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How to Read the Bible and Still Be a Christian

How to Read the Bible and Still Be a Christian Author John Dominic Crossan
ISBN-10 9780062203625
Release 2015-03-03
Pages 272
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The acclaimed Bible scholar and author of The Historical Jesus and God & Empire—“the greatest New Testament scholar of our generation” (John Shelby Spong) —grapples with Scripture’s two conflicting visions of Jesus and God, one of a loving God, and one of a vengeful God, and explains how Christians can better understand these passages in a way that enriches their faith. Many portions of the New Testament, introduce a compassionate Jesus who turns the other cheek, loves his enemies, and shows grace to all. But the Jesus we find in Revelation and some portions of the Gospels leads an army of angels bent on earthly destruction. Which is the true revelation of the Messiah—and how can both be in the same Bible? How to Read the Bible and Still be a Christian explores this question and offers guidance for the faithful conflicted over which version of the Lord to worship. John Dominic Crossan reconciles these contrasting views, revealing how different writers of the books of the Bible not only possessed different visions of God but also different purposes for writing. Often these books are explicitly competing against another, opposing vision of God from the Bible itself. Crossan explains how to navigate this debate and offers what he believes is the best central thread to what the Bible is all about. He challenges Christians to fully participate in this dialogue, thereby shaping their faith by reading deeply, reflectively, and in community with others who share their uncertainty. Only then, he advises, will Christians be able to read and understand the Bible without losing their faith.



Jesus and the Violence of Scripture

Jesus and the Violence of Scripture Author John Dominic Crossan
ISBN-10 9780281074211
Release 2015-08-20
Pages 256
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This brave and provocative book grapples with Scripture’s two conflicting visions of Jesus and God – one loving and gracious, and the other punitive and vengeful – and explains how readers can better understand these images in a way that enriches their faith. Many portions of the New Testament introduce a compassionate Jesus who turns the other cheek, loves his enemies, and shows grace to all. But the Jesus we find in Revelation and some portions of the Gospels leads an army of angels bent on earthly destruction. Which is the true revelation of the Messiah—and how can both be in the same Bible? Jesus and the Violence of Scriptureexplores this question and offers guidance for all who are confused about which version of the Lord to worship. In doing so the author demonstrates that writers of different books of the Bible not only possessed different visions of God but also different purposes for writing, and that for Christians the only God worthy of our worship is the one revealed through the words and action of the historical Jesus.



God and Empire

God and Empire Author John Dominic Crossan
ISBN-10 9780061744280
Release 2009-03-17
Pages 272
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At the heart of the Bible is a moral and ethical call to fight unjust superpowers, whether they are Babylon, Rome, or even America. From the divine punishment and promise found in Genesis through the revolutionary messages of Jesus and Paul, John Dominic Crossan reveals what the Bible has to say about land and economy, violence and retribution, justice and peace, and, ultimately, redemption. In contrast to the oppressive Roman military occupation of the first century, he examines the meaning of the non-violent Kingdom of God prophesized by Jesus and the equality advocated by Paul to the early Christian churches. Crossan contrasts these messages of peace with the misinterpreted apocalyptic vision from the Book of Revelation, which has been misrepresented by modern right-wing theologians and televangelists to justify U.S. military actions in the Middle East. In God and Empire Crossan surveys the Bible from Genesis to Apocalypse, or the Book of Revelation, and discovers a hopeful message that cannot be ignored in these turbulent times. The first-century Pax Romana, Crossan points out, was in fact a "peace" won through violent military action. Jesus preached a different kind of peace—a peace that surpasses all understanding—and a kingdom not of Caesar but of God. The Romans executed Jesus because he preached this Kingdom of God, a kingdom based on peace and justice, over the empire of Rome, which ruled by violence and force. For Jesus and Paul, Crossan explains, peace cannot be won the Roman way, through military victory, but only through justice and fair and equal treatment of all people.



Gifts From Heaven

Gifts From Heaven Author
ISBN-10 9781441230904
Release 2017-02-28
Pages 240
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Remarkable True Stories of Miraculous Answers to Prayer Many people pray, but some don't really believe that God is listening. Answers to prayer can be so small and ordinary that they go unnoticed. But every so often we are powerfully reminded that God does indeed hear and answer prayer. What begins with simple faith and a basic prayer from an average Christian ends with an astounding gift from our loving heavenly Father. In this new collection, ordinary people recount miraculous answers to prayer--things that could only happen with God's supernatural intervention, such as unexplainable healings and amazing protection in life-threating situations. This book will inspire you to believe that God can answer even your most seemingly impossible prayers, fulfilling your deepest needs and biggest dreams.



