Faith without Fear – eBookby: Keith Mascord
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Keith’s second book, Faith without Fear, asks whether Christianity has the wherewithal to meet the increasingly acute intellectual and moral challenges currently facing it, and whether it can shed the reactive fear which now grips its more conservative forms. Major topics of the book include same-sex marriage, patriarchal push-back and the sociology of conservatism. The book seeks to demonstrate the inadequacy and damaging impact of older ways of reading the Bible, and to plot what some will consider a risky way forward for 21st century Christians.
What some have said about Faith without Fear:
A powerful and arresting book … with a message for all Christians everywhere – Hon. Michael Kirby
A highly significant work for global Christianity – Rev. Dr David P. Gushee
This invaluable gift is a number one recommendation from me for 2016 – Dr Val Webb
A warm, wise and accessible book – Professor Marion Maddox
Well written, passionately argued, but at times bewildering – Hon. Kristina Keneally
A ‘must read’ for all Australian Anglicans – Dr Muriel Porter
Maps the contours of a fearless, intelligent and humble faith – Bishop Stephen Pickard
Those looking for simple answers … won’t find them in this book – Father Dave Smith
Sure to stimulate a re-think of pressing questions facing today’s faith communities – Dr Lindsay Stoddart
Faith without Fear is the most thoughtful and well informed manifesto I have read from within the Christian community against the global neo-fundamentalist turn which often goes under the mistaken name of evangelicalism. The author diagnoses the roots of the situation fearlessly, and his depiction of the consequences of this movement is arresting. I also deeply appreciate his effort to paint an alternative approach based on both informed intelligence and mainly on love. A highly significant work for global Christianity.
Rev. Dr David P. Gushee, Distinguished Professor of Christian Ethics; Director, Center for Theology & Public Life, Mercer University; Vice President, American Academy of Religion
This is a powerful and arresting book. It is easy to read, with many poignant human narratives. Keith Mascord shows the dangerous error of adhering blindly to notions of the inerrancy of the Bible, literally understood. Approached in this way, many of its words and stories cannot be reconciled with objective facts, or with contemporary perceptions of universal human dignity for all, including slaves, women and homosexuals. Yet far from destroying the central divine message of Jesus, Mascord demonstrates that the only path to the survival of Christianity in an age of growing atheism is one that accepts the necessity of courage to rethink unscientific, patriarchal and homophobic ways, even at the risk of accelerating the emptying of churches, as congregants yearn for clear, unbending rules. Mascord explains that rationality, truthfulness and the love of God are the ingredients essential to efforts to revive Christianity in countries in steep religious decline, such as Australia. His is a message for all Christians everywhere – but particularly for evangelical Protestants as they approach the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's fateful Reformation.
The Hon Michael Kirby, Sydney Anglican and past Justice of the High Court of Australia
Keith Mascord offers us a lucid, carefully crafted, honest and humane approach to some of the many challenges, difficulties and hermeneutical weaknesses associated with conservative strands of Christianity. With wisdom, learning and pastoral sensitivity he maps the contours of a fearless, intelligent and humble faith to sustain the pilgrim for the long haul. A fine and timely book.
Bishop Stephen Pickard, Executive Director, Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture
A must read for those who struggle with biblical literalism, inerrancy of Scripture, male headship and anti-homosexuality stances within their Christian denomination; and an invaluable resource for those in dialogue with friends or relatives holding such views. After many years teaching within this tradition exemplified by the Sydney Anglicans, but now outside it, Mascord respectfully explains the assumptions, beliefs and concerns, and offers nuanced critiques of how these stances are problematic today. Advocating Jesus' example of love and compassion over outdated doctrines and biblical interpretation, Mascord encourages both humility to admit uncertainty and courage to challenge what needs to change. This invaluable gift is a number one recommendation from me for 2016.
Dr Val Webb is an Australian theologian and author of eleven books including ‘In Defence of Doubt: an invitation to adventure’ and ‘Testing Tradition and Liberating Theology: finding your own voice.’
Keith Mascord grew up a conservative evangelical, believing that the Bible's every word had to be taken literally. He lost his literalism, but not his faith, and wrote this warm, wise and accessible book for others on a similar path.
Professor Marion Maddox, Macquarie University, Sydney
Faith without Fear is a well written, passionately argued, but also at times bewildering book. As a Roman Catholic, it was intriguing to learn about how some of my closest Christian cousins – Anglicans, particularly here in Sydney - read and interpret the Bible. With matters such as same sex marriage, refugees, and women in leadership currently occupying our nation’s attention, all Australians, regardless of their faith, would do well to learn more about what their fellow citizens believe, and why. Faith Without Fear is a very good place to begin.
The Hon. Kristina Keneally, 42nd Premier of New South Wales, M.A. Religious Studies
If your faith journey starts in the zone of Reformed Calvinism, as has mine, the path to a confident faith free of addiction to inerrancy, and toward the freedom to live fully in, and to be continuously amazed at, the transformative power of the unconditional love of a God beyond our knowing, takes a path through the issues and questions and challenges raised by this book. The truth that sets us free comes from science, shared experience, and a vital faith in the God to whose love the Bible bears witness. This book takes the reader on such a journey boldly, faithfully, and with the promise of transformation by a gospel set free to do its work.
Professor, the Reverend Gary D Bouma AM; Monash University and St Johns Anglican Church, East Malvern
This well written book may provoke disquiet and make the theologically acute reader question her assumptions and long-held theological convictions. But if, like me, you are enthralled by gospel engagement with our mostly secularised world, then Faith without Fear is sure to stimulate you to re-think some of the most important and pressing questions facing today’s faith communities.
Dr Lindsay Stoddart, former Archdeacon of Wollongong, Anglican Diocese of Sydney, former Dean of Hobart, Anglican Diocese of Tasmania
A lot of people are disillusioned by the obvious moral failings of today’s church and are frustrated with the lack of intellectual integrity evidenced by its leadership. Keith Mascord shares fully in that frustration and disillusionment, and is willing to discuss these matters openly. Those who are looking for simple answers to the church’s problems won’t find them in this book, but they will find someone there who is willing to struggle with them in attempting to find an honest way forward.
Father Dave Smith, minister of Holy Trinity Anglican Dulwich Hill
Keith Mascord has written a truly unique book. He has tackled the bogey of biblical literalism as one who was once in its thrall. He knows its power, and the ways in which it is exercised in this country and beyond. From his own experience, he is able to demolish it, with insider knowledge and insight, yet always with the deepest respect and courtesy for its contemporary protagonists. Faith Without Fear is a 'must read’ for all Australian Anglicans.
Dr Muriel Porter OAM, author and Anglican laywoman