Does Deut. 20:16-17 contradict Matthew 5:43-48?
by Billy Dyer
Does the Bible contain contradictory descriptions of God’s own character? This is a very weighty question. What we are really asking is, “Can we trust the Bible to give us an accurate description of God?” I would contend that if the Bible contains just one contradiction (errant) then we cannot trust it at all to tell us about God. For how would we know which parts are accurate and which parts are not. Let us take Deut 20:16-17 and Matthew 5:43-48 for example.
Deut 20:16-17 says, ” “Only in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes. But you shall utterly destroy them, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite and the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, as the LORD your God has commanded you”
Matthew 5:43-48 says, “”You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Some argue that these two passages reveal two different theologies that are irreconcilable. But there is truly nothing new under the sun. Marcion (85-160 A.D.) argued the same thing. He contended that the God of the Old Testament was different than the God of the New Testament. You can read my blog about him here. He rejected the Old Testament and much of the New. This led to the church excommunicating him. But today we just call it scholarship and read their books.
One of the more popular ones to follow in the footsteps of Marcion is Kenton L. Sparks. He argues that the New Testament corrects the primitive and erroneous theology of the Old Testament. Take a look at some of his statements…
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