Talking Back to the Bible

Talking Back to the Bible Author Edward G. Simmons
ISBN-10 9781480927094
Release 2016-02-25
Pages 294
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Talking Back to the Bible by Dr. Edward G. Simmons In a fascinating rumination, Edward G. Simmons combines a lifetime’s experiences and biblical research in a voice that is as comfortable and welcoming as if one was seated in an easy chair in his study. With his fierce intellect and honesty, Simmons layers his philosophical lessons with personal insights and the latest discoveries of science. “The audience, I hope, will be anyone who enjoys studying the Bible and prefers seeking new and challenging insights rather than devotional rehashing of traditional messages. Pastors, scholars, students, and anyone in quest of spiritual insight through Bible study should find these conversations entertaining, challenging, and inspirational. My hopes would be met if such readers found the insights presented here did indeed promote a stronger sense of relationship with God.” Edward G. Simmons



How God Became King

How God Became King Author Tom Wright
ISBN-10 9780281068906
Release 2012-04-12
Pages 304
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It has been slowly dawning on me over many years that there is a fundamental problem deep at the heart of Christian faith and practice as I have known it... we have all forgotten what the four gospels are about.' With this surprising and radical assertion, highly respected theologian and former Bishop of Durham Tom Wright launches a groundbreaking work sure to shake up and revolutionise much Christian thinking on the very heart and meaning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Tom Wright leads us, intelligently and graciously to seeing the new reality of the gospel story; one that is so explosive that the church in many generations has found it too much to take and so has watered it down rather than allowing its full impact to be felt.



Resurrecting Easter

Resurrecting Easter Author John Dominic Crossan
ISBN-10 9780062434203
Release 2018-02-13
Pages 224
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In this four-color illustrated journey that is part travelogue and part theological investigation, bestselling author and acclaimed Bible scholar John Dominic Crossan and his wife Sarah painstakingly travel throughout the ancient Eastern church, documenting through text and image a completely different model for understanding Easter’s resurrection story, one that provides promise and hope for us today. Traveling the world, the Crossans noticed a surprising difference in how the Eastern Church considers Jesus’ resurrection—an event not described in the Bible. At Saint Barbara’s Church in Cairo, they found a painting in which the risen Jesus grasps the hands of other figures around him. Unlike the Western image of a solitary Jesus rising from an empty tomb that he viewed across Eastern Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, the Crossans saw images of the resurrection depicting a Jesus grasping the hands of figures around him, or lifting Adam and Eve to heaven from Hades or hell, or carrying the old and sick to the afterlife. They discovered that the standard image for the Resurrection in Eastern Christianity is communal and collective, something unique from the solitary depiction of the resurrection in Western Christianity. Fifteen years in the making, Resurrecting Easter reflects on this divide in how the Western and Eastern churches depict the resurrection and its implications. The Crossans argue that the West has gutted the heart of Christianity’s understanding of the resurrection by rejecting that once-common communal iconography in favor of an individualistic vision. As they examine the ubiquitous Eastern imagery of Jesus freeing Eve from Hades while ascending to heaven, the Crossans suggest that this iconography raises profound questions about Christian morality and forgiveness. A fundamentally different way of understand the story of Jesus’ rebirth illustrated with 130 images, Resurrecting Easter introduces an inclusive, traditional community-based ideal that offers renewed hope and possibilities for our fractured modern society.



Revelation

Revelation Author Will Self
ISBN-10 9780857861016
Release 1999-01-01
Pages 64
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The final book of the Bible, Revelation prophesies the ultimate judgement of mankind in a series of allegorical visions, grisly images and numerological predictions. According to these, empires will fall, the "Beast" will be destroyed and Christ will rule a new Jerusalem. With an introduction by Will Self.



Disturbing Divine Behavior

Disturbing Divine Behavior Author Eric A. Seibert
ISBN-10 9781451407709
Release
Pages 347
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How should we understand biblical texts where God is depicted as acting irrationally, violently, or destructively? If we distance ourselves from disturbing portrayals of God, how should we understand the authority of Scripture? How does the often wrathful God portrayed in the Old Testament relate to the God of love proclaimed in the New Testament? Is that contrast even accurate? Disturbing Divine Behavior addresses these perennially vexing questions for the student of the Bible. Eric A. Seibert calls for an engaged and discerning reading of the Old Testament that distinguishes the particular literary and theological goals achieved through narrative characterizations of God from the rich understanding of the divine to which the Old Testament as a whole points. Providing illuminating reflections on theological reading as well, this book will be a welcome resource for any readers who puzzle over disturbing representations of God in the Bible.



