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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for Confronting Old Testament Controversies: Pressing Questions about Evolution, Sexuality, History, and Violence

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bob

    Summary: With a commitment both to the authority of the Bible, and pastoral concern for readers, the author addresses controversial questions about origins, historicity, violence, and sexuality. This work took a certain amount of courage to write. I suspect there will be a number who read it who applaud what the author says in some places and vehemently disagree elsewhere. Throughout, the author seeks to offer a reading of scripture, particularly the Old Testament that engages the text as a whole Summary: With a commitment both to the authority of the Bible, and pastoral concern for readers, the author addresses controversial questions about origins, historicity, violence, and sexuality. This work took a certain amount of courage to write. I suspect there will be a number who read it who applaud what the author says in some places and vehemently disagree elsewhere. Throughout, the author seeks to offer a reading of scripture, particularly the Old Testament that engages the text as a whole and seeks to listen to its overarching  message, that engages scholarship, including scholars, some friends, with whom the author disagrees, and seeks to exercise pastoral care, even for readers who may disagree. The four issues the author addresses are the controversy of how we read the creation accounts of scripture in light of evolution; whether we can trust that the exodus and Canaanite conquest are historical events, despite claims that they did not happen; how we should think about the claims of divine violence in scripture; and what the Bible teaches about same-sex relations and the pastoral implications of this teaching. My brief summaries of the author's responses to these controversy should not substitute for a careful reading of his responses, especially if one thinks one differs with the author. On evolution, he both argues against "wooden reading that would lead us to think that it was the intention of the biblical author to provide us with a straightforward description of the how of creation" and equally against those who would deny "a historic fall and concept of original sin." He contends that the Bible is interested in the who and why of creation while science addresses the how. On history, he affirms the historical reality as well as the theological import of the exodus and conquest narratives. On violence, he believes that attempts to claim God didn't hurt anyone or that seek to minimize the harm, do not do justice to the biblical text, which, consistent with the New Testament portrays a God who fights against, and finally defeats evil. He actually suggests that the violence of the Old Testament, first against the nations, and later against Israel herself, stand as forewarnings of God's final judgment. On sexuality, he affirms the historic view of the church affirming sexual intimacy within the boundaries of a marriage between a man and a woman. He thoughtfully deals with key texts and alternative readings. While he holds to what is now called a "traditional" view, he contends he speaks only to the church here and that there are implications of the Bible's teaching about sexuality that challenge every believer. He opposes crusades against same-sex marriage or the withholding of business services to LGBT persons offered to others. What I most admired are the gracious ways in which Longman engages and charitably differs with scholars, including one who was a former student, and another who is a close friend. I affirm the ways he shows pastoral concern without compromising theological integrity, modeling a belief that love and truth, story and principle need not be at odds. Finally, I appreciate the thoughtful, nuanced yet concise, responses to four controversies, each of which have been the subjects of multiple complete books. What each have in common are that they represent shifts from historic understanding, arising both from scholarship and other cultural forces. Longman offers a thoughtful restatement of the biblical teaching that weighs the counter arguments and finds them inadequate to justify abandoning historic understandings shared by most of the church through most of its history. The work serves as a good starting place for someone who wants to read a well-stated "conservative" view (although some conservatives and some evolutionists alike would be unhappy with Longman on evolution) on the four controversies addressed by this book. The documentation points people to the full range of scholarship on each of the questions. The discussion questions at the end of each chapter may help both with personal reflection and group discussion. Most of all, the work models a spirit in desperate need of recovery, that can both speak unequivocally about one's convictions yet shows charities toward one's opponents. ________________________________ Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alex Strohschein

    My young adults group faced a hard question this socially-distanced summer - do we do a Bible study on Philippians or on Deuteronomy? There were some passionate proponents for Philippians ("It's easier for seekers and new believers to understand!," "The laws in Deuteronomy are esoteric and not all that applicable to us today") but in the end, Deuteronomy prevailed. The pitting of the Old and New Testament is an all-too common occurrence among evangelicals, with the latter usually winning out. Th My young adults group faced a hard question this socially-distanced summer - do we do a Bible study on Philippians or on Deuteronomy? There were some passionate proponents for Philippians ("It's easier for seekers and new believers to understand!," "The laws in Deuteronomy are esoteric and not all that applicable to us today") but in the end, Deuteronomy prevailed. The pitting of the Old and New Testament is an all-too common occurrence among evangelicals, with the latter usually winning out. The NT has Jesus and, while the epistles were written to specific contexts, it can be easier to draw out their application for modern times, especially this side of the Resurrection. The OT is challenging and presents modern believers with all sorts of dilemmas and quandaries, yet this was the Scripture that Jesus knew and believed. Thankfully, Tremper Longman III has helped offer some answers to four major controversies that readers find in the OT - evolution, history, violence, and sexuality. Longman stresses that he is writing for a believing audience - his aim is not to offer answers to Richard Dawkins but to the man in the pew who doesn't know what to do about the Canaanite conquest and to the young woman in a Bible study who is tempted by liberal revisionism of Scripture's teaching on homosexuality. Longman generally tries to chart a "middle way" through these pressing controversies. Unlike fundamentalists, he asserts that there are good grounds for believing in evolution. Yet for those who insist that if evolution is true, then Christianity is false, he answers by noting that the Bible in general, and Genesis in particular, is more concerned about human beings' relationship with God, creature to Creator, rather than on the exact process of human origins. Longman holds to the traditional Christian ethic on homosexuality but admonishes the Church for not loving LGBTQ people (both those inside and outside the Church) well and urges believers, particularly traditional believers, to adopt a more welcoming and respectful stance towards the LGBTQ community (Longman even expresses his disagreement with bakers who refuse to make cakes for gay weddings). It's unlikely that readers will agree 100% with Longman's arguments and conclusions and some may not find satisfactory answers, but I believe the author writes from a moderate-conservative evangelical posture and he is gracious and complimentary to those he critiques, both scholars more "liberal" (e.g. Peter Enns) and those who hold alternative biblical interpretations even within the same evangelical camp (e.g. Paul Copan, John Walton). One valuable new insight I gleaned from this is the concept of divine violence in the OT being an "eschatological intrusion" (Longman cites the previous work of this concept's progenitor, Meredith Kline). Longman writes for a lay audience (though his survey of recent scholarship, while helpful in "setting the scene," can be overwhelming for those not familiar with these debates going on in academia) and includes pieces of his own journey through the questions, including admitting when he still does not have this or that question entirely figured out. Each chapter ends with discussion questions, making this an ideal Bible study resource.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    Longman tackles four controversial issues in the Old Testament, evolution (creation), history (exodus), violence (God's), and sexuality (homosexuality). He is clear that this is a book written for Christians, people who believe the Bible is the Word of God. His focus is on how people within the evangelical church have reinterpreted texts to be more culturally acceptable. These are not issues of salvation, he says, but ones open to discussion. He says his book is for a broad audience. I found his Longman tackles four controversial issues in the Old Testament, evolution (creation), history (exodus), violence (God's), and sexuality (homosexuality). He is clear that this is a book written for Christians, people who believe the Bible is the Word of God. His focus is on how people within the evangelical church have reinterpreted texts to be more culturally acceptable. These are not issues of salvation, he says, but ones open to discussion. He says his book is for a broad audience. I found his review of some of the literature tedious. Many of the authors I did not know, had not heard of their arguments, and was not really interested in having their views refuted. I felt that part of the book was aimed at scholars, rather than laypeople. With respect to creation and evolution, Longman firmly believes evolution is a proven science and interprets the creation account in such a way that allows for it. He reminds readers of genre and uses that concept heavily. I was surprised by his understanding of “image of God” and how it applies to humans. He proposes humans in a broad sense and that not all humans are image bearers of God. (1178/5874) He can even explain Paul's seemingly reference to a real Adam individual in Romans 5. Here's his understanding of image of God: “Here it is important to realize that the image of God is not a quality or an attribute of human beings but rather a status that comes with responsibilities.” (1178/5874) He consults extra-biblical uses of image to conclude, “At a certain point, then, when humans became capable of moral choice and were morally innocent, God conferred on them the status of being his representatives.” (1190/5874) Along with it came the responsibility of caring for the earth, etc. He also presents a few other possibilities. He is firm in saying it is important to understand “what the Bible does teach is not undermined nor contradicted by the findings of modern biology.” (1209/5874) I was surprised at his comments about original sin but upon thought, they did make sense to me. I appreciated his argument that the exodus has to be an historical event, considering other truths in the Bible hanging on that event. I liked his comments on divine violence. He confesses that he has a sense of unease when he thinks of children being killed in the conquest but notes that his unease does not make him reject the consistent account of God's actions. (3453/5874) I appreciate that Longman says we cannot make God into an image we like (only loving) but must rather recognize the mystery of God's ways. (3463/5874) I found his discussion on sexuality in the Bible compassionate yet holding true to what Christians have held for centuries. The issues Longman covered are controversial. There has been much discussion and many books written about them. I found many of his ideas new and worthy of consideration. I must admit that I skimmed over some of his critiques of other authors, especially those unfamiliar to me. Longman has included discussion questions on the topics so this book could be used in a group setting. I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sophie T

