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The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus: What's So Good About the Good News? Paperback – September 9, 2008


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The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus: What's So Good About the Good News? + The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart + Sermons: Biblical Wisdom For Daily Living
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Reprint edition (September 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060000740
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060000745
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #943,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. As minister of Harvard University's Memorial Church, Gomes was a popular preacher well before The Good Book became a bestseller in 1996. Several subsequent books were, or read like, first-rate sermon collections, but this is an incisive original aimed at cautious defenders of conventional wisdom. Asserting that we are meant to go beyond the Bible in order to discover the gospel, Gomes points away from the past toward a future in which promise and fulfillment meet. Meanwhile, we must manage to live in the world as it is—a world steeped in hostility, suffering and injustice. If we take the gospel seriously, then like Jesus we will risk all, and might even lose all. Still, we hang on to a muscular hope that is not mere nostalgia for what never was, but an earnest expectation of what is to be. A born storyteller, Gomes knows how to spin an aphorism: The opposite of fear is not courage but compassion. And indeed his tone is compassionate even when he chides those who fear conflict and change, but especially when he extols God's provision for the healing and care of all his creation, and not simply our little part of it. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“An incisive original... [Gomes is] a born storyteller.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

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Customer Reviews

For ANY Christian who is serious about his/her walk, these are the books to read, study and DIGEST.
Bible Student
Gomes suggests that we "use the Bible to go beyond the Bible and embrace that to which it points: the gospel, or the good news."
California Theo
The bulk of the rest of the book is certainly a good read, but it hardly matches the promise of the first four chapters.
Dr. James Gardner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Quinley VINE VOICE on January 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"Change agent" is a phrase that we hear a lot in business. On the 2008 Presidential campaign trail, all candidates proclaim their fealty to change. Harvard's Peter Gomes argues persuasively that Jesus was an ardent change agent who rarely - if ever - supported the status quo.

It has been said that the mission of the Christian church and faith is to "Comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable." Gomes makes a compelling case that Jesus was the ultimate subversive - in a good sense - but that his aim was to change, force new ways of thinking, include the marginalized and to break some crockery. I would summarize the book's thesis with one quote (p. 240), "When Jesus came preaching, it was to disturb the status quo."

Instead of asking ourselves, "What would Jesus do?" Gomes argues we should reframe the question, asking the tougher query -- "What would Jesus have US do?" The answer is perhaps never going to comfort us but, instead, invariably push us out of our comfort zones.

Among the interesting sideline arguments, Gomes tackles the problems that the modern church has with homosexuality, suggesting that Jesus would have embraced this group and that the church's obsession on the issue is a waste of time, especially when, say, divorce is a bigger problem and threat to family life.

Gomes' thoughtful book is a radical wake-up call for the ministry of church, all churches and individuals who see themselves as followers of Christ. The arguments are clear, articulate, never patronizing. He sprinkles his discussion with real-life examples. The guy can flat-out write and his skill and passion in this book have prompted me to go back and locate his prior writings.

This is a book that will likely "afflict the comfortable"!
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Bible Student on January 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I made a Christmas gift to myself of Dr. Gomes' trilogy: The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart; The Good Life: Truths That Lasts in Troubled Times (?); and The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus: What's So Good About The Good News? In addition I own Sermons and Strength for the Journey. For ANY Christian who is serious about his/her walk, these are the books to read, study and DIGEST. At 72, having been born into the AME faith,converted to Baptist as an adult, and a PK, I have never in all my years known TRUTH as Dr. Gomes speaks it. These readings are to the point, candid, inspiring and NOT for the faint-of-heart!!!
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39 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Bird Finch on December 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is fantastically written, intelligently thought-out, and presented with grace. Gomes truly does have a bead on what Jesus was trying to convey, the truth about loving our neighbors, the truth about dogma and religious doctrine, and the truth about what it means to actually ask, "what would Jesus do?" I have longed for a book that would discuss the teachings of JESUS, and this book is my answer. Thank you, Mr. Gomes, for bringing a light to my part of the world.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Dr. James Gardner VINE VOICE on May 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
One of the great ironies of the past 2000 years is that the message(s) of Jesus have been lost and billions of people preach Jesus while ignoring his message. Peter Gomes deals with just this issue in a masterful manner, at least in the first four chapters. His historical scholarshiop is impressive as is the breath and depth of his knowledge. Part 1 of his book needs to be read by any serious student of Christianity.

Somewhere along the line, Gomes appears to get lost (Ironically, this is not unlike the story of Christianity itself). The bulk of the rest of the book is certainly a good read, but it hardly matches the promise of the first four chapters. Indeed, while interesting and informative (who can't like an author who enjoys Steven Seagal movies?), the remainder of the book seems to ramble. Individual topics are well done (e.g., "When is the End Coming?", "Whatever Happened to Sin?", "The Fear Factor"), but at some point the book deteriorates into a series of sermons/lectures, however well written and informative.

But the lack of focus shouldn't deter serious students from reading this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Orthodox believers, the strictly Orthodox, don't need to go here. Or maybe you should--if you are willing to think--to do what the Bible said do, "Worship the Lord Thy God with all thy heart, MIND, and strength.

For those who want to think and aren't afraid to delve into new areas of thought in an effort to make the faith come alive, truly alive, this is a good book, a very good book. But for those who want to read more of what they already believe, for those who want to stay in the cocoon of their faith, never asking or considering the tough questions, this is not the book for you. For Job, yes; for you, no.

The premise of this book is simply this: Is the church--Christians of today--"worshiping" Jesus to the point that they ignore or forget His message, what He said do, the lives He said to lead?

Most likely Christians of today really don't want to hear what Jesus said, they would prefer to worship him as Christ and Lord without letting him really be Christ and Lord. For many Christians--I hope not most--the message of Jesus would be as scandalous today as it was when he first spoke it. It caused him to be put to death before and it would cause many church people, good, well meaning church people, to want to put him to death again today. The church might well lead the charge for his second death as the church led the charge for his first death...

It is a lot easier and a lot more comfortable to worship Jesus on a pedestal as "Christ and Lord" than it is to hear his message and lead the lives He said live.

It brings to mind words from an old country gospel song, "Sorry, I never knew you..." Most Christians "know" who Jesus is, but they don't want to really know him. It would be too difficult on their lives of comfort and ease..." It would be scandalous...

Perhaps we should remember what Jesus said about being "lukewarm...."
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