Book Review of The War on Terrorism and the Terror of God, Lee Griffith, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002, 399 pp.
“What would this mean if it were true that we love God only as much as the person we love least? Would it not mean that, when we have finally won the victory in our war on terrorism, when we have finally managed to exterminate all the thugs and Hitlers and terrorists, we will have expressed nothing so much as our total confidence in the death of God? (p. 263)” This is the heart of Griffith’s sustained thesis that “the biblical concept of ‘the terror of God’ stands as a renunciation of all violence – and of death itself (inside front jacket cover).”
Most surprising about this book is its timing: “In an instant [after September 11, 2001], the phrase ‘the war on terrorism’ entered everyday discourse with a new and urgent meaning. In this book I do not seek to exploit that urgency. Indeed, the title of this book was chosen and the first draft was completed almost a full year before the events of September 11. With the exception of these two paragraphs at the beginning and a postscript at the end, the manuscript has not been altered to cover these most recent exchanges of terror and counterterror (p. ix).” In the very specific meaning of the term, I consider this book providential. It is also prophetic in the truest sense of that adjective: namely, a word from God to our present times.
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