Title: Confronting Old Testament Controversies
Author: Tremper Longman
Publishing Date: Apr 2, 2019
Length: 320 pages
About the Book:
For many people, skeptics and believers alike, the Old Testament is rife with controversial passages and events that make both belief and sharing our beliefs with others difficult. Often our solutions have tended toward the extremes–ignore problem passages and pretend they don’t matter or obsess over them and treat them as though they are the only thing that matters.
Now with clarity of purpose and fidelity to the message and spirit of Scripture as a whole, Tremper Longman confronts pressing questions of concern to modern audiences, particularly young people in the church:
– the creation/evolution debate
– God-ordained violence
– the historicity of people, places, and events
– human sexuality
Pastors, leaders in the church, and thoughtful and troubled Christians in the pews will find here a well-reasoned and faithful approach to dealing with the Old Testament passages so many find challenging or disconcerting.
I title of this book had me instantly intrigued so I was fairly excited to dig into this one. Unfortunately that excitement didn’t last much past the first few paragraphs. It became evident very early on that we did not hold the same theological or historical views. I hold to a far more literal interpretation of the Bible than the author portrayed in this book.
It angered me that he upheld evolution as factual while throwing young earth creationists (like myself) out the door for not agreeing with his view on science. First of all, young-earth creationists do not throw science out the door. Second of all, your theories in science do not provide the lens you need to look at the Bible. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. You will find that if you’re looking through the correct lens, there is actually overwhelming evidence in support of a young earth. If the author’s views were accurate, death and destruction would have existed before Adam and Eve were ever born which is clearly anti-biblical. The Bible and evolution are not compatible, and it’s heretical to teach that they are.
It also angered me to see him use the parables as a means to open up a wider genre-based interpretation of the Bible and to discredit it’s historicity. He frequently opened the door to view events figuratively instead of literally. For example, in the chapter on history he stated “The message of the book of Job is not dependent on Job being a real person or the book describing actual events” (pg 90). He then goes on to treat the book as a lesson on wisdom and suffering with the viewpoint of a parable.
There are several more examples that I could get into. I cannot bring myself to recommend this book to anyone. I cannot get behind his viewpoints and I find it dangerous to do so.
*I received a copy of this book from Baker Books. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.