1 Stars Out Of 5
theologically liberal view of Jesus' words
November 1, 2012
Oak Harbor, WA
Hart writes that he has spent years meditating on the Sermon on the Mount. He shares the impact on him, a man who has lived a while. "I would like to just listen, think, ruminate, and take notes." (3)
However, this book is much more scholarly than just his ruminating and taking notes. He quotes the Didache, for example.
I was disappointed to read that Hart says Gehenna is not a real place nor a state of being. Its use is figurative, he says. (47) Nor is it an everlasting place of torment. It is not to be taken literally. Hart wants to avoid the "exaggerated concepts of a fairy-tale 'hell'..." (48)
Hart believes the Sermon on the Mount can be lived, partly because he not not believe humanity is "totally depraved" and incapable of any true goodness. (44)
So, theologically, Hart and I are miles apart.
Hart has an understanding of turning the other cheek (Matt.5:39) that I had never read before. He writes that it is, "in fact, a defiant act." (62) The "other" cheek is the left cheek, associated with dishonor. "To turn the left side toward one who strikes you is bold and resistant, but nonviolent. It shows lack of respect, an unyielding stance, but also a refusal to hit back." (62)
Hart sees the Sermon on the Mount as a call to examine our lives at the deepest level and to work on our own transformation. It is a handbook for disciples who want their lives to remain consistent with the character of God's kingdom and righteousness. (131)
Just a word of caution as conservative evangelical Christians will not agree with Hart's theology regarding sin, judgment, and hell.
An extensive discussion guide has been included.