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.