God Behaving Badly: Is the God of the Old Testament Angry, Sexist and Racist?  -     By: David T. Lamb
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God Behaving Badly: Is the God of the Old Testament Angry, Sexist and Racist?

Inter-Varsity Press / 2011 / Paperback

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Product Description

God has a bad reputation. Many think of God as wrathful and angry, smiting people right and left for no apparent reason. The Old Testament in particular seems at times to portray God as capricious and malevolent, wiping out armies and nations, punishing enemies with extreme prejudice. But wait. The story is more complicated than that. Alongside troubling passages of God's punishment and judgment are pictures of God's love, forgiveness, goodness and slowness to anger. How do we make sense of the seeming contradiction? Can God be trusted or not?

In God Behaving Badly David Lamb unpacks the complexity of the Old Testament to explore the character of God. He provides historical and cultural background to shed light on problematic passages and to bring underlying themes to the fore. Without minimizing the sometimes harsh realities of the biblical record, Lamb assembles an overall portrait that gives coherence to our understanding of God in both the Old and New Testaments.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 192
Vendor: Inter-Varsity Press
Publication Date: 2011
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0830838260
ISBN-13: 9780830838264
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

God has a bad reputation. Many think of God as wrathful and angry, smiting people right and left for no apparent reason. The Old Testament in particular seems at times to portray God as capricious and malevolent, wiping out armies and nations, punishing enemies with extreme prejudice. But wait. The story is more complicated than that. Alongside troubling passages of God's punishment and judgment are pictures of God's love, forgiveness, goodness and slowness to anger. How do we make sense of the seeming contradiction? Can God be trusted or not? David Lamb unpacks the complexity of the Old Testament to explore the character of God. He provides historical and cultural background to shed light on problematic passages and to bring underlying themes to the fore. Without minimizing the sometimes harsh realities of the biblical record, Lamb assembles an overall portrait that gives coherence to our understanding of God in both the Old and New Testaments.

Author Bio

David T. Lamb (D.Phil., Oxford) is associate professor of Old Testament at Biblical Theological Seminary in Hatfield, Pennsylvania. He previously worked in campus ministry with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and has taught extensively in various crosscultural contexts. He is the author of (Oxford).

Publisher's Weekly

In this welcome analysis of what he calls the "bad reputation" of Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament, biblical scholar Lamb (Righteous Jehu and His Evil Heirs) confronts head-on scriptural passages from which readers have drawn negative conclusions about Yahweh's nature. Addressing arguments and examples that buttress atheists' "anti-God sentiment" and prompt Christians to distinguish between Yahweh and the New Testament's Jesus, Lamb wrestles with texts that portray Yahweh as arbitrary and violent. He examines their literary, biblical, and cultural contexts, and explores ways that contradictory images "can be faithfully reconciled without downplaying the tensions." Thoughtfully explicating troubling passages, such as Yahweh smiting Uzzah for touching the Ark or Lot offering his daughters to be raped, Lamb cites cross-cultural comparisons and offers analogies (for example, he equates the Ark's danger potential with plutonium, necessitating rules for handling). While emphasizing the overarching witness of the Bible that God is "slow to anger," Lamb encourages readers to probe disturbing passages with an open mind, read feminist theologians, and engage in prayerful conversation. Some analyses prove more compelling than others; nevertheless, this book will challenge, comfort, and provoke reflection. (June) Copyright 2011 Reed Business Information.

Editorial Reviews

"Let's face it: God gets a lot of bad press--it can be a little embarrassing. So even the title of Dave Lamb's book gave me hope. Dave gives honest voice and deliberate attention to some of the most troublesome questions humans have ever asked, and brings not only answers but develops our view of God too. The most thrilling thing about this book is that I can recommend it to both the faithful and the skittish, to friends and students and people who think about God and aren't sure what to think."
"In many of our African American churches we frequently recite the refrain, 'God is good all the time and all the time God is good.' God Behaving Badly is an engaging, thoughtful, witty and helpful book that can give all of us Christian readers a bit more confidence when reciting that refrain. David Lamb gives sound guidance for understanding a difficult topic. Lamb offers an apologetic for not only believing in God but also believing that God is good--even as he is portrayed in the Old Testament. Professor Lamb's scholarship is sound and his sense of humor had me laughing out loud. Not many theology books can do that! I'm going to use this book in class and enthusiastically recommend it to my congregants!"
"Dave Lamb's book is a popular apologetic that answers the question, 'Is the God of the Old Testament angry, sexist and racist?' He prefaces his answers with a solid biblical interpretation guideline. The author emphatically states, 'When we approach Scripture, we must take the context seriously.' Dave really does that! The word context appears 59 times, scattered throughout the book. Dave's solid contextual analysis of passages--which might appear to say, Yes, Yes, Yes in answer to the question about God's anger, his view of gender and his view of races--was a highlight for me. Dave's unraveling of many problematic texts in terms of contextual analysis is superb. In addition, his many, many masterful word studies shed light on his contextual analyses. Dave writes with winsome humor. He loves the Old Testament, and you can tell that as you read the popularly written, academically sound, easy-to-read flow of material in each chapter. After reading Dave's book, I am sure you will appreciate that Dave views the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament as one."
"It has been said that if you love something long enough it reveals itself to you--that love is a hermeneutical key to unlocking the mysteries of life itself. This is especially true for the Bible and the God of the Bible, for God is love and can only be truly known in love. David Lamb has loved his way into understanding Yahweh more fully; subsequently he can lovingly help us to 'see' and experience God in new and revealing ways."
"This is a book which not only should be read by those into apologetics, but read by all Christians in our churches. It is striking right at the heart of one of the most pressing questions being asked today and we cannot ignore this. God Behaving Badly is an extremely helpful book in wrestling with these very difficult questions in a winsome, biblical and readable way. If you are at all missionally living in our culture and aware of the questions being asked and challenges to Christianity, then you really cannot help but read this book!"
"David Lamb faces up to all the questions that most often trouble people about the God of the Old Testament. Written in a winsome and engaging way, this book is going to help many who wonder if the God of the Old Testament is indeed the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
"I will require my college students to read this book. I became sensitive to the 'God questions' in the Bible because students asked me questions that came straight from troubled hearts. This book is written for students and speaks with wit and wisdom to the questions they have."

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  1. milwaukee
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    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Outstanding
    January 3, 2014
    Jack
    milwaukee
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
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    Meets Expectations: 5
    Great job of explaining the culture of the time and digging into the text to find what it really says about the nature of God.
  2. Lake Isabella, Ca
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    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A must read.
    January 5, 2012
    Pastor Mike
    Lake Isabella, Ca
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    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
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    Meets Expectations: 5
    This book is part of my research for my sermon series through the OT and it is extremely helpful. Professor Lamb has done a great job of addressing many problem texts with honesty and clarity. i would recommend this to anyone who wants to understand the character of God better.
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