Theological Adventures began as a challenge to the teachers of The Institute for Global Outreach Developments International to provide me with those passages of Scripture they found the most difficult to produce an interpretive theology consistent with nonviolence and a nonviolent God. The allegorical method for dealing with OT violence has not led to a constructive theology capable of eradicating violence from the Christian tradition. However, genre identification of particular books enables a reader to discern the prejudicial nature of a book claiming to speak for God, e.g., Joshua as conquest narrative. Judges, as a reflection on violence and male-female relationships, qualifies as a ""social critique"" on Israelite society. This is wonderfully portrayed in the study of Samson as the archetypal strongman who represents Israel as a people.
It is healthy to be honest enough about OT Scripture to require basic morality as a guide for reading its claims and stories. The gift of a moral conscience is a powerful voice for God's image in us. I have found the OT to be consistent with the revelation of God in Christ Jesus when a person learns to read it correctly. The guiding interpretive lens is honesty about the intolerable violence sanctioned in the OT.
""Dr. Garner and I have reached similar conclusions by being led by our curiosity along different paths. I am an Antiquity historian, and he, a Bible scholar. His treatment of nonviolent theology, non-sacramental theology, and male-female relational theology helps us to discover the divinity in our humanity. If I had a text like Theological Adventures when I was an undergraduate, or even a master's student, my own journey would not have taken as long.""
--David Moore, St. Stephen's University, author of Making America Great Again
Mike Garner is a poet and writer who has served as a pastor, a missionary, and a professor. He has earned MDiv, MAR, and DMin degrees from Azusa Pacific University.