We have all heard about spiritual warfare, and putting on the armor of God. But who are we fighting? And what form does our conflict take? Dr. Greg Boyd, in God at War: The Bible and Spiritual Conflict, attempts to answer these questions and more.
Some in our culture, because of the call for Christians to be peacemakers, feel that a warfare mentality is un-Christian. Dr. Boyd feels that a warfare mentality is the only mindset that enables us to truly deal with the very real problem of evil (and a call to be a peacemaker assumes that war is going on). He shows that the writers of the Bible, like the cultures around them, saw existence as a cosmic conflict between good and evil, and how the Bible calls us to join that conflict. This call is to more than just exorcisms and the like. It is a call to holiness and a passion for God. All godly actions, including prayer, feeding the poor, charity, etc., can be seen as warfare, as acts which stand against the evil and chaos present in our world.
So join with Dr. Boyd in restoring a warfare mentality to the church. This book will open your eyes to the continuing activity of God in the world. It may also give you a new and greater sense of significance, as humans, through God and choosing God's way, can work with God in restoring the world to the perfection that God intended it to have.
God at War is a challenging and provocative book, challenging some of our traditional philosophical ideas about God and reality and provoking us to join this cosmic battle on God's side, the side of good. Dr. Boyd displays a keen understanding of the scriptural passages about conflict, and he quotes extensively from authors who have studied spiritual warfare. The result is a book both conservative and contemporary at the same time, well worth the effort in reading.
In this bold and compelling work, Gregory Boyd undertakes to reframe the central issues of Christian theodicy. By Boyd's estimate, theologians still draw too heavily on Augustine's response to the problem of evil, attributing pain and suffering to the mysterious "good" purposes of God. Accordingly, modern Christians are inclined not to expect evil and so are baffled but resigned when it occurs. New Testament writers, on the other hand, were inclined to expect evil and fight against it. Modern Christians attempt to intellectually understand evil, whereas New Testament writers grappled with overcoming evil. Through a close and sophisticated reading of both Old and New Testaments, Boyd argues that Satan has been in an age-long (but not eternal) battle against God, and that this conflict "is a major dimension of the ultimate canvas against which everything within the biblical narrative, from creation to the eschaton, is to be painted and therefore understood." No less edifying than it is provocative, God at War will reward the careful attention of scholars, pastors, students and educated laypersons alike.
Gregory A. Boyd (Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary) is a pastor at Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. Previously, he was a professor of theology at Bethel University, also in St. Paul. His books include and .