Lehigh RUF Studies the Canaanite Genocide

Over the years I’ve found that many college students struggle with God’s actions in the Old Testament, from sending a flood in which only eight are spared to commanding Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Students continually pose the question: Is God moral? At Lehigh RUF’s three-day winter retreat this year, I taught six sessions on Israel’s destruction of Jericho and the beginning of the Canaanite conquest (Joshua 6), which many biblical scholars agree is the most difficult ethical question in the Old Testament. At this retreat I sought to answer a number of questions: 1) where does morality come from?, 2) what is the foundation of morality in different worldviews?, 3) is God’s command of the Canaanite genocide ethical?, and 4) how are we to prepare Christians in college to answer difficult questions that arise in scripture? The retreat, then, was much more than simply a case study based upon Joshua 6. It was training students in worldviews, apologetics, critical thinking, and interpreting scripture. As it turns out, the teaching was very well-received and has already led to a few students being able to interact with their non-Christian peers on critical questions within Christianity.

Scott Mitchell, Campus Minister at Lehigh
January 26, 2015
Northeast@ruf.org • 610-691-0988 • 631 Fourth Avenue, Bethlehem, PA 18018