    As someone who has been wanting to read more non fiction as well as more christian books, I was quite glad when I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway. First, let me talk about how the book is written. For the most part, I enjoyed it. Though at times it was a bit strenuous. The average everyday reader might not like it as much compared to a more scholarly reader. There are also numerous mentions of other scholars and authors, which can be a little confusing if you know nothing about thes As someone who has been wanting to read more non fiction as well as more christian books, I was quite glad when I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway. First, let me talk about how the book is written. For the most part, I enjoyed it. Though at times it was a bit strenuous. The average everyday reader might not like it as much compared to a more scholarly reader. There are also numerous mentions of other scholars and authors, which can be a little confusing if you know nothing about these people. However, I will say the author did a good job, (for the most part), of explaining these other people's opinions on the subject at hand. Now what did I think of the topics? I agreed for the most part with the author on 3 out of the 4 subjects. Before I get into the individual topics, I want to take a moment to mention a few points that I appreciated. Towards the beginning of the book Mr. Longman explains that he wrote this book for Christians, and that anyone else who reads this book will have a much high chance of not agreeing with him or liking the book at all. Another point made in the first chapter is that the Bible is confusing, and because of how different people interrupt things there are going to be disagreements. But the core message of the Bible, as in Jesus coming to save us from our sins and give us the hope of eternal life, is made plain to see so that way everyone will be able to understand. We may not all agree on the smaller issues that are discussed in the Bible, and that is okay! What's important is that even though we have our own opinions, we need to keep an open mind and explore the opinions of others. If we still don't agree, that's okay to, just don't be rude about it. Now let's get into the first of our four main subjects: the creation/evolution debate. Mr. Longman identifies as an evolutionary creationist, and while I agree with a few of his points, such as that the Bible and science can go hand in hand, most of his opinions I don't agree with at all. He states that Genesis is a historical book, written in figurative language, that we can't take literally. I personally, believe that Genesis can be taken literally. But that's me. In the next chapter he discuss History, and if such events like the Exodus and conquest actually happened. I believe that the Bible is a historical book, and for the most part is written literally, not figuratively. On this subject Mr. Longman and I do agree. He does have the opinion that these two major events did happen, and believes that there is enough evidence for it. In chapter 3 the topic of divine violence is broached. This is one of the more heavy subjects, after all how can a loving God also be a violent God? Mr. Longman explains others views and how they have claimed that the God of the Old Testament and the New Testament don't line up. They've tried to change or simply ignore biblical evidence to the contrary. This is another subject, were Mr. Longman and I agree. God is love. God is just. God is righteous. And because of these things, as a last resort effort when humanity just can't obey, He will allow and enact violence. The final chapter of the book covers the subject of sexuality. He tackles an extremely weighted topic with as much care and love as possible. I mostly agree with Mr. Longman here. I loved his statement that the church needs to stop trying to impart their views on those of which who are not Christian. One thing that he touched upon and that I wish he would have spoke more about, however, was the fact that we are all sinners and no sin is bigger or worse then another. We all need Christ's forgiveness, and without it we are destined to hell. Still, even after we have become Christian, we don't suddenly become perfect. We should have a yearning in our hearts to always be the best and to what God would want. But we still constantly mess up, follow our own desires, and sin. Because we have accepted Christ's forgiveness though and believe in God, we are going to Heaven, nothing can take that way. Basically, I want it to be clear that if someone says that anyone who isn't straight can't be a Christian...they are completely and utterly wrong. I will personally fight anyone who disagrees. Mr. Longman says this in a way, I just don't think it is clear enough. If you don't agree with anything I've said here, that's alright. We all have the right to our own opinion. If you are interested in reading this book, here's the bottom line. I, as a Christian enjoyed it, even though I didn't agree with all of it. If you are an open minded Christian I have a feeling you will enjoy it. If you are anything else, you quite possibly won't and this may not be the book for you. To close, I would like to quote this from page 119, "Our faith is not proved by reason, but it is not contrary to reason either." Basically you can't prove someone's faith by using reason, but you can't disprove it either. In the end we all get to choose what we believe. Whether it be the religion itself, or the many different opinions in each religion. It's our beliefs, and at the end of the day, no one can tell us if what we believe is true or not, right or wrong. That's up for us to decide.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Tomlin