The Old Testament Case for Nonviolence

The Old Testament Case for Nonviolence Author Matthew Curtis Fleischer
ISBN-10 0999430602
Release 2017-11-28
Pages 253
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"Do not leave alive anything that breathes." - God The violence in the Old Testament is one of the biggest obstacles facing Christianity today. Believers regularly identify it as one of the most confounding and challenging aspects of the entire Bible. Unbelievers often cite it as one reason why they don't believe. A few prominent atheists even use it to publicly demean God's character. Richard Dawkins claims the God of the Old Testament is "arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully." In The Old Testament Case for Nonviolence, Fleischer cuts through the rhetoric and popular misperceptions to provide a compelling, scripturally based, and highly readable case for a good, just, and loving God, one who is not only not bloodthirsty but who actually hates violence. If you have ever struggled to understand or appreciate what God was doing in the Old Testament, you will love this book. You might even discover a deity who is more beautiful than you have ever imagined. "In the first six pages of his new book, Matthew Curtis Fleischer describes the problem of divine violence in the Old Testament as well as anyone ever has. In the following 200-plus pages, he offers Christians committed to biblical authority an intelligent and humane way of interpreting those passages, leading humanity from violence to nonviolence in the way of Jesus. Fleischer is an attorney, and he makes his case with clarity that would win over any unbiased jury." - Brian D. McLaren, author of The Great Spiritual Migration



Cross Vision

Cross Vision Author Gregory A. Boyd
ISBN-10 9781506420745
Release 2017-08-15
Pages 292
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Renowned pastor-theologian Gregory A. Boyd tackles the Bible’s biggest dilemma. The Old Testament God of wrath and violence versus the New Testament God of love and peace—it’s a difference that has troubled Christians since the first century. Now, with the sensitivity of a pastor and the intellect of a theologian, Gregory A. Boyd proposes the “cruciform hermeneutic,” a way to read the Old Testament portraits of God through the lens of Jesus’ crucifixion. In Cross Vision, Boyd follows up on his epic and groundbreaking study, The Crucifixion of the Warrior God. He shows how the death and resurrection of Jesus reframes the troubling violence of the Old Testament, how all of Scripture reveals God’s self-sacrificial love, and, most importantly, how we can follow Jesus’ example of peace.



Competing Fundamentalisms

Competing Fundamentalisms Author Sathianathan Clarke
ISBN-10 9781611648102
Release 2017-03-29
Pages 192
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Why do certain groups and individuals seek to do harm in the name of God? While studies often claim to hold the key to this frightening phenomenon, they seldom account for the crucial role that religious conviction plays, not just in radical Islam, but also in the fundamentalist branches of the world's two other largest religions: Christianity and Hinduism. As the first book to examine violent extremism in all three religions together, Competing Fundamentalisms draws on studies in sociology, psychology, culture, and economics—while focusing on the central role of religious ideas—to paint a richer portrait of this potent force in modern life. Clarke argues that the forces of globalization fuel the aggression of these movements to produce the competing feature of religious fundamentalisms, which have more in common with their counterparts across religious lines than they do with the members of their own religions. He proposes ways to deescalate religious violence in the service of peacemaking. Readers will gain important insights into how violent religious fundamentalism works in the world's three largest religions and learn new strategies for promoting peace in the context of contemporary interreligious conflict.



What Is the Bible

What Is the Bible Author Rob Bell
ISBN-10 9780062194282
Release 2017-05-16
Pages 336
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Instant New York Times Bestseller Rob Bell, the beloved author of Love Wins and What We Talk About When We Talk About God, goes deep into the Bible to show how it is more revelatory, revolutionary, and relevant than we ever imagined—and offers a cogent argument for why we need to look at it in a fresh, new way. In Love Wins, Rob Bell confronted the troubling questions that many people of faith were afraid to ask about heaven, hell, fate, and faith. Using the same inspired, inquisitive approach, he now turns to our most sacred book, the Bible. What Is the Bible? provides insights and answers that make clear why the Bible is so revered and what makes it truly inspiring and essential to our lives. Rob takes us deep into actual passages to reveal the humanity behind the Scriptures. You cannot get to the holy without going through the human, Rob tells us. When considering a passage, we shouldn’t ask "Why did God say . . .?" To get to the heart of the Bible’s meaning, we should be asking: "What’s the story that’s unfolding here and why did people find it important to tell it? What was it that moved them to record these words? What was happening in the world at that time? What does this passage/story/poem/verse/book tell us about how people understood who they were and who God was at that time?" In asking these questions, Rob goes beyond the one-dimensional question of "is it true?" to reveal the Bible’s authentic transformative power. Rob addresses the concerns of all those who see the Bible as God’s Word but are troubled by the ethical dilemmas, errors, and inconsistencies in Scripture. With What Is the Bible?, he recaptures the Good Book’s magic and reaffirms its power and inspiration to shape and inspire our lives today.



