)

Abraham doesn’t ask just once. He continues to ask about God’s direction. The point is that when you pray, very rarely will you stop after just one prayer. You have to keep asking. What if Abraham stopped at Genesis 18:23?

Abraham stepped forward and said, “Will You really sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” (Genesis 18:23, HCSB)

What if Abraham said: OK. You are going to sweep away the righteous with the wicked. There is nothing I can do now. If Abraham did that, would he have discovered what God was really doing? No, of course not. That is why you have to keep asking. Jesus also reminded us to keep asking until we received an answer:

““Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7, HCSB)

But you also have to pay attention as you are asking. This leads us to the fourth skill.

4. Determine from your prayer life what God is doing (Genesis 18:26-32).

The point of the countdown in Abraham’s request is to see if there were more than Lot’s family who was righteous. Abraham was very concerned about his nephew’s family. Abraham wanted to know if God would save his family. The fact that Abraham didn’t question about ten people proves that Abraham discovered what God would do. Lot and his family made up ten people.

The answer was that he probably felt there were at least ten righteous people in Sodom. It may be that he figured that there were ten righteous people in Lot’s family (Lot, his wife, at least two sons (Genesis 19:12), at least two married daughters and their husbands (Genesis 19:14), and two unmarried daughters (Genesis 19:8)—exactly ten).4

But God was going to judge the wicked. God would NOT judge the righteous with the wicked (Genesis 18:25).

You could not possibly do such a thing: to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. You could not possibly do that! Won’t the Judge of all the earth do what is just?”” (Genesis 18:25, HCSB)

Abraham doesn’t question God in Genesis 22 when God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son. That is because Abraham has learned to trust God and His Word. He learns to trust God in faith. Because Abraham learned from this event, he did not challenge God in Genesis 22 in the same way that he did in Genesis 19.5 He has learned that sometimes, you have to trust God even when it doesn’t make sense.

This leads me to the last skill in prayer:

5. Trust God even when it doesn’t make sense (Genesis 18:33).

When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, He departed, and Abraham returned to his place.” (Genesis 18:33, HCSB)

I have noticed that when people send texts to one another, one always wants to have the last word. I send out a “thanks” and they give me a “thumbs up.” Here, God gets the last word. Abraham is not sending God a text with a “thumbs up.” Abraham just accepts what God has told him even when it doesn’t make sense.

When we leave this conversation, Abraham doesn’t have evidence that God is going to save his nephew’s family. He doesn’t even know after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:27-29). We know because the writer of Genesis tells us.

Where are you today? Are you like Sarah, operating out of fear, worrying about what God is going to do or not do? Are you like Abraham, operating out of faith, learning to trust God even when it doesn’t make sense? If you want to see God’s blessing, whether it is providing or saving something or someone, or whether it is to see what God is going to do next, we have to have the will to trust God when we prayer. He may not answer all of our prayers. Yet, He will give us enough information to discover what He will do. All we have to do is seek Him and He will show us.

1 Jim Erwin, “Dismissing God’s Promises With a Laugh,” Simple Thoughts Reflections 2016 Logos Bible Software Notes, 2 June 2016, http://jimerwin.com/2016/06/02/dismissing-gods-promises-laugh/, accessed on 15 September 2016.

2 Matthew Rowley, “Pastoral Pensées: Irrational Violence? Reconsidering the Logic of Obedience in Genesis 22,” Themelios 40, no. 1 (2015): 82–83.

3 Jim Erwin, “How God Allows His Servants to Discover His Ways,” Genesis 18:17-21, Simple Thoughts Reflections 2005-2015, Logos Bible Software Notes, 25 June 2012, found at: http://jimerwin.com/2012/06/25/genesis-1817-21-how-god-allows-his-servants-to-discover-his-ways/, accessed on 15 September 2016.

4 Keith Krell, “If I Was God…,” Genesis 18:16-33, Bible.org, https://bible.org/seriespage/23-if-i-was-god-genesis-1816-33, accessed on 15 September 2016.