    For anyone curious about what the Bible has to say, or not say, about the issues of creation/evolution, the historical accuracy of the exodus and conquest events, divine violence, and homosexual behavior, Longman provides a thoughtful, gracious, humble, and at times self-effacing, exploration of these topics in conversation with other noted biblical scholars. This is an excellent read and a particularly good resource for lay Christians in helping to better understand these issues.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Written for the Christian Church as a whole and not the current culture, as Longman makes clear in the introduction, Confronting Old Testament Controversies is a well written and thoughtful study of four themes which both the Church and contemporary society have been and continue to wrestle with: the creation account, the issue of sexuality, and historicity of Old Testament events, and the violent accounts of warfare that are contained within the Old Testament. This reviewer was both personally a Written for the Christian Church as a whole and not the current culture, as Longman makes clear in the introduction, Confronting Old Testament Controversies is a well written and thoughtful study of four themes which both the Church and contemporary society have been and continue to wrestle with: the creation account, the issue of sexuality, and historicity of Old Testament events, and the violent accounts of warfare that are contained within the Old Testament. This reviewer was both personally and pastorally challenged by this book. But I found a better footing, if you will, to be able to discuss these issues with a wider audience in a manner that I think will be respectful, Biblical, and pastoral. I agreed with the author on some points and disagreed with him on other points. But the way, Longman addresses these biblical/theological controversies which have major implications in not just public policies and ethics, but in also our own private understandings of who we are created to be, is fair, kind, and open. A tone that is a wise one to take. If you are looking for a book that will help you bolster your arguments and views, you won’t find it here. But if you are looking for a book that will help you better articulate your interpretation of the many Old Testament passages discussed in this book, then get it. An excellent book for theological study at all levels as well as for use in discussing the widely divergent interpretations on these issues, Confronting Old Testament Controversies is an excellent book to use. Report this ad I gave this book a five-star rating on Goodreads. I received a copy of the book from the publisher, Baker Books as part of their bloggers program, in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Carlberg

    Its strange, I wouldn't normally give a book 5 stars that I didn't agree with everything in it...but Longman is so gracious, thoughtful, and insightful in how he approaches subjects you just have to like him. He tells you up front that this is the first book he has written since he retired, and it shows itself in the easy manner in which he addresses those he agrees and disagrees with throughout the book. He will discuss issues such as evolution and the creation narrative, violence in the Old Te Its strange, I wouldn't normally give a book 5 stars that I didn't agree with everything in it...but Longman is so gracious, thoughtful, and insightful in how he approaches subjects you just have to like him. He tells you up front that this is the first book he has written since he retired, and it shows itself in the easy manner in which he addresses those he agrees and disagrees with throughout the book. He will discuss issues such as evolution and the creation narrative, violence in the Old Testament and New, sexuality and personal choice, as well as historical issues in the Exodus account. Whether you agree or disagree with his ultimate conclusions, you will appreciate that this is the way Christians should have contentious debate with love and care for one another.

  8. 4 out of 5

    J.K. Turner

    My Rating – Must Read Level – Moderate difficulty (good knowledge of OT and history, but written for popular audience), medium length (about 300 pages) Summary The content of the book is straight from the title, reviewing controversial passages from the Old Testament. Longman is an Old Testament scholar, so there is much of his own research and writing on his view, but he interacts with at least 2-3 opposing views/books on each subject. The lay out of the book is the introduction (un-paginated, but My Rating – Must Read Level – Moderate difficulty (good knowledge of OT and history, but written for popular audience), medium length (about 300 pages) Summary The content of the book is straight from the title, reviewing controversial passages from the Old Testament. Longman is an Old Testament scholar, so there is much of his own research and writing on his view, but he interacts with at least 2-3 opposing views/books on each subject. The lay out of the book is the introduction (un-paginated, but y’all need to read it) then the four controversies (Creation & Evolution, History, Divine Violence, Sexuality) and then an epilogue (he titles ‘Final Word’). Each chapter is broken into three or four subsections with a conclusion at the end and an excurses or two along the way. The other chapters are probably clear, but ‘History’ refers to the Exodus and the Conquests. My Thoughts The only real critique I have is probably an issue for the publisher, the subtitle list Evolution, Sexuality, History, and Violence which neither matches the order of the chapters, nor is it in alphabetical order. Not sure why they chose they order they did, and maybe it doesn’t bother anyone else, but here we are. I think books like this will only become more important as we move further in our post-Christian world (at least in the West). The subtitle of Enns’ The Bible Tells Me So… really explains our situation: ‘Why defending Scripture has left us unable to read it’. This was the way I learned about the Bible in high school, and I hear much of this way of thinking form people today. This is especially true for the first two chapters (Creation & Evolution, and History). People want to rush to defend it in a modern way against modern critiques and ignore what the point was (and still is) from a theological perspective when it was written thousands of years ago. I should note if you like Enns, Longman was his professor at one point and interacts with his book in this book. I believe strongly that everyone should have this book for the first two chapters alone. I fear one reason we argue the way we do about Genesis and early books is it is just simpler. We don’t want to reason, or read, or understand something beyond the basics, most ‘literal’ understanding. This book would do well to challenge both people ‘for & against’ some of the readings of the early books of the Bible. The Divine Violence section was maybe the weakest, but I think it is still an important one. Some of the most basic attacks from New Atheists are based on things like the so called genocide and cosmic child abuse. While this isn’t as strong as other sections, it is well worth interacting with, if for no other reason than learning more of the other side. Similarly, there probably isn’t much new for most people about Sexuality. The Bible is pretty clear, and most arguments against this perspective come down to personal preference (E.g. I think it is fine if they love each other, who cares?, etc.) However, this section does give some good verses as well as the whole picture throughout the Bible. Maybe more interesting than that, it also puts the spotlight back on us and challenge the fact of polygamy in the Bible, which was fairly challenging. As I mentioned above, this really is a must read for anyone who wants to take the Bible seriously. If we care about the Bible and want to understand it (and views against it), we need to interact more with controversies and other hard aspects that challenge our understanding or reading of the Bible. More reviews at MondayMorningTheologian.com *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bob Hayton

