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Publication Date: 2014
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With this introduction here are my specific concerns about The End of Religion:
* Some statements could be interpreted as inclusivism * Cavey says that Jesus can offer spiritual help to people of other religions. He is seen as a rabbi to the Jews, a prophet to the Muslims, and avatar to the Hindus, and enlightened one to Buddhists. (pp. 11-12) Cavey tells me he means by this sentence that Jesus is already considered these things in other religions and this is a good starting point for evangelism. Still the comment is confusing in light of the resurgence of inclusivism today. We must be clear that Jesus came to seek and to save the lostto call them from their idols to the living God, not offer false religions spiritual help. I was further confused when the author speaks of an atheist as a committed Christ-follower. (p. 188) This is apparently a careless statement and does not reflect Caveys belief in the exclusivity of salvation through Christ alone. (p. 166)
* A misunderstanding of the kingdom of God * Cavey follows the theologically liberal postmillennial understanding of the kingdom that is prevalent in emergent circles. He writes, Every time we allow our choices to align with Gods will of love for us, we experience more of His kingdom on earth. (p. 125) It is common in many circles to point to the fact that Jesus often said that the kingdom was near; however it is seldom noticed that Jesus never said the kingdom was here and when Jesus ascended the Messianic kingdom had not yet come (Acts 1:6-8). They try to wrap their kingdom has come theology around Luke 17:21, which is actually a statement made by Jesus to the Pharisees and is not teaching an inner, spiritual kingdom (unless one wants to believe that the kingdom was presently in the hearts of the Pharisees who would soon murder Jesus).
* The search for the historic Jesus Commendably Cavey wants to take us back to a true picture of Jesus. (p. 25) Unfortunately, the portrait he paints of Jesus is, at times, a bit lopsided. For example, he showcases the love of Jesus but leaves out His anger. (p. 80) Jesus, Cavey states, never went out of His way to convince people they were sinners (p. 239) and He promoted a nonjudgmental spirituality. (p. 213) These statements are rather ambiguous. In light of Jesus rebukes (check out Matthew 23), and the numerous strong statements in the epistles (as a sampler try 2 Peter or Jude), to portray Jesus as all love and tenderness and not also extremely harsh on rebellious sinners is not a balanced picture. We as Christians are not to sit in judgment over nonessentials, nor are we the determiners of mens souls, but we certainly must, after examination of our own lives, deal with sin and false teaching in others (Matthew 7:5; 18:15-20). Cavey tells me in his letter that he is in strong agreement with my comment here.
* Confusing statements concerning the gospel As far as I can tell (from the book and correspondence with Cavey), he understands and teaches the biblical gospel message (see especially pp. 237-241). Therefore it is disconcerting to read an almost direct quote from Brian McLaren, Salvation is not ultimately about going to heaven as a disembodied spirit, but about the renewal of all creation back to what it should have been in the first place (p. 198; see also pp. 213, 238). Restoring the planet has become the gospel message of emergent. In the process it is hoped that many will become Christ-followers, even if they remain Buddhists or Muslims. But the real issue is bringing the kingdom to earth through our good deeds. Even though Cavey rejects this understanding of the gospel, these are the things that McLaren references when he makes such statements.
* Some unfortunate statements concerning Scripture One of the most disconcerting aspects of The End of Religion is some weak statements pertaining to Scripture. Cavey, perhaps because he sees this book as addressed to unbelievers, carefully tiptoes around the proclamation that the Bible is inspired by God. He admits the Gospels are historically more valid than many of us have been led to believe (p. 24), and God commissioned the Bible (p. 255), but he comes up short in pronouncing a belief in an inspired Bible. In the same arena, he often pits Jesus against the Word. Truth is a person to be known, not a collection of disembodied facts to be studied...When God wants to share His heart with us, He gives us Jesus (p. 175, see p. 210). True enough, but what we know about Jesus is found in the Scriptures, not in mystical experiences or the like. He quotes Larry Crabb who writes, Jesus seekers across the world are being prepared to abandon the old way of the written code for the new way of the Spirit (p. 159), which in its context is a call to mystical Christianity. Cavey also accepts rhetorical hermeneutics (also embraced by McLaren) which is an approach to Scripture in which more attention is paid to body language than to the words (pp. 134-135).
