5 Stars Out Of 5
Start a Bible Study with this Book
July 19, 2012
About the Book
Although Western culture has been shaped for centuries by Christian teaching, a closer study of the Bible reveals that we routinely ignore the uncomfortable heart of New Testament ethics. It's too extreme, too confrontational. Even Christians pander to the world's way of thinking, making the astonishing bland.
Review by LLeweLLyn L. Cooper
What if I told you that a well-known and long established leader was born illegitimately, broke the local laws on a regular basis and rationalized it based on the fact that he considered himself the son of God? What if I told you that government operatives infiltrated his organization and singled him out to be tried and after being found not guilty by the local authorities, he was still publicly executed? Perhaps in an age of Sandusky, Tom-Kat and Kardashian quick divorces and Catholic cover-ups this might not come as a surprise. But I think that it would be at least noteworthy that now people tattoo this leader's name and symbol on their bodies, put bumper stickers representing him and what he stood for on their vehicles and other objects, and that his name and symbology is now often synonymous with well known Rappers such as Li'l Wayne and Kanye West and according to recent National News, more people are studying him and his teachings in neighborhood bars than in the local church.
If you had no prior knowledge of this person, would you want to know more about him and what he stood for?
In my pre-Seminary, "Power to the People" days, I might have wanted to know him. But now, as an aspiring minister and married father of three on the wrong side of thirty-something_oddly I do even more. The Jesus who most likely died before he was my age has oddly grown more radical as I have grown more (clutch the pearls) conservative. This is the Jesus we meet in Rev. Dr. David Instone-Brewster's new work from Kregel Publications The Jesus Scandals. In the book which was provided free of charge in exchange for this review, Instone-Brewer leads the reader not to, but away from conclusions about the "sweet little baby Jesus" so many people Christian and non- alike have come to mistakenly know.
In The Jesus Scandals, Instone-Brewer identifies thirty areas where Jesus challenged the assumptions and practices of His contemporaries with insights that provoked shrill opposition and that continue to generate debate today.
The author, Instone-Brewer (pictured above) is Senior Research Fellow and Technical Officer at Tyndale House, Cambridge. He is a Baptist minister and a rabbinic scholar. His ministry and writing seem to focus on the practical as well as the pastoral as evidenced by his many academic and popular articles, and his previous book Divorce and Remarriage in the Church: Biblical Solutions for Pastoral Realities.
Scandals is more than practical and pastoral, it is numbing. Still, what will sell this book(and because of its easy readability and precise scholarship, it should sell) will be how applicable it makes the bible subjects and stories that so many of us -even in professional ministry, have glossed over in favor of the old party line. How practical and applicable is it? As I write this, there is in my home state a bill in the Alabama Legislature to require a 30- day waiting period for couples to obtain a divorce. This legislation is a reversal of a law enacted around 1969 which made divorces much easier to come by. Instone-Brewster's chapter on and entitled "No-Fault Divorces " shows the historical and biblical parallels and precursors and how the cultural and spiritual causes surrounding all of the legal maneuvering are still in operation and therefore still creating the same challenges and still calling for the same solutions.
Scandals makes clear the fact that Christianity is a living religion. It is not a set of rules and regulations written in stone which are unchanging and unbreakable. Christianity is, for good or for loss, the trail that is continually left by the living Jesus Christ, so that even our sense of history has to be re-examined in light of what we learn as we go forward. Unfortunately, as with NCAA policy in the Sandusky case, divorce law in the cases of the Kardashians and the Cruises, and church polity in the several Catholic church cases, it took Scandals to open our eyes; hopefully Instone-Brewer's Scandals will reveal -as his subtitle suggestsâ€”"why he shocked his contemporaries and still shocks today."
Author Dr. David Instone-Brewster