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The Future of Jesus – The Boyer Lectures

The Future of Jesus – The Boyer Lectures
By Dr Peter Jensen
ABC Books 2005
RRP $22.95

What is the place of Jesus in our culture and memory? For this most recent Boyer lecture series the ABC chose Jensen, outspoken conservative and controversial Anglican theologian, to address Jesus’ place in contemporary society. Jesus looks invisible, as four Australian academics nonchalantly quote Abraham Lincoln, “a house divided against itself cannot stand”. (Lincoln was quoting Mark 3:25)

In seven readable chapters Jensen explores the transformation of Christian thought from the revitalisation movement that arose in response to the misery, chaos, fear and brutality of life in the Graeco-Roman World to its current invisibility.

While some reviewers have been dismissive of Jensen’s unashamed focusing on Christ alone, Jensen makes this important comment; “Fundamentalism is not refuted with a sneer; if it needs refutation it is refuted by theology.”

In a theological diverse community polarised between conservative and progressive, there is a need to understand the underlying thinking which gives rise to current disagreements. The Future of Jesus is a useful starting point for understanding the basis for authentic conservative evangelical thought.

In our rapidly changing social context we have two alternatives: to refine our faith and practice in the light of what seems inevitable around us or to attempt to explain the mistakes of the past that have led to our current attitudes. Jensen does the latter. For example, in his last chapter he addresses the commonly held notion, especially among those controlling the media, that faith is private, both unjustifiable and irrefutable.

Whether Jensen’s suggestions for re-establishing Jesus in contemporary thought are compelling, will be a matter for careful reflection. Agree or disagree with him The Future of Jesus is definitely worth a read.