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If the Church Were Christian: Rediscovering the Values of Jesus Kindle Edition
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From the Back Cover
While many denominations claim to be growing, the largest group in American religious life is the disillusioned—people who have been involved in the church yet see few similarities between the church's life and the person of Jesus. In the midst of elaborate programming, professional worship teams, and political crusades, they ask, "Is this really what Jesus called us to do?"
While the church has dismissed these people as uncommitted and lacking in faith, perhaps the opposite is true. Their commitment to authentic spirituality over institutional idolatry might be the very corrective the church needs. These people respect Jesus, but question what Christianity has become.
In If the Church Were Christian, Quaker pastor and author Philip Gulley explores how the church has lost its way. This eye-opening examination of the values of Jesus reveals the extent to which the church has drifted from the teachings of the man who inspired its creation. Many Christians might be surprised to discover how little Jesus had to say about the church, and that he might never have intended to start a new religion.
But the church is here to stay, and Gulley is determined to help the church find its soul. If the church were Christian, Gulley argues, affirming our potential would be more important than condemning our brokenness. If the church were Christian, inviting questions would be valued more than supplying answers. If the church were Christian, meeting needs would be more important than maintaining institutions.
These simple statements return us to the heart of what Jesus cared about during his ministry. Gulley provides a profound picture of what the church would look like if it refocused on the real priorities of Jesus.--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B0034EJL68
- Publisher : HarperOne; Reprint edition (January 15, 2010)
- Publication date : January 15, 2010
- Language : English
- File size : 642 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 143 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #404,419 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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The whole book is made up of stories he uses to convey his points--examples of Christians or churches who have failed to live the Gospel (including himself), and examples of Christians who live the Gospel in an undeniably Christ-like manner.
That all being said, you should know that Gulley is a liberal theologian. In fact, Gulley is as liberal as one can be within Christianity (can he be considered an actual Christian?). This Quaker Pastor does not believe in the divinity of Christ, the virgin birth, or in Christ's sinlessness. He doesn't believe in the inspiration of Scripture. His belief about the Bible (or at least the Gospels--he doesn't talk about his views on the other books) is a combination of the theories of Schleiermacher and Bultmann. Actually, he's like Schleiermacher in a lot of ways. There's reason to believe that he doesn't believe in miracles. He doesn't believe in anything that doesn't make sense to modern beliefs. He is also a universalist and doesn't believe in hell or Satan. He doesn't think homosexuality is a sin, I'm sure he's a theistic evolutionist, and he doesn't believe in the doctrine of the Trinity.
However, on average, he only says something once a chapter that would rattle the orthodox Christian cage. So don't think the entire book is one giant liberal theology rant. But at times, his beliefs are somewhat confusing. For instance, he says that "ancient people, moved by their encounters with Jesus, sought to convey their appreciation for him in the only language they knew--miracle stories, parables, and wisdom sayings." Does this mean he believes Jesus didn't actually say what the Gospels said he did? Yet, a couple pages later, he quotes Jesus--and continues to quote him throughout the book. He sometimes says things that contradict other things that he claims. For example, he believes God is going to save every person, yet he says a couple of times that Heaven is a place no one knows even exists, suggesting that maybe he doesn't believe in Heaven--so what does he mean when he says God saves them? It seems to me that he should have either not voiced his liberal theology in order to make his opinion valid to more Christians, or he should have provided an introduction to his belief system that would make reading his book less confusing.
All of that being said, I don't want to put him in a bad light or suggest that you shouldn't read the book. We can all learn a lot from Gulley. In fact, I would say anyone in ministry--especially in church ministry--should read this book. He has a lot of great things to say from which we can learn a lot. We just have to read the book with a grain of salt. I definitely recommend it. It is very thought-provoking, challenging, convicting, and inspiring.