* The Pharisees Cavey paints the Pharisees as the ultimate bad boys of religion. Fair enough. But then he misunderstands the real problem and lumps Bible lovers (he calls them the dreaded fundamentalists) with them. He claims the Pharisees were the Bible-fundamentalists of their day. If they had a motto it would have been, The Bible says it. That settles it. I believe it. Lets do it. (p. 97) He could not be more inaccurate. Jesus never condemned the Pharisees for their Bible-thumping (p. 80) but for their distortion, supplementing, and invalidation of Scripture (Matthew 15:1-9), something Cavey seems to recognize (p. 102), but sometimes ignores.
Finally, I found it disturbing when, after summarizing what Jesus taught about sin, Cavey states, I am inclined to agree. Perhaps this is a misstatement but I find it amazing that a Christ-follower is inclined to agree with Jesus. Does it really matter if we agree or not? And if we dont agree are we not simply wrong? On the other hand I am not certain how settled Cavey is in his Christ-following mode. In a footnote he expresses his belief in the historic Jesus, but if he is wrong about this he wants to find the real man behind the stories and follow him: For now, Im happy to call that person Jesus. (p. 244) It sounds like he is still open to other options. Again, in Caveys letter to me he affirms his commitment is to Christ and His teachings, and he was simply using understatement as a communication tool. I have encouraged him to make this far more clear in future writings.
The End of Religion makes some good points about religion and even sin. Cavey correctly writes, Rightly understood, sin is a good-news idea Jesus taught that sin is forgivable karma, by definition is not. (p. 78) Still there are a number of issues that are of concern and/or need further explanation. As an added note, even as Cavey is writing this book against religion, many in the emergent fellowship are headed toward traditions and rituals in the form of the Ancient-Future Faith movement, including McLaren. Caveys position (pp. 107, 211, 220-221, 237) would be out of sync with this new direction. I believe the overall theme of The End of Religion is much more in line with the teaching of Scripture than the Ancient-Future Faith or emergent movement. Cavey tells me that he is not part of the emergent movement. If so, I would encourage him to clarify this in his writings and especially to distance himself from Brian McLaren. -- Gary Gilley, ChristianBookPreviews.com
StefRegina, Sask. CanadaAge: 45-54Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5March 6, 2012StefRegina, Sask. CanadaAge: 45-54Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This is one of the best three books that I have read in my lifetime. Bruxy has an incredible gift. A must read!
Gregory FindlayWichita Falls, TXAge: 55-65Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5December 13, 2008Gregory FindlayWichita Falls, TXAge: 55-65Gender: maleThe concepts in this book have 'radically' changed my approach to my Christian walk. I was so impressed with it that I bought three to share with friends who are seeking right now. The concepts Bruxy offers will help them overcome many of the 'religious' obstacles they face.
L.D.M.5 Stars Out Of 5November 2, 2008L.D.M.a fantastic book. theologically sound, but in clear, concise, day-to-day language that puts the bible in a 21st century perspective. Up there with N.T. Wright, and C.S. Lewis.
Jodi Rainford5 Stars Out Of 5December 27, 2007Jodi RainfordBruxy delves into a decidedly irreligious view of Jesus. He is able to speak to Christians and spiritual seekers alike. To Christians, he encourages revisiting the basis of their faith...following Jesus, rather than following religious dogma. To spiritual seekers he encourages the same thought process, but in a non-preachy way, providing a non-threatening look into the real basis of Christianity...following Jesus, rather than following religious dogma. At all times, Bruxy encourages everyone to do their own research, ask their own questions, and follow the evidence where it leads.
Timothy Fisher5 Stars Out Of 5October 31, 2007Timothy FisherBruxy Cavey has written an excellent book in <I>The End of Religion</I>. This book will help both followers of Christ and spiritual inquirers sort through religious baggage in order to see the person of Jesus Christ with fresh eyes, and hopefully, fresh eyes of faith.
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