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Free for All: Rediscovering the Bible in Community (emersion: Emergent Village resources for communities of faith) Paperback – August 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Unleash the Scriptures

Say "free-for-all," and most people imagine a brawl. But what if we had a free-for-all with the Bible? What if we opened up to aggressive interpretation within the communities of our local churches?

In this provocative book, Tim Conder and Daniel Rhodes explore the critical need to encounter Scripture collectively, and then they invite us to listen in as a group from their church delves into four Bible passages--the obscure, the emotive, the familiar, and the controversial.

Free for All makes a compelling case for communities as a valid authority for biblical interpretation. The authors show that communities are capable of breaking open the texts in fresh and surprising ways, unleashing them anew into our lives.

"This is as clear and thought provoking a statement as I have seen yet of a theology of Scripture for emergence Christianity."--Phyllis Tickle, author, The Great Emergence

"A wonderful exercise in biblical hermeneutics. . . . Weaving in popular culture, well-informed Christian theological insight, and excitement for the Bible as uniquely revelatory, Conder and Rhodes lead us into a fresh new encounter with Scripture."--Will Willimon, bishop, the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church; author, Conversations with Barth on Preaching

"There is, in this book, good news for those of us who are passionate about Scripture, deeply committed to community, and longing to experience the power of both with candor and openness in the midst of our pain, confusions, and disappointments."--Brian J. Walsh, coauthor, Colossians Remixed and Beyond Homelessness

"It's not easy to make the familiar odd, but Conder and Rhodes accomplish that feat by helping us recover what it means to read Scripture in communion."--Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics, Duke Divinity School

"An excellent guide to recovering the place of the Bible in the life of Christian communities. . . . Following the wisdom found in these pages can help unleash the transforming power of the Bible in the church and in the lives of those who read it."--John R. Franke, Clemens Professor of Missional Theology, Biblical Seminary

About the Author

Tim Conder is a founding member of Emergent Village, the founding pastor of emerging church plant Emmaus Way in Raleigh/Durham, and the author of The Church in Transition. Conder lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Daniel Rhodes is a pastor at Emmaus Way and a ThD student at Duke Divinity School. Rhodes lives in Durham, North Carolina.


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Product Details

  • Series: emersion: Emergent Village resources for communities of faith
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books (August 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080107147X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801071478
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,116,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tim Conder is the founding pastor of Emmaus Way -- a dialogical, activist, inclusive, and orthodox Christian community in Durham, NC

He is also a PhD Candidate at the University of North Carolina in Culture, Curriculum, and Change. His research is in cultural studies, practice theories of identity, theological ethnography, and personal narratives methodologies.

Tim also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees at the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology chairing the Academic and Student Life Committee. Locally, he is a member of the Strategy Team and Clergy Caucus of Durham CAN (Congregations, Associations, and Neighborhoods), a local branch of IAF International. Tim is also longtime member of Durham's MLK Steering Committee.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kate Bowler on April 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
Written by co-pastors of an Emergent church, this book answers the problem originally set out by Mark Noll in "The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind." How can evangelicals cultivate the practices of reading scripture faithfully and critically as well? What do we do with the complicated, the messy, or the challenging passages of God's word? Instead of ducking for cover, the authors of "Free for All" demonstrate how church communities can learn to engage the complexity of Scripture in the church community. It is a welcome corrective for those of us all too familiar with polarized evangelical communities, too fearful of being caught without all the answers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paul Virtue on April 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The first section book takes a look at the methods of interpreting scripture.

I have degrees from schools that push the method of hard line literal verbal plenary inspiration. I have become uncomfortable with this method because of my studies in linguistics and understanding that language is one of the ways in which we are made in God's image. Therefore the way language works is a gift from God and we can't think God would communicate in a manner outside of the way languages work.

The other traditional side is the mainline modern church. I have tried to study some and attended church but felt like it was not a valid alternative.

The method they suggest focuses on reading the scripture in community and working it out in both conversation and life as a group.

They give some instruction, but most important they share actual group reading and discussion from their church and 4 different passages.

Regardless of your view on interpreting scripture I would beg you to read this book with a mind open to learning some wonderful things.
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