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Fight: A Christian Case for Non-Violence Paperback – August 1, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 86 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sprinkle (Erasing Hell: What God Said About Eternity and the Things We've Made Up), a gun-owning believer, asks Christians, especially evangelical Christians, to look anew at Christianity and violence. The book tackles difficult parts of the Old Testament to argue that nonviolence is at the core of God's plan for humanity. In the bloodiest parts of the Old Testament, God vanquishes foes when humans step aside and trust in him rather than chariots and weapons. The New Testament continues this theme when Jesus preaches love of enemies and uses non-violence to defeat evil. Even Revelation shows Jesus vanquishing Satan through suffering, not violence. Having surveyed the Bible, Sprinkle then addresses challenging questions, such as what to do if an armed intruder threatens a family, whether Jesus was violent in expelling the moneylenders, and whether it would have been right to assassinate Hitler. The book does not explore how submission and forgiveness can be used against women and minorities, but is persuasive in its argument that the Bible expects Christians to suffer rather than inflict harm.

Review

"Considering the hostile and violent state of our world, Christians cannot afford to be ignorant on this issue.... Preston has taken the time to make a solid biblical argument. I highly recommend that every believer examine the truths in this book."
(Francis Chan)

"In Fight ... Sprinkle offers a strikingly powerful, Christ-centered case for nonviolence as a way of life."
(Christianity Today)

"This is a book that should be read by every evangelical small group in America. If the truths contained within its pages were to be absorbed, the face of culture in the USA would be transformed as Christians took their 'fight' to their knees instead of with violent words, weapons, and bumper stickers."
(Kurt Willems, Pangea Blog)

"In a bold new book called Fight, evangelical pastor and bestselling author Preston Sprinkle sets out to answer these important questions as he makes a compelling case for nonviolence. Drawing from his expansive theological background, research, and countless interviews, Preston addresses questions such as how to reconcile what seems like a vengeful God of the Old Testament with the forgiving, nonviolent Christ of the New Testament; how American should defend herself against aggression; what Scripture teaches about Capital Punishment; and whether Christians should kill in self-defense."
(Patheos Book Club)

"We need Preston Sprinkle's book because there are too many Christians who haven't given a moment's thought to their own violent use of our glorious Scripture's message of peace by approving and applauding the use of violence to accomplish peace. The contradictions at work are baffling. Bravo to Preston Sprinkle!"
(Scot McKnight)

"Preston Sprinkle ... lays out a strong Biblical case that the God of Moses and Joshua is the same God incarnated in Jesus. This is a God who calls us to non-violence in our confrontations with evil and the agents of war. For those who take the Bible seriously this book will do much to move us beyond sentimental pacifism to a scriptural basis for non-violent resistances."
(Tony Campolo)

"Those who read this book with an open mind will be forced to do what the author himself did: rethink what it means to be Christian, especially in the most militarily powerful nation on earth."
(Michael J. Gorman)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: David C. Cook (August 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1434704920
  • ISBN-13: 978-1434704924
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #197,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm married to a beautiful wife and we have four kids (3 girls and a boy). I've been teaching college level Bible and Theology classes for a few years now (since 2007), and currently teach Old Testament and Bible Backgrounds at Eternity Bible College in Simi Valley, CA. I enjoy hanging out with my family, running, surfing, and life in SoCal. Before I became a teacher, I was in school. Lots and lots of school. I did a B.A. and M.Div here in SoCal, and then did a Ph.D. in Scotland in NT studies. Before coming to EBC, I taught at Nottingham University for a semester, and Cedarville University for a couple of years. Along with surfing, I also love to research and write, and I've written a few things on Paul, Early Judaism, Hell, Violence, and Grace.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
A large portion of the American evangelical church has been seduced, whether knowingly or not, by nationalistic militarism, yet our inspired Word of God aggressively critiques this very thing, according to Preston Sprinkle and Andrew Rillera in this book. This is not the view of a hippie pacifist; Sprinkle claims to be a lover of guns and a former advocate of the "just war" position until a detailed consideration of what the Bible has to say on the matter convinced him otherwise.

