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Cross Vision: How the Crucifixion of Jesus Makes Sense of Old Testament Violence Hardcover – August 15, 2017
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"What if the harshest aspects of God in the Old Testament actually help us see the most beautiful aspects of Jesus on the cross? Sound like wishful thinking? Reading Cross Vision is like staring at a two-way mirror and suddenly being able to see what's happening on the other side. This book will show you how to read the Bible with fresh eyes and cause you to never see God the same way again! Easily one of the best and most transformative books I've ever read." --Jeremy Jernigan, lead pastor of Abundant Life Church, author of Redeeming Pleasure
"In Cross Vision, Gregory A. Boyd asks all the right questions about violence in the Old Testament, answering them in a unique and compelling way. The book is engaging, tightly written, and possesses theological integrity. My favorite part of the book is Boyd's discussion of cosmic principalities and powers active in the world today, a theme that gets far too little airplay in theological circles. This book is a must-read for all who have an interest in the topic of God and violence, as well as the hostile spiritual powers that operate in this present evil age."—Frank Viola, author of From Eternity to Here and Jesus Now
"If you love the Bible but are torn by its violence, use this book as your therapy. Turn its pages and allow Boyd to unwind the majesty of the way God works. Afterwards, you'll find yourself more in awe of the God of Israel and even more confident that this God has inspired the Scriptures as his word. You'll agree with me that Cross Vision was a book well worth your time."—David Fitch, Northern Seminary, author of Faithful Presence
"How shall we read the Old Testament with and through the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ? Gregory A. Boyd is a welcome, leading voice in today's urgent discourse and development of cruciform hermeneutics. This concise follow-up to The Crucifixion of the Warrior God makes Boyd's unique contribution to that conversation accessible to any thoughtful Bible reader. An important point of reference from here on."—Brad Jersak, author of A More Christlike God: A More Beautiful Gospel
"Christians have long wrestled with understanding the violence attributed to God and God's people in the Old Testament, especially considering the contrasting picture of the loving, peacemaking Jesus seen in the New Testament. We reject Marcionism: we cannot accept that there are two different Gods in the two Testaments. Boyd has done Christianity a tremendous service by demonstrating respect for the scripture text, reverence for the character of God, and offering a way that we might understand the picture of a violent God."—Dennis R. Edwards, senior pastor of Sanctuary Covenant Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota, author of 1 Peter: The Story of God Bible Commentary
"I don't judge you, I leave that to a wrathful, angry God to do, once retorted Ned Flanders to his wayward neighbor, Homer Simpson. Cross Vision gets right to the heart of a predicament that has befuddled generations. Jesus taught us to love our enemies, so how come God, as presented in all those Old Testament stories, didn't seem capable of keeping his own rules. An extraordinarily thought-provoking introduction to one of the biggest questions asked by those both inside and outside the church around the world today." —Steve Chalke, founder and leader at Oasis Global and senior minister at Oasis Church Waterloo, London
"For those struggling to reconcile the character of Jesus with the violent depictions of God in the Old Testament, Cross Vision is a priceless gift. Within these pages, Boyd uses vivid imagery and approachable storytelling to systematically unwrap a Calvary-centered, scripture-based explanation that will resonate with the heart while satisfying the mind. In short, this powerful work presents a beautiful picture of God that can revolutionize one's life and faith."—Jessica Kelley, author of Lord Willing?: Wrestling with God's Role in My Child’s Death
"Many thoughtful Christians are dissatisfied with the usual alternative approaches to the Bible and theology. They are told they can be either liberal or conservative, but both approaches carry baggage many find too heavy to bear. Gregory A. Boyd's greatest contribution to contemporary Christianity is to provide a completely different alternative neither liberal nor conservative but thoroughly Christ and cross-centered. Cross Vision, like so many of Boyd's other books, presents an alternative paradigm to the usual ones and does it with charm and challenge."—Roger E. Olson, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University
About the Author
Gregory A. Boyd is an internationally recognized theologian, preacher, teacher, apologist, and author. He is the cofounder and senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church in Maplewood, Minnesota, the founder and President of ReKnew Ministries, and the author and coauthor of twenty-one books, including The Myth of a Christian Nation.
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As I read through the longer two-volume work, I found myself thinking about "Cross Vision" and what Greg Boyd should take out and leave in. While I liked the 2-volume work, I found much of it to be rather repetitive. He spent SO much time in "The Crucifixion of the Warrior God" (most of volume 1) defending the idea that the crucifixion of Jesus should be our guiding lens through which to read the entire Old Testament, including the violent portions of the Old Testament. Most of Greg's readers were probably already on board with this idea, and so this made much of what he wrote in the 2-volume work unnecessary. That is why this present volume, "Cross Vision," is such a breath of fresh air.
In a concise and easy-to-read way, Greg Boyd presents the central ideas of his cruciform hermeneutic (how to read the Bible through the lens of Jesus Christ and Him crucified), while addressing some of the major issues related to this approach.
Also, this book includes more "illustrations" and stories than does the more scholarly work. This helps generate interest in the average reader and helps show why Greg's cruciform hermeneutic is helpful for life, theology, and ministry.
However, as with the two-volume work, although I agree with nearly everything Greg writes in the book, I once again found myself disagreeing with the central idea ... that God withdraws from Jesus on the cross, and therefore, in the violent portions of the OT, God is withdrawing Himself from the people and nations who experience/suffer violence. While Greg is absolutely right that "something else is going on" in those violent texts, I do not think that the "something else" is that God is withdrawing from Jesus or from other people.
I too have a cruciform hermeneutic, and I do not believe it is necessary to read Jesus' statement from the cross "My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?" as a statement about God withdrawing from Jesus. Therefore, I do not believe that it is necessary to read the violent portions of the OT as God withdrawing from other people/nations. I do not believe God ever withdraws from the objects of His love, whether it is Jesus or humans. Jesus said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you," and since Jesus fully reveals God to us, then we must not say that God ever leaves us or forsakes us either. He did not forsake Jesus, and God does not forsake (or withdraw from) humans.
Anyway, ... yes, read this book. I recommend you read it before the two-volume work, "The Crucifixion of the Warrior God." Greg presents a spectacular vision of the love God has for all people, as revealed in the crucified Christ. Understand that Greg is absolutely correct that we must understand God, Scripture, and life through the lens of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. But if you are uncomfortable with the idea that God withdraws when people need Him most, just recognize that there are other ways of understanding what happened to Jesus on the cross and what His crucifixion reveals about the violent portions of Scripture.
I have never been satisfied by the traditional United States Church answer and I have wrestled with answering the above question.
If you, like me, struggle with the same questions then this book is perfect reading.