The image of God in the Old Testament as violent, cruel, condemning is a persistent one. Based on God’s instructions to the Hebrews, many wars throughout the ages have been justified, and even today are used to justify the use of arms and wage wars. Christians struggle with the Old Testament picture of God, who in the New Testament turns out to be the heavenly Father of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ in the Beatitudes proclaimed pacifism, is called Prince of Peace and nowhere instructed his followers to take up their arms and bring God’s Kingdom to this world by violence. Are we talking about the same God? Did He switch character traits between Malachi and Matthew?
Matthew Curtis Fleischer in The Old Testament Case for Nonviolence argues that God didn’t change at all, but chose to reveal himself progressively amidst an inert creation and sinful people on Earth. The authors of the Old Testament books didn’t fully know God, and could only grasp or long for a better world. Patience and grace are abundant in the Old Testament, and where violence is used, permitted or limited, it was already way less than what surrounding pagan people were used to. The progression is fulfilled in Jesus’ ministry on Earth, and the example He set for Christians ever since.
Fleischer busts myths and urges his readers to study all Bible books to discover the big picture and get to know the One God who is righteous and loving, the one who actually hates violence.
The author about himself
Matthew Curtis Fleischer tags himself as Christian. Husband. Father. Son. Brother. Friend. Attorney. Reader. Writer. Hiker. Lover of life. I spent the first eighteen years of my life in Bismarck, ND, and the last twenty in Oklahoma City. I have a B.S. in Exercise Science from Southern Nazarene University and a J.D. from Oklahoma City University School of Law. I’m a proud member of Oklahoma City First Church of the Nazarene and a big fan of Jesus, family time, good books, juicy burgers, southern BBQ, dinner parties, people in the arena,* documentaries, not having cable TV, political discussions, Ron Paul, physical activity, and my trusty 2003 Honda Civic.
Matthew Curtis Fleischer gave me an advanced review copy in exchange for my personal, unbiased review upon reading.