Thursday, June 21, 2012


The Jesus Scandals: Why He Shocked His Contemporaries (and Still Shocks Today)

How Jesus offered revolutionary insights into challenging ethical dilemmas:
Although Western culture has been shaped for centuries by Christian teaching, a closer study of the Bible reveals that we routinely ignore the uncomfortable heart of New Testament ethics. It's too extreme, too confrontational. Even Christians pander to the world's way of thinking, making the astonishing bland.
In The Jesus Scandals, Dr. David Instone-Brewer identifies thirty areas where Jesus challenged the assumptions and practices of His contemporaries with insights that provoked shrill opposition and that continue to generate debate today. Some of these issues are familiar to us, such as the killing of unwanted children. But Jesus also taught His disciples humility--to take lowly titles, to consider themselves less; the New Testament church soon chose to ignore that teaching, just as we continue to do today.
For each of these areas, Instone-Brewer challenges readers to apply these ethical ideas in our modern culture while remaining faithful to the text. Using easy-to-understand language and first-rate scholarshipThe Jesus Scandals makes New Testament ethics accessible to any Christian.

The Revd Dr David Instone-Brewer is Senior Research Fellow and Technical Officer at Tyndale House, Cambridge. A Baptist minister, his hobby is computer programming. A rabbinic scholar, he is author of many academic and popular articles, and of Divorce and Remarriage in the Church: Biblical Solutions for Pastoral Realities (Paternoster, 2003). 


Jesus often shocked his listeners with his teachings.  His views were seen as radical by his contemporaries, and clashed with the teachings of the Jewish leaders of that time.  His very birth was scandalous, and he was not shy about spending time with those considered less than desirable.  He had compassion for those who no one else wanted.  His very ministry, his life, death, and resurrection was a scandal.

Dr. Instone-Brewer has taken thirty areas of the teachings of Jesus and broken them down into short, easy-to-study chapters for the average Bible student.  Each chapter covers an area of the ministry of Jesus or His teaching that was found scandalous in His day.  Chapters include His illegitimate birth, his bachelorhood, Judas Iscariot, and His views on polygamy.  I particularly enjoyed the chapter on Mary Magdalene.  Because I believe in avoiding spoiler alerts whenever possible, I'll just say that not only do I appreciate the fact that Dr. Instone-Brewer set the record straight once again, but he also explained why we dye Easter eggs.  Yes, it's all in that one chapter.  In the chapter "Second-Rate Disciples", I so appreciated the idea that perhaps Jesus was making a joke at Simon Peter's expense when he said he would be a "rock".  Again, no spoiler alert; you'll just have to read it for yourself.  But I have always felt that Jesus had a sense of humor while He walked upon the Earth, and I'm sure we'll discover some day that He still does.  That has nothing to do with the book; just a personal observation.  

This book would be excellent for a study group, as well as for individual reading.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and have to give it 5 stars.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Kregel Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Kregel Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*



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