The Common Good
March 2011

Beyond Understanding

by Bill Ball | March 2011

Brian McLaren's article "Is God Violent?" was a huge disappointment.

Brian McLaren's article "Is God Violent?" was a huge disappointment. He notes that there is a "plethora" of examples of violence in the Bible, but also "a plethora of verses that present God as kind, reconciling, compassionate," and decides that he needs "to choose one plethora over another, or subordinate one to another."

But the Bible isn't a "library" from which we can select whatever volumes agree with our position. It presents a many-faceted and, to a certain extent, inscrutable God. And McLaren's "when in doubt, consult Jesus" is a red herring. Jesus doesn't speak exhaustively to these issues; we should be wary of putting our thoughts into his mouth.

Bill Ball
Edmond, Oklahoma

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)