5 Matthew Rowley, “Pastoral Pensées: Irrational Violence? Reconsidering the Logic of Obedience in Genesis 22,” Themelios 40, no. 1 (2015): 82–83.

The Atonement of God by J.D. Myers

The Atonement of God by J.D. Myers

The Atonement of God by J.D. Myers

The Atonement of God by J.D. Myers is a book that shows how to build your theology on the crucivision of God. Myers promotes a non-violent view of the atonement. He promotes a form of the Christus Victor view. He analyzes the penal substitution, the moral influence, and the ransom views of the atonement. He rejects all three and then promotes his own view.

In summary, Myers contends that God did not kill Jesus, we did (43). Myers shares a very good explanation of sin, fear, and God’s presence in Genesis 3:7-10. (45). We have been taught that sin makes us fear God (45). Myers explains that guilt causes us to fear God, not sin (45).

THE THREE GREAT LIES OF SIN

The three great lies of sin are (49):

1. God is angry with us for our sin.

2. Sin disgusts and offends God so God stays away from us.

3. God demands a repayment for a debt of sin.

God is angry of our sin. It does disgust God. He does demand repayment. Yet, Myers makes the case that Jesus exposed these lies (49):

Jesus defeated sin by emptying it of its deceitful power over humanity. He taught us and showed us that God is not angry with us about our sin, but has always loved us. He showed us that the reason God wants us not to sin is not because God is disgusted by sin, but because we are damaged and hurt by sin, and God does not want those He loves to be hurt. Furthermore, God showed us in Jesus Christ that there is nothing we can do and nothing He wants us to do in order to repay Him for our sin. There is no debt of sin which is owed to God. He forgives us, loves us, and accepts us freely, by His grace.

The primary thought that Myers suggests that comes from his non-violent view of the atonement is (55): “Sin leads to death, specifically the death of others at our hands.”

Myers shares his definition of the Gospel (57): “The gospel…is not ultimately about the exchange of victims, but about the ending of bloodshed.”

Myer gives a valid psychological explanation for blaming God about His violence (57). We want people dead, but we blame it on God. Jesus revealed the heart of God and the heart of man on the cross (58). Myers correctly links Satan’s work of accusation with eventual blame and violence (60).The impulse to kill others comes from Satan and not God. Myers provides an excellent explanation as to why God forbade Adam and Eve from eating the fruit of the Tree of Good and Evil: we don’t know everything like God does. We don’t have omniscience. This lack of knowing gives way to mistakes that God would never make (60). We make bad judgments. God does not. When humans make bad judgments, there are serious consequences.

Myers claims that it is Satan, not God, who demands punishment for sin (61). Satan tells us the lie of sin which is that God is angry at us because of our sin (64). Myers states that the lies we believed were exposed by Jesus through the crucifixion and resurrection. This reveals that we are victims of these lies as well as victimizers (66).

Myers then makes an important statement about the role of the church as challengers and critics of the governments of the world. To the degree that we accomplish this effort, the salvation becomes less military and more corporate. If Christianity loses its influence to critique the government’s actions, individualistic salvation becomes the norm. (68)

Myers gives the best reason why one can subscribe to the non-violent theory and still have the benefits of the penal substitutionary view. I like the way he has presented this (71):

Since, in Non-Violent views, all of humanity is a victim to the lies about sin, God, and justice, Jesus entered into the role of victim so that He might become one of us and also expose to us our tendency to accuse and blame innocent victims. Jesus substituted Himself for every victim, to show us that He is with us when we are victims and also to show us the illegitimacy of victimizing others.

Yet in contrast to Penal Substitution, a Non-Violent view is able to say that Jesus died in our place, not to satisfy the demands of an angry God, but rather to reveal Gods complete love and solidarity with mankind by allowing the full outpouring of wrath from sin, death, and the devil to fall upon His back instead of upon ours. In this way, we still get the substitutionary offering of Jesus—which is the strength of Penal Substitution—but are able to avoid the objectionable idea that the wrath which came upon Jesus was from God.

