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Show Them No Mercy: 4 Views on God and Canaanite Genocide Paperback – April 1, 2003
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From the Back Cover
About the Author
Stanley N. Gundry is executive vice president and editor-in-chief for the Zondervan Corporation. He has been an influential figure in the Evangelical Theological Society, serving as president of ETS and on its executive committee, and is adjunct professor of Historical Theology at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He is the author of seven books and has written many articles appearing in popular and academic periodicals.
Daniel L. Gard (PhD, University of Notre Dame) is dean of graduate studies and associate professor of exegetical theology at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Eugene H. Merrill (PhD, Columbia University) is distinguished professor of Old Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary.
C. S. Cowles (STD, University of San Francisco Theological Seminary) is professor of Bible and theology at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California.
Tremper Longman III (PhD, Yale University) is a distinguished scholar and Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. He is on the advisory council of the BioLogos Foundation, and is the Old Testament editor for the revised Expositor's Bible Commentary and general editor for the Story of God Bible Commentary Old Testament, and has authored many articles and books on the Psalms and other Old Testament books.
- Item Weight : 6.7 ounces
- Paperback : 224 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0310245680
- ISBN-13 : 978-0310245681
- Publisher : Zondervan Academic (April 1, 2003)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #853,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Two things I'm walking away with:
1) It was helpful to see how other believers and theologians wrestle through these difficult texts.
2) It's tough to do the discerning work necessary to know the truth... There's a position I WANT to believe, that I want to be true, but is that position the most faithful position? Is it the truth? Or is it just what I would like to be true? This is the question left unanswered, but I'm thankful to discover I'm not alone in these questions.
The best article in my humble opinion was the one by Eugene Merrill of Dallas Theological Seminary, He goes through every salient Hebrew Bible text about holy war (herem) and concludes that God's call for the destruction of these communites was a unique time in history when God was executing judgment on historically oppressive, repressive societies in opposition to the Noachide commandments. He gives the following reasons: 1) the stubbornness of the Canaanites in their persistence in idolatry, child sacrifice, and their opposition to the revealed will of God, 2) because this was a special time in history when the people of Israel were emerging as God's chosen instrument to bring salvation and judgment to the nations (3 to bring Israel into the promised land and to prepare them for the coming of their Messiah (4 to show them that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and 5) to remove communities that would continue to oppress God's people and to tempt them toward idolatry and sin. Never mind that Israel didn't obey God completely, the article deals with the theological reasons for OT holy war.
This satisfies the biblical reasoning more than it solves the ethical dilemna, but nevertheless, I found it to be the most compelling discussion in the book, and John Gard and Tremper Longman (two of the other contributors found themselves in substantial agreement with a number of Merrill's arguments).
John Gard (the Missouri Synod Lutheran contributor) ties this topic in with God's eschatological judgment on His enemies. And Tremper Longman says that the NT carries on the Old Testament idea of holy war in the spiritual realm (pointing out Jesus' encounter with the demon world at His first coming).
This was a good book. It satisfied me. I have never really had a problem with the idea of God judging whole civilizations. He is the Lord, He can do what is right in His own eyes. I am just glad that He has given me life and allows me to live in His world.
I should also say that I commend all four writers for noting that this was an unusual time in history and that there is no authorization or word from God to continue this sort of action today. In the book of Revelation, God pours out His wrath on the beast and his minions, but that will be at His initiative.
This is a tough subject where it will be hard to find a unanimous consent. But I commend the writers for their courage in taking up such a hot potato.
Having said that, however, I almost never fit into one of the views. It always seems like they leave out my view.... I am not sure why that is....
Anyway, this book discussed the question of Holy War in the Bible and how to understand it. Specifically, how could the God of the Bible command the indiscriminate slaughter of entire groups of people while Jesus in the New Testament commands us to love and pray for our enemies?
And while they claim the book holds 4 views, it really only holds 2.
The two basic views are:
1. You can't fit them together. The Old Testament is in error (View 1)
2. We don't understand it, and we may not like it, but we have to accept it (Views 2-4)
The only real difference between views 2-4 is how they arrive at an explanation for why we just need to accept what the Bible says and move on.
I really wish they would have included the Rabbinical Jewish view on this, since I think it would have provided an interesting alternative view.
And of course, there is another position as well, which is the one I hold to.... but I won't bore you with the details here.
If you want a good summary of some of the positions surrounding this all-important but extremely difficult issue, this is a good book to get you started.
Top reviews from other countries
I know there are many rooms in the house of God (apologies if these are not the correct words but I translate from the French).
As to the material discussed, I am amazed that in the year 2016 (or rather 2003 publication date) there can be a complete disregard for the enormous amount of exegesis and hermeneutics carried on the Sacred Scriptures. I do not intend to repeat all the detailed remarks that can be made on each of the several statements in the book but in general terms, negate the psychology of the writers at the time of writing is to disregard the truth.
If I have to read the Bible, at least the OT, literally like the authors all do, I must come to the conclusion that the Israelites have killed more Palestinians than the Nazis have murdered Jews, and that in the name of God, the God who is also mine.
I do not believe that further comments are needed.