    Since at least the time of the Enlightenment, it has been fashionable to subject the Bible to criticism and judge it outdated and inferior to the wisdom of the age. In the last several decades, critics have used an increasingly shrill voice that was rare in previous generations. The Bible is denounced as not only inferior but evil. It runs contrary to the sexual ethics of the day. Science has freed us from a savage need for a deity. “God is not good,” the new atheists declare. And within evangel Since at least the time of the Enlightenment, it has been fashionable to subject the Bible to criticism and judge it outdated and inferior to the wisdom of the age. In the last several decades, critics have used an increasingly shrill voice that was rare in previous generations. The Bible is denounced as not only inferior but evil. It runs contrary to the sexual ethics of the day. Science has freed us from a savage need for a deity. “God is not good,” the new atheists declare. And within evangelicalism, the Church is giving ground. Evangelicals are for the first time openly siding with the higher critical views espoused by liberal theologians on such matters as denying the historicity of the Exodus, seeing Genesis 1-11 as myth, and disagreeing with the violence condoned by the Old Testament God (who is claimed to be inferior than the New Testament presentation of Jesus). Some evangelical leaders are even pressing for a reinterpretation of Scripture when it comes to homosexuality. It is against this backdrop that Dr. Tremper Longman III offers his mature reflections in "Confronting Old Testament Controversies: Pressing Questions about Evolution, Sexuality, History, and Violence" published by Baker Books (2019). In this important book, Longman helps the reader engage with each controversy as he traces out what the Bible says and weighs that against what both those inside and outside evangelicalism are saying. He deals with each question from a confessional standpoint and yet resists an approach that demonizes “opponents” or sees everything as a simple black-and-white matter. He is not afraid to ruffle feathers and take on the errant views of others (even his friends), but he prizes a charitable and irenic discussion that respects those who conclude differently. Personally, Longman has experienced loss of academic positions over his views (as he recounts in chapter 1) and you can tell from reading this that he has thought long and hard over these very challenging questions facing the Church today. I will be honest, going into this book I wasn’t sure exactly where Longman was going to conclude. I agreed with him that these are the four most pressing questions surrounding the Old Testament today, yet I knew he was friends with Peter Enns who had been dismissed from Westminster Theological Seminary over his questionable views. I had also read Enns’ eye-brow raising "The Evolution of Adam" and was concerned with his denial of the historicity of the Exodus and dangerous views about how to understand Adam and Eve and the Fall. So when I picked up Longman, I had some reservations. When I first picked up this book I thought, “The questions are the right questions: I am hoping Longman will give me some solid answers.” I can now say that Longman literally blew me away. I appreciated his candor and forth-right treatment of each issue. Having read a lot on the creation/evolution question, and some on the other topics, I greatly benefited from Longman’s approach of unpacking what other evangelical authors are saying and interacting with them. He distanced himself from Enns on both the Fall and the historicity of the Exodus. He discussed John Walton’s views on divine violence (another friend of Longman’s whom I’ve read extensively with both appreciation and some consternation). Walton’s book "The Lost World of the Canaanite Conquest" presents some novel approaches to viewing violence in the Old Testament, and Longman interacted gracefully and helpfully with that approach (ultimately rejecting it). Longman’s conclusions in some respects are tentative and there are some areas where I may not completely agree with him (or wish he was perhaps more forceful), but the breadth of scope and the path that is taken in handling each issue is unmatched. I am certain his book will be a benefit to those who are being confronted with these questions. He will help you in your own grappling with these issues. On the evolution question, Longman sides with the BioLogos position on evolution that the Bible is not directly addressing that subject, and that believers can affirm this as a mechanism used by God in creation. After discussing Genesis 1-2 and other creation accounts (Psalm 74, Proverbs 8:22-31, and Job 38:8-11) he concludes: "[W]e have… seen that the most natural reading recognizes the use of figurative language and the interaction with ancient Near Eastern creation accounts. There is no reason we should expect the Bible to provide us with a factual report of the process of creation, and it is a grave mistake to treat the opening chapters of the Bible as such a report." (p. 48) He goes on to raise a concern over those “in the Christian community who suggest that the theory of evolution is in crisis”. They are “misleading their audiences” (p. 58). He continues: "To try to deny evolution because one is trying to defend the Bible is unnecessary because the Bible is not at odds with evolution. To do so in light of the overwhelming evidence in favor of evolution is putting an unnecessary obstacle to faith." (p. 59) The natural questions that evangelicals have concerning original sin, the image of God and the historicity of Adam are carefully addressed and he takes pains to clarify his position: "Interpretations that assert that human beings created in the image of God were never morally innocent, or state that the sinfulness of human beings is an inherent trait of humanity rather than the result of human rebellion against God (thus denying a historical fall), do not take the biblical account seriously, denying an essential theological teaching of the Bible." (p. 64-65 – he sites Enns’ Evolution of Adam as one example of such interpretations). His discussion on this question is the clearest I’ve read, and yet I still have reservations and questions. He points out the absence of the concept of “original sin” (as an inheriting of a sin nature) in the Old Testament (p. 66) and ultimately rejects the Augustinian “‘inheritance’ model (that we inherit sin from Adam like a genetic disease)” noting that “there are other ways to account for our relationship to Adam’s first sin” (p. 71, 72). He maintains that the Fall is a historical reality (p. 69), however, and affirms that “Adam and Eve’s… sin so disrupted the cosmic and social order that it is not possible for those who come after them… not to sin” (p. 72). On the evolution question, Longman agrees with the evangelicals who are abandoning the once widely-held view of young-earth creationism (I should point out, however, that he looks to B.B. Warfield and other early evangelicals as supporting his own view). On the next three topics, though, Longman speaks for conservatism and resists a call to abandon the historic evangelical position. He holds to the essential historicity of the Bible’s narrative accounts (such as the Exodus), he upholds the Old Testament’s claim that God uses violence in His dealings with humanity, and he defends the universal witness of Christianity that considers homosexual acts as a perversion of God’s good creation design. On each of the issues above, Longman interacts with real evangelical authors and their actual positions on these matters. He appreciates the motivations (in some cases) behind said positions, but unpacks the Scriptural witness that compels him to stay where he is. His discussion of divine violence as an important theme in both the Old and New Testaments is helpful and yet he ultimately has no satisfying answer but bows to God’s sovereignty. His thoughts on historicity are encouraging, and his charity with respect to the homosexual problem is exemplary. He does think change is needed in how we think of and interact with homosexuals, but ultimately the Bible forbids homosexual practice. This book is not the be-all-end-all volume with regard to these matters. Nor is it presented as the “final answer” to all your questions. Instead it stands as a model of charitable Christian dialogue on important matters — and it represents an effective and helpful answer to those who take such controversial points as opportunities to abandon Christianity altogether. I cannot recommend the book highly enough. These are the questions worth asking, and better answers will be hard to find. Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a positive review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Karl Dumas

