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Connecting Christ: How to Discuss Jesus in a World of Diverse Paths Paperback – May 8, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (May 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0849947243
  • ISBN-13: 978-0849947247
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,004,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"...fills a critical gap... an evangelical Christian and noted scholar, Metzger explores how the faithful and conservative Christian can engage in open and respectful dialog with those of other faiths without losing sight of the obligation to witness ... should be required reading for evangelical pastors and preachers." --Library Journal

From the Inside Flap

"Many times evangelical treatments of new religions (pejoratively labeled cults)--and at times world religions--consist of doctrinal comparison, usually followed by apologetic refutation. Paul Louis Metzger's volume moves beyond this template to consider new and world religions on their own terms while also relating them to the Christian faith. Not content with mere description, contrast, and rebuttal, Metzger invites representatives of the religious traditions he engages into conversation that includes critique. This dialogical approach is a refreshing addition to evangelical treatments of religion that should be of value to Christians in the academy, the pulpit, and the pews." --John W. Morehead, director, Western Institute for Intercultural Studies; and director, Evangelical Chapter of the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy                                                                                                                                                         
"In this wise and stimulating discussion, Paul Louis Metzger calls for evangelical Christian to pursue 'relational, incarnational apologetics' in our engagement with a religiously and culturally diverse society. Drawing upon his extensive personal relationships with those from very different perspectives, as well as his experience in teaching theology, Metzger presents a fresh approach that listens carefully to Christianity's critics while also pointing others to Jesus." --Harold Netland, professor of philosophy and religion and intercultural studies, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School                                                                                                                                                          
"In Connecting Christ: How to Discuss Jesus in a World of Diverse Paths, my good friend Paul Louis Metzger writes on a topic he daily lives out--connecting Jesus to our post-Christian culture. How can we join the most important conversations of our time, rather than retreating to the comfort of our own subculture? Metzger has labored hard to build bridges here, in very progressive Portland, Oregon, making this a work deeply rooted in real-life experience. In this timely and compelling read, you will learn how to engage the culture more effectively for greater kingdom impact." --Kevin Palau, president, Luis Palau Association                                                                                                                                                        
"I have trusted and respected Dr. Paul Louis Metzger so much that over the past several years we have asked him to periodically teach an apologetics course to our Young Life staff in the Northwest. His book Connecting Christ: How to Discuss Jesus in A World of Diverse Paths is consistent with why our staff loves his teaching--he weds a message of biblical orthodoxy together with the compassion of incarnational witness. Dr. Metzger's book reads like a field manual for engaging disinterested and even hostile people with both the truth and grace of Jesus Christ." --John Franklin, senior vice president, Young Life Western Division                                                                                                                                                         
"I find Connecting Christ to be as robust and clear a statement of evangelicalism as I have recently seen." --Phyllis Tickle, founding editor [ret.], Publisher's Weekly, religion                                                                                                                                                        
"Paul Louis Metzger loves Jesus, and this book shows that his love for his neighbors is just as palpable. Connecting Christ presents the kind of witness to Jesus that participates in the power of the gospel to change the world. The development of a viable and winsome evangelical apologetic in the twenty-first century receives a huge boost in the book you hold in your hands." --Amos Yong, J. Rodman Williams Professor of Theology, Regent University School of Divinity                                                                                                                                                          
"Paul Louis Metzger has given us a remarkable expression out of God's very heart. His proposal for a relationally authentic pursuit of engaging others needs to be heard by everyone. In his writing he is clear while not being simplistic, and he is courageous without being arrogant. A relational-incarnational apologetic model will challenge and release all of us to seriously live out of God's heart, to love unconditionally with humility, repentance, and confession." --Dr. Randall Y. Furushima, dean and executive officer, New Hope Christian College                                                                                                                                                          
"The variety of religions and philosophies across the globe is dizzying. The common way to account for such diversity--from the world's perspective--is to say either all of it is false or there are many paths to fulfillment and the hereafter. Paul Louis Metzger, a leading expert on Christ and culture, gives us another perspective, a better way. Connecting Christ is a must-read on how to live Christianity in a world of diverse faiths." --Michael Emerson, Allyn & Gladys Cline Professor of Sociology and cofounding director, Kinder Institute for Urban Research, Rice University; and author, Divided by Faith, United by Faith, People of the Dream, and Transcending Race Barriers                                                                                                                                                           
"In this wide-ranging trinitarian apologetic, Paul Louis Metzger gently but firmly addresses people of various Christian denominations, other religions, and no religion from an evangelical perspective of solidarity with them, presenting the good news that because God is gracious to us in Jesus Christ, God will not let any of us go and will not let Christians separate themselves from anyone, even their enemies, because those who trust in the crucified Savior cannot let anyone else go either. Among other intriguing issues the relation of theology and science; the problem of universalism; how to understand Christianity in a pluralistic market-driven, consumer culture; and how to relate with others over divisive moral issues are also discussed.
"What makes this a very compelling read and an unusual one today is the fact that Metzger never wavers from pointing readers to the only One who can make us truly one and give us genuine hope for the future of humanity, namely, Jesus Christ himself. Anyone reading this book will see just how everything really does look differently in light of a theology of the Trinity." --Paul D. Molnar, professor of systematic theology, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, St. John's University                                                                                                                                                         
"Paul Louis Metzger paints a compelling and refreshing picture of our Christian opportunity to both share the good news and grow in love and relationship with others. Neither is negotiable. It is an honest look at how we have missed the mark in evangelism and steers us back to the heart of Jesus. I also love how Metzger lays out a humble and thoughtful display of different religions. He does not belittle or generalize but invites us into real relationships and real conversations with others. What a helpful resource for people who want to grow in their witness!" --Vikki Rubens, area director, Oregon, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, USA

