IF THE CHURCH WERE CHRISTIAN: Rediscovering the Values of Jesus by Philip Gulley.
Philip Gulley is a Quaker pastor from Indiana. He has written many novels about small town America and a handful of theological works. The latter have resulted in a concerted effort by fellow Quakers to have him removed as a recorded minister. While most liberal Quakers would find these books unobjectionable, one can (sort of) understand why more conservative Friends in the programmed churches might take offence.
Perhaps the easiest way to summarize Gulley’s book is to list the chapter titles. So, IF THE CHURCH WERE CHRISTIAN…
In his closing comments, Gulley writes:
If there is a future for the church in America, perhaps it is to raise America’s
collective consciousness, so that injustice, poverty, and tyranny would be
moral affronts to us and we would hasten to eliminate them…. The central
task of this church would not be convincing us to believe doctrines about
Jesus. Rather, it would help us live out the priorities of Jesus—human dignity,
spiritual growth, moral evolution, and the ongoing search for truth and meaning.
So, what is my opinion of Gulley’s book? Surprise! Surprise that it would have to be written today (in 2010). Still, Gulley argues his points well and buttresses his conclusions with apt examples. For those who must deal with evangelical Christianity, this book gives context and perspective.
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