Grateful to Christianity Today for this recent interview:
Every healthy Christian struggles through the dark corners of our story and doctrine, the tough teachings that Joshua Ryan Butler calls “The Skeletons in God’s Closet.” Butler, Pastor of Local & Global Outreach at Imago Dei Community in Portland, Oregon, has wrestled too, and in a new book, offers pastoral, honest insights specifically addressing some of the most difficult bone-piles, including hell, Old Testament “holy war,” and judgment. I caught up with Butler for his take on speaking faithfully to our pressing questions. – Paul
Paul: Your book, Skeletons in God’s Closet, tries to help people who wrestle with topics like hell, judgment, and holy war. Are these personal topics for you?
Josh: Yes! Back in college, I had a radical encounter with Jesus, but friends immediately bombarded me with questions like, “So do you think I’m going to hell now?” “How can you follow such an arrogant and violent religion?” I was at a loss for how to respond.
I didn’t bring up these topics—I just loved Jesus. But I didn’t want to ignore the hard parts of my faith, and I wanted to love my friends well, so I began personally grappling with these questions.