Unconditional?: The Call of Jesus to Radical Forgiveness

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Overview

Should we always forgive? Is forgiveness always even possible? Does forgiveness enable evil? Does it sacrifice justice? Are there ANY limits? In a world where the ugliness of rage and retaliation are driving the story line, Unconditional? offers the beauty, reconciliation, and total restoration of forgiveness the way Jesus taught us to live it. More than just another biblical exposition, this audio book begins with the horror of the Holocaust as it explores what forgiveness means--and how far it should go--in the...

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Overview

Should we always forgive? Is forgiveness always even possible? Does forgiveness enable evil? Does it sacrifice justice? Are there ANY limits? In a world where the ugliness of rage and retaliation are driving the story line, Unconditional? offers the beauty, reconciliation, and total restoration of forgiveness the way Jesus taught us to live it. More than just another biblical exposition, this audio book begins with the horror of the Holocaust as it explores what forgiveness means--and how far it should go--in the real world of murder, rape, child abuse, genocide, and other atrocities. With unusual honesty, compassion, and depth, Zahnd incorporates some of the most compelling and difficult thoughts on the subject from history's writers, philosophers, and theologians--always returning to the example Jesus gave us with his life and his death.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this insightful critique of contemporary Christianity, Zahnd (What to Do on the Worst Day of Your Life), pastor and founder of Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, Mo., challenges Christians to make Jesus' call to forgiveness central to their faith. He bases his argument that Christians are not merely forgiven--a belief he considers "cheap grace"-- but also called to "extend the grace of forgiveness to others" on his compelling analysis of the Sermon on the Mount, as well as Jesus' teaching and life, particularly Jesus' own plea on behalf of his executioners. In addition to drawing examples of radical forgiveness from scripture and literature, Zahnd provides powerful role models from recent history: Nelson Mandela's seeking reconciliation in postapartheid South Africa; the astonishing response of the Amish community to the murder of Amish schoolchildren in 2006; Pope John Paul II's befriending of his would-be assassin; and numerous others who chose to "end the cycle of revenge." Zahnd's evident preaching skills enliven this thought-provoking book; for example, he asks: "Who has fired the gun of hate at your heart?" The author may shake up his presumed readership of fellow evangelical Christians with his challenges to red-state America, and his demanding yet hopeful arguments deserve attention from Christians of all persuasions. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
I have been waiting for a book like the one you are holding in your hand. In a fresh and compelling way, Zahnd urges all of us to give up on consumerism and hostility toward those who differ from us and practice generous and forgiving grace. --From the Foreword by Miroslav Volf, Professor of Theology, Yale University
 
Pastor Brian Zahnd is a fellow dreamer with a daring vision for the church today.  He is a passionate voice offering practical and biblical revelation on the art of forgiveness and the challenge of following Christ’s example in our everyday lives. --Brian Houston, Senior Pastor, Hillsong Church
 
Radical forgiveness is the most important—and most difficult—ethical imperative there is. This book couldn’t be more important. Zahnd’s voice—a very compelling voice—is 100 percent there, nothing fake, nothing contrived. People will love the book if they read it. I very much hope they do. --Clancy Martin, Professor of Philosophy, University of Missouri - Kansas City, and Author of How to Sell
 
As a pastor, I have read many excellent books on forgiveness. Brian Zahnd’s is among the finest I’ve ever read. This book is filled with inspiring stories of forgiveness and keen theological and biblical insights. If I had to recommend just one book on forgiveness, this would be it. --Rev. Adam Hamilton, Senior Pastor, Church of the Resurrection, and author of When Christians Get It Wrong
 
As the niece of a Holocaust survivor, I have often asked myself the very question posed by this book—“What would I have done?” Zahnd challenges us to take forgiveness to an unprecedented level and to truly forgive as Jesus did. Eye opening, thought provoking; a must read! --Dr. Sherill Piscopo, Evangel Association of Churches & Ministries, Roseville, MI
 
What a book! Unconditional? is the best I have ever read on the subject of forgiveness. It is a riveting and challenging book. --Vinson Synan, Professor of Church History and Dean Emeritus, Regent University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781609812423
  • Publisher: Oasis Audio
  • Publication date: 1/4/2011
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Library Unabridged, Library Edition
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Brian Zahnd and his wife Peri live in St. Joseph, Missouri where they pastor Word of Life Church.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Chapter 1:        The Question of Forgiveness

Using Simon Wiesenthal’s The Sunflower to raise questions about forgiveness. Based on sermon # 2477.

