Is God A Mafia Boss Or Is God Good?

A couple of years ago, I found myself sitting in a room with a bunch of really bright individuals who were dreaming of putting together a daylong practical theology conference for women to be held on the campus of Trinity International University. I didn’t know most of them, but as we met to dream together a little more, then worked and prayed together, the unexpected bonus for me was getting to know the women on the planning committee. There is nothing like working on a project (like a big event, with a deadline!) to create a team out of a collection of individuals.

One of the women I got to know was Ingrid Faro. Ingrid was finishing work on her dissertation and was working at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School teaching Biblical Hebrew and overseeing the school’s field education program. Ingrid tutored me in Biblical Hebrew for a season, and as she listened to me stumble my way through Ruth 1, I had an opportunity to learn about her remarkable life story. This Wall Street Journal piece offers a nod toward a few components of her late-in-life return to seminary. She’s inspired me in my own tentative journey back to school, and has pointed me toward the Lord by word and example in other areas of my life.

Sometimes, she lets me have a peek at a bit of the academic writing she’s doing. She sent along the text of a speech she was working on, and I told her I would love to share a shorter version of it on my blog. For anyone who has ever wondered if the God of the Old Testament is different somehow than the God of the New Testament, the essay below offers a grounded and well-reasoned discussion on the subject. Before I turn this over to Dr. Ingrid Faro, though, I will show you one thing I learned during my time working at Trinity: the value of a formal academic introduction:

Ingrid Faro received her Master of Divinity, and PhD in Old Testament and Semitic Languages from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois, where she taught Biblical Hebrew, Preaching from the Old Testament, and Pentateuch. She is currently associate professor of Old Testament at the Scandinavian School of Theology in Uppsala, Sweden.
The Scandinavian School of Theology is a new, evangelical Bible College and Seminary, dedicated to training up leaders committed to biblical faith, academic scholarship, personal transformation, and revival. The World Values Survey established that Sweden is the most secularised and individualistic nation in the world.

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Is God a Mafia Boss or Is God Good: Old Testament View of God, Part I

by Dr. Ingrid Faro 

imgresThis summer, Sweden’s largest newspaper, Dagen’s Nyhetter, featured in their Culture Section: Classics to Avoid.  The Old Testament was reviewed with two thumbs down, sporting the title, “’God’ is portrayed as an arbitrary mafia boss.” Although portions of the book are described from charming to bizarre, the main character, God, is critiqued as inconsistent and unpredictable. This depiction of God is not unusual in recent years, and even mild in comparison with Richard Dawkins often quoted rant that `The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction… a capriciously malevolent bully.’’ [Read more]

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