So, what does the Bible have to say about violence? The authors start in the Old Testament. At the creation there was no violence, just shalom. Sin invaded and brought violence with it, leading up to Cain killing his brother. However, Genesis promotes peace and discourages violence. The Old Testament laws do sanction violence as punishment for crimes, but, according to the authors, the laws were far more humane than those of other cultures.

The authors encounter a greater difficulty in discussing the slaughter of the Canaanites, for example where God commands Israel to save alive nothing that breathes. One argument is that what God ordered the Israelites to do was a "moral improvement" upon the actions of surrounding nations. Another argument is that the Bible exaggerates when it describes the extent of the actual slaughter.

I personally did not find the authors' arguments about Old Testament violence very convincing. I think they would have been on better ground if they had started with the New Testament. Regardless of what God may have ordered Israel to do in Old Testament times, the case for Christians taking part in war today becomes harder to sustain when confronted with the teachings of Jesus.

This is a timely, entertaining, thought-provoking and controversy-inspiring book.
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I was honestly torn on what to rate this book. On the one hand, I think his work is a much needed counter balance to the "God, guns and glory" motif that is over the proverbial (or literal) mantlepiece of one too many American homes. He rightly tackles an attitude that simplistically rejoices over the destruction of any who dare oppose American might or its narrative of democracy-whether-you-like-it-or-not. However, at the end of the day, I had to rate it only two stars because its theological arguments are not solid, lop-sided, and twisted (I'll assume not deliberately.) It was interesting to engage with, but a prior knowledge of the issues and arguments is necessary to not be swept away in his telling (which he does well.)

First, the forward by Shane Claiborne was almost enough to make me not read the rest of the book. Maybe that's just me, but I find Claiborne pretentious. His tone in the forward is much more condescending than the respectful and weighted tone of the author.

The author tackles the subject from a biblical theology/chronological approach, which, while capturing the arc of the ultimate plot better, makes the book unnecessarily long at times. Sprinkle begins by stating that war, violence and killing were not part of the original plan of God. This is something that any Christian ought to be able to agree with, whether an advocate of nonviolence or just war theory. Death is a result of the fall. Period. However, he goes on to attempt to minimize just about every occurrence of violence in the OT. Some of the explanations are valid and serve to underscore the purpose of the law of Moses as restraining the sinful tendency of man, rather than stating an ideal (this much is true).
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Being a veteran, I'm certainly no stranger to the nationalistic/militaristic culture we live in. I was introduced to the topic of non-violence in the kingdom of God by R. Alan Streett's book Heaven on Earth. It prepared the way for me to read FIGHT. Preston Sprinkle saturates his entire book in careful exegesis of God's Word and survey of early church history to strike our hearts with what it costs to live kingdom ethics and why it's more important to live faithfully than effectively or comfortably.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I just spent the last two hours in the local library devouring the last 80 pages of Preston Sprinkle's new book Fight: A Christian Case for Nonviolence. As I was on my way home, a silver truck plastered with bumper and window stickers pulled up next to me at a stop light. On the back window was a sticker of a cross draped in a ribbon boldly declaring, "We are set free". One on the bumper screamed, "Intelligently designed!" Clearly this person was familiar with religion. However, merely inches away from these stickers carrying messages of, assumed, Christianity, another sticker stood out despite the visual noise. Next to a picture of a man toting a gun it read, "I support the only amendment worth supporting!" Militarism and dogmatic gun control has burrowed its way into the very soul of American evangelicalism. Bumper stickers like these and religious tolerance of violence are surely two of the many reasons that led Preston Sprinkle to write Fight.

I grew up in an Anabaptist Mennonite congregation that celebrated pacifism, a term Sprinkle disengages throughout the book. So when I heard rumors floating around Eternity Bible College--the school I attend and the one Sprinkle teaches at--of Preston writing a book on nonviolence, I was thoroughly intrigued. My interest multiplied when I heard Eternity graduate, teacher, aspiring scholar and friend, Andrew Rillera, was contributing his skills to the book. I was further blessed in receiving an early advance of the book before its official release date on August 1st, although I've heard the book already found its way into a few local bookstores.
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