Unimaginable: What Our World Would Be Like Without Christianity
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Unimaginable: What Our World Would Be Like Without Christianity

Baker Books / 2017 / Hardcover

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Is God dying? That’s what some people think and want. They say Christian beliefs and our way of life aren’t relevant anymore. But what critics and even many churchgoers don’t realize is the life-changing importance of Christianity. Offering an inspiring look at the positive influence of Christianity, both historically and today, Jeremiah Johnston explores how the plights of women and children were forever changed by Jesus; how believers today are extending God's kingdom through charities and social justice; and more. Unimaginable is a book for anyone concerned about where our world is heading as it moves further away from the influences that Christianity has had on society.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Baker Books
Publication Date: 2017
Dimensions: 9 X 6 (inches)
ISBN: 0764230816
ISBN-13: 9780764230813

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Publisher's Description

A Stirring Account of Christianity's Power for Good

In a day when Christians are often attacked for their beliefs, professor and speaker Jeremiah Johnston offers an inspiring look at the positive influence of Christianity, both historically and today. In Unimaginable, you'll discover the far-reaching ways that Christianity is good for the world--and has been since the first century AD--including:
· How the plights of women and children in society were forever changed by Jesus
· Why democracy and our education and legal systems owe much to Christianity
· How early believers demonstrated the inherent value of human life by caring for the sick, handicapped, and dying
· How Christians today are extending God's kingdom through charities, social justice efforts, and other profound ways

Like It's a Wonderful Life, the classic film that showed George Bailey how different Bedford Falls would be without his presence, Unimaginable guides readers through the halls of history to see how Jesus' teachings dramatically changed the world and continue to be the most powerful force for good today. This provocative and enlightening book is sure to encourage believers and challenge doubters.

Author Bio

Jeremiah J. Johnston, PhD, is a New Testament scholar and frequent contributor to national publications and shows, including USA Today, Fox News, CNN, Relevant, The Christian Post, and numerous other media outlets. Known for his unique communication skills and his infectious love for people, Jeremiah ministers internationally in partnership with the Museum of the Bible and is president of the Christian Thinkers Society, a resident institute at Houston Baptist University, where he serves as Associate Professor of Early Christianity. He is the author of Unanswered: Lasting Truth for Trending Questions. Jeremiah and his family live in Houston. Learn more at ChristianThinkers.com.

Product Reviews

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  1. Mark
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    interesting but sobering read
    January 21, 2018
    Mark
    Quality: 4
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 4
    I had a little difficulty getting into this book at first, but the further I read, the more interesting it got. The book is split up into three parts:

    The World Before Christianity

    The World Without Christianity

    The World With Christianity

    The author discusses leaders of Rome such as Nero and Caligula, goes further up in time to Hitler and others, and shows the effects those evil men had when it seemed Christianity was barely existing. He does a great job of showing what the world would truly be like were it not for Christianity, while showing the effect Christianity has on the world. The book is an interesting, yet sobering read as one realizes that even today there are those who would like to rid the world of Christianity, and what a world without it might look like.
  2. Gazpacho
    Harrison, MI
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: Female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Helping us connect the dots: or history could repeat itself
    January 18, 2018
    Gazpacho
    Harrison, MI
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    The author of Unimaginable, Dr. Jeremiah Johnston, has written this book to aid both Christians and non-believers in appreciating the events that occurred in the past, especially those we need to avoid repeating in the future. He begins his task by asking this question: What would the world be like if Christianity had not emerged, and what would happen if Christianity disappeared today? This is something that's not really as difficult to understand as it may seem. Through extensive and careful research the author presents to his readers what the world was like before Jesus appeared on the scene. That's the topic of the first of three sections. What we read in this part of the book may just surprise many people.

