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Beauty Will Save the World: Rediscovering the Allure and Mystery of Christianity Paperback – January 3, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Brian Zahnd is blunt, bold, and biblical—an authentic prophetic voice in the lineage of Elijah and Amos." —Eugene H. Peterson, Professor Emeritus, Regent College, and Translator of The Message

About the Author

Brian Zahnd is the founding pastor of Word of Life Church,  a thriving congregation in St. Joseph, Missouri.
 
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Charisma House (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616385855
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616385859
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I read Beauty Will Save the World and was impressed on so many levels. I am a Christian but I had considered walking away from the Church, and for a brief spell actually did. I had got to the point where it seemed like Christianity had nothing stimulating to say. There is nothing wrong with getting right with God and accepting Jesus as my savior but I just knew there had to be more to following Christ than that.

Brian Zahnd helped me re-discover the true center of Christianity. Jesus was not only crucified but Jesus forgave those who crucified him. Jesus calls us to love the world as He loves the world, to make love and forgiveness the new center of human society. My personal salvation is indeed only half the story because Jesus brings salvation to human society as well. There is a way of life that is beautifull and Jesus shows us the way. This is a message needed in the modern world. There is a whole new context for being Christian and living Christ-like. Key to this is understanding the beauty of Christ on the Cross, living the sermon on the mount, and how that beauty changes how we see and live in this world.

The message is not brought to the reader by treatises, statements of doctrine, or argumentation. The book uses stories, usually real life stories, and insightful metaphors. Brian Zahnd is not trying to convince the reader to change their mind but helping the reader see life through a new lens.

On a more personal note for the last several years it seemed like all the intellectually stimulating and interesting books on theology and ethics were written by writers such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. These atheists never convinced me to abandon my belief in God but were thought stimulating and effective at pointing out where many Christians had gone wrong.
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Format: Paperback
I have the greatest respect for Pastor Zahnd's ability to inspire through helping our
belief that the deepest, purest longings of our heart can be realized.
His books are historical, Scriptural, and written with great clarity.
Ultimately they help us to draw nearer to God through a broader perspective
and greater understanding of basic doctrine in an contemporary way.
Zahnd appeals to our reason, while sharing glimpses of the depths and heights of
faith, hope,and love as a beautiful mystery embraced universally by humanity.
He writes in a highly educated, life lived to the fullest, fashion.
Embracing the concepts of Christian courage and faith in Zahnd's first book,
the forgiveness of unconditional love in his second, and beauty in his third
would not only change the world, it would go a long way to making it what it was created to be.
You will not easily forget what he has written.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Brian Zahnd does an excellent job at extrapolating the many beautiful qualities of the life and message of Christ and examining them in light of how they relate to believers and our interaction with the world in which we live. My favorite chapter was the last one, "A Shelter from the Storm" in which he carefully examines the Beatitudes of Jesus. This chapter, along with the entire book will challenge your faith, especially for those Christians who are caught up in the systems of this world. Zahnd does a great job contrasting the kingdom of God with the kingdoms of this world and shows the huge difference between them. A person can ultimately choose to live contently in the kingdoms of this world and all that it has to offer, or live in the beautiful kingdom of God, void of violence, greed, ugliness, and power. So, what is the beauty that saves the world. The beauty that saves the world is the cross.

Some of my favorite quotes from this book are:

Instead of angry protesters shaking our fists at a secular culture, we should be joyful singers transforming the secular with the sacred.

Christianity as the ongoing expression of the Jesus story lived out in the lives of individuals and in the heart of society is a beauty that can redeem the world.

The cross is the beauty of Christianity because it is at the cross that we encounter cosuffering love and costly forgiveness in its most beautiful form.

When we lose sight of the subtle beauty of the cruciform we become seduced by the power, prestige, and pragmatism of politics.

Christ persuades, not by the force of Caesar, but by the beauty of love.

True morality consists in how well we care for one another, not what sort of behaviour we wish to impose on one another.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I almost never highlight as many passages as I did in Zahnd's inspiring book. It really offers useful insights in nearly every section. So why only four stars?

Well, to start with, his development of the basic thesis is more with applications than illustrations. Yes, the way of Jesus is far more beautiful, more appealing to the heart, than violence or strict justice. Yes, the Beatitudes challenge us to see the appeal of vulnerable caring. But to my mind those do not develop the asserted mechanism, and show how it works. Rather, they apply it to a series of contrasts between the two ways, more to illustrate the contrast than to illuminate how beauty saves.

Zahnd begins with Dostoyevsky's assertion that beauty will save the world, and argues, correctly in my view, that we have neglected this aspect of the appeal of Godliness in our Enlightenment-saturated world.

Politics has been compared to sausage-making in its unappealing grubbiness, and yes, the closer one looks, the less inspiring it is. But when Zahnd gets to the case of Hitchens' closer look at Mother Theresa, he drifts past with a shallow dismissal, rather than engaging the challenging issues raised.

I fear the book as a whole left me with that feeling: good insights, published before really thinking them through. Sermon depth, and a memorable, even pivotal sermon at that, but not really book depth.
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