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The Dishonest Church Paperback – January, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0933670099 ISBN-10: 0933670095

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Rising Star Press (January 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0933670095
  • ISBN-13: 978-0933670099
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,769,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Religious institutions are reluctant to update their anachronistic rituals and creeds. When they do, they'll welcome back many latent Christians. -- Jean-Jacques D'Aoust, PhD

This book illuminates "the religion of scholars energized and refreshed until it becomes a lively faith for the masses." -- The Newsletter of The Center For Progressive Christianity, July 2003. Review by G. Richard Wheatcroft

This book presents a real solution by suggesting language to create a bridge between the academic and the popular worlds. -- Candace R. Benyei, PhD

From the Publisher

Your Pastor has valuable information she may not be sharing with you. Your church experience may not be fulfilling your intellectual needs. Your Pastor is conflicted. You are conflicted. It's time to talk about the elephant in the sanctuary. It's time for honesty. In The Dishonest Church, Jack Good identifies the problem, discusses it, and offers solutions for clergy and layperson alike. The problem? The "Pact of Silence". A pact in which certain difficult issues are to be left unmentioned. The classic and paramount difficult issue in Christianity is the interpretation of the Bible as the literal truth.

More About the Author

Jack Good is an author, writer,and retired pastor of the United Church of Christ. He served extended pastorates in Sherburne, New York, and in Champaign/Urbana Illinois. For a dozen years he was therapist of the Sherburne Area Pastoral Counseling Center. Earlier in his adult life he participated in a cultural exchange program that allowed him to live in the villages of Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Dr. Good was an early member of The Center for Progressive Christianity and remains active in the organization. His book "The Dishonest Church" indicated the need for a different understanding of the faith; the volume is an exposé of the difference between what religious professional are taught in seminaries and what they preach in pulpits. The book also suggests ways a more honest faith can be shared by pastors without causing major disruptions.

Since he and many others have established the need for an interpretation of Christianity that can be sustained in the twenty-first century, Jack Good feels that the next step is to show that progressive faith can be as much at home in the heart as it is in the head. His book "Emotions and Values: Exploring the Source of Jesus' Strength and Influence" (Jt. Johann Press, 2009) depicts Jesus as a man so passionately committed to his basic values that his influence survived his death and continues to changes lives today.

Another volume, to be published late in 2010, continues the effort to reveal the spiritual as well as social impact of a faith focused on the humanity of Jesus of Nazareth. Entitled "Beatitudes and Biographies" (St. Johann Press), the book consists of a meditation on each of the eight Beatitudes. Each meditation is followed by the life story of a person who has lived out the meaning of Jesus' teaching.

Dr. Good's wife, Diana, was a woman of remarkable strength and spiritual depth. She had, before her death in late 2009, a positive influence on many lives, despite the limitations imposed by multiple sclerosis. Sharing for more than fifty years in the life of this remarkable woman, and participating pastorally in the lives of many parishioners who fought debilitating diseases, has made Jack Good the enemy of all simplistic "solutions" the problem of human suffering. He also has a low opinion of the concept of an omnipotent god who causes all the events of human life.

Each of his books is an effort to bring the reader along on his spiritual journey as he shares the ideas that have formed him.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 11 customer reviews
Well worth the time and energy spent reading it!
Margaret Placentra Johnston
It was good to read from the book his positive remarks about the Jesus Seminar and the value of looking into their findings in closing this gap.
H. A. Carlton
Much of the explanation, Good claims, is simply economic self-interest.
David H Miller

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Alton R. Jenkins on February 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
THE DISHONEST CHURCH by Jack Good, Rising Star Press, 2003 was, for me, a very exciting read. The author's argument is that in today's mainline Protestant churches (Methodist, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, Anglican) there exists a gap of dishonesty between the clergy and the laity that is one of the causes of these churches losing membership. The gap finds its genesis in what the clergy learn in the academy (academic Christianity) and what they preach in the church (popular Christianity). As the educational levels and world experiences of the laity who have traditionally been attracted to these churches have increased, their level of "cognitive development" has moved from the early stage ("basic duality"/a child's faith) to a later stage ("relativism"/opinion independently developed); some continue to an even later stage of cognitive development ("commitment") in which not knowing all the answers is okay, mystery is acceptable.

Clergy, for many reasons not the least of which is the fear of offending laity who are in the early stage, tend to preach what these people are comfortable in hearing even though it may be diametrically opposed to what the latest streams of thought in theology (and even science) are saying. Members who have moved beyond the early stage become disheartened-even outright angry-when they sense they are being patronized and not respected. Rather than speaking up and trying to rectify a situation they believe to be beyond their power to influence-after all, the clergy seems unwilling to address their concerns-they simply disappear.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
When I was a youngster Jack Good was the inspiration behind 50's TV pop music programmes like 'Six Five Special' and 'O Boy!', then essential teenage viewing on flickering black and white TV screens. I was growing up in a church oriented family under a Congregational minister Dad and the surrounding traditional Christianity ethos was absorbed almost unconsciously into my developing life, where it remained unchallenged for over 40 years. Then came Jack Spong, Richard Holloway & Co, and suddenly Christianity woke me up. On a recent visit to The Centre for Progressive Christianity at [...] I discovered a flier for 'The Dishonest Church' by Jack Good, who subsequently has proved to be as compelling for me as his 50's namesake, though for rather different reasons!
While many of the proliferating books on progressive Christianity refer to the difference between what most clergy learn through their training and what they communicate to their congregations, the 'church of the gaps' (to misquote Charles Coulson) has not had a book to itself, until now. The author has been an ordained pastor of the United Church of Christ for over 40 years, principally at churches in New York and Illinois. His book was prompted by a combination of concern for the fate of the Christian church and anger at the "..wide gap between the faith of the religious professionals and the faith of those who look to those professionals for leadership."
So much pulpit power is expended to reinforce stale dogma that Christianity is seldom seen as an arena for thoughtful creativity and a search for truths that can never be fully possessed. The result is usually stale, boring churches where the superficial intimacy between pulpit and pew is in reality a yawning chasm, in both senses.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful By David H Miller on April 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
If asked to name the gravest scandal in American society during the last century, most Americans, I suspect, would name the Watergate affair, which brought down a President.

They'd be wrong.

Jack Good is an ordained pastor in the United Church of Christ, retired from decades of preaching in New York and Illinois. In "The Dishonest Church," Good reveals that most of his fellow pastors in the mainstream American churches are systematically preaching from their pulpits teachings which they themselves know to be blatant lies.

Why the systematic lying?

The basic problem, Good explains, is a divergence during the last several centuries between what he calls "academic" Christianity and what he dubs "popular" Christianity. As early as the Renaissance, scholars such as Erasmus began applying the intellectual tools that were being developed in science, history, etc. to better understand, purify, and solidify their Christian faith.

By the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, an increasing number of scholars and intellectuals were coming to realize that Christianity could not actually be historically true. In the nineteenth century, the floodgates opened. From David Strauss's "Life of Jesus" to Albert Schweitzer's "The Quest of the Historical Jesus," scholarly research proved that the Bible was a crazy mish-mash of garbled history, Jewish mythology, and fantasies based on pagan stories of "virgin" births, resurrected savior gods, etc.

By the early twentieth century, F. C.
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