    The second section refreshes our memories of a group of men who at the early part of the nineteenth century turned their backs on the Christian world. Their influence led the Western world in the name of Enlightenment into bloodbath after bloodbath. It is not a pleasant part of world history. The third section introduces the idea that in spite of the philosophies of these influential men, Christianity continued to instill in its followers the value of life and human dignity. This led to humanitarian efforts that spread all throughout the world to every corner of the earth, including the world in which we presently live. Trying to imagine what it would be like if faith-based humanitarian aid was never sent to areas in America affected by fire, floods, storms, and illness is taxing. Try to imagine what the health situation of the countries without healthcare offered by faith-based hospitals and other care organizations is almost impossible.

    These three sections are short and written in conversational manner, making this book approachable for nearly anyone. In reading these parts, I got the sense that Dr. Johnston was sharing with us only the very tip of the iceberg. There was so much more he could have shared in this book. But one of the things I have noticed about the author is that his purpose is to communicate what is important to his listeners or readers. He didn't get lost in the details. He is an intellectual that instead of preferring to stay isolated in a bubble away from everyone else, wants to reach out and assist people with understanding the "why" behind his assertions. I have watched some of his speaking engagements on You Tube and was impressed with his personable mannerism. His is truly a mission of the heart.

    For me, the true gold of this book is in the references. In reading through all the pages of references Dr. Johnston includes in the book, I realized how much more in depth we could read and learn. His sources are scholarly and wide reaching. This is the part of the book that can offer more if you have an inquisitive friend who isn't satisfied with the interpretation the author offers. That makes this book a great resource, not only for yourself but for others who want to know more.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a review copy of this book from Cross Focused Reviews on behalf of Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group. I was not required to write a review, positive or otherwise. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
  3. val
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    unimaginable
    January 8, 2018
    val
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    excellent book! covers lots of history and people and events that I have heard of but really didn't know the story behind. very informative and so relevant in our times! I give it an A+!
  4. bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: Female
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Only the good things done in the name of Christianity
    December 26, 2017
    bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 3
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 2
    Johnston has written this book to show that the world would be a much darker place were it not for Christianity. (195) He includes great stories of the benefits Christianity has brought to humanity. He looks at atheists and how they have influenced the world. He includes critiques of their characters and works.

    While there is much to like about this book, there were some aspects of it that disappointed me. One was some of the unfounded statements Johnston made. He writes, for example, "Readers should know that the gulf between science and faith has long been bridged. Christian scholars and scientists recognize how Scripture and science, in fact, complement one another." (79) My goodness, I wish that were true. Truthfully, there is still much controversy in reconciling science and Scripture. This is evidenced by a recent critique of Theistic Evolution that is a thousand pages long.

    Another area was a sort of white washing of Christianity where it has not been practiced correctly and has not been as good as it could have been. An example is marital infidelity. Johnston makes a big deal about the marriage failures of atheists. Yet he never mentions similar marriage failures among Christians, especially pastors. Nor does he mention the recent sexual molestation scandals involving Roman Catholic priests. While he mentions that Dawkins was molested at a young age in an Anglican boarding school, he does not take ownership of that event as an example the failure of Christianity as it is sometimes practiced. (104)

    He writes about how slavery was not done away with in secular societies. While he mentions how Christians in the U.S. south referenced the Bible to defend their use of slaves and their continued practice of slavery, he says we are not to take such errant use of Scriptures as the norm for Christianity. Never mind that those Christians did not think their use of Scripture was errant at the time.

    He has glowing remarks for Christianity and racism yet I saw hatred and extreme racism from "Christians" in the last U.S. presidential campaign and election. He writes about how women are treated so terribly in non-Christian societies yet never addresses how, even in the "Christian" United States, women had to fight for the right to vote, the right to own property, and the right to equal pay.

    This is a book for Christians to make them feel good about Christianity and its role in history. Unfortunately, since Christianity is lived out by imperfect people and that was not pointed out by Johnston, there is much in this book atheists will be able to criticize. If we are going to draw attention to all of the good things done in the name of Christianity over the centuries, we need to own up to the bad things too. Be sure to know that critics of Christianity will point them out to us if we do not recognize them ourselves.

    If we lived in a world where Christianity was lived out perfectly, now that would be truly unimaginable.
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