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God Behaving Badly: Is the God of the Old Testament Angry, Sexist and Racist? Paperback – May 28, 2011
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"I highly recommend this book to students, laypeople, and pastors as an excellent introduction to how to understand the Old Testament portrait of God in light of the questions raised by new atheists and struggling Christians." (George P. Wood, Enrichment, Spring 2012)
"What is the book about? In a nutshell, it addresses some of the most common problematic stereotypes of the OT God: angry, sexist, racist, violent, legalistic, rigid, and distant. In about 200 pages, Lamb treats these topics in a well-informed, accessible, and humorous way. The book is very persuasive overall, easy to read, and extremely well-written. . . . So, for me, God Behaving Badly is the perfect textbook." (Nijay Gupta, www.nijaygupta.wordpress.com, December 2011)
"Lamb encourages readers to prove disturbing passages with an open mind, read feminist theologians, and engage in prayerful conversation. . . . This book will challenge, comfort, and provoke reflection." (Publishers Weekly, May 9, 2011)
"Let's face it: God gets a lot of bad press--it can be a little embarrassing. So even the title of Dave Lamb's book gave me hope. Dave gives honest voice and deliberate attention to some of the most troublesome questions humans have ever asked, and brings not only answers but develops our view of God too. The most thrilling thing about this book is that I can recommend it to both the faithful and the skittish, to friends and students and people who think about God and aren't sure what to think." (Alison Siewert, New Ministry Developer, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and editor, Worship Team Handbook)
"In many of our African American churches we frequently recite the refrain, 'God is good all the time and all the time God is good.' God Behaving Badly is an engaging, thoughtful, witty and helpful book that can give all of us Christian readers a bit more confidence when reciting that refrain. David Lamb gives sound guidance for understanding a difficult topic. Lamb offers an apologetic for not only believing in God but also believing that God is good--even as he is portrayed in the Old Testament. Professor Lamb's scholarship is sound and his sense of humor had me laughing out loud. Not many theology books can do that! I'm going to use this book in class and enthusiastically recommend it to my congregants!" (Rev. Dennis R. Edwards, Ph.D., pastor, Peace Fellowship Church, Washington, DC)
"Dave Lamb's book is a popular apologetic that answers the question, 'Is the God of the Old Testament angry, sexist and racist?' He prefaces his answers with a solid biblical interpretation guideline. The author emphatically states, 'When we approach Scripture, we must take the context seriously.' Dave really does that! The word context appears 59 times, scattered throughout the book. Dave's solid contextual analysis of passages--which might appear to say, Yes, Yes, Yes in answer to the question about God's anger, his view of gender and his view of races--was a highlight for me. Dave's unraveling of many problematic texts in terms of contextual analysis is superb. In addition, his many, many masterful word studies shed light on his contextual analyses. Dave writes with winsome humor. He loves the Old Testament, and you can tell that as you read the popularly written, academically sound, easy-to-read flow of material in each chapter. After reading Dave's book, I am sure you will appreciate that Dave views the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament as one." (Bobby Clinton, professor of leadership, School of Intercultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary)
"It has been said that if you love something long enough it reveals itself to you--that love is a hermeneutical key to unlocking the mysteries of life itself. This is especially true for the Bible and the God of the Bible, for God is love and can only be truly known in love. David Lamb has loved his way into understanding Yahweh more fully; subsequently he can lovingly help us to 'see' and experience God in new and revealing ways." (Alan Hirsch, author of The Forgotten Ways)
"This is a book which not only should be read by those into apologetics, but read by all Christians in our churches. It is striking right at the heart of one of the most pressing questions being asked today and we cannot ignore this. God Behaving Badly is an extremely helpful book in wrestling with these very difficult questions in a winsome, biblical and readable way. If you are at all missionally living in our culture and aware of the questions being asked and challenges to Christianity, then you really cannot help but read this book!" (Dan Kimball, author of They Like Jesus But Not The Church)
"David Lamb faces up to all the questions that most often trouble people about the God of the Old Testament. Written in a winsome and engaging way, this book is going to help many who wonder if the God of the Old Testament is indeed the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." (John Goldingay, David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary)
"I will require my college students to read this book. I became sensitive to the 'God questions' in the Bible because students asked me questions that came straight from troubled hearts. This book is written for students and speaks with wit and wisdom to the questions they have." (Scot McKnight, Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies, North Park University)
About the Author
David T. Lamb (D.Phil., Oxford) is associate professor of Old Testament at Biblical Theological Seminary in Hatfield, Pennsylvania. He previously worked in campus ministry with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and has taught extensively in various crosscultural contexts. He is the author of Righteous Jehu and His Evil Heirs (Oxford).
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Top Customer Reviews
This is where "God Behaving Badly" shines. David Lamb manages to walk the line between disregarding troubling issues on the one hand and simply providing pat answers that don't make sense or seem contrived on the other. Lamb digs deep into the context of the Bible itself (a necessity when understanding any verse of Scripture) and situates it in its Ancient Near Eastern historical context as well. In doing so, Lamb manages to unpack the text in a way that shows that the OT was head and shoulders above the texts of surrounding cultures and religions.
He examines the following views of God in 7 chapters (with an introduction to the topic and an epilogue as well):
Angry or loving?
Sexist or affirming?
Racist or hospitable?
Violent or peaceful?
Legalistic or gracious?
Rigid or flexible?
Distant or near?
One of the strengths of this book is the way Lamb ties together the OT and the NT to show that there are not two different views of God (harsh in the OT and loving in the NT). In reality, the same God is presented in both testaments, and we would do well do keep that in mind as we read through the Bible.
This book does not answer every possible question or issue. It is not large enough to do so. But it is a good book to read alongside of others to help you understand the issues.
If you have struggled with understanding the way God seems to be presented in the OT or if you know someone who has, this book will do much to help you see God as the loving God He is.
As an Old Testament professor, David Lamb has done his research and it shows, yet he never gets so academic that his book is off-putting to those who'd rather not read such dry takes on the subjects at hand.
If you've ever wondered how the "angry, sexist, racist" God of the Old Testament can co-exist with the loving, kind, and patient God seen through Jesus, this is the book for you.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent resource for anyone hoping to reconcile the messages of both Old and New Testaments.Read more