Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book Review: The Jesus Scandals

Over the past month or so, I have been reading The Jesus Scandals by David Instone-Brewer.  With a subtitle like Why He Shocked His Contemporaries (and Still Shocks Today) I knew this was a book I had to read.

I wasn't disappointed.  In fact, this book went beyond my expectations. 

From the publisher:
Although Western culture has been shaped for centuries by Christian teaching, a closer study of the Bible reveals that we routinely ignore the uncomfortable heart of New Testament ethics. It's too extreme, too confrontational. Even Christians pander to the world's way of thinking, making the astonishing bland.
In The Jesus Scandals, Dr. David Instone-Brewer identifies thirty areas where Jesus challenged the assumptions and practices of His contemporaries with insights that provoked shrill opposition and that continue to generate debate today. Some of these issues are familiar to us, such as the killing of unwanted children. But Jesus also taught His disciples humility--to take lowly titles, to consider themselves less; the New Testament church soon chose to ignore that teaching, just as we continue to do today.
Instone-Brewer has split this book up into three sections:
  1. Scandals in Jesus' Life
  2. Scandals Among Jesus' Friends
  3. Scandals in Jesus' Teaching
These chapters contain 6-12 chapters each (30 in all) that are fairly short (5-6 pages) and very easy to read.  Each also contains quite a bit to think about, and most contain tidbits of cultural or historical information that I didn't know.  And I found it fascinating.

I'm planning to work through some of these with my kids -- the older two, mostly -- over the next few months.  This isn't a book you necessarily want to just hand over to kids though.  There are some pretty serious issues being addressed, and I know I would prefer to have read the material before trying to talk it over with my young teens.   Rape, sexual abuse of children, prostitution, lap-dancing... just to name a few topics that come up.

The book is fantastic.  Totally worth reading.

Disclaimer:  I received this book through Kregel Blog Tours.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions expressed in this review are my own.   

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