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Amalekite Problem

Hi. Just wondering if anyone has had any success in refuting the Amalekite objection to Christianity.

(If you're not familiar with it, it goes something like "Christians (via Jews and the Old Testament) believe in genocide. They wiped out the entire Amalekite race, women and children. How do you serve a God like that?")

Ways I thought of responding to it are:
- The dispensational paradox: God was different then and there was a different covenant (this line of reasoning could be problematic...)
- The Amalekites were a voluntary association: (like the Israelites.) Anyone could join or leave (see the book of Esther for the voluntary Israel reference), kind of like ISIS does not require one to be of Arab descent, and Christianity does not require one to be Jewish or Greek
- Women and children could be soldiers also: It does not include infants. Perhaps the death warrant was issued against women and child soldiers only. Certainly many terrorist organizations of today are training women and children as suicide bombers.
- Textual criticism: I'd love for the LXX or Dead Sea Scrolls to prove the Amalekite passage was an interpolation; however this is unheard of.
- Archaeology: Proof that the Amalekites were not wiped out; where is Indiana Jones (or his son) when you need them?

In short, asking if any fellow believers have had success in confronting the Amalekite dialemma - - what an Orthodox Jewish rabbi once referred to as, "the dark side of Judaism."

Grace be with you.

tomgroeneman's picture

the Ban

Nate,
Many people today object to the apparent cruelty of the Old Testament based on post modern feel good sensibilities. They presume to judge God because they have erred in their estimation of His character and attributes. God is love yes but He is also holy and must judge sin. If God did not have to deal with sin in man and punish man then He would have to apologize to Sodom (Matt. 11:24). The Ban, which was a policy meant to eliminate negative cultural influences on the Israelites, required the wiping out of entire populations. What people fail to recognize is that in all of the OT cases where the Ban is used, the nations or cities that are destroyed are guilty of extreme wickedness themselves. Until Christ came, God could not fully extend His grace to even the most sinful because the Law, which was meant to teach holy principles, was still in effect. Therefore I would say that your "dispensational" answer is appropriate. But above all, God will deal justly with any nation that sins against Him and the Amalekites had certainly done that. On a side note, do you think God is using terrorists to judge the immorality of the US and the West?

Tom Groeneman




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