Not in God s Name

Not in God s Name Author Jonathan Sacks
ISBN-10 9780805243352
Release 2015-10-13
Pages 320
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***2015 National Jewish Book Award Winner*** In this powerful and timely book, one of the most admired and authoritative religious leaders of our time tackles the phenomenon of religious extremism and violence committed in the name of God. If religion is perceived as being part of the problem, Rabbi Sacks argues, then it must also form part of the solution. When religion becomes a zero-sum conceit—that is, my religion is the only right path to God, therefore your religion is by definition wrong—and individuals are motivated by what Rabbi Sacks calls “altruistic evil,” violence between peoples of different beliefs appears to be the only natural outcome. But through an exploration of the roots of violence and its relationship to religion, and employing groundbreaking biblical analysis and interpretation, Rabbi Sacks shows that religiously inspired violence has as its source misreadings of biblical texts at the heart of all three Abrahamic faiths. By looking anew at the book of Genesis, with its foundational stories of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Rabbi Sacks offers a radical rereading of many of the Bible’s seminal stories of sibling rivalry: Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers, Rachel and Leah. “Abraham himself,” writes Rabbi Sacks, “sought to be a blessing to others regardless of their faith. That idea, ignored for many of the intervening centuries, remains the simplest definition of Abrahamic faith. It is not our task to conquer or convert the world or enforce uniformity of belief. It is our task to be a blessing to the world. The use of religion for political ends is not righteousness but idolatry . . . To invoke God to justify violence against the innocent is not an act of sanctity but of sacrilege.” Here is an eloquent call for people of goodwill from all faiths and none to stand together, confront the religious extremism that threatens to destroy us, and declare: Not in God’s Name. From the Hardcover edition.



Pacifism and Pentecostals in South Africa

Pacifism and Pentecostals in South Africa Author Marius Nel
ISBN-10 9780429995927
Release 2018-06-27
Pages 228
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Most of the early twentieth-century Pentecostal denominations were peace churches that encouraged a stance of conscientious objection. However, since the Second World War Pentecostals have largely abandoned their pacifist viewpoint as they have taken on a more literal Biblical hermeneutic from their interaction with Evangelical denominations. This book traces the history of nonviolence in Pentecostalism and suggests that a new hermeneutic of the Bible is needed by today’s Pentecostals in order for them to rediscover their pacifist roots and effect positive social change. The book focuses on how Pentecostalism has manifested in South Africa during the twentieth century. Much of the available academic literature on hermeneutics and exegesis in the field of Pentecostal Studies is of an American or British-European origin. This book redresses this imbalance by exploring how the Bible has been used amongst African Pentecostals to teach on the apparent paradox of a simultaneously wrathful and loving God. It then goes onto suggest that how the Bible is read directly affects how Pentecostals view their role as potential reformers of society. So, it must be engaged seriously and thoughtfully. By bringing Pentecostalism’s function in South African society to the fore, this book adds a fresh perspective on the issue of pacifism in world Christianity. As such it will be of great use to scholars of Pentecostal Studies, Theology, and Religion and Violence as well as those working in African Studies.



The Vehement Jesus

The Vehement Jesus Author David J. Neville
ISBN-10 9781532642722
Release 2017-11-13
Pages 310
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The Vehement Jesus composes a fresh examination and interpretation of several perplexing passages in the Gospels that, at face value, challenge the conviction that the mission and message of Jesus were peaceful. Using narrative analysis and various forms of intratextual critique in the service of a hermeneutic of shalom, the author makes the case that Gospel portrayals of the vehement Jesus are compatible with, perhaps even indispensable to, the composite canonical portrait of Jesus as the Messiah of Peace. As a result, this exploration in New Testament theology and ethics makes an invaluable contribution to the crucial conversation about the role of Jesus’ life and teaching in Christian reflection on the morality of violence today.



The Bible in Motion

The Bible in Motion Author Rhonda Burnette-Bletsch
ISBN-10 9781614513261
Release 2016-09-12
Pages 956
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This two-part volume contains a comprehensive collection of original studies by well-known scholars focusing on the Bible’s wide-ranging reception in world cinema. It is organized into sections examining the rich cinematic afterlives of selected characters from the Hebrew Bible and New Testament; considering issues of biblical reception across a wide array of film genres, ranging from noir to anime; featuring directors, from Lee Chang-dong to the Coen brothers, whose body of work reveals an enduring fascination with biblical texts and motifs; and offering topical essays on cinema’s treatment of selected biblical themes (e.g., lament, apocalyptic), particular interpretive lenses (e.g., feminist interpretation, queer theory), and windows into biblical reception in a variety of world cinemas (e.g., Indian, Israeli, and Third Cinema). This handbook is intended for scholars of the Bible, religion, and film as well as for a wider general audience.