The Once and Future Bible: An Introduction to the Bible for Religious Progressives
Author: Gregory C. Jenks, J. Harold Ellens
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Release Date: January 10, 2011
Synopsis: This book offers a way to engage with the Bible as a set of sacred texts that can serve as a song sheet for believers in exile-those people Bishop John Shelby Spong calls the "church alumni association." This includes those internally displaced persons of faith who have not yet become spiritual refugees but who feel the pressure to conform to traditional expressions of faith that no longer serve as springs of living water for the journey of life. These ancient texts come from another world and another time, but they can serve as maps for the journey of life. They can best do this when the sacred wisdom of the Bible is accepted as permission to voice the new questions we face today in the confidence that authentic faith has always required such boldness. Religious progressives are people who live the questions, not dodge them. Our task is not to guard a set of traditional answers, but to live life boldly, taking risks for God's sake and our own. One of the hallmarks of this book is that the problems posed by the Bible are acknowledged. In particular, the contributions of recent critical scholarship are embraced, rather than being ignored or neutralized by pious ambivalence. The intended reader of this book is not a traditional believer, secure in her assumptions about God and salvation, but someone struggling to live with integrity in a time when traditional religion seems increasingly irrelevant. The goal is not to persuade the reader that the Bible is credible but-more modestly-to offer an account of the Bible that may encourage religious progressives to reclaim the Bible as a valued part of our spiritual baggage. Endorsement: "Greg Jenks knows his Bible as 'ancient texts that come from another world and another time, ' wholly human in origin, sometimes mad, sometimes magnificent. He buries the notion of a supernatural 'word of God' only to affirm the continuing relevance of these words of yesterday's men for today's 'religious progressives who live the questions, not dodge them.' A wonderful demonstration of how we might still find ways of singing the Lord's song in the strange and brave new land of secular modernity." -David Boulton author Who on Earth was Jesus? and The Trouble with God "I have read [this] book and find it superb. It is a volume that the market to laypersons of all religious persuasions, and those who do not have a significant religious perspective, urgently needs. It fills an obvious current vacuum, is highly readable, entertaining, and immensely informative. -J. Harold Ellens author of Honest Faith for Our Time and Probing the Frontiers of Biblical Studies "Greg Jenks takes his readers on a new journey through the Holy Scriptures, reclaiming them with keen scholarship for our post-religious world. After reading the work of this emerging progressive religious thinker, the Bible will shine with a new luster." -John Shelby Spong, author of Eternal Life: A New Vision and Jesus for the Non-Religious Author Biography: Gregory C. Jenks is Academic Dean at St Francis Theological College in Brisbane, Australia. He is the author of The Origins and Early Development of the Antichrist Myth (1991).