Camden Theological Library

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Saving Jesus from the Church

Posted on 23 May 2011 Gavin Glenn

Reviewed by Reinette Black

How to Stop Worshipping Christ and Start Following Jesus.


14 years ago, walking down Rokeby Road in Subiaco, Perth, I entered Dymocks Book Store with a particular book in mind. However, a small volume on the shelf caught my eye – Rescuing Jesus: A Heretic’s Handbook, by Dudley Hyde (1997). I nearly fell backwards on the spot! “A heretic’s handbook” – how contrary! This needed immediate exploring.That day became the beginning of a new phase of my life, looking into modern Christian theology – an enormous extension from the “Sunday School theology” that I had been living with for over 50 years. The Camden Theological Library gently holds Hyde’s book under its first edition name, Rescuing Jesus from the Church (Minkara Press, 1994).

So imagine my surprise and delight at finding a new library book entitled, Saving Jesus from the Church, by Robin Meyers, (2009). Although written in very different styles, Meyer and Hyde both have the same basic message – don’t be distracted by beliefs, religious practises, codes of conduct, or the institution of the Church; look at what Jesus said and did. Hyde emphasises love of God neighbour; he sums up love as “the accurate estimate of another’s needs and the supply of resources to meet these needs” (p.91). Meyer emphasises following Jesus, and the life of discipleship: “The ministry of Jesus was, and is, and always will be about compassion – pure, unbridled, reckless compassion.” (p.124)

Meyers, of course, is able to cite more modern writers, such as Borg, Funk, and Crossan, but also refers to earlier writers such as Schweitzer, Kähler, Heschel and Bultmann. He extends his discussion to chapters on wealth, politics, and the importance of relationships: “For the prophet Micah, his successor Jesus, and all the rest of us who are praying for a new day in the church, the most important question we can ask now is not about what we believe. It is about how we relate.” (p.221)  I can thoroughly recommend both these books – but beware! – they may change your life as they have mine.

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