While Jesus was our substitute,He did not die to satisfy Gods wrath. His death was not penal, that is, there was no punishment involved. God was not angry. God was not demanding blood. God was not withholding forgiveness until He got paid for sin. A Non-Violent view of the atonement embraces the strengths of Penal Substitution while avoiding its weaknesses.

Myers presents issues that will come up when one adopts the non-violent view of the atonement and how it will change one’s theology (76). He lists ten benefits of the non-violent view of the atonement in the next ten chapters.

TEN BENEFITS OF THE NON-VIOLENT VIEW OF THE ATONEMENT

1. Brings continuity to the life of Jesus (77).

2. Reveals the truth about God. (80).

3. Reveals the truth about Scripture (88).

4. Reveals the truth about sacrifice.

5. Reveals the truth about humans (98).

6. Reveals the truth about sin. (108)

7. Reveals the truth about forgiveness (118).

8. Reveals the truth about justice. (124)

9. Reveals the truth about violence. (136)

10. Reveals the way to peace (150).

Myers addresses the wrath of God in Appendix 1. He has to address this doctrine because the Bible promotes this doctrine as essential to the nature of God, especially upon the return of Jesus and the beginning of eternity (162). Myers admits that there are legitimate objections to the non-violent theory of atonement from Romans, the view of hell and the violence of Revelation. However, he states that he plans to answer them in another future volume (162). I look forward to his answers.

Myers also answers the question “Does forgiveness require the shedding of blood?” In Appendix 2. He analyzes Hebrews 9:22 and makes the case that Hebrews 9:22 does not require bloodshed for forgiveness (190). The death of Jesus on the cross was not to purchase forgiveness from God for humanity. Instead, it was to show that God was forgiving to us from the beginning (190).

Myers makes it clear that just because God forgives everyone, it does not mean that he is a universalist. In other words, one must still receive the righteous of God in Jesus, even if God forgave everyone (191).

CLOSING THOUGHTS CONCERNING THE BOOK

Here are some closing thoughts I have concerning this book:

If Genesis 6:13 says that the world was filled with violent and Myers states that God is not violent, but that we are, then why does God decide to destroy the world by a flood in Genesis 6:5? If the flood is not God’s violent redemption for eight people, then my question is: what was the purpose of the flood? Why did it happen? (140) Myers poses the problem, but can never provide satisfying answers to these kinds of dilemmas in the Bible. Is this perhaps a limitation of the non-violent theory of atonement?

Myers shows that God continues to show violent tendencies in the Old Testament that cannot be explained under his non-violent theory of atonement. For example, Sodom and Gomorrah, the Plagues upon Egypt, and removing the evil Canaanites from the Promised Land by violence (140). His “myth of redemptive violence” that he says others promotes cannot be explained away.

The most serious critique of this non-violent view is that Romans 3:25 teaches that Jesus died on the cross and took God’s wrath upon Himself. The stories of the temptation, the flood, the fire and brimstone happened and were directed by God, even if they show humanity’s desire for violence (141).

Myers never states that Hell should be restorative. However, he clearly questions whether God (who Myers clearly shows earlier is forgiving even when Jesus is on the cross) can send everyone to a Hell that punishes people because of their sin (141). Even Myers does not have all the answers with this non-violent theory of atonement. Is it because he cannot explain away Hell because of the Scriptural evidence of such a hell? (141).

Again, Myers can only explain the violence in the Old Testament as something that says more about humanity than something that God does. (What about the time when God commanded Saul to kill everyone and destroy everything in 2 Samuel 16?) Is God not violent then? Is He not the Father of potential genocide against the Amalekites? Myers never addresses this portion of Scripture (143).

Does the “God told us” argument justify the violence against the Amalekites in 2 Samuel 16? Myers seems to conclude that the “God told us” comes from violent, sinful imagination of humanity (146).

I would recommend this book for Christians who are bothered by the penal substitution view. I also recommend this book to get another way to look at the violence in the Old Testament. The non-violent view is not perfect, but it does help to explain the contrast between the violence of the Old Testament and the more peaceful nature of the New Testament.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.