Meeting fundamentalism

Jul 24th, 2011 | By | Category: Ministry

By the standard of the 1970s, our teacher was a kind and gentle person, reasonable in almost every way, except religion. Standing in the Christian fundamentalist tradition of our school, she would not surrender a single point when it came to the Bible, it was literally and historically true.

Conflict with her arose at an unlikely point.  Following the story of the campaigns of Joshua, there were repeated moments that seemed in direct contradiction to the repeated claim that God was a God of love. Joshua Chapter 7 started the debate, a man and his family being killed because the man had taken plunder from Jericho; whatever the rules on looting, stoning the man and his family and burning their bodies was was an atrocity:

And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor.

And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.  Joshua 7:24-25

But the slaughter of one household in Joshua Chapter 7 was mild violence compared with the slaughter of the civilian population of a town in Joshua Chapter 8:

And it came to pass, when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness wherein they chased them, and when they were all fallen on the edge of the sword, until they were consumed, that all the Israelites returned unto Ai, and smote it with the edge of the sword.

And so it was, that all that fell that day, both of men and women, were twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai.  For Joshua drew not his hand back, wherewith he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.  Only the cattle and the spoil of that city Israel took for a prey unto themselves, according unto the word of the LORD which he commanded Joshua.

And Joshua burnt Ai, and made it an heap for ever, even a desolation unto this day.

And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his carcase down from the tree, and cast it at the entering of the gate of the city, and raise thereon a great heap of stones, that remaineth unto this day.

Then Joshua built an altar unto the LORD God of Israel in mount Ebal.

The wholesale slaughter of 12,000 people was surely not justifiable.  “Why kill everyone?”

“Because they were a threat”, came the reply.

“The women and children were not a threat.”

“But who was there to look after them?  The men were all dead.  It was easier for them if they were killed, than being left to try to survive”.

It was the sort of logic that was unanswerable – not that there was much that a fifteen year old schoolboy could have said.

Anders Behring Breivik, who admits the mass killings in Norway, would have understood the schoolteacher; the illogical fundamentalism she espoused is manifested in the incoherent ramblings of his manifesto.  On pages 1329-1330 he asserts:

 Clearly, this is not a pacifist God we serve. It’s God who teaches our hands to war and our fingers to fight. Over and over again throughout the Old Testament, His people are commanded to fight with the best weapons available to them at that time . . .

In the context of cultural conservative Europeans current war against the cultural Marxist/multiculturalist elites and the ongoing Islamic invasion through Islamic demographic warfare against Europe, every military action against our enemies is considered self defence. There will be much suffering and destruction but eventually we will succeed and may be able to start rebuilding.

We should recall Nehemiah, who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem.

Nehemiah 4:17-18: “Those who were rebuilding the wall and those who carried burdens took their load with one hand doing the work and the other holding a weapon”. ”As for the builders, each wore his sword girded at his side as he built,…”

There are many passages that talk about war and violence that God approves of, such as David slaying Goliath (1 Samuel 17). Not to mention the fact that God commanded the Israelites to completely destroy everyone and everything in the Promised Land!

Breivik quotes chapter and verse of Scripture in support of his atrocities.  Christians need seriously to understand the material and the thinking that inspires such hideous actions.

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  1. Breivik obviously draws from limited passages of Scripture, using & twisting only what he sees as fitting his agenda and beliefs about God. Anyone taking the whole Bible, and the entire teachings of Christ from old or new testaments clearly sees that this man is wrong and indeed very wicked.

    However, to only see God as a God of love is to miss other aspects of His character, such as His righteous and holy anger & judgement over sin. His command to Israel to commit, what we view as atrocities, was indeed judgement over the sins of those nations, back in Genesis He told Abram that “they (Israel) shall come back here (the promised land) in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” (Gen 15:16). It seems He held from judging at that point (Gen) but due to further depths of sin (recorded also in extra biblical resources) of the peoples in Canaan reached later, He decided to judge them through Israel. It is hard to stomach, and indeed does seem awful, but it is there and we should not gloss over it or ignore this aspect of who God is.

    Thankfully though, this God who gets angry over sin and will judge us all is not only angry, but also love, and in this He has provided a sacrifice in which we can be declared righteous and just – Jesus. Indeed, through Jesus we enter a loving relationship with Him as our Father. Yes, He calls us to defeat sin in our own lives (Romans 8:13), but rather than asking us to kill non christians His demand is for us to make disciples and to proclaim His love through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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