The FREE STUDY NOTES above give you all you need to facilitate a study day/weekend or a series of group meetings, alongside reading this classic book from 1963 together. It is still easily available second hand, though we need to disregard the now outdated sexist language about 'men' when he means everyone! But over a million copies were sold; people literally queued up to buy it as fast as they could be printed. It's challenging of course, but not so difficult to read.
But where is that debate now? It seems to me that while people have generally decided that Christianity is finished, most conventional believers have made the situation even worse by ignoring the questions he raises: What do we mean by 'God'? What was the death of Jesus all about? What kind of world do we live in and how do we make moral choices? What is the Church actually for? None of these questions have passed their sell-by date, but most mission strategies simply don't ask them! No wonder they fail. Our context has moved on and left the believers behind, looking increasingly out of touch.
CONTACT ME if you'd like me to share in the discussion with you, either in person or by email or Zoom! I make no charge for my own involvement, just any necessary expenses. 2023 will be the 60th anniversary of the book's publication. How about making time to revisit it by then?
A PowerPoint with audio for individual or group study. The Bible didn't fall from heaven ready-written (in English). It has a history; it evolved over hundreds of years and exists with literally tens of thousands of different variations in the text. There are no 'original' first versions of any book. Perhaps there never was such a thing. What do we know about its authors? What contexts do the books arise from? What order and languages were they written in? Scholarship over the last 250 years has told us a great deal - it's a pity that most of it seems to have been largely ignored. Even many of those who regularly read the Bible couldn't say how it came about or are aware of what different kinds of literature it contains and how they relate to each other. So let's talk about what it actually is: a human library of insights that tell a story, not a recipe book to be followed to the letter. Why not find out more and then reflect on what it means for you?
There are those who argue that support for Ukraine is misplaced. Of course NATO, including the UK, has been far from innocent or consistent in its response to other injustices and in its choice of friends. The talk of escalation on both sides is very worrying. Some refugees are clearly more welcome than others. I accept all that. But Putin created this crisis. He has dangerously raised the stakes by his invasion. The suffering he is causing is immense, including clear crimes against civilians. Calls for ''peace"' are meaningless when there is no genuine willingness to draw back. So I stand with Ukraine and its people, but with a sad and heavy heart. Yet there are also many stories of generosity, courage and simple human kindness: these are surely evidence of the 'Kingdom', or as I would put it, the 'God-ness' within and around us. But a 'God' will not intervene to solve this disaster for us. We can only try to find at least some encouragement in these human signs of hope. And keep Jesus, himself the victim of murder, at the heart of our thinking.
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The Jesus story is a 'myth' for our times which, if looked at differently, can still tell us a deeper truth about life and how to live it well. The Christian 'religion', however, is a set of doctrinal claims based on pre-scientific assumptions that no longer fit with modern knowledge. No wonder most people have rejected it. It may be best to leave a 'God' out of it and move on.
In Study Resources you'll find a PowerPoint (with audio) on 'Who Wrote the Bible'? This is so important and so often ignored. And some Discussion Notes on the classic book from the 1960s, ''Honest to God' which still raises so many key questions that have never been answered.
Book Reviews suggests some reading which I've found helpful.
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