Chapter 2:        The Possibility of Forgiveness

Using the story of Corrie ten Boom’s forgiveness of a Nazi guard to show that though forgiveness can be difficult, in Christ it is possible.

Chapter 3:        The Imitation of Christ

Using Pope John Paul II and his forgiveness of his would-be assassin Ali Agca to show how we are to imitate Christ in forgiveness. Based on sermon # 2480.

Chapter 4:        No Future Without Forgiveness

Using Desmond Tutu’s story of reconciliation in South Africa to show that only through forgiveness can we move forward into a hopeful future. Based on sermon # 2482.

Chapter 5:        Forgiveness That Transcends Tragedy

Using the story of the Amish schoolhouse shooting in Nickel Mines, PA, to show how tragic injustice does not have to define us or have the last word. Based on sermon # 2485.

Chapter 6:        Forgiveness and Justice

Using help from Miroslav Volf’s Exclusion and Embrace to explore the difficult relationship between forgiveness and justice.

Chapter 7:        Killing the Hostility

Working from Ephesians 2 to show how the “us vs. them” mentality is to be named, shamed, and rejected. Based on sermon # 2571.

Chapter 8:        The Golden Rule and the Narrow Gate

Working from the Sermon on the Mount to show how the Golden Rule is the Narrow Gate of radical forgiveness which alone leads to life. Based on sermon # 2567.

Chapter 9:        Beauty Will Save The World

Using Hans Ur Van Balthazar’s Cruciform Theology to show how the ugliness of crucifixion becomes the beauty of God’s saving grace. Based on sermon # 2586.

Chapter 10:      The Prince of Peace

Working from Isaiah 9 and the Dietrich Bonhoeffer quote—“No peace is peace but that which comes through the forgiveness of sins”— to show how the hope for peace is found only in forgiveness.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Redefining, and Remolding the Christian's Understanding of Forgiveness

    Redefining, and Remolding the Christian's Understanding of Forgiveness, Reconciliation, and Restoration Brian Zahnd's Unconditional" is already being highly acclaimed by a broad spectrum of Christian leaders and is destined to join the ranks of the classics of Christian literature. Zahnd's message is fresh, relevant, and unyielding. He challenges the status quo and calls for a vibrant authentic compelling faith patterned after the model Christ left for us. In a day when pay-backs and reciprocal revenge have become expected and accepted, Brian Zahnd invites the reader to revisit, rethink, and restore God's design for forgiveness. This calls for a deeper understanding of forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration. It is time for the Christian to answer the call to a new world view which demonstrates that "forgiveness has the capacity to rescue human society from the destructive vortex of violence and vengeance and give us a healing alternative." The act of forgiveness is imperative if humankind is to experience world peace. Filled with illustrations drawn from the lives of survivors of unimaginable torture, suffering, pain, and hurt, as well as Biblical examples, and contemporary stories "Unconditional" heralds the heroes of the faith who have understood that forgiveness is the very core of "transcending beyond tragedy." Each chapter includes a number of highlighted penetrating profound summary statements ideal for reflection, meditation and personal application. Brian draws from the writings of a wide range of classical authors, well known theologians, songwriters, and contemporary journalists as his resources. These are thoroughly documented in the chapter notes at the close of the book. Riveting, Revolutionary, and Relevant inadequately express the depth, challenge, and insight contained between the covers of Brian Zahnd's new book "Unconditional: the Call of Jesus to Radical Forgiveness." A complementary review copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. As Reviewed for Midwest Book Review

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2012

    Compelling read

    Just finished and thoroughly enjoyed the book. The author does not just offer lofty idaals but real life examples. He offers hope that a Christlike life is possible.

