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Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in…
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Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context

by Glen H. Stassen, David P. Gushee (Author), Glen H. Stassen

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Rarely have I been so utterly dissapointed by a book as I was by Stassen and Gushee's take on what it means to follow "Jesus in Contemporary Context". I expected something valuable and came away thoroughly frustrated. For a much better interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount see Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

The great mistake of this book is that it treats sections of the Sermon on the Mount as impossible ideals which Jesus never meant for us to live up to; impossible ideals which the authors label "traditional righteousness" and which they insist cause a "vicious cycle" that can only be redeemed by a "transforming initiative". The writers insist that "Jesus offered not hard sayings or high ideals but concrete ways to practice God's will and be delivered from the bondage of sin." In fact, the authors openly confess that their aim is to "rescue the Sermon from the antitheses interpretation as perfectionistic prohibitions." Because men and women in our generation have failed to live up to the "hard teachings" of the Sermon, the authors have offered an alternative that makes the Sermon on the Mount a whole lot more manageable - so manageable a non-believer could do it. This, of course, is where their 'tridactic' theory (traditional righteousness, vicious cycle, transforming initiative) falls apart. The entire point of the law (as given in the Old Testament and restated by Christ) is to empty men and women everywhere of all their self-sufficiency. It is like a schoolmaster whose very purpose is to lead us to Jesus. The law does, in fact, demand the impossible. But this, of course, is the wonder of the gospel: that in Christ we can not only be free from the condemning power of the law (which insists that we are guilty), but frees us also to do and to delight in the law. Yet, this is precisely why we need regeneration. Only 'new creatures' can delight in a standard that demands perfection and what they cannot ever hope to accomplish in their own strength.

It is deeply distressing that the authors would choose to accomodate the message of Scripture to a contemporary context rather than calling men and women to those very standards that God Himself demands. Yes, the Church has often failed and much of that failure is the fault of nominal Christianity, but don't lower the standards and change the message to satisfy and comfort an impoverished and compromised Church. Call us rather to repentance. Insist, that we were made and meant for so much more, and tell us what the gospel can do not only to pardon and forgive but also to create and transform. ( )
  stephendr | Mar 19, 2010 |
Part of a movement in theological and ecclesiastical circles to recover the teachings of Jesus for ethics and discipleship. ( )
  drdanebert | Nov 12, 2006 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stassen, Glen H.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gushee, David P.Authormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Stassen, Glen H.main authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0830826688, Hardcover)

One of Christianity Today's 2004 Books of the Year! In this masterful and innovative book Glen H. Stassen and David P. Gushee join profound ethical reflection with faith in Jesus Christ, a life of discipleship and the hope of the present and coming kingdom of God. The result is a challenging, comprehensive treatment of Christian ethics centered on the life and teachings of Jesus. Drawing on detailed studies of the Sermon on the Mount, Stassen and Gushee shed light on the whole of biblical ethical teaching as it relates to a wide range of issues, including peacemaking, just war, nonviolence, sexuality and gender roles, marriage and divorce, race, economics, care of creation, prayer and politics. Their work yields neither an impossible idealism, nor an abstract ethical system, nor a generic religious legalism. Rather Stassen and Gushee set forth a holistic ethic that motivates us and provides us with a practical basis for living under the lordship of Jesus Christ.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:00 -0400)

A Christianity Today 2004 Book of the YearIn this masterful and innovative book Glen H. Stassen and David P. Gushee join profound ethical reflection with faith in Jesus Christ, a life of discipleship and the hope of the present and coming kingdom of God. The result is a challenging, comprehensive treatment of Christian ethics centered on the life and teachings of Jesus.Drawing on detailed studies of the Sermon on the Mount, Stassen and Gushee shed light on the whole of biblical ethical teaching as it relates to a wide range of issues, including peacemaking, just war, nonviolence, sexuality and gender roles, marriage and divorce, race, economics, care of creation, prayer and politics.Their work yields neither an impossible idealism, nor an abstract ethical system, nor a generic religious legalism. Rather Stassen and Gushee set forth a holistic ethic that motivates us and provides us with a practical basis for living under the lordship of Jesus Christ.… (more)

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