Many Christians today are squeamish about the book of Joshua, not least about things like Rahab’s confession that “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you” (Joshua 2:8).
Or the narrator’s claim that “when all the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard how the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the sons of Israel until they had crossed, that their hearts melted, and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the sons of Israel” (5:1).
The early church didn’t see things this way. Luke alluded to these passages in Joshua when he noted that, after the sudden death of Ananias, “great fear came over all who heard of it” (Acts 5:5). When you’re threatened, being scary is a blessing.
In our cultural situation, we need to reckon with the book of Joshua more than ever. We need to revised our ecclesiologies with a view to the militant church of the conquest. We need mission strategies infused with the memory of the first Jeshua.