    When I started Seminary about 20 years ago, one of the first courses I took was Old Testament Survey. Other than the Bible, our basic text was an INTRO to OT that had Tremper Longman III’s name on the cover. I’ve read some other things by Longman, and been impressed, so it was a no-brainer for me to request this book when it became available through the bloggers’ program. We have issues. As communities, as nations, and on a global level we tend to live on the level of disagreement which can quic When I started Seminary about 20 years ago, one of the first courses I took was Old Testament Survey. Other than the Bible, our basic text was an INTRO to OT that had Tremper Longman III’s name on the cover. I’ve read some other things by Longman, and been impressed, so it was a no-brainer for me to request this book when it became available through the bloggers’ program. We have issues. As communities, as nations, and on a global level we tend to live on the level of disagreement which can quickly deteriorate into something else. Longman, in his latest book, Confronting Old Testament Controversies: Pressing Questions about EVOLUTION, SEXUALITY, HISTORY and VIOLENCE (Baker Books, 2019) teaches us, among so many other things, that we can disagree and remain friend. It is refreshing to note the level of civility with which he presents his arguments (maybe this book should be require reading for our American Congress) Longman is a scholar, and his knowledge shines through again and again. The Old Testament is hard reading for so many of us, and many people would prefer to relegate it to a pile of books that they think “used to be relevant, but since the time of Christ, is ‘out-dated’”. Nothing could be further from the truth. “Science’ has theories about evolution; historians argue facts, dates and events; LGBT, women’s rights, and other groups clash with God's standards for sexuality (and sexual behavior with its often unintended consequences); and we wonder how a loving God could allow, or perhaps cause, such horrific events as the plagues, wars, and genocide that are part of the Old Testament Narrative. If we disregard the Old Testament, we lose an important part of our understanding of the New Testament. The Bible—both Old and New Testaments—is an account of God and His mission to reconcile people to himself. In Longman’s view, it is designed to point us to the One who saves, to point us to the creator of all, and call us into relationship with Him. And this book is a forum to show how the Bible does exactly that. One of the most positive things about this book is that we are not asked to blindly accept the author’s word for it. He cites others who agree with him, but also names and addresses the opposing viewpoints of the ‘other side of the aisle’. He does so without acrimony, just plainly stating, without embellishment, why he thinks those arguments are wrong. In several instances, he even points out where parts of the argument are right. But I also have an issue with a part of his style of writing. I lost track of the number of times he mentions an issue, and then without addressing it, says that he will have more to say on the matter later on. I didn’t keep a list to see if all those issues were indeed addressed, but for me it was confusing, and sometimes I had to go back one or more paragraphs, or pages, to refresh my memory on what he was talking about. This book is not an easy read, but it is well worth the read, especially if you are struggling with one or more of the topics that Longman addresses (and who doesn’t struggle when what we’re taught in our family, in school, or from friends or the media differs from what the Bible teaches?) I received a copy of this book as part of the publisher’s bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chris Wermeskerch

    My review of “Confronting Old Testament Controversies” by Tremeper Longman III. Goals of the Book: It’s no secret that the Christian Church struggles to handle the Old Testament in its worship, day to day life, or liturgy. Brent Strawn has written an engaging and important book called “The Old Testament is Dying”, a fascinating look at the decline of the Old Testament in Christian circles. In light of this claim, biblical scholar Tremper Longman III writes “Confronting Old Testament Controversies” My review of “Confronting Old Testament Controversies” by Tremeper Longman III. Goals of the Book: It’s no secret that the Christian Church struggles to handle the Old Testament in its worship, day to day life, or liturgy. Brent Strawn has written an engaging and important book called “The Old Testament is Dying”, a fascinating look at the decline of the Old Testament in Christian circles. In light of this claim, biblical scholar Tremper Longman III writes “Confronting Old Testament Controversies” with an eye toward helping Christians re-examine their view of the Old Testament and reclaim it as part of their life and worship. One of the biggest hang-ups for Christians today are some controveries that swirl around either the text of the Old Testament itself, or over some of the teachings related to the text. The primary topics he deals with are creation and evolution; historicity; divine violence; and sexuality. What does this book have to offer the Church? In part, it offers the Church part of her Bible back. A lot of Christians avoid the Old Testament for basic reasons: they can’t find Jesus in the text, it’s hard to follow, or its too foreign. There are definitely Christians who shy away from the text because of bigger controversies. I know, with my Old Testament emphasis in my Master’s program, we talked about the problem of divine violence and how it related to Jesus all the time. It came up in, oh, honestly, about six classes. How I would have liked to have this information available when we were having the discussions! That being said, I think this book is very helpful as Dr. Longman is not afraid to tackle these subjects head on, despite how unpopular they are. Lay people and pastors alike will be challenged by his points of view, but they will be challenged more to think through these topics thoughtfully and slowly. You don’t have to agree with his points to learn a lot from this work. How effectively does it meet those goals? This book is the first that Dr. Longman has written since retiring. This means that he has decades of teaching and academic experience behind him. This shows in the book, as decades of research, of thinking through the topic, and of careful academic vigor show in the text. Thankfully, the text rarely becomes too technical to follow (and if it is technical, you don’t need an advanced theology degree to follow it, either), allowing it to reach a wider audience. So, if you’re afraid to tackle the OT because of difficult questions, this is the book for you. Even if the answers aren’t satisfactory, the work done to arrive at them is and the book is helpful in framing questions better than you might on your own. You can get info at Baker’s website or order it on Amazon now!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jason Henry

    Excellent work, scholarly, Biblical, accessible. Evolution: I found Longman's approach to understanding the creation stories of the Bible compelling and challenging. He charts a middle course of holding to the truth of Scripture without rejecting the commonly-held views of the scientific community that will be refreshing to people tired of the creation-evolution wars. His main point here is that Science is concerned with the "how" of creation while the Bible is primarily concerned with the "why" Excellent work, scholarly, Biblical, accessible. Evolution: I found Longman's approach to understanding the creation stories of the Bible compelling and challenging. He charts a middle course of holding to the truth of Scripture without rejecting the commonly-held views of the scientific community that will be refreshing to people tired of the creation-evolution wars. His main point here is that Science is concerned with the "how" of creation while the Bible is primarily concerned with the "why" and "who." Sexuality: Here, Longman is firm but kind in his defense of the traditional Christian view of human sexuality. He calmly refutes linguistic and other arguments, and also rebukes homophobic attitudes and practices within the Church. I felt this was the strongest section or the book and would recommend it to any Christian struggling to understand whether the Bible is really against same-sex relationships, and how such a stance could possibly be loving rather than hateful. History: His philosophy here is similar to the section on evolution: believing in the truth of Scripture requires us to affirm that certain events like the Fall, the Exodus, and the Conquest really happened, though again, the Bible is primarily concerned with the "why" and "who," so there is room for disagreement and interpretation on some of the specific "how" details of these events. Violence: This section was the least satisfying in my view, but I still agree with the author's main points. God (Jesus included) does indeed act violently against humans at different points in the Old Testament (also in Revelation), in a way that Jesus does not in the Gospels. Additionally, the armies of Israel participated in this physical, divine violence against evil in a way that the Church never should. This is not because God has changed or because the Old Testament is less accurate than the New in depicting God's character, but because God's judgment against evil takes different forms during different periods of history. I would recommend this book to anyone struggling with any of the four issues mentioned above and especially to anyone interested in apologetics.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joel Jackson

