Addresses the Bible’s alleged God-sanctioned violence, sacrificial hermeneutics, and doctrines of wrath and vengeance.
Matthew J. Distefano is an author and regular contributor for The Raven ReView, progressivechristianity.org, jesism.com, Unfundamentalist Christians on Patheos, and The New Reformers. He has also guest contributed for Sojourners, Clarion, and Preaching Peace.Visit his blog
"Distefano argues that there are two streams within the Scriptures, one of religion and the other of God’s revelation. From the Blood of Abel is a marvelous introduction to Girardian thought for any struggling Evangelical who is seeking the really good news of Christ Jesus."MICHAEL HARDIN, AUTHOR AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT PREACHING PEACE
"Matthew Distefano offers us a robust and intriguing approach to the Gospel...Those questioning received notions of hell, of wrath, and of an exclusive God will find solid food here."JAMES ALISON, CATHOLIC PRIEST, THEOLOGIAN, AND AUTHOR
"The author moves easily from theology and theory into real-life scenarios and testimonies. He recounts the excruciating reality of violence and exclusion—but does so to spotlight the power of the beautiful gospel."BRAD JERSAK, AUTHOR AND FACULTY AT WESTMINSTER THEOLOGICAL CENTRE
"Matthew has done the body of Christ a great service. I wish I had read a book like From the Blood of Abel when I was twenty-one. If I had, my life would have charted a much different and much more Christ-conformed path, much earlier."STEPHEN R. CROSBY, D. MIN., AUTHOR AND FOUNDER OF STEPHANOS MINISTRIES
Humanity's Root Causes of Violence and the Bible's Theological-Anthropological Solution
While millions of believers around the world are finding their understanding of Christianity to be outdated and untenable, Matthew Distefano has managed to paint the Gospel in such a way that even an atheist could appreciate its beauty. Rather than a message of rapture, or rewards and reprisals, Distefano presents the good news of what God has done in history to stem the tide of our own violence and evil—inviting us into a whole new way of living and being in this world. By integrating René Girard's "mimetic theory" and Ernest Becker's "death anxiety," Distefano is able to diagnose the root causes of human violence and then offer the life-giving solution in the person of Jesus. Both the struggling evangelical and unbeliever alike can take refuge here, finding in this Gospel the thing their soul—and the disintegrating world around them—is thirsting for.
From the Blood of Abel is an insightful and liberating book that:
Gets to the root causes of humanity’s violence and applies the Christ-solution as our effectual, life-giving remedy.
Replaces the “gospel” of rapture, rewards, and reprisals, with the Gospel of unadulterated grace and peace.
Theorizes over what the corporate implications of the Gospel are for all humanity.
Takes a look at the creatively specific, non-sacrificial hermeneutics of Jesus of Nazareth.
Matthew Distefano discusses what inspired him to write From the Blood of Abel, when he realized God is non-violent, and how Mimetic Theory is like The Matrix.
"Ultimately, I live with the hope that no matter what happens—yes, even death—God will restore life. All life!...And in a world so torn up by violence, so wrecked by humanity’s systems of death, if we have hope in a God of life, then we have enough."
Over the course of our lives, we will likely undergo a variety of changes, which can come in a wide array of forms. Some of us will move all over the map, like nomads, sojourning from one place to another. Others will go from having zero children to five in a matter of a decade. Sadly, some of us will witness the untimely deaths of our loved ones; will face personal health or financial issues, or all of the above. And yet others—such as myself—will set out on a spiritual journey that ends up utterly destroying just about everything we once believed.
And this change is ultimately a good thing.
Looking back, I have to admit that if you told the Matthew of 10 years ago that he would be writing a book about the “good book” and its chief character, Jesus of Nazareth, he would probably think you were insane. You see, the twenty-something version of myself was, from time to time, borderline atheistic on the worst days and devoutly agnostic on the best. So, needless to say, discussing the Bible at-length was not even close to being on the radar.
Roughly ten years later, thanks in large part to those who have endured the journey prior to me, I am still amazed at how much I’ve changed.
Now, I have set out to primarily do two things in From the Blood of Abel: 1) diagnose humanity’s root causes of violence and 2) offer the antidote. And with the world in the situation it finds itself in, this couldn’t come at a better time.
As we all know, humanity seems to be at a crossroads of sorts. Yes, violence on the whole is down. But tensions between nations are rising. Economies are in bad shape. The ecology of the globe is at a tipping point. And the answer to these problems, far too often it seems, is to beat the drums of war. This can’t go on. We are better than this.
Jesus showed us as much.
At a time like this, what we need—desperately—is the Gospel of Peace, as it is known as in the book of Ephesians. We need to learn how to beat our swords into plowshares, how to cut off the chariots of war, as well as the bows of battle.
My hope, then, is that this book helps us learn how to do that by placing Jesus Christ front and center as our leader. After all, his biggest request was that we follow him, and if we do, then perhaps we can follow him in becoming peacemakers, or in other words, in ushering in the kingdom of God.
That is my hope, anyway.
So, may you find this book liberating and useful in your journey. And may the peace of Christ Jesus comfort you during any darkness you encounter.