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Why Weren't We Told Paperback – December 18, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"'Excellent, inspiring, informative, encouraging and fascinating' is an accurate description of this richly packed 266-page paperback. Since I bought it in July, hardly a day has passed when I have not picked it up. ... I cannot commend this book highly enough." --Alan Coles, Free to Believe UK, The Briefing, Autumn 2013

About the Author

Rex A. E. Hunt is a retired United Church in Australia minister, founder and life member of The Network of Biblical Storytellers Australia/New Zealand, founding director and life member of The Centre for Progressive Christian Thought in Australia, and an Associate of the Westar Institute/Jesus Seminar.

John W. H. Smith is a Uniting Church in Australia minister in part-time parish ministry. As a trained social worker he is best known for his pioneering work with children, especially those in need of care and protection, including young offenders. He has also worked with adults with intellectual disabilities. He is an Associate of the Westar Institute/Jesus Seminar.

Contributors: John Bodycomb, Gary D. Bouma, Jim Burklo, Peter Catt, David Clark, John Dominic Crossan, Lloyd Geering, Norman Habel, Roy W. Hoover, Rex A. E. Hunt, Gregory Jenks, Paul Alan Laughlin, Ian Lawton, Nigel Leaves, Margaret Mayman, Michael Morwood, Clay Nelson, Lorraine Parkinson, Fred Plumer, Andrew Pratt, Noel Preston, Keith Rowe, Bruce Sanguin, John Shuck, John W. H. Smith, John Thornley, Deshna Ubeda, James Veitch, Val Webb, Michael Zimmerman

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Polebridge Press (December 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598151118
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598151114
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #473,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Michael Cocks on February 7, 2013
Format: Paperback
Why Weren't We Told

Rev.Michael Cocks, Editor of The Ground of Faith:

This publication is designed as a resource book for "progressive" freethinking Christian congregations wishing to escape bondage to a literally interpreted Bible, and to foster a spirituality in touch with the world around us. It is to be "inclusive not exclusive, not just in the sense of gender, race or species but also in rejecting the fundamentalist mindset. It recognises that the `truth to live by' may be revealed in varying and multiple ways." (p.188)

Actual "progressive" congregations described are largely located in Australia and New Zealand, as are also the numerous contributing scholars. A good anthology of prayers and hymns is provided.

There is an interesting section on "reclaiming the heretics for progressive purposes", discussing Arius, Origen, Pelagius, Meister Eckardt and others.

The book is made up of almost one hundred contributions, with many authors, sure to stimulate much thought and creativity. People of varied philosophical persuasions will find much to value.

From the point of view of this reviewer, there is also an important defect that prevents this work from being even better.
Materialism or Naturalism is presented as the only proper belief. Only "the world of nature is real... Nature is necessary in the sense of requiring no sufficient reason beyond itself to account for its origin... Nature as a whole may be understood without appeal to any kind of intelligence or purposive agent... All causes are natural causes, products of other natural events." (A.E. Hunt, p.69)

The book goes no deeper than this.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By V. Webb on May 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book is not intended as a read-straight-through book. As the title suggests, it is a handbook containing small vignettes on topics such as atonement, world religions, God, historical Jesus etc., as well as essays which consider progressive Christian ideas and practices in greater depth. Its authors are, for the most part, from Australia and New Zealand, as this book originated within the progressive Christianity movement in these countries which is becoming increasingly active. It is offered as a reference for lay people in particular for whom access to the plethora of topics included has not always been easy within their churches. The title derives from the repetitive cry of lay people when they, for the first time, discover that clergy have been taught biblical criticism in theological schools for centuries yet this freedom to interpret Jesus in ways other than the tradition has not filtered down to the pews. In fact, it has often been withheld from laity on the basis of "protecting" them or not rocking their boat when their boat is often close to sinking. While books such as "Living the Questions: the Wisdom of Progressive Christianity" by David M. Felton and Jeff Proctor-Murphy are more geared to reading through as a general overview of progressive Christianity, this handbook will be very useful for those who wish to read about individual topics, as one would use any other handbook or encyclopedia. There is a variety of writing styles and arguments, some of which may not be held by all the authors, but this demonstrates the diversity of emerging progressive Christianity at this point. Some articles are also better than others, which applies to most author collections. However, I do recommend it to those who seek answers beyond traditional church dogma and wish to explore progressive Christianity. Dr. Val Webb, theologian and author of "In Defence of Doubt: an invitation to adventure" and "Stepping out with the Sacred; human attempts to engage the Divine".
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By popeye13 on August 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really liked this book. It is written in terms anyone can understand. Some books that try to discuss the topics presented here tend to talk over my head. I recommend this one to anyone looking for validation that what we get from the pulpit is not all there is to know. In fact, some of it is just wrong! The author states that what he learned in seminary was systematically discouraged for the sake of organized religion's beliefs. It's no wonder people are leaving churches.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael_in_SC on January 10, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Why weren't we told?" That is a question I asked when, at age 50 and despite having been raised in a mainline and allegedly modern protestant denomination, I finally learned of the historical and critical biblical scholarship, and the information that scholars have known these past 200 years or more. It is said that Mainline Minister is the only profession whose practitioners are told _not_ to disclose what they know (i.e. the scholarship they encounter in seminary). But evidently there are good pastoral reasons for that, so I do not judge them. In any case, thankfully there is abundant literature out there, such as this, that is ready to be read by people, after they become dissatisfied with the traditional understandings.
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People in the pews in their churches only hear part of the story. The rest is held back to control the people. They need to read a couple of Philip Gully's books like If grace is true then every one will be saved and If God is love. This book is not a book to read through but a book to study.
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