News from AllianceQ: October 2014
Resource: Making Sense of the Bible
Review by Rev. Mark Johnston, Ph.D., Executive Director, GLAD Open & Affirming Ministry Program
“This book is an attempt to honestly wrestle with the difficult questions often raised by thoughtful Christians and non-Christians concerning things taught in the Bible.”
Making Sense of the Bible by Rev. Adam Hamilton is a clear, readable book which, in about 300 pages, gives an introduction to the entire Bible and wrestles with the questions that cause 21st century Christians to struggle with the Bible and their faith.
Commenting that their congregations have benefited immensely from reading this text in Sunday School classes and adult Bible Studies, several pastors mentioned this book to me before I picked it up. In this book, Pastor Hamilton describes how his own faith story intersected with the Bible, bringing him to faith and forcing him to question his faith.
When working to increase welcome in a congregation and perhaps moving towards an Open & Affirming process, it is important to understand where a congregation stands at the moment and what resources will help move that congregation forward.
I never recommend that we use resources to convince people that they are wrong – this doesn’t honor their faith, isn’t gracious, and doesn’t move the conversation forward. Rather, I recommend we use resources to answer the questions they are asking and to open people up to new questions.
This book is especially valuable for groups that have a conservative background and have started asking questions such as “I’m finding it difficult to believe that the Bible is literally true – how do I honor the Bible and struggle with it at the same time?”
Church members will come away from this book with a fresh perspective on how to read the Bible and with basic tools for examining their own relationship to their faith and scripture.
For more information contact Mark Johnston at firstname.lastname@example.org