If Christianity is not about forgiveness, it s about nothing at all. In this book readers will be confronted with the stark reality of how deeply we need to reach within to really show Christlike forgiveness and mercy to those to whom we may feel least inclined to offer forgiveness or mercy to.
If Christianity is to be a compelling and relevant voice in the 21st Century, it needs a fresh message not a new innovation or novel interpretation, but a return to our roots. And what are our roots? To a certain extent that is what this book is about. If Christianity is not about forgiveness, it s about nothing at all. In this book readers will be confronted with the stark reality of how deeply we need to reach within to really show Christ-like forgiveness and mercy to those to whom we may feel least inclined to offer forgiveness or mercy to. The author s primary motive in writing this book to help recover the true beauty of Christianity as found in forgiveness. We are a church in need of a renovation a renovation that the author is convinced can be achieved by a recovery of the beautiful Christian gospel of forgiveness. In a world where the ugliness of rage and retaliation are driving the storyline of the 21st century, the beauty of authentic Christian forgiveness is the compelling alternative. This book begins with the Holocaust as it explores what forgiveness means and how far it should go in the real world of murder, rape, child abuse, genocide, and other atrocities. It pushes the reader beyond the usual biblical exposition of the topic of forgiveness and challenges their thinking by juxtaposing absolutely bottom-line kinds of examples with the simple question: What would you do?
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Brian Zahnd is the founding pastor of Word of Life Church, a thriving congregation in St. Joseph, Missouri.Review:
I have been waiting for a book like the one you are holding in your hand. In a fresh and compelling way, Zahnd urges all of us to give up on consumerism and hostility toward those who differ from us and practice generous and forgiving grace. --From the Foreword by Miroslav Volf, Professor of Theology, Yale University Pastor Brian Zahnd is a fellow dreamer with a daring vision for the church today. He is a passionate voice offering practical and biblical revelation on the art of forgiveness and the challenge of following Christ’s example in our everyday lives. --Brian Houston, Senior Pastor, Hillsong Church Radical forgiveness is the most important—and most difficult—ethical imperative there is. This book couldn’t be more important. Zahnd’s voice—a very compelling voice—is 100 percent there, nothing fake, nothing contrived. People will love the book if they read it. I very much hope they do. --Clancy Martin, Professor of Philosophy, University of Missouri - Kansas City, and Author of How to Sell As a pastor, I have read many excellent books on forgiveness. Brian Zahnd’s is among the finest I’ve ever read. This book is filled with inspiring stories of forgiveness and keen theological and biblical insights. If I had to recommend just one book on forgiveness, this would be it. --Rev. Adam Hamilton, Senior Pastor, Church of the Resurrection, and author of When Christians Get It Wrong As the niece of a Holocaust survivor, I have often asked myself the very question posed by this book—“What would I have done?” Zahnd challenges us to take forgiveness to an unprecedented level and to truly forgive as Jesus did. Eye opening, thought provoking; a must read! --Dr. Sherill Piscopo, Evangel Association of Churches & Ministries, Roseville, MI What a book! Unconditional? is the best I have ever read on the subject of forgiveness. It is a riveting and challenging book. --Vinson Synan, Professor of Church History and Dean Emeritus, Regent University
In this insightful critique of contemporary Christianity, Zahnd (What to Do on the Worst Day of Your Life), pastor and founder of Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, Mo., challenges Christians to make Jesus’ call to forgiveness central to their faith. He bases his argument that Christians are not merely forgiven—a belief he considers “cheap grace”—but also called to “extend the grace of forgiveness to others” on his compelling analysis of the Sermon on the Mount, as well as Jesus’ teaching and life, particularly Jesus’ own plea on behalf of his executioners. In addition to drawing examples of radical forgiveness from scripture and literature, Zahnd provides powerful role models from recent history: Nelson Mandela’s seeking reconciliation in post-apartheid South Africa; the astonishing response of the Amish community to the murder of Amish schoolchildren in 2006; Pope John Paul II’s befriending of his would-be assassin; and numerous others who chose to “end the cycle of revenge.” Zahnd’s evident preaching skills enliven this thought-provoking book; for example, he asks: “Who has fired the gun of hate at your heart?” The author may shake up his presumed readership of fellow evangelical Christians with his challenges to red-state America, and his demanding yet hopeful arguments deserve attention from Christians of all persuasions. (Jan.)
(Publisher's Weekly 2010-10-27)
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