HarperOne, 2009, RRP $20.99
Reviewed by Karyl Davison, Pilgrim Learning Community and Rural Ministry Coordinator for the Central Queensland and Mary Burnett Presbyteries.
AS PART of the worldwide Christian church we have an amazing and transforming message to share – the gospel of Jesus Christ.
But in a society that sorely needs something real to change lives, much of the church looks more like just another service provider, selling easy answers for individual salvation.
Congregational pastor and author Robin Meyers surveys the state of the church and contemporary Christianity, both conservative and liberal, and doesn’t find much that points to the message of Jesus.
He suggests the church has overemphasised belief and individual piety over lives lived in reflection of Jesus.
That is, we are so busy worshipping the Christ as a “supernatural deity on a rescue mission” that we forget what it means to follow Jesus.
Particularly helpful is Mr Meyers’ exploration of the developing theology in the New Testament scriptures.
Using Jesus’ parables as an example Mr Meyers notes that Mark, the earliest gospel, has an entire chapter of parables including the line indicating that Jesus did not even speak to his disciples “except in parables”.
But by the time of John’s gospel, Jesus has become the pre-existent Christ with not a parable to be found.
This well written book would make a great resource for group study, although there are no discussion questions included.
It does assume some familiarity with contemporary biblical scholarship, however it does a good job of summarising existing scholarship and asking the question: “So what do we do now?”
I commend this book to anyone who really wants to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Do you have the courage?