If Jesus is NOT just window dressing for an ‘angry’ God, how can we process the less than gracious concept of God the Old Testament portrays?
Peter Wilks provides a cogent and realistic response to the question of why the character of the God of the Old Testament appears as judgmental, angry, pernicious and at times, exceedingly bloodthirsty, compared with the God who Jesus reveals as full of love and compassion.
Drawing from the acclaimed scholarship of Rene Girard, the author describes our human condition is largelythe result of polarisation between ethnic groups despite a growing global recognition of the need for equality and co-operation. The practical result of polarisation is the crisis of violence in which the world finds itself today. Individually, the crisis often manifests in how we think of ourselves.
Jesus Christ came at a time of crisis in the Middle East exposing the deceptive nature of this structure/system that serves to establish and maintain peace and a sense of social order - the 'scapegoat mechanism'.
Jesus’ mission was to show people a different way to live and thrive. This entails a complete mindset change. The wisdom Jesus taught has a universal and timeless appeal. It is the only proven and effective alternative ever offered to humankind.
“Nasty or Nice is a highly imaginative approach to the question of whether the Bible really does bespeak a violent deity. The work of someone who is not at all a fundamentalist, but whose heart has clearly remained with the fundamentals of faith, Peter Wilks approaches the Hebrew Scriptures with an extraordinary creative verve. Writing as a populariser rather than an academic, he enables us to find ourselves inside the world of the Ancient Near East which produced the texts we have. He explains, for instance, how ancient idols ‘worked’ and how much better we understand the Hebrew reaction against them if we see what was going on.
The result is a very rich picture of the humanity of the authors and editors of our Bible books, and what they might have thought they were doing. It is in these circumstances that Wilks offers us a very different sense of what might underlie therhetoric and imagery which we are so easily inclined to read straight onto God. Close to the heart of Wilks’ endeavour is the understanding of desire and scapegoating, elucidated by René Girard. And both those familiar with Girard’s thought and those to whom it is new will find gems of new understanding in these pages.”
James Alison. Theologian, priest, and author of several published papers and books such as ’The Joy of Being Wrong’ and ‘Jesus the Forgiving Victim.’
“A contemporary chorus of jeers would negate Christian Scripture over those ‘nasty’ narratives that paint God as a monstrous projection of human violence. Using the momentum of the cultured despisers, Peter Wilks responds in classic Girardian fashion, demonstrating how salvation history, and its inspired book, comprise our best correction to the problems of mimetic violence and sacrificial religion.”
Brad Jersak PhD. Principal, St. Stephen's University (Canada). Professor of Theology & Culture.
Take time with this book. The language is unexpected and challenging but satisfying when you persevere. Many themes are familiar - the unity of creation, respect for Gaia as mother Earth. A new phrase stresses creation as ‘the Kin(G)dom of God’, and institutions come under radical fire - ‘thereis aprofound western human deceit born of encountered narcissism’ or ‘the usurious, exploitative money system’. The poetic depths are to be discovered and the rewards are great. This is where we want to be, close to the ‘integrity of this strange life’ and the Common Good.
Michael Jarrat, a fellow exploring faith today
This is a short but challenging book on several levels. Read it and listen to it with your whole being - heart, soul and mind - and you will reap rewards. The Christian church started as a movement grounded in love rather than as buildings and hierarchy. This pilgrim explorer invites you to re-tread your life and contribute to the new Kin(G)dom. Look for the light in the cracks!
Steve Lancashire, an associate of the Open Global Table
The writer has captured the ruminations and cries of those, some barely heard, who have longed for a better, inclusive, and just world that works for all and protects the earth. The reader is encouraged to explore its depth, cast ego aside, collaborate, and consider their contribution.
Pick up a copy of the Bible, any copy. Some of you may never have held one before. Now open it, anywhere, and read a sentence. How does it read? Is it understandable? Does it make sense?
I suspect you may have a problem – for the Bible no longer communicates easily to millions of people. And it is now likely that those who have grown up with the Bible find it difficult to imagine what it’s like for those who haven’t.
This book is an attempt to facilitate a new way of being Christian in the 21st century. So, come and join in and share the hope. Let’s ask a few questions, and let’s stride out on a journey together and meet Christianity again for the first time.
“Rev. Tony has a way of simplifying complex ideas without being simplistic or patronising. He respects the reader, loves the listener and knows how to lead them to the next stage. Plus, he is humorous and never takes himself too seriously, which is rare for us clergymen.”
Richard Rohr, Franciscan, Catholic friar, priest and founder of the Centre for Action and Contemplation.
Leviticus is often perceived as scary and confusing, because people do not always understand why the Israelites were instructed by God to obey all these complicated and restrictive rules. However, when we understandwhy God gave these rules in their historical context, we begin to see how protective and loving of created Man God really is.
Leviticus - The Intention of the Heart for Harmonious Living, explores the meaning behind the specific rules for eating clean or unclean meat. Eating clean meat is a recognition of an individual seeking to keep pure intentions.
The eating of clean or unclean meat also has a bearing on the ‘abominations’ referred to in the particular scriptures referencing homosexual relationships. The author addresses this head-on, concluding with a new and more loving interpretation of how God regards this practice.
Secondly, this book unpacks the Day of Atonement event of chapter 16 as the intention of God's heart towards His people, which was always in Jesus mind and affected the way He ministered.
