Greg Boyd spent the last ten years working on a book that reconciles the violence of God in the Old Testament with Jesus in the New Testament. As you might imagine, that is no small challenge to tackle. Earlier this year he released a scholarly version called Crucifixion of the Warrior God. At nearly 1500 pages, you might want to consider whether you can afford to neglect your family and friends long enough to read through it. But I’ve got good news for you! Greg will soon be releasing a popular (and dramatically shorter) version of the book in August called Cross Vision (at just 260 pages).
Greg has been a personal mentor to me over the last few years, and I had the opportunity to read early copies of both books. I even had the privilege of writing an endorsement for the version coming out in August. Of my list of my twelve favorite theology books of all time, four of them are written by Greg (see: Top 12 Theology Books). If you’ve never read one of his books, you simply have no idea what you’re missing. Cross Vision will be one I buy for many people to read over the years. I literally cannot hype this book enough.
Below are some of my favorite quotes from the book to give you a feel for it. These are from the early manuscript I read so there may be some discrepancies from the final version.
If we believe that Jesus fully reveals what God is really like, we have no choice but to suspect that something else must be going on when God appears to act violently in the OT. And until we have the opportunity to sit down with God face-to-face, our job is to try to imagine what this something else might be.
It’s impossible to exaggerate the importance of a believer’s mental representation of God, for the way you imagine God largely determines the quality of your relationship with God. The intensity of your love for God will never outrun the beauty of the God you envision.
Jesus is what God looks like when there are no clouds in the way.
Jesus viewed the OT as a divinely inspired authority that was under, not alongside, his own divine authority.
It is not enough to merely say that “God is Christlike, and in him is no un-Christlikeness at all,” though this is certainly true. We must go further and say that God is cruciform love, and in him there is no noncruciform love at all. Which is to say, there is no aspect of God that is not characterized by the nonviolent, self-sacrificial, enemy-embracing love that is revealed on the cross.
Contrary to what many people think, the Bible generally construes God’s punishment of sin as organic in nature. God doesn’t impose punishments on people. The destructive consequences of sin are built into the sin itself. And this is why God only needs to withdraw and let sin run its self-destructive course when he judges people.
Everything we need to know and can know about God is found in Christ.
In other words, for people to fall under God’s judgment, God needn’t do anything. He needs to only stop doing something: namely, preventing the cosmic forces that are bent on destruction from doing what they are perpetually trying to do.
The divine authority of any biblical narrative is not dependent on its genre or its relationship to history.
If we remain confident that the Son is the very shiningness of God’s glory and the perfect expression of his very essence, we will be able to see what else is going on when OT authors depict God in horrifically violent ways. And in seeing this, we’ll discern how these violent portraits point to the cross.
Never settle for mere glimpses of the truth when God has given us the full revelation of the sone who is the truth! Never settle for cloudy approximations of God’s character when God has given us the one who is the very radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his innermost essence.
Dare to believe that God really is as beautiful as the cross reveals him to be!
Dare to believe that God really is as beautiful as the cross reveals him to be! @greg_boydClick to tweet
Click here to preorder a copy of Greg’s new book Cross Vision.
Also, you can watch a three-part series Greg did about the theme of the book at Woodland Hills Church.