I’ve quipped that everyone is a Biblical literalist until it comes to Jesus’ words on nonviolence. Then every nuance and caveat is mined to make sure we are assured Jesus doesn’t actually mean what he said. So when it comes to traditional ideas of sexuality or hell, or much else, we’re told the Bible just says what it says (so we must believe it). But we turn to Jesus and, yeah, we’re all of a sudden not as interested in taking it literally.
Why is this? Boyd addresses this question in chapter six of Crucifixion of the Warrior God:
So far as I can see, the primary thing that renders this revelation ambiguous to many is that it simply contradicts people’s deeply rooted commonsense intuitions about the justified use of violence. Throughout history it has just seemed obvious to the vast majority of people, including the majority of Christians after the fourth and fifth century, that one is justified in resorting to whatever violence is necessary if it is in the interest of the greater good to do so, and especially if such violence is necessary to protect yourself, your loved ones, your tribe, or your nation.Since the fourth and fifth century, therefore, Christians have tended to simply assume that whatever Jesus and various NT authors meant by instructing us to love, bless and serve enemies and to refrain from violence, they surely did not intend to rule out the use of violence in obviously justified circumstances, and they surely did not intend to suggest that God is never willing to resort to violence in certain circumstances. What they did mean with these instructions to us becomes ambiguous and the strength and depth of the commonsense intuition about justified violence is reflected in the remarkable lengths to which some interpreters have been willing to go to explain how Jesus and various NT authors do not mean what they clearly seem to mean” (260-261).