Disarming Scripture

Cherry-Picking Liberals, Violence-Loving Conservatives,
and Why We All Need to Learn to Read the Bible Like Jesus Did

Derek Flood

with a foreword by Brian D. McLaren

A GOD OF LOVE AND GENOCIDE? For many Christians the problem of violence in Scripture can result in a crisis of faith—especially when we see how such passages have been used throughout history to justify horrific bloodshed in God's name.

Moving beyond typical conservative and liberal approaches, which seek to either defend or whitewash over violence in the Bible, Disarming Scripture takes a surprising yet compelling approach: Learning to read the Bible like Jesus did.

Along the way the book deals with some very big issues, ranging from passages commanding genocide and infanticide in the Old Testament to passages in the New Testament that have been used to justify slavery, child abuse, and state violence. The take-away is an approach to Scripture that not only sees questioning as an acceptable part of a healthy faith, but as an absolutely essential part of it.

DEREK FLOOD is the author of Healing the Gospel (Cascade, 2012), and is a featured blogger for the Huffington Post, Sojourners, and Red Letter Christians. He holds a masters degree in systematic theology from the Graduate Theological Union.

What people are saying:

"A perceptive and honest book about the vexed question of violence in the Bible. Taking with great seriousness the dynamism of the biblical tradition and the interpretive process, the distinctive contribution of Disarming Scripture is an exploration of the way in which the biblical text itself interprets texts of violence. This is a fine contribution to our common work."

—Walter Brueggemann, Emeritus professor, Columbia Theological Seminary and author of The Prophetic Imagination

"In Disarming Scripture, Derek Flood shows us how we can confront the many difficult passages in the Bible which seem to condone or even command violence—by reading and understanding Scripture the same way that Jesus did. Like Jesus, Paul, and many of the Hebrew prophets, we should approach the violence in Scripture with a spirit of faithful questioning, as Derek calls it. I recommend this book to anyone who seeks to reconcile the violence of the Old Testament with Jesus’ commandment to love our enemies"

—Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners and New York Times bestselling author of The UnCommon Good

"Jesus is the savior of everything--including the Bible! That's what I kept thinking while reading this brilliant book. There have been a number of excellent books in recent years on how Christians should read the Bible, but Disarming Scripture is the very best. Derek has done us an immeasurable service in showing us how to read the Bible like Jesus did."

—Brian Zahnd, Pastor of Word of Life Church and author of A Farewell to Mars

"A morally responsible, dynamic reading of Scripture, where Jesus and Paul move us along a trajectory toward a non-violent God and a non-violent people of God. Flood leaves no stone unturned in presenting his case with remarkable subtlety in an easy-reading style, handling biblical violence with bracing honesty and spiritual and intellectual substance."

—Peter Enns, Professor of Biblical Studies, Eastern University and author of The Bible Tells Me So

"Disarming Scripture may well be the most thought-provoking and liberating book about the Bible that you will ever read. How do we reconcile a God of grace and compassion with the one who sanctions violence and killing? How do we deal with the large number of differing viewpoints that litter the Bible and sometimes even openly contradict one-another? Far from shying away from these and many other important questions, Derek Flood demonstrates not only how the prophets and Jesus himself often questioned Scripture--but shows us why we have a responsibility to do exactly the same."

—Steve Chalke MBE, Founder, Oasis Global and author of The Lost Message of Jesus

"This book is a breath of fresh air! Disarming Scripture is a marvelous resource for those troubled by how the Bible has been used to justify violence and to harm others. Engaging, informative, compelling, and desperately needed. Highly recommended!"

—Eric A. Seibert, Professor of Old Testament, Messiah College and author of The Violence of Scripture

"Having been Derek’s friend and a believer in his work for several years now, I expected this book to be good. But it is even better than expected. You need Derek Flood. You need his intelligence. You need his faithfulness. You need his courage. You need his message in this book. So do I."

—Brian D. McLaren, Speaker, pastor, activist, and author of We Make the Road By Walking

Metanoia Books

Book Information:

Disarming Scripture

Derek Flood
Metanoia Books, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-692-30726-7 (Paperback)
ISBN: 978-0-692-30727-4 (Ebook)
286 pages