Nailed—Reclaiming the Gospel is a collection of 96 statements about the three persons of the Trinity. It encourages Christians to believe that God is consistently loving and kind, as Jesus portrayed Him, and to re-examine theological theories that could make us hesitant to embrace God as a dear Father. In a world awash with deceit and confusion we need to see God through the lens of kindness. The book invites the reader to take a fresh look at the good news Jesus brought to the world, in person—which amounts to the fact that there is a Father who loves us consistently, who wants the best for us, and has the power to rescue us from our mess.
For more information, Q&A with the authors, and to download a 'taster' visit the Nailed website.
Would it surprise you to learn that about a third of Jesus’ parables were told to the religious elite of the day and none just to children? Graham Heaton explores this context of Jesus’ parables finding elements of prophecy and satire not often recognised or understood.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1).
The first human sin happened because Adam and Eve believed a slanderous lie about God the Father. And ever since, the devil has woven a complex ‘theology’ of lies against Him—He’s not quite safe; He’s like my human father; He will end up doing what my dad did; He is against me; He looks for reasons to condemn me and reject me; He’s the God of the Old Testament who punishes people. The author argues that there is a global pandemic of fatherlessness, and mankind desperately needs to know the love of God the Father.
Much of Jesus’ teaching was to correct the harsh and untrue image of God, which the Pharisees and other religious leaders were presenting to the people. And today, the way Christ’s followers perceive God the Father will determine what we become, whether we will enjoy our Christian life, and how passionate we will be for God. Our perception of God the Father and our own spiritual identity are inter-dependent.
The Enigmatic Jesus explores the different ways in which Jesus might be perceived—from the misconceptions of those who have no personal experience of Him, to the particular facets of His identity that have been revealed to mankind. Each chapter discusses one aspect of who Jesus is, and how this relates to our human condition. The author argues that although God is a mystery, He is eager to make Himself known to anyone who turns to Him. And when people start living in step with Jesus they embark on a journey of discovery—about themselves, God, human nature, the world at large, and the meaning of life. This book encourages the reader to set their sights on knowing Jesus, who is our ultimate and unsurpassable treasure.
We recommend this book, previously published by Onwards and Upwards.
What God Believes About You
The book title is inspired by C.S Lewis who made the statement:
'What God believes about you is more important than what you believe about God.'
Jesus came to empower individuals, especially those who regarded themselves as victims. He validated them when no-one else did. He helped them to see how God saw them, restoring their self-worth, value and worthiness. He never judged them, but loved them. His use of the word 'hell' did not distract from this mission.
Sadly the institutional Church has used 'hell' as a means of fear and threat, of political control and manipulation. That use still lingers with us today. But what did the people who were actually there, listening to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, understand when he used this word?
VERSES VERSUS VIRUSES is a collection of 28 ‘crafted prophetic’ poems written by Timothy Harrold during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
They chart a personal voyage through the spring of 2020 and a response to the shifting spiritual atmosphere at the time. As an itinerant preacher with a semiotic eye, Tim had already anticipated the sense of what was about to happen and, as the pandemic took hold, how what was meant for evil, God was using for good.
What emerged are images of profound challenge and change, of pause and process, of chrysalis and catalyst. Tim interprets the signs of the times through pictures and portraits of a world being shaken and shifted, and the church being reimagined and realigned, recalibrated and reset, revived and refreshed.
VERSES VERSUS VIRUSES can be used as a four-week series for daily meditation. Each poem is accompanied by a pen and ink illustration by the author..
’I want to drag knives over my skin, just to feel something
other than shame, but I am not even brave enough for that.’
Paula Hawkins. ‘Girl on the Train.’
Because of mankind’s innate need to experience being valued, worthy, loved and belonging – it’s easy to understand why shame is often described as the ‘master emotion.’ It is designed to destroy the wholesome experience of worthiness.
’Shame cannot distinguish between personal criticism and an observation.’
Shame is a fundamental factor that affects us all in various negative degrees. Peter Wilks exposes this elusive enemy of a healthy mental life. This book is based on a course Peter and I devised and taught, over a six-week period, called ‘Clinic of the Mind.’ The course and particularly the issue of SHAME was well received and gave people the understanding to tackle some of the issues they were suffering from such as low self esteem, lack of value and self worth. I highly recommend this book.
Rev. Eder Goncalves, Perth Baptist Chuch. Scotland.
Have you ever imagined how God arrested Abraham’s attention the day He turned up and spoke with him. A moon worshipper who came to the place of slaughtering animals and leaving their raw carcasses lying in the sun, imagine the smell, the blood and gore.......blood up to his ankles.
To understand the God of the Bible you must stand with blood up to your ankles, smelling the raw undigested hay and slaughter and blood all around you, identifying with another sacrifice that took place several thousand years later, it would arrest your attention and forever burn in your mind the day you entered into covenant with God. It would not be a light thing to do but the best decision you made in your life. Abraham understood this, we must as well. How else could he contemplate slaughtering his own son? A blood covenant is not only to be intellectualised about, but primarily practiced, lived and experienced. However coming as we do, particularly from a western non-blood covenanting culture and mind set, we have to study to understand the concept of blood covenanting, the demands and the consequences, the blessings and the curse.
Blood covenant is the key to knowing who you are, your place and purpose in the world, to be about His business and what it means to be In Christ. This is what this book is about.