Jesus came preaching, but the church wound up preaching Jesus. Why does the church insist upon making Jesus the object of its attention rather than heeding his message? Esteemed Harvard minister Peter J. Gomes believes that excessive focus on the Bible and doctrines about Jesus have led the Christian church astray. "What did Jesus preach?" asks Gomes. To recover the transformative power of the gospel—"the good news"—Gomes says we must go beyond the Bible and rediscover how to live out Jesus' original revolutionary message of hope:
"Dietrich Bonhoeffer once warned against cheap grace, and I warn now against cheap hope. Hope is not merely the optimistic view that somehow everything will turn out all right in the end if everyone just does as we do. Hope is the more rugged, the more muscular view that even if things don't turn out all right and aren't all right, we endure through and beyond the times that disappoint or threaten to destroy us."
This gospel is offensive and always overturns the status quo, Gomes tells us. It's not good news for those who wish not to be disturbed, and today our churches resound with shrill speeches of fear and exclusivity or tepid retellings of a health-and-wealth gospel. With his unique blend of eloquence and insight, Gomes invites us to hear anew the radical nature of Jesus' message of hope and change. Using examples from ancient times as well as from modern pop culture, The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus shows us why the good news is every bit as relevant today as when it was first preached.
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About the Author
Peter J. Gomes has been minister of Harvard University's Memorial Church since 1974, when he was appointed Pusey Minister of the church, and serves as Plummer Professor of Christian Morals. An American Baptist minister, he was named one of America's top preachers by Time magazine. He is the recipient of thirty-three honorary degrees and an Honorary Fellow of Emmanuel College, the University of Cambridge, England, where the Gomes Lectureship is established in his name.
What People are Saying About This
"An incisive original.... [Gomes is] a born storyteller." -Publishers Weekly Starred Review
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Peter J.Gomes is a good writer. He's obviously well-educated and widely read, and makes thorough use of that background in this book. He reminds me very much of C.S. Lewis.What makes much of his writing, but especially this book, so interesting is his how old-fashioned he is. He is a truly conservative Christian. He laments the abandonment of church traditions, old hymns in particular, from which he quotes frequently throughout the book. But he is not by any measure a member of the "Religious Right". He puts forth a defense of homosexuality that is, to my knowledge, the most passionate and well-grounded in all Christendom (not that he has a great deal of competition).The depth and breadth of the author's knowledge makes this book stand out in a field that is depressingly lacking in intellectual vigor. Gomes doesn't rest on his scholarly laurels, however. It's obvious Gomes loves the Church, loves the traditions of Christianity, and has a great deal of understanding and compassion for the people within and without those traditions. This combination of heart and mind is a rare thing, and makes this book just as engrossing as his others.A final note. Gomes often repeats terms and phrases throughout the book. It might seem a bit odd and be a distraction to the reader. It should be remembered, though, that Gomes is a preacher from the American Baptist church. This sort of repetition is common and quite effective in preaching. If it's use in writing doesn't work for you, I suggest reading the book out loud as if you were preaching it to a congregation. You'll find it much more agreeable.