    In "Confronting Old Testament Controversies" Tremper Longman III uses his usual sound scholarship and insightful meditations as he wrestles alongside the reader, discussing and discovering the truth behind the Old Testament's presentation of Evolution, Sexuality, History, and Violence. As Longman approaches each of these topics, he does so with sensitivity, considering perspectives that are divergent from his own, but always arriving at a place that is consistent with the witness of Scripture. T In "Confronting Old Testament Controversies" Tremper Longman III uses his usual sound scholarship and insightful meditations as he wrestles alongside the reader, discussing and discovering the truth behind the Old Testament's presentation of Evolution, Sexuality, History, and Violence. As Longman approaches each of these topics, he does so with sensitivity, considering perspectives that are divergent from his own, but always arriving at a place that is consistent with the witness of Scripture. The section on Evolution/Creation allows the reader to discover the Ancient Near Eastern context in which the creation narratives were written. Presenting the theological narrative in light of the world in which it was written allows for deeper discovery of the purpose behind the creation narratives - that of glorifying God, declaring God as Creator. The section on history looks at archeological discoveries that seem to contradict Biblical testimony and intelligently provides argument for the historical reliability of Scripture. Longman again offers the reader insight into the point of the historical narratives - to declare God's grand plan and love for all peoples. As Longman explores violence (God as the warrior and God as wrathful) we discover that God truly presents as a warrior and this is consistent throughout the Old and New Testaments. This helps the reader to discover God's sovereignty, holiness, and desire to bring deliverance. Finally, in the most controversial section of the book, Longman discusses the current debate raging around homosexuality. He affirms a traditional interpretation of the passages, but then challenges the church to consider how we use (abuse) such passages, harming people whom Christ loves and desires to draw into His grace. Anyone wrestling with these important controversies would do right to read this text and wrestle along with Longman, discovering truth along the way. This book was given to me as part of the Blogging Program with Baker Books.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Liles

    I have never, in all my time reviewing books, found as good a book on this level of subject matter as well written, if not simply put together well. When I say that, I mean it in the sense of Tremper Longman III’s book Confronting Old Testament Controversies. Within these two hundred ninety-four pages he covers four special topics that the Old Testament encompasses: Creation and Evolution, History, Violence and Sexuality. To that end I say this: Longman does a wonderful job covering all four su I have never, in all my time reviewing books, found as good a book on this level of subject matter as well written, if not simply put together well. When I say that, I mean it in the sense of Tremper Longman III’s book Confronting Old Testament Controversies. Within these two hundred ninety-four pages he covers four special topics that the Old Testament encompasses: Creation and Evolution, History, Violence and Sexuality. To that end I say this: Longman does a wonderful job covering all four subjects as best as possible. What I want to start off saying is that as with every commentary on the Biblical narrative is that Longman does his best to show all sides of the box in regards to each and every point he makes. I know I say box, but a coin has only two sides whereas a three dimensional box has six sides. I mean to say that he has all angles pursued and logically and with objectivity looked at. In any field, whether it is based on the Bible or on other subjects we all need to give an unbiased and objective view without allowing opinions to muddy the waters. It is in that I honestly believe Longman has given his best in regards to treating the Old Testament the respect and reverence it deserves. The biggest reason I say that is it is divinely ordained words of God. He has given us these words through different men and personalities to show just how much He desires to reveal Himself to us. In that sense God ordains all things to reveal a personal and just God who cares deeply for Creation: mankind in particular. I also add that this is one of those books you would want to have to help understand the Bible as well as to better understand who you are. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Baker Books for a fair and objective review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Becca-Rae Weidel

    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 wit 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.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    The old testament has been a source of controversy for Christians throughout the centuries. In his book “Confronting Old Testament Controversies” Tremper Longman III discusses and addresses pressing questions about four major topics. In the introduction Longman summarizes the big controversies and what positions he will be arguing which I will summarize here. In the first 78 page chapter he presents a view of the old testament that does not promote but does not contradict evolution. I don’t think The old testament has been a source of controversy for Christians throughout the centuries. In his book “Confronting Old Testament Controversies” Tremper Longman III discusses and addresses pressing questions about four major topics. In the introduction Longman summarizes the big controversies and what positions he will be arguing which I will summarize here. In the first 78 page chapter he presents a view of the old testament that does not promote but does not contradict evolution. I don’t think it would be unfair to say that the author’s personal position that evolution is an indisputable scientific fact. In the next chapter, Longman argues that when the Bible intends an event to be taken historically the event’s theological importance relies on it being so. The book’s penultimate chapter deals with issues regarding God’s violence in the old testament. The author shows that attempts to move away from a God who causes physical harm to his enemies are misguided. Finally, and perhaps the most controversial of all, is a chapter on sexuality. This is especially relevant in our culture today that has moved away from a biblical view of human sexuality. Longman presents the traditional and longstanding view of homosexuality in this section. I enjoy this book because of its controversial nature. I’m sure there are many who will agree with everything, but I suspect there is something for almost everyone to be challenged, if not out-right offended by in this work. It is good to get out of one’s theological bubble and interact with differing views. This book is both accessible and informative enough to engage a wide audience containing both the serious old testament student or the interested layman. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Crouch

    I have read several books by this author, and find him very readable and I appreciate his arguments and approach to the Old Testament. Thus I was quite keen to read this book. Whilst I quite enjoyed his section on “History”; had come to pretty much similar conclusions to the Author in the section on “Violence” (as I had read the authors he challenges); and perhaps had hoped for some new insight in the section on “Sexuality” - not that this is a criticism of the final section, in fact I agree wit I have read several books by this author, and find him very readable and I appreciate his arguments and approach to the Old Testament. Thus I was quite keen to read this book. Whilst I quite enjoyed his section on “History”; had come to pretty much similar conclusions to the Author in the section on “Violence” (as I had read the authors he challenges); and perhaps had hoped for some new insight in the section on “Sexuality” - not that this is a criticism of the final section, in fact I agree with most he has to say... However, I was disappointed with the first section on “Evolution”. Let me say that I favour an Old Earth Creationism and lean more towards the approach of authors such as C. John Collins, and I have struggles with aspects of Evolutionary Theory. I do have a Science Degree - but since it is in Mathematics (and Computer Science) though did include units in Microbiology, Organic Chemistry and Astronomy, the Author points out I don’t really have the right to criticise. Sadly it seems that even though new approaches in Genetics uses Mathematics heavily, I am supposed to just accept what Biologists tell me - and those of us with Mathematics and Physics backgrounds should stick to our fields :( Don’t get me wrong - I had no problem with the Hermeneutic approach that the Author supplies for reading the early chapters on Genesis. My problem is this section came over to me more as an apologetic for Theistic Evolution - or as the Author prefers, Evolutionary Creationism. Given that I found the author to be quite gracious with those he disagreed with in other sections, his strong views against any Christian who doesn’t accept Evolutionary Creationism were, for me disturbing. Not as good as his earlier works.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Veronica