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  • Posted March 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Faithful Folios Review

    Vertical Reach = 3
    Zahnd explores the concept of forgiveness in its purest form as exacted by Christ on the cross. There are not any references to personal prayers between Zahnd and God but his entire book is about the importance of forgiveness as part of our relationship with God.

    Ministry Message =5
    Forgiveness when executed as stated and required in the word is unconditional. Our lives should reflect a faith where forgiveness is not an option but a way of life.

    Craft= 5
    Brian Zahnd writing is insightful and persuasive without being manipulative or condescending. Through exposition, scripture, and testimony Zahnd expounds on the revelation that the Westernized version of following Christ American has been feeding on for the last twenty five to thirty years is NOT on par with the bible and he does this without condemnation or sounding preachy. Exemplary job!

    Aesthetics= 4
    The cover is thought provoking, simple and clean. I don't know what could make it jump it is well matched for it's target market.

    This book was provided for review by the publisher.

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  • Posted January 5, 2011

    Unconditional Forgiveness?

    Should we always forgive?

    Is forgiveness always even possible?

    Does forgiveness enable evil?

    Does it sacrifice justice?

    Are there ANY limits?

    This has been one of the most extensive books on unconditional forgiveness I have ever read. I wondered when I started the book how anyone could write this much on forgiveness. Brian brings in different levels of forgiveness that can only be accomplished by God through His Son, Jesus, and what He accomplished on the cross. He brings to light the depth of the cross and God's love and forgiveness.

    Unconditional forgiveness even comes into play through the most horrific atrocities of man against man-the Holocaust victims, rape, murder, child abuse, infanticide, elder abuse, etc. Yet he continually brings us back to reconciliation and restoration of forgiveness through the cross.

    He elaborates on many personal stories, making us wonder how or if we can forgive. Sometimes forgiveness is a daily battle, but it's not about feelings. It's a choice that we all must make. In fact, Jesus tells us to 'love our enemies and pray for those who spitefully use us.' Is it easy? No. That's where the power of the cross comes in.

    Some of the highlights include:

    * If Christianity isn't about forgiveness, it's about nothing at all.
    * Jesus's message of love and forgiveness is not rooted in a naive optimism but in the grace that takes the blame, covers the shame, and removes the stain and the endless cycle of revenge.
    * Christ's followers are called to radical, unreasonable, reckless, endless, and seemingly impossible forgiveness.
    * Not only does forgiveness open new possibilities for the future, but forgiveness also gives us a new perspective on the past. In some mysterious (Godly) way that we may not be able to fully comprehend, forgiveness seems to have the capacity to redeem the past. (my emphasis)
    * Forgiveness.gives the possibility of a future unchained from the past and free of bitterness.
    * Allowing forgiveness to purge the unforgiveness in our hearts is what enables us to move beyond injustice and not be chained to it for life.
    * Forgiveness frames your future-without it, there really is no future.
    * The way of forgiveness does not forget the past, but through truth and reconciliation, it finds a way beyond toxic memory. It is the way of restorative justice.
    * Radical forgiveness is what it means to take up your cross and follow Jesus.

    Unconditional? The Call of Jesus to Radical Forgiveness deliberately meddles in your life in a good way, to help you grow up in Christ. No one is excluded. But Jesus gives us the power to forgive if we allow Him to. Yes, we may stumble along the way, but He is there to help you walk it out.

    I highly recommend that you pick this book up and read it through several times. It will change your life if you follow through on it with the Lord. It doesn't always happen in a day, but starting will bring you life.

    Special thanks to Anna Silva | Publicity Coordinator, Book Group | Strang Communications for sending me a review copy.

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