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The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus: What's So Good about the Good News?
"[Gomes's] new book, The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus, is his most important yet. It marks a new stage in his evolution as a Christian...it is a daring and subversive book, taking Gomes and his readers further out on a limb than they've been before. There's nothing conventional about it, mostly because of its intense concentration on those most hazardous of texts, the four gospels." Bill McKibben, The New York Review of Books (read the entire New York Review of Books review)
Synopses & Reviews
Jesus came preaching, but the church wound up preaching Jesus. Why does the church insist upon making Jesus the object of its attention rather than heeding his message? Esteemed Harvard minister Peter J. Gomes believes that excessive focus on the Bible and doctrines about Jesus have led the Christian church astray. "What did Jesus preach?" asks Gomes. To recover the transformative power of the gospel — "the good news" — Gomes says we must go beyond the Bible and rediscover how to live out Jesus' original revolutionary message of hope:
"Dietrich Bonhoeffer once warned against cheap grace, and I warn now against cheap hope. Hope is not merely the optimistic view that somehow everything will turn out all right in the end if everyone just does as we do. Hope is the more rugged, the more muscular view that even if things don't turn out all right and aren't all right, we endure through and beyond the times that disappoint or threaten to destroy us."
This gospel is offensive and always overturns the status quo, Gomes tells us. It's not good news for those who wish not to be disturbed, and today our churches resound with shrill speeches of fear and exclusivity or tepid retellings of a health-and-wealth gospel. With his unique blend of eloquence and insight, Gomes invites us to hear anew the radical nature of Jesus' message of hope and change. Using examples from ancient times as well as from modern pop culture, The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus shows us why the good news is every bit as relevant today as when it was first preached.
"This book is by the American Baptist minister of Memorial Church at Harvard. His message is, don't ask 'What would Jesus do?' Ask, 'What would Jesus have me do?' Gomes is in the forefront of the resurgent movement to emphasize Christianity's call to help the least advantaged in society. He is not as interested in sin and salvation as he is in rethinking Jesus's message, and he delights... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) in the notion of comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. He contends that Jesus was a revolutionary, a radical and a socialist — that Jesus 'would not have been unsympathetic to the famous social slogan of the nineteenth century, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."' And that, he says, makes many comfortable Christians feel guilty. It's what makes Jesus's teaching so dangerous, not only in his time 'but right here and now.' By Sally Quinn is co-host of washingtonpost.com's religion blog, 'On Faith.'" Reviewed by Sally Quinn, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
(hide most of this review)
A New York Times bestselling author and renowned Harvard preacher takes on the hot-button issues in the world today by returning to Jesus message.
About the Author
Peter J. Gomes is the New York Times bestselling author of The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart; The Good Life: Truths That Last in Times of Need; and Strength for the Journey: Biblical Wisdom for Daily Living. Since 1974 Gomes has been at Harvard University, serving as Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church. An American Baptist, he is regarded as one of the foremost preachers in the country, a top national media resource, and a frequent preacher and lecturer in major venues both in the U.S. and internationally. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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