by Greg Boyd, originally posted in 2015 at his website ReKnew.
For more of Boyd’s thoughts on Old Testament violence, check out his book Cross Vision of The Crucifixion of the Warrior God.
Since the time of Augustine, Christians have consistently appealed to the violent strand of the Old Testament to justify waging wars when they believed their cause was “just.” (This is Augustine’s famous “just war” theory.)
Two things may be said about this.
First, the appeal to the OT to justify Christians fighting in “just” wars (if there are such things) is illegitimate for the simple reason that the OT knows nothing of a “just war” policy. The wars that Yahweh had the Israelites engage in were not fought on the basis of justice. They were fought simply because the Israelites perceived that Yahweh told the Israelites to fight them. They were holy wars, not just wars. Continue reading Does the Old Testament Justify “Just War”?