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God at War: The Bible & Spiritual Conflict Paperback – October 12, 1997

3.9 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gregory A. Boyd (Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary) is a pastor at Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. Previously, he was a professor of theology at Bethel University, also in St. Paul. His books include Recovering the Real Jesus in an Age of Revisionist Replies, Letters from a Skeptic, God of the Possible, Repenting of Religion, Seeing is Believing, Escaping the Matrix, The Jesus Legend, Myth of a Christian Nation, Is God to Blame, God at War and Satan and the Problem of Evil.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 414 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (October 12, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830818855
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830818853
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on December 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
I'm going to ignore the issue of whether I agree with Boyd's thesis or not. What I want to focus on is what this book does to the reader. It is impossible to passively take in what Boyd is writing. He forces you to think for yourself, regardless of whether you agree with him or not. I often had to put down the book, check out what scripture says, and ponder how it all ties together. Read this book if you want to be forced to develop a greater understanding of God's character based on what scripture says, rather than on what you've been told scripture says.
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Format: Paperback
I finally finished this excellent book! I have been working through it for the better part of a month and a half! It is quite a book.

Greg Boyd makes a very compelling case for a "warfare worldview". The first half of the book argues from the Old Testament seeking to demonstrate a warfare worldview is the primary worldview represented in the Old Testament.

The second half of the book examines the New Testament and its foundations in a warfare worldview.

It is a powerful new way of thinking in my opinion. Obviously to hold to this worldview is to be a minority in current evangelical and protestant circles. But after reading this book I must say that I am comfortable and intellectually encouraged to move this way.

One of the most convincing features is the warfare worldview's handling of the problem of evil.

The traditional view is that God is in control of everything. Sovereignty is understood as omnicontrol. Therefore the question "why does an all-powerful, all good God allow bad things to happen" is legitimate. Boyd argues that the Bible does not conceive of God's sovereignty in the sense of omnicontrol. Because of this, God's will can and reddily is thwarted by spirits and humans who have freewill. Thus, when these beings chose to disobey God, they enter into warfare against their Creature.

If you're at all interested in a very stimulating and thoroughly biblical book (meaning, Boyd is constantly engaged in biblical exegesis throughout) dealing with theodicy and spiritual warfare, pick up this book. But don't plan to try to read it in a week like I did! This is a book that you will need to live with for awhile.
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This is a hard book to review. The major thesis is excellent and bears repeating: God in Christ is at war with the powers and principalities of this world. The decisive battle was fought and won by God in the ministry, death, and resurrection of Christ. The church now continues the battle until the return of Christ, when the victory will be fully won. Here, Boyd's "warfare" view accords with atonement positions of Gustaf Aulen, William Stringfellow, and to a lesser extent, Walter Wink.
The major strength of Boyd's position is that, as he says repeatedly, evil is not a philosophical problem to be solved, but a reality to be fought. On a practical level, we do not look for God's "higher purposes" in the evil events that occur in the world. Instead, we are to resist them in acts of both spiritual and social activism.
This viewpoint, unlike many of the more popular Christian world-views out today, EXPECTS evil to befall the Christian (1 Pet. 4:12). The Christian is in the middle of a war with Satan and his angels. Bad things can and do happen to good people in warfare. God does not promise complete protection in this life but only that He will be victorious in the end and that nothing can separate us from His love (Rom. 8:35-39).
The book fails on two levels. First, Boyd uses many "minority" views to buttress his arguments. The Gap Theory of Genesis 1:1 is used not only to explain the apparent age of the earth, but to wedge Canaanite and other pagan creation myths into the Genesis account. Boyd also argues for the annihilation theory of hell and damnation.
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There is no theologian that has influenced me more that Greg Boyd has. This book is great.

In this book Greg argues against the classical/Augustinian worldview that some refer to as a "blueprint." This worldview says that God causes all of the evil that happens in the universe for some "greater good." So, Greg begins in the Old Testament and examines the warfare motif that is taught. He points out that in the Old Testament, God is fighting a real war against cosmic creatures that are later personified as demons (Satan and his angels). Next Greg examines the life and ministry of Christ and shows (in depth) that Christ's entire ministry was about "tying up the strong man" (defeating Satan and his works; 1 John 3:8). He then taps into the Christus Victor motif that the church has neglected for so long, showing that Christ is a loving warrior who fights for humans out of infinite love for humans. And lastly, Greg examines post-gospel writings in the NT showing how the Christian life is a war: advancing the Kingdom of God against the already defeated, pathetic kingdom of Satan. The bottom line is that Greg shows us (scripturally) that the Bible teaches a warfare worldview rather than a blueprint worldview.

This book is a very motivational book. It causes one to see evil for what it is: opposition to the ALL-GOOD Creator's will. It causes one to reject "serene, pious resignations" (quote from Greg's book) when they experience evil and to do what Jesus did, revolt and oppose it! This book argues against the pervasive classical-philisophical presupposition that says God causes everything (rapists, child molesters, Satan's activity!), and shows how grotesque and ridiculous this idea is when we simply look at Jesus.
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