Saturday, April 11, 2015

Preston Sprinkle - Fight (1)

I have just read Fight: A Christian Case for Non-Violence by Preston Sprinkle. It is a really good book, except that it does not go far enough for me. However, it is not written for people like me who are already persuaded. The book is written for Americans who are locked in a military culture. Most American Christians will think that he has gone too far. So I guess that he has got it about right.

Chapter 2 looks at the book of Genesis. He shows that influence for peace was there right from the beginning. For example, he shows how Abraham chose to suffer loss, rather than fight to protect his rights.

Preston Sprinkle takes a narrative approach to Old Testament law. He says that God allowed violence because the culture of the time was violent. That narrative approach does not work. We live in a culture that feeds on TV violence. Does that mean that we can ignore Jesus teaching on violence in our time?

There are two things that he misses.

  1. Prior to the cross, the children of Israel had no spiritual protection. The commands of Leviticus were designed to separate them from the surrounding culture, so they would not be overwhelmed by the spiritual forces that dominated that culture. Some of the laws were given to provide spiritual protection. They have been made redundant by the cross.

  2. The Israelites misunderstood the law and never applied it. Preston says there is not evidence of this. I think there is plenty. The book of Joshua is a record of how Joshua undertook terrible wars, because he misunderstood what Moses had said. I explain this at

Preston argues that Joshua is hyperbole. I don’t think that works. I prefer my approach in God and Violence.

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