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Show Them No Mercy: 4 Views on God and Canaanite Genocide

(Counterpoints)

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  174 ratings  ·  27 reviews
A discussion of various contemporary evangelical views of genocide in the Old Testament.Christians are often shocked to read that Yahweh, the God of the Israelites, commanded the total destruction—all men, women, and children—of the ethnic group know as the Canaanites. This seems to contradict Jesus’ command in the New Testament to love your enemies and do good to all peop ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 17th 2003 by Zondervan Academic
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3.55  · 
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 ·  174 ratings  ·  27 reviews


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Autumn Kotsiuba
May 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
Here's my problem...this isn't a "let's deal with the obvious elephant in the room (Canaanites)" book; it's a "how do the OT and NT views of God line up" book with a shaky focus on military strategies/pacifism.

I usually love the Counterpoints series, it makes you think for yourself from a variety of views, but I found myself sighing at something from at least every essay. I'm just not satisfied with these answers. I thought this would be a great companion piece to my own studies, and certainly i
...more
Todd Miles
Jun 09, 2018 rated it liked it
What follows is a generic critique of all of the multiple views books.

The essays are uneven. Some are better than others. The fatal flaw is not having each author respond to responses.

Particular to this volume: One waits in vain for C.S. Cowles to address the primary criticism leveled against him - that he does not believe the OT to be inspired and inerrant. (This is a criticism that he cannot avoid when he argues that the OT conception of God makes him more diabolical than Satan.) So it seems
...more
Andy Kline
Feb 02, 2013 rated it liked it
This book was helpful to me because it helped me think and pray better.

The back cover claims all four writers’ views were within the evangelical tradition, but I question whether this is true of C.S. Cowles' position.

I enjoyed Cowles because he refused to use “Christianese” or allegory to gloss over the horror of the conquest. On the other hand his responses to the other writers seemed sledgehammer like and angry – almost disdainful.

Merrill, as a good historical/grammatical interpreter does a m
...more
Parker
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Overall, these essays are helpful for anyone attempting (as we all should) to wade through some more difficult texts of Scripture. Cowles' contribution reeks of neo-Marcionism, and should be offensive to any who believe in the inspiration of all Scripture (or who value arguments free of logical fallacies). The remaining three scholars (Merrill, Gard, and Longman) all make valuable contributions that are worth careful consideration. I favor Longman's approach, though I admit that the disagreement ...more
Marc Sims
Jul 15, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a helpful introduction of how a Christian ought to interpret Old Testament “herem” (genocide) passages. The book doesn’t deal directly with ethical applications, but makes some passing comments about it. One of the four contributors (Cowles) is entirely unhelpful, making only emotional arguments that don’t actually deal with the text. I found Longman’s position (spiritual continuity) to be the most convincing. If you are looking for resources in how to understand genocide in the Old Tes ...more
Andrew
This is an excellent little book on this very difficult topic. The format of the book presents 4 different views on the Canaanite genocide in the Old Testament. While it does not answer all the questions one may have of this difficult aspect of biblical history (a point admitted by the writers), it certainly helps to frame one's understanding better from an historical and Christian perspective. I would highly recommend this book.
Jerome
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
The most helpful aspect of this book is to see scholars engage with each other. An excellent introduction to ancient warfare in the Hebrew Bible.
Filip Sekkelsten
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teologi
Et særdeles viktig emne.

1. Radikal diskontinuitet: NT representerer et radikalt brudd med GT og folkemordet var ikke et bud fra Gud. Dette åpner for at mye av GT ikke er Guds ord, men heller menneskers misforståelse av Guds ord.
2. Moderat diskontinuitet: NT representerer et moderat brudd med GT. Folkemordet var Guds bud, men det var unikt til den tiden.
De to siste synene representerer kontinuitet, altså fortsettelse og enhet, mellom GT og NT, enten eskatologisk (med hensyn til endetiden), eller
...more
Joshua D.
Jun 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: pastors, theologians, folks having trouble reading the Old Testament
I had the rather unpleasant task of reading hundreds of pages about the Canaanite genocide over the last few days. Show Them No Mercy was, hands down, the most helpful resource. As is the case with all books in the Counterpoints series, 4 different perspectives were given. Each of the four scholars had about 40 pages to explain and make their case. Then the other three offered reflections on critiques to the initial essay. This is a very useful approach, enabling each of the writers to make thei ...more
Janelle Zeeb
Apr 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: ethics, theodicy
This was a very interesting but also challenging book, which examines four views of how to understand God's command to Israel to wipe out the Canaanites. It was a quick read. Each author does a decent job at explaining their viewpoint, although three of the four views overlap significantly. But I think the overlap is the interesting part, as multiple aspects of these authors' views can be combined to give a more holistic view of this difficult issue. Overall, I think this book was fascinating, e ...more
The other John
Jul 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed, theology
Jesus loves me,
This I know
For the Bible
Tells me so...


