Finding the God of Noah: The Spiritual Journey of a Baptist Minister from Christianity to the Laws of Noah

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Overview

Growing up in the rural South during the fifties, Rev. Davis notes that "there was never a time in my life that I was not aware of God." At age five he felt God's presence while lying on his back in a field of clover; but he did not feel that Presence in Church. More than fifteen years later, married with a family, Davis joined a Baptist church in Covington, Georgia. His questions about religion and the origins of Christianity only intensified, and he began a lifelong study of the Bible and of religion. ...
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Overview

Growing up in the rural South during the fifties, Rev. Davis notes that "there was never a time in my life that I was not aware of God." At age five he felt God's presence while lying on his back in a field of clover; but he did not feel that Presence in Church. More than fifteen years later, married with a family, Davis joined a Baptist church in Covington, Georgia. His questions about religion and the origins of Christianity only intensified, and he began a lifelong study of the Bible and of religion. Eventually he began formal study at an evangelical seminary and eventually became a highly successful preacher and minister. But the questions continued. Over time he and a core of his congregation concluded that in issue after issue the early Christian church had adopted pagan rituals and beliefs. They began to do away with them, one by one. In the end, he and his remaining congregants realized that they were called upon to be Noachides - followers of the laws which Jewish teaching ascribes to God's revelation to Noah. These include most of the Ten Commandments, with the exception of the Sabbath, but also other prohibitions - in all, some thirty commandments, as interpreted by Jewish thinkers through the ages. Now, some six years later, Mr. Davis' congregation is the largest Noachide group in the United States, and he has become one of the spokesmen for a growing number of non-Jews who follow the Jewish laws applicable to Gentiles, as interpreted by Jewish teaching. In Finding the God of Noah, a memoir of his religious life, Mr. Davis tells of the doubts and perplexities which first led to a deepening of his commitment to Southern Baptist theology, his successful career as a Baptist minister, and his progressive estrangement from it and from Christianity. It is also the story of a congregation which shared in Davis' religious quest.
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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
An intriguing, if highly flawed, combination of memoir and polemic on why a "Bible-thumping Baptist" minister renounces his Christian faith and helps create the new quasi=Jewish group, Bnai Noah

Raised in the heart of the Bible belt, in rural Georgia, Davis traces his growing doubts about what he sees as the ahistoricism and irrationality of Christian doctrine, including Jesus' virgin birth and divinity. Also feeling increasing disgust at the corruption of many evangelical preachers, he becomes interested in Christianity's Jewish roots, then in the Torah and Talmud themselves. Still working out of his church in Athens, Tenn., Davis helps organize others who intensely study, preach, and practice the seven ethical principles (such as prohibitions against illicit intercourse, theft, and murder) that God commands Adam and Noah, and through them all humans, to observe. All this is presented in fairly compelling prose. Unfortunately, Davis considerably undermines his presentation through an uncritical embrace of much of the theology and politics of some of the less appealing leaders of Orthodox Judaism; for example, he refers to the late, racist Rabbi Meir Kahane as "a giant in courage." In addition, he frequently resorts to the gratingly absolutist, stridently self- righteous rhetoric of the radical true believer, so that he declares that "Torah is a book of reality and everything else is fantasy," something most definitely not preached by classical Judaism. Finally, his work is highly uneven in its presentation of details. At one point, Davis offers pages of his arcane notes contrasting baptism and immersion in the mikveh (the Jewish ritual bath). Yet later, he alludes to, but never really details, the nature of Bnai Noah funeral.

Davis helps us appreciate much of traditional Judaism and pursues his intellectual and communal work in the fascinating lacunae between the Christian and Jewish communities. But the subject of the Bnai Noah awaits a more balanced and thoughtful presentation.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780881255355
  • Publisher: KTAV Publishing House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/25/1996
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2006

    An interesting spiritual journey

    A very interesting spiritual journey. I would also recommend his audio CD's about the Noahide Movement.

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