More About the Author

Integrating theology and spirituality with cultural sensitivity is at the center of Dr. Metzger's vision and vocation. Dr. Metzger is Professor of Christian Theology and Theology of Culture at Multnomah Biblical Seminary of Multnomah University where he also directs The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins. He has been active in intercultural work in the States, Japan, and England.

Dr. Metzger is the author of Connecting Christ: How to Discuss Jesus in a World of Diverse Paths (Thomas Nelson, 2012); New Wine Tastings: Theological Essays of Cultural Engagement (Cascade, 2011); The Gospel of John: When Love Comes to Town (InterVarsity Press, 2010); Exploring Ecclesiology: An Evangelical and Ecumenical Introduction (co-authored with Brad Harper; Brazos, 2009); Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church (Eerdmans, 2007); and The Word of Christ and the World of Culture: Sacred and Secular through the Theology of Karl Barth (Eerdmans, 2003). He is co-editor of A World for All?: Global Civil Society in Political Theory and Trinitarian Theology (co-edited with William F. Storrar and Peter J. Casarella; Eerdmans, 2011); editor of Trinitarian Soundings in Systematic Theology (T&T Clark International, 2005), and editor of Cultural Encounters: a Journal for the Theology of Culture. Dr. Metzger is a member of the Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton, New Jersey, and has developed a strategic ministry partnership with Dr. John M. Perkins titled, "Drum Majors for Love, Truth and Justice.". He is married with two children. Dr. Metzger has a keen interest in the art of Katsushika Hokusai and Georges Rouault and in the writings of John Steinbeck.

Customer Reviews

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Dr. PLM's book is all about engagement from the perspective of apologetics.
E. Khooda
I like the way Metzger painstakingly tries to represent as accurately as possible his understanding of religions, neo-paganism, and the cultural religions of this age.
Dr Conrade Yap
Metzger's book provides a very practical, winsome, relational approach on how to engage real people with specific worldviews.
Mathew Woodley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
[I would like to thank Dr. Metzger for inviting me with the opportunity to read several early drafts of his book and to give feedback. I would also like to thank him and Thomas Nelson publishing for sending me an advanced reader's copy]