Ah, if only theology were so easy. The problem is, if you actually read the Bible, you might get confused. You read of a God who loved humanity so much that He would let His Son be killed to pay for their sins. But you also read of a God who rains down fire and brimstone on a defenseless city; who apparently sanctions the genocide of certain peoples. What's up with that? Are we talking about two different gods here? Was God just off his meds t
...more
Josh Davis
May 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this style. Four authors with different views get to state their case and respond to the other three viewpoints. This was a pretty good overview of the issue of genocide in the Old Testament, and really, the larger question of how do Christians deal with the Old Testament. The only reason I give it less than 5 stars is that a couple of the viewpoints are mostly indistinguishable from one another, and I felt like all 4 viewpoints left out a couple of salient and relevant points.

Alt
...more
Ben
Oct 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was a great book featuring 4 concise and very different perspectives on the "Canaanite Genocide" in the Old Testament. Again, the beauty of these "4 Views" books is that you get to digest 4 very different views of the same topic, it is short and to the point, and you get to see the interaction between the authors as they critique each other.

At the heart of this discussion lies the reliability of Scripture, the nature of God, and the nature of sin, to name just a few doctrines. Not an easy
...more
Paul,
May 13, 2012 rated it liked it
I like the Counterpoint series because it shows hold real scholars defend their positions and respond to others arguments. The reason I only give three stars is because three of the four positions were fairly similar and the other position was very weakly argued.

For more in depth analysis, check here.
http://joshmeares.blogspot.com/2012/0...
http://joshmeares.blogspot.com/2012/0...
http://joshmeares.blogspot.com/2012/0...
http://joshmeares.blogspot.com/2012/0...
Douglas Brock
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good discussion of various views on a sticky "problem." I find myself agreeing with the last two, and struggling to tell much of a difference. I still want to study a fifth view I have run across, to the effect that the order was not strictly literal, but idiomatic; roughly equivalent to a football fan telling his team to "knock their block off!" That being said, all three of the last presenters do God's Word justice by maintaining that whatever we say about the Canaanite "genocide," removing ...more
Molly
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
I think it's good for me to have read alternate viewpoints that disagree with my horror of the Canaanite genocides. But regardless, these essays acknowledge the issue and then dismiss it far too easily. Too many times do the authors mistakenly give conclusions without an argument. Or repeat an idea with different wording as if they are listing off another point.
Paul Jeon
Oct 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I always enjoy this series as they present different perspectives on relevant and difficult questions. One often finds agreement and disagreement with all positions. The series also demonstrates how devoted and brilliant Christians can disagree--profoundly so--without being disagreeable. This isn't the same, of course, as saying there isn't a "right answer."
Rebekka
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
It's really good if you want to get some different interpretations on the violence behind the Old Testament. The last two views are really similar, but different perspectives are better than no perspectives.

If you get angry over viewpoints that show your religion in a semi bad light, then don't read it, because it should be read with an open mind.

Peace
G Walker
Not bad, but not great. Worth having. Longman and Merrill have some very helpful insights... Would have appreciated some historical theology by way of perspective too... or maybe an Eastern look... but overall not a bad contribution to the otherwise hit and miss series.
Timothy Bandi
May 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great book. The counterpoints style of the book makes it not only objective but balanced in such a way that any dogmatic or biased opinions of this topic you may have had must have been utterly destroyed.Perhaps God himself destroyed them. Ha-ha!
Pat
Oct 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: theology
Thorny issue. Is the God who calls for genocide in the OT the same God as in the NT? Discontinuity vs. Continuity. Unfortunately, the 4 viewpoints by theologians contain more -isms than the dictionary. An issue sorely in need of a popular exposition. Does anyone know of a good one?
Tyler Walsh
Aug 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Still had a lot of questions afterwards. Good info, but I felt like the question of God's character went largely unanswered.
Anika Qing
Sep 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Helpfully thought-provoking, though I disagreed with C.S. Cowles' essay vehemently.
Jeffrey Backlin
Mar 15, 2014 rated it liked it
One of the hardest objections/problems that I personally have against Christianity. This book offers four "solutions" to it.
Craig
Apr 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
I had to read this for a graduate course in the humanities. Ugh!
Jim Pulizzi
Nov 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Good 4 views book on the Canaanite Genocide problem
Zeke Vas
Oct 12, 2010 rated it liked it
This book helped me understand others position on the subject and gave me tid bits of answers but ultimately I found it wanting.
Duke
rated it liked it
May 31, 2018
Tyler Mostul
rated it really liked it
Jul 23, 2013
Justin Dewell
rated it liked it
Nov 18, 2015
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“we should not be amazed that God ordered the death of the Canaanites, but rather we should stand in amazement that he lets anyone live.” 0 likes
“Attributing the command to annihilate Canaanites to God can be partly explained by the fact that the Israelites had no concept of Satan prior to the Babylonian exile. Thus all things—life and death, sickness and health, blessing and cursing—were seen as coming directly from the hand of the Sovereign Lord (see Deut. 28; 32:39–42; Ps. 44:1–19; Isa. 13:9–16).” 0 likes
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