And now we come to a cautionary tale about what happens when a theologian is left alone with scissors, library paste, and a Bible. Greg Boyd is done with the hard work of letting the ski boat of hermeneutical silliness get him up on the surface, and he is now jumping the wake and doing flips. I mean, look.
Let me say just two things, and I will be succinct. I think.
First, look at how Boyd sets two portions of Scripture at odds with one another, and consider how unnecessary that capitulation is. In ancient times, private vengeance was mediated through the system of the blood avenger. The Mosaic code placed restrictions on this system by establishing cities of refuge. The old system was further restricted by the “eye for eye” code, by the lex talionis. When vengeance was in private hands, it frequently became a life for an eye, a life for a tooth. So the magistrate was required to execute strict justice in judgment himself, and this would remove a great deal of the emotional motivations for private vengeance. “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Ecc. 8:11).
Got that? Eye for eye was required of the magistrate. In the Lord’s day, that phrase was being used to justify private vengenace — in much the same way that someone today might use it. “He hit me so I hit him, Eye for eye.” The Lord was plainly correcting an abusive interpretation of Moses. He was not correcting Moses himself.
The Lord’s teaching, and Paul’s, is entirely and completely consistent with what was required of Moses by a holy God. Paul tells the Romans, for example, not to take private vengeance, but to leave room for the vengeance of God, which was going to be delivered by the magistrate with a sword (Rom. 12:19; 13:4).
But Boyd is not just muddled, although he is that. He has ascended the Mount of All Impudence, on the sides of the north, to walk amidst the stones of fire. His heart has been lifted up, and lo! he has there declared himself to be in charge of reversing black and white, inverting up and down, and substituting satin panties for plaid boxers (Is. 5:20).
“As shocking as it is, this episode clearly suggests that Jesus regarded Elijah’s enemy-destroying supernatural feat to be ungodly, if not demonic.”
I see. Marcion, call your office.
Stare at those words, and wonder mildly to yourself why fire from Heaven has not come down upon Woodland Hills — no, no, you mistake me. I am not falling into the trap the disciples fell into when they did not know what spirit they were of (Luke 9:55). I want fire to fall upon Woodland Hills the same way it happened at Pentecost. You know, to turn them into Christians.
Because the way it is now, their pastor just wrote that the Spirit that was upon Elijah, and was upon Elisha in double measure, and which came upon John the Baptist, the one who came in the Spirit and power of Elijah, in order to prepare the way for Jesus the Messiah . . . was demonic.
Friends, that is not what I would call a denominational difference.
Yes–Marcion, call your office indeed. That article is a steaming pile of dog skubalon, but since it’s posted on the painfully-too-clever-by-half website “ReKnew” (Get it? Knew? New? Oh that’s rich!), then all the cool kids, er, progressives will read it and be amazed that no one has ever come up with the concept of ‘breaking the Scriptures’ before they arrived on the scene.
I like how he tries in vain to poison the well at the end: Whatever else we might say about all of this, if we take Jesus’ criteria for what qualifies one to be considered a child “of your Father in heaven” seriously, then it seems that anyone who acted in the violent way Moses, Joshua, Elijah and other OT heroes acted would be considered by Jesus to be disqualified from being considered a child of God. Obviously, in making this observation I’m not suggesting OT heroes weren’t “saved,” for Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus on the Mount of… Read more »
That interpretation is not novel in church history: “But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, ‘It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.'” Matt 12:24.
Of course, Boyd is not a Pharisee. Only a conservative can be that these days.
Wow. Just wow.
I haven’t been keeping up — is the BGC still letting this guy run loose under their banner?
Guys who pull this always reveal their Christology. Jesus is the One who TOLD those OT characters to do those things.
Good explanation of eye-for-eye as a restriction upon vengeance. Beyond that, non-preterists get the story wrong without AD70 – what happens to those who trample the blood of this crucified warrior God underfoot. It’s not pretty.
What’s even more bizarre to me is that I really enjoyed his apologetic book about the historical reliability of scripture written with Paul Eddy, Lord or Legend. Hard to believe this is the same guy who co-authored that book.
Great point, Johnny.
And all the while I’m reading his article I’m thinking, “So I clearly can’t drink the wine in front of you! “
I looked, and also at their manifesto. What do they do with “the wrath of the Lamb”–the wrath of the atoning sacrifice, the wrath of the sinless, perfect manifestation of God?
It has been noted that Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said…” and, “It is written…”. As the former statement is used when alluding to the OT the 2 statements may seem to be synonymous. However the later seems to occur when Jesus uses Scripture to defend the truth (cf. Matt 4) but the former when Jesus is correcting a misunderstanding of Scripture (cf. Matt 5). That is, perhaps the comment about “it was said” is referring to what the teachers of the Law have said about what the OT means rather than what Jesus actually thinks it… Read more »
After reading Greg Boyd’s “The Myth of a Christian Nation” a couple of years ago, I concluded that the real myth is GB’s intellectual capacities. He is a philosopher – not a scholar. A philosopher is a perpetual arguer who is really not seeking the truth but rather likes the sound of his own ideas. There is no concern that I can see for the salvation of precious souls. The more a person spouts their theology of non-violence, the less they care about salvation.
You’ve heard of Moses, Joshua, Ezekiel? Morons!
Elijah, not Ezekiel. Way to ruin a comeback. :P
Hey Doug Wilson. Are you actually judging a professing Christian to be unregenerate? Why isn’t Greg Boyd a “better Christian than a logician”? And how are you not insisting on “tiny doctrinal works before a man can go to heaven”?
“But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.” Luke 19:27
So I guess the Rider on the White Horse of Rev 19 is also disqualified from being a child “of your Father in heaven.”
Chris, I am going to expand on this later, but here is just a quick response. The problem here is not a lack in a particular doctrine, but rather the presence of blasphemy.
Hey, Doug Wilson. Just a few more questions that may help on your expansion post on this subject: So if poor logic (muddledness) leads to blasphemy, then it’s okay to judge a person lost? So a Christian cannot commit the sin of blasphemy? If you judge a person who commits blasphemy to be lost, doesn’t this show that you believe in salvation conditioned on refraining from blasphemy? Is teaching that the work of Christ failed to save some whom Christ wanted to save and came to save and tried to save utter blasphemy? Is the teaching that the blood of… Read more »
Chris, those are good questions, but I lost the logical thread. If Christians can’t commit blasphemy, who’s saying that Christ tried and failed to save those blasphemers?
Chris, While Pastor Doug is off saving the world, lesser minds must lend a hand :) 1. Not sure Doug is judging Boyd lost, but certainly Scripture gives examples of such evaluation (Matt 18, Acts 8), and Peter tells us to prove our election by doing right (2Pet 1), which implies the absence of doing right indicates our lostness. 2. Christians can and do commit the sin of blasphemy, as they commit many other sins. But let’s admit a difference between some random Christian succumbing to the temptation to blasphemy after a hard struggle, and Boyd publicly accusing Elijah of… Read more »
“Boyd simply doesn’t have any excuse for this kind of poo-poo.” – Neither do his followers.
Hello Dave W. Sorry for the misunderstanding. I’ll try to clarify what I am trying to get at with those questions. Doug Wilson has written: “The cross, as many preach it today, receives whatever efficacy it has from the decision of the listener. This, of course, is not the cross of the New Testament at all. There cannot be any powerful preaching of the cross as long as our underlying doctrine is that the cross is impotent without the sinner’s contribution. The modern evangelist operates on the assumption that the cross is powerless to save until the listening sinner puts… Read more »