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Stealing Jesus


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  • 3 weeks later...

The following is my review of a similar book called Ten Things I Learned Wrong in a Conservative Church by John Killinger. In it I mention my thoughts about Stealing Jesus and Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism:


Here is the review of that book that I posted at amazon.com:


Authored by a former prominent Southern Baptist pastor and professor who was once deemed a "rising star" in that denomination, this book provides the wisdom, insights and learnings of a veteran pastor who is now able to reflect back upon the experiences of his truly dynamic career.

This work offers the general public insights into our nation's largest Protestant denomination that only a well positioned insider could possibly have discerned. I read Killinger's book over the course of only two days. It is very well written and truly compelling - you can't wait to read what he has to say next!


The work is somewhat similar to that of Bruce Bawer's "Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity" as well as to the popular "Rescuing the Bible From Fundamentalism" by John Shelby Spong, but is more balanced, less dense, and much less strident in tone than the others.


I am tempted to assert that Killinger, in a few places, may have "overstated" or "overly generalized" in his remarks about the ways and practices of the Southern Baptist Convention, but it could well be that he isn't. If not, then this work shines a truly needed exposing light upon the denomination that is most represented in our current U.S. Congress - and that currently has "the keys to the kingdom" of current U.S. foreign and domestic policy.


In this United Methodist pastor's opinion, this work ought to be required reading in all mainline seminaries and I highly recommend it for adult Sunday School or church book club discussions.


Other books of a similar nature include: "Theological Crossfire: An Evangelical/Liberal Dialogue" by Clark Pinnock and Delwin Brown; "Liberals & Other Born-Again Christians: Many Minds, One Heart," by Sally Geis; "The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Heart and Mind," by Peter Gomes.


For those who are currently reconsidering their theological commitments, I recommend exploring: "Good Goats: Healing Our Image of God," Dennis Linn; "The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion to a More Contemporary Faith," Marcus Borg; "God of the Possible: A Biblical Introduction to the Open View of God," Gregory Boyd; "Most Moved Mover: A Theology of God's Opneness," Clark Pinnock; "The Powers That Be: Theology for a New Millennium," Walter Wink; and "Grace & Responsibility: A Wesleyan Theology for Today," John Cobb, Jr.


Here are the 10 chapter titles (the ten "wrong teachings"):

1. The Bible is the Literal, Inerrant Word of God

2. God is a Great Moral Judge, and Therefor Jesus Had to Die for our Sins

3. Jesus is the Only Way to God

4. There is No Salvation Outside the (Conservative) Church

5. Worship is Proclamation before it is Anything Else

6. Spiritual People Don't Drink, Dance, or Come out of the Closet

7. Religion is a Man's Business

8. Faith is Always Truer than Science

9. When Bad Things Happen to Good People, There is Always a Reason

10. Conservatives Want Everybody to be Free

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Well I didnt' find either Spong's book or Bawer's to be particularly shrill, but it may be from the situation I have come from with a fundie sister that is always trying to convert me. It is rather cathartic to read these types of things. But to someone who isn't hearing that all the time...


BTW, I think Spong's book of the two is more "serious" and scholarly. There is a bit more reaction and pure commentary is Bawer as when he describes a megachurch. One thing he doesn't mention is that many fundies dislike that type of church too. They think of them as Christianity "lite". So his reaction to them might be shared by more conservative people as well.


I will have to get a hold of this book you recommend though.




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  • 7 years later...

I thought Stealing Jesus was an outstanding book. I thought Bawer did a great job of supportig "the church of love" over "the church of law." Also, when he started talking about vertical growth vs. horizontal growth, my issues with the church, and humanity in general, started become more clear. Most growth nowadays is a very shallow, worldly growth and most people never really look deeply at who they truly are and their relationship with the infinite.


I will have to look at Killinger's book if Rog says it is better. :)

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