The Nonviolent God

The Nonviolent God

The Nonviolent God

The Nonviolent God


This bold new statement on the nonviolence of God challenges long-standing assumptions of divine violence in theology, the violent God pictured in the Old Testament, and the supposed violence of God in Revelation. In The Nonviolent God J. Denny Weaver argues that since God is revealed in Jesus, the nonviolence of Jesus most truly reflects the character of God.

According to Weaver, the way Christians live -- Christian ethics -- is an ongoing expression of theology. Consequently, he suggests positive images of the reign of God made visible in the narrative of Jesus -- nonviolent practice, forgiveness and restorative justice, issues of racism and sexism, and more -- in order that Christians might live more peacefully.


The formal beginning of this book was the lecture I prepared in 2006 on the concept of a nonviolent God with the support of the C. Henry Smith Trust fund. Before this lecture the idea that we should understand God with nonviolent images was not the focus, but it was certainly a conclusion drawn already from the first edition of The Nonviolent Atonement, published in 2001. and before that I came to see this book on a nonviolent God as the current stage of the quest that emerged from my first year of college teaching in 1974, namely to understand what Jesus’ rejection of the sword and violence might imply for and how it might become more visible in our theology about Jesus.

Along the way, many informal conversations as well as responses to lectures have provided valuable assistance. Supporting comments whether in informal settings or in response to lectures contribute inspiration to continue while challenges expose weakness or gaps in the argument and allow for corrections. I am grateful for all such feedback in whatever form it came.

I single out some names for recognition in full awareness that I have likely omitted others. People with whom I had significant conversations or who responded to sections of the manuscript at some point in its development include J. R. Burkholder, Robert Enright, Larry George, Hannah Heinzekehr, Justin Heinzekehr, Caleb Heppner, Gregory Jones, Donald Kraybill, Steven Nolt, Jonathan Sauder, Neff Serrano, Karen Serrano, David W. Shenk, and Todd Warren. I have had many enlightening conversations over the years with colleagues Ray Gingerich, Ted Grimsrud, and Earl . . .

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