    This book was incredibly fascinating! There were some stances he took that I completely agreed with and some I wasn't sure what I thought. He explained the different viewpoints of scholars from books they had written and what points he agreed and disagreed with. I liked the respect he showed for the other scholars while he was pointing out flaws in their arguments. He said he was friends with many of them and he agreed with them on most things, just not on everything. He also pointed out that wh This book was incredibly fascinating! There were some stances he took that I completely agreed with and some I wasn't sure what I thought. He explained the different viewpoints of scholars from books they had written and what points he agreed and disagreed with. I liked the respect he showed for the other scholars while he was pointing out flaws in their arguments. He said he was friends with many of them and he agreed with them on most things, just not on everything. He also pointed out that while these were interesting things to think about, salvation was the most important thing. He also had a deep respect for the Bible as God's Word and treating it as such. I found the history and divine violence sections the most interesting as I love history and archaeology and found it fascinating that scholars recently have been questioning whether the exodus and conquest even happened. He also made some great arguments about God's purpose for violence in the Old Testament and pointed out Paul Copan's comment that warfare was about sin, not about ethnicity. He also admitted that he doesn't have it all worked out himself and still struggles with some parts of the violence aspect. He looked at the implications for us today on what we believe about the different topics. There were also some great indexes in the back of the book where you can look up topics by author, subject and Scripture. I highly recommend this book if you've ever struggled with questions on these topics as this book will make you think and hopefully come to some conclusions! I received this book from Baker Books. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions are my own.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    This was a fairly interesting book and I expected it to be simply from the title and the synopsis. The author definitely deals with some controversial and hot button topics throughout the book. The main issues the author addresses are evolution, history, sexuality and violence. This book contains a great deal of information, however I feel like this book is written towards scholars or theology graduates and not the broad audience that it was intended for. I have a BA in Anthropology so I have he This was a fairly interesting book and I expected it to be simply from the title and the synopsis. The author definitely deals with some controversial and hot button topics throughout the book. The main issues the author addresses are evolution, history, sexuality and violence. This book contains a great deal of information, however I feel like this book is written towards scholars or theology graduates and not the broad audience that it was intended for. I have a BA in Anthropology so I have heard pretty much every argument and discussion one can hear about the creation/evolution debate and the author didn't really introduce any new ideas to me on this topic. And as a Christian, all of the other topics I was already fairly familiar with because of my time in church and studying the Bible. Some of his arguments throughout the book I didn't agree with and actually as I read through the reviews of this book from other readers, they seem to either really enjoy this book or not enjoy it at all. I feel I am somewhere in the middle. The author does present a lot of information on these hot topics, along with a great deal of Biblical scripture. I just personally did not enjoy the writing style and actually it took me quite awhile to get through this book. As I mentioned before, I think readers with either really enjoy this book or they won't enjoy it at all. Thank you to the publisher, Baker Books, for sending me a review copy of this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cade

    I have a policy against giving theology books 5 stars because I feel like that may imply my full endorsement of every line in the book. Since these are often challenging and important matters, I don't want to do something that might be perceived as letting others put words into my mouth. However, if it were not for this concern, I would give this book 5 stars for the tone and style. This book is thoughtful and erudite but also sincere. It does not shrink back from clearly stating specific viewpo I have a policy against giving theology books 5 stars because I feel like that may imply my full endorsement of every line in the book. Since these are often challenging and important matters, I don't want to do something that might be perceived as letting others put words into my mouth. However, if it were not for this concern, I would give this book 5 stars for the tone and style. This book is thoughtful and erudite but also sincere. It does not shrink back from clearly stating specific viewpoints on controversial topics and explicitly contradicting other Christian scholars and authors, but it is saturated with a desire for harmony with and considerate respect for those who may be sincere and well-intentioned Christians who believe and advocate other interpretations. While I don't want to give an unconditional endorsement of the book, I have very little to say in criticism. While some of his reasoning is not so iron-clad that disagreement is impossible, I do not perceive major logical inconsistencies or gaps, and I generally find his interpretations the most persuasive way of understanding these topics. I like his decision to focus specifically on responding to alternative views within the Church and declining to engage with detractors outside the church.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mike C

    Thank You For Writing This Book! If you are interested in hearing a well respected evangelical Christian scholar think through these difficult issues in the Old Testament and the Bible while knowingly engaging with some of the most prominent voices in modern scholarship, this is one good resource to consult. His book is broken essentially into four long chapters on evolution, historicity, divine violence, and sexuality. While I can’t say I agreed with every word in this book, I found his discussi Thank You For Writing This Book! If you are interested in hearing a well respected evangelical Christian scholar think through these difficult issues in the Old Testament and the Bible while knowingly engaging with some of the most prominent voices in modern scholarship, this is one good resource to consult. His book is broken essentially into four long chapters on evolution, historicity, divine violence, and sexuality. While I can’t say I agreed with every word in this book, I found his discussions thoughtful, thought provoking, grounded in good scholarship, and committed to the authority of the word of God. I am so glad there are people like Dr. Longman who are willing to write a book like this that tackles hard but important questions to many. Indeed the roots of these questions are why many reject Christianity as a faith in this modern age. If Christians who take their faith and the scriptures seriously were not able to take these questions seriously like he does here and share their thoughts with others, I perhaps would not still be a Christian myself. Thank you Dr. Longman!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Shaun Lee

