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Theology As If Jesus Matters
An Introduction to Christianity's Main Convictions

Summary: Providing what is in many ways a companion volume to his introduction to the Bible used in many college courses, God's Healing Strategy, Grimsrud asks what Christian theology would be like if it consistently took Jesus' central command to love God and neighbor as the most important consideration. Engaging that question, the book addresses the main beliefs Christians affirm in clear, practical, and challenging ways. Christian theology too often seems overly complicated, abstract, and removed from actual day-to-day life. Yet, Jesus’ own teachings are simple, concrete, and directly engaged with people’s lives. Theology as if Jesus Matters approaches Jesus’ life and teaching  as the model and core content for  theology.

Comment: "This deeply compelling, engaging book brings theology back to the rough ground of our lived experience, where it can have traction again. Grimsrud recaptures a vision for theology that begins and ends with Jesus, and in so doing manages to call back the discipline from its metaphysical holiday to its home in the life of the messianic community." —Christian Early, Professor, Eastern Mennonite University

 "In continuity with his intellectual mentor John Howard Yoder, Grimsrud provides an expansive, accessible, provocative, practical, and practice-able theology rooted in the life and teachings of Jesus. Although not everyone will agree with every aspect of Grimsrud's text, it provides a foundation for a sensible, Jesus-rooted theology for the twenty-first century." —Keith Graber Miller, Professor of Bible, Religion, and Philosophy, Goshen College

In the Responses chapter, which records the critical as well as affirming evaluations specifically invited as part of placing the book in the Living Issues Discussion Series, volume 5—

Brenda Martin Hurst worries that the author draws too uniform a picture of Jesus from the Gospels yet "does a remarkable job of tackling the traditional Christian doctrines in a fresh way." 

Douglas Harink can affirm insights Grimrsud draws from Jesus but believes "Grimsrud does not develop an account of the way in which all humankind is enslaved to cosmic and historical powers."

Duane Friesen raises questions of methodology even as he affirms "Grimsrud's  claim that Jesus' "life and teaching must be central to how we think theologically as Christians." 

Though David Neville notes such concerns as that the author may romanticize nature, he highlights Grimrud’s focus on "Jesus’ command to love both God and neighbor as the tuning fork for setting theological convictions in their proper key."

Market: College, seminary, advanced high school students; professors, pastors, and church leaders; church study groups interested in a thoughtful yet accessible introduction to theology.

Shelving: Christian theology—central doctrines; Theology—Anabaptist, Mennonite. BISAC: History, Religion. RTM:  690 Religion/Ethics

The Author: Ted Grimsrud is Professor of Theology and Peace Studies, Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Virginia. His more recent books include Embodying the Way of Jesus: Anabaptist Convictions for the Twenty-First Century (2007) and Reasoning Together: A Conversation on Homosexuality, co-authored with Mark Thiessen Nation (2008).

Publisher: Cascadia Publishing House LLC
Copublisher: Herald Press, Scottdale, PA
Publication date: October 31, 2009
Pages: 232
Format: 5.5 x 8.5" trade paper
Prices: $19.95 US/Can. ISBN 13:  978-1-931038-67-6; ISBN 10: 1-931038-67-8


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