The first thing that students learn in apologetics is undoubtedly also the first joke the professor will say to the class: we're here to apologize, not say sorry! Dr. Paul Metzger disagrees. While certainly not sorry for being a Christian, or for believing Christian things, or living a Christian lifestyle, Metzger's latest book venturing into inter-faith dialogue argues that a quintessential posture of the apologist is the gesture of repentance. Why apologize in this sense? "So many things have been done over the millennia in the name of religion, including the Christian religion," (32) says Metzger, "We bear the same family name--`Christian' or `Christ follower'--as these religious perpetrators and/or evil masterminds . . . That alone gives Christians today sufficient grounds to repent and make confession of sin in their stead. By claiming to bear Christ's name and speak [for him], they negatively impacted Christian witness, the effects of which can be forcefully felt today in many sectors. . ." (33-34). To win minds, one must first unburden hearts. And to unburden hearts in apologetics often means to suffer with them just as Christ entered into solidarity with humankind in the incarnation. Thus, it turns out, to be zealous to apologize for the faith is (perhaps surprising to many) not the same thing as being insufferable.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mathew Woodley on April 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
Metzger's book provides a very practical, winsome, relational approach on how to engage real people with specific worldviews. His approach allows ordinary Christians to enter into the world of Jewish people, Mormons, Buddhists, etc., seeking to understand, love, and respect before engaging others with the gospel. But Metzger doesn't provide a formula or a cookie-cutter approach. More than anything, he mentors us in how to build relationships with others as we seek to connect Christ to their world. The subtitle certainly delivers on its promise: "How to discuss Jesus in a world of diverse paths."
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Matthew S. Farlow on May 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
Christ calls the church to be His witnesses to the world. But so often the church is anything that resembles a faithful witness to Christ. Instead of being what Karl Barth said the church is to be, "the proclaimer and the hearer of the divine Word," we tend to be nothing more than a clanging gong. In order to engage society, we must remember life is relational, we were created for relationship, and as Dr. Paul Louis Metzger writes in his latest book, "Connecting Christ: How to Discuss Jesus in a World of Diverse Paths", "as Christ's people we, must continually seek to engage people relationally--case by case, and not in some fixed, packaged manner. There is more than one way to talk about Jesus, given who he is and given that we live in a world of diverse paths."

In Connecting Christ, Metzger, like the Apostle Paul (strange coincidence!), presents a wonderful way to imitate in our witness of Christ to the world. And while we live in a world of diverse paths, Connecting Christ presents a Christocentric path of evangelism and dialogue so as to be faithful to the way of Christ--a way drenched in His incarnational love. The book is broken into four sections - beginning appropriately with a look into the "relational-incarnational" approach to our theological endeavors. Our approach to evangelism and apologetics, if it is to be true to a Biblical foundation, does include rational discussion of God and His truths exposed throughout the Bible. This approach does contain some "in your face" times because it involves sharing life--both the good and the bad. In the end though, a relational approach to apologetics bears witness to the good news of Jesus Christ through a willingness to dialogue and share life together.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. Chinn on July 25, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr. Paul Metzger has written a fine work relevant to the multifaith society we live in. He offers a perspective that is both unapologetically evangelical and irenic. He interacts respectfully with religious traditions distinct from orthodox Christianity.

Metzger provides a compelling process, relational-incarnational, for evangelism by anchoring it in the Trinity. This roots the motive and "methodology" solely in who God is, while distinguishing it from heterodox views of Christianity (e.g., mormon/LDS and jehovah's witnesses).

The relationships Metzger has with people from other faith traditions means these are not faceless people he is talking about. His friends have heart-felt attitudes that mirror his own attitude toward Christ. What he writes and believes will likely be read by these friends. Misstating what they believe and/or inconsistency in speech, conduct and text, on his part, would have real consequences on his real world relationships.

I particularly enjoyed hearing from other faith adherents. Metzger gives other faith traditions the last word by inviting them to respond to his work. While agreeing to disagree, Metzger and those who respond are not disagreeable. Metzger models a refreshing approach for evangelism that is welcome in a climate that seems to be increasingly strident in spheres such as religion, politics and nationality.
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