    I had wrongly guessed that this book was an introductory level one because of the board scope of 4 chapters being discussed. It is actually is targeted at intermediate to advanced readers, especially if the in-depth study (logically and Scriptural-ly) of any of the topics is new to you. For example, the content in the first two chapters went right over my head. The final two chapters I understood a little better, to which I can affirm that Longman provides unparalleled overview, insight and refl I had wrongly guessed that this book was an introductory level one because of the board scope of 4 chapters being discussed. It is actually is targeted at intermediate to advanced readers, especially if the in-depth study (logically and Scriptural-ly) of any of the topics is new to you. For example, the content in the first two chapters went right over my head. The final two chapters I understood a little better, to which I can affirm that Longman provides unparalleled overview, insight and reflection (even if you hold differing views and interpretation from him). I appreciate how gentle Longman is when he engages with opposing viewpoints of other thinkers; you'd be hard-pressed to guess that he is one of the leading OT scholars with the modest strokes of his (electronic) pen. I especially enjoy reading how he engages ever so lovingly with the ideas presented by Peter Enns, a former student of his, even though he disagrees vehemently with those viewpoints. The closing segment on the final chapter on (homo)sexuality is one of the most brilliantly examples of theology and pastoral care (the other being James Beck & Craig Blomberg's concluding chapter in Two Views on Women in Ministry from the Counterpoints series). Longman models the humble and faithful application of Scripture for the pastor theologian in the day to day workings of the church. Because of this chapter I feel compelled to let this book claim a spot on my bookshelf's 6 star book section.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Evelyn Fonseca

    With the increasing controversies challenging God and Scripture, this book couldn't have come at a better time. Longman's extensive experience in Old Testament studies makes him a very good candidate to answer these questions. He discusses the modern day, societal controversies on the creation vs. evolution debate, the exodus-conquest, divine violence in the OT, and homosexuality. Although this is not a history or science textbook, Longman does a good apologetics job of defending the Scriptural With the increasing controversies challenging God and Scripture, this book couldn't have come at a better time. Longman's extensive experience in Old Testament studies makes him a very good candidate to answer these questions. He discusses the modern day, societal controversies on the creation vs. evolution debate, the exodus-conquest, divine violence in the OT, and homosexuality. Although this is not a history or science textbook, Longman does a good apologetics job of defending the Scriptural views on these topics. The information presented is not exhaustive but it's a good place to start if interested in these topics and apologetics. The only fault I found in this book, is that it's a little too academic for the layman but perfect for the Bible student and pastor. I received a copy of this book from Baker in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    He argues for his views on four topics: Evolution, History, Violence and Sexuality. I agree with is view on evolution. On History and Violence he takes a conservative view that accepts the Bible as containing actual history, this goes against scholarship but he thinks recent findings support a more historical reading. I thought his weakest chapter was on sexuality. Here he just reiterates the view that 2000 years of church history agrees with his plain reading of the texts. He does not acknowledge He argues for his views on four topics: Evolution, History, Violence and Sexuality. I agree with is view on evolution. On History and Violence he takes a conservative view that accepts the Bible as containing actual history, this goes against scholarship but he thinks recent findings support a more historical reading. I thought his weakest chapter was on sexuality. Here he just reiterates the view that 2000 years of church history agrees with his plain reading of the texts. He does not acknowledge disagreements on key word meanings or acknowledge that experience is a valid indicator of truth - think Acts Gentile experience; Cornelius and Peter, current LGBTQ stories of fruits of the spirit evident in their lives. He does have a very respectful tone and does say early on that none of these issues are salvation issues.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Another church book club read. Insightful foray into some controversial topics (most specific to the old testament but some also to the new testament): evolution & the historical Adam, history such as whether the exodus really happened, acts of divine violence, and sexuality. I did not find his suggestions for how advocating for a Biblical sexual ethic can play out in the church very helpful, but I found many of his ideas re: Genesis intriguing. The ideas were not very fleshed out though--he see Another church book club read. Insightful foray into some controversial topics (most specific to the old testament but some also to the new testament): evolution & the historical Adam, history such as whether the exodus really happened, acts of divine violence, and sexuality. I did not find his suggestions for how advocating for a Biblical sexual ethic can play out in the church very helpful, but I found many of his ideas re: Genesis intriguing. The ideas were not very fleshed out though--he seemed to expect you to find & read the sources he cited--so we will be reading one of those sources for the next book club.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Minor

    This book is a fascinating read! These are difficult topics (evolution, divine violence, historicity, and sexuality) and ones that Christians should be prepared to discuss openly and with love. The material is easy to absorb and was very readable (some of these just aren't). The author presents his viewpoints alongside other very different, but prominent viewpoints and gives you the chance to see the topic through each lens. I am inclined to think about the parts of these topics that I don't agr This book is a fascinating read! These are difficult topics (evolution, divine violence, historicity, and sexuality) and ones that Christians should be prepared to discuss openly and with love. The material is easy to absorb and was very readable (some of these just aren't). The author presents his viewpoints alongside other very different, but prominent viewpoints and gives you the chance to see the topic through each lens. I am inclined to think about the parts of these topics that I don't agree with him on because he is so willing to hear and think through opposing views. I highly recommend. "To obsess over something the Bible does not teach makes us blind to what it does teach."

  27. 4 out of 5

    victoria

    This book was wonderful writing, inspiring, and encouraged to read with that also giving to all the readers who want to have a better choice who and learning more about in the four most popular controversial issues in the Old Testament to help Christian to understand clearly about the message Scripture and focusing on why God has created us, and he never give up on us. I highly recommend to everyone must to read this book. “ I received complimentary a copy of this book from Baker Books Bloggers This book was wonderful writing, inspiring, and encouraged to read with that also giving to all the readers who want to have a better choice who and learning more about in the four most popular controversial issues in the Old Testament to help Christian to understand clearly about the message Scripture and focusing on why God has created us, and he never give up on us. I highly recommend to everyone must to read this book. “ I received complimentary a copy of this book from Baker Books Bloggers for this review”.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sean McGowan

    Longman presents four "controiversial" issues in the Old Testament and seeks to defend the integrity of the Scripture in this book. In doing that, he takes the conservative view on some issues and a more progressive view on others. For example, while he defends the Biblical ethic on homosexuality by arguing that the Old Testament clearly teaches that it is sinful, he approaches the creation account from a theistic evolutionary perspective (as well as denying a literal Adam?). There are many good Longman presents four "controiversial" issues in the Old Testament and seeks to defend the integrity of the Scripture in this book. In doing that, he takes the conservative view on some issues and a more progressive view on others. For example, while he defends the Biblical ethic on homosexuality by arguing that the Old Testament clearly teaches that it is sinful, he approaches the creation account from a theistic evolutionary perspective (as well as denying a literal Adam?). There are many good things that Longman says in this work, but of course, if you read this book, do so critically.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Russell Matherly

    I really wanted to like this book, but it just didn’t do it for me. While I generally agree with Dr. Longman’s conclusions, I really wanted a 500 page version of this book where he could have provided more evidence (textual and scholarly) and really could have fleshed out his thinking some more. As such, it was just alright.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    This was a great read. Longman condenses the wisdom gained from a lifetime of study into four mini-monographs. Each topic is dealt with concisely, yet still manages to engage with much of the latest relevant scholarship in clear and accessible prose. Highly recommend.

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