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The Mystical Way in the Fourth Gospel: Crossing Over Into God Revised Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1563381034
ISBN-10: 1563381036
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Editorial Reviews

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"Countryman's book is an important contribution to both Johannine Gospel studies and hermeneutics... This is an excellent book because it is not only scholastically informing but it is also concerned about spiritual transformation. This book could easily be adapted for use in the ministry context...an excellent text for a small group Bible Study." — Kenneth J. Archer, reviewing for Ashland Theological Journal (Ashland Theological Journal)

"Countryman has given us a volume at once both technical and devotional... (He) is to be commended for his insight and courage... what we have here is highly significant to the discipline and is likely to prompt the confident further exploration of this worthy theme." — Donald N. Bowdle, reviewing for Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, March 1997 (Donald N. Bowdle Journal Of The Evangelical Theological Society)

"Countryman has given us a volume at once both technical and devotional... (He) is to be commended for his insight and courage... what we have here is highly significant to the discipline and is likely to prompt the confident further exploration of this worthy theme." — Donald N. Bowdle, reviewing for Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, March 1997 (Sanford Lakoff Journal Of The Evangelical Theological Society)

About the Author

L. William Countryman is Sherman E. Johnson Professor in Biblical Studies at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California. He is a popular speaker, and the author of many books including Gifted by Otherness, Living on the Border of the Holy, Forgiven and Forgiving, and Love Human and Divine, all available from Morehouse Publishing.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: Trinity Press International; Revised edition (1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1563381036
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563381034
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,094,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Clyde Zuber on April 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book answered for me the question of how Christians can claim to be followers of THE Way without denigrating and dismissing those of other faiths experience with God.
"At first there was the logos, and the logos was with God, and the logos was God. This one was at first with God. All things came to be through him, and apart from him not one thing that was created came to be. In him was life, and the life was the light of human beings. And the light is shining in the dark, and the dark has not apprehended it." Logos means "word", "saying", "speech", "reason", "plan", etc. It is differentiated from God, yet identified as God. The logos is the only link between God and God's creation. Our life is only resident in the logos. Not only life, but also light, that is, it shines in the dark -- everything that is not of God.
So, any path that leads to God is in the logos. There is no other way. "And the logos became flesh and lived among us... As for God, no one has ever seen him; the only-child God, the one who is in the father's bosom, that one has explained." And later this only-child God says, "I have other sheep, which are *not* of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall hear my voice; and they shall become one flock with one shepherd."
It's a message that is so inclusive it includes ALL truth, and so exclusive because there is no other reality. The truth is not Christianity. The truth is the logos.
I've probably taken this conclusion a step beyond what the author has directly mined from translating on the original author's intent in the fourth gospel, but Countryman invites you to reflect on the truth and draw conclusions. It's more than a Bible study, it's an experience with God.
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Enlightenment in Christ, a mystical sense of the cosmos, an exegesis of the Fourth Gospel (John's) are all some of the things that make this book by L. William Countryman a useful and imaginative text of the Bible. The full title of the work includes, "Crossing Over into God" which gives one the idea that entering into a life that is capable of following a path to mystical union and also as a writing "preserve the outward form of a 'life' of Jesus" becomes for the believer a warm and rewarding goal. Albeit more acheivable and perhaps even held by more people of the Christian faith than know it, they may be enlightened, yet interested in or wishing to be introduced to a theology that is so available.

Before writing in this review about the definition of these spiritual matters, well defined in L. William Countryman's book right from the beginning, here is a sense of the way the book is constructed. Divided into sections, the work takes on the life of Jesus as described in John with subjects like "Conversion," "Baptism," "Eucharist," "Enlightenment," New life," "Union I, II, III," and an "Epilogue." One can see that this introduction of the life of Jesus allows the reader to discover in the Christian Way that Jesus "...has already ascribed to the logos a glory far greater than that of any miracle worker--'glory as of an only child from the father'. Now he tells us that Jesus 'revealed his glory' through the sign, meaning that the same note of unique access to God is again struck here." For this reader, this kind of consideration began to lead him to recognize that there were large and enormous meanings for living life attributed in the mystical way, and that enlightenment is attainable. Something not always so common in its statement about Christianity in these times.
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The book is in acceptable condition, easy to read.
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