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If your concept of the atonement is in line with the vast majority of members, then you have found exactly the right book. As a people we have been shackled to a concept that does nothing to bring us closer to Him. Instead it instills fear of God deep in our souls. Concepts left over from centuries before Joseph Smith was even born have convinced us God is less than completely generous, loving, kind and understanding. This book teaches us how to open our heart and minds to God’s unyielding love. Jesus Christ has adopted us, nurtured us, continues to cares for us, offers us everything and asks only that we love each other. It is simple and beautiful. It is why we call it the Good News. YOU WILL LOVE THIS BOOK.
This book merely adds to the disappointment I feel with respect to the Givens. In it, they set themselves up for a light, explaining to the benighted masses of the Church how they think the Gospel should be taught and understood. Ultimately, most of the points are merely supported by non-LDS scholars, or relying on tortured readings of obscure texts. As I have investigated the context of these obscure quotes, I have come to find that the Givens have treated their audience quite deceptively, taking snippets out of context to support conclusions the original author wouldn't have agreed with. The intellectual and academic dishonesty on display in this book is shameful.
If you’ve read “The God Who Weeps,” “The Christ Who Heals” and “The Crucible of Doubt,” you’ll find that the authors have been weaving this particular tapestry for years now —but here in this book it all comes together. The reframing and re-contextualizing of the entire Christian project is their goal and they’ve made a major contribution here. Their writing is lucid and engaging, the scholarship is top-notch with references to the Church Fathers (including Origen and Augustine), Reformers (like Luther and Calvin), LDS general authorities and authors, as well as many non-LDS and more contemporary authors as well, (they even manage to seamlessly pull in a TV sitcom to help make their points) —drawing on all of these sources and their own wealth of empathy, understanding, and personal insights, Fiona and Terryl Givens have created another masterpiece. For any follower of Jesus Christ, this work is thought-provoking as well as soul-enlarging. If “by their fruits shall ye know them” then there is some delicious —and nourishing— fruit here indeed. A read that is well worth your time and may just change your entire view of “sin, salvation, and everything in between.”
Brother and Sister Givens again deliver a powerful work which explores the etymology of gospel words and concepts, refocusing their perceived meanings and impact through the lens of the Restored Gospel. Their work is an academic treatment, yet extremely accessible to everyone. It reads nimbly between prose and poetry in its impact. I absolutely enjoyed this book. It reinforced some intuitive impressions I thought about the gospel, while challenging some long held concepts which, upon closer scrutiny, were not supported by the Restored Gospel. I recommend this book to anyone who wishes to reignite their passion and deeper understanding of their faith and the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I am grateful to Brother and Sister Givens for sharing their research and inspiration in this book. I generally use a colored pencil to highlight important sentences in books I read. In this book, I would need to highlight every sentence. The contents of this book, and insights for application have been life changing. Again, I am grateful to the authors for becoming folks able to receive and share such a valuable perspective.
I just finished the latest Givens book. The Givens' basic premise is that St. Augustine turned the fundamental doctrines of early Christianity (belief in a premortal existence and a path to return to to God) by rejecting premortality and free agency, inventing original sin and a perverted concept of grace. He was aided and abetted by Martin Luther and the other leaders of the Reformation. The result has been religion that is more terror than comfort. They demonstrate the early church beliefs, work through the implications of Augustine and Luther and demonstrate the corrections inherent in the Restoration (many of which we have ignored to our detriment), and, they suggest a path forward.
I think that it is very illuminating and have felt pulled towards these ideas for some years now.
I do think that there are a few gaps in the book but but gratefully they have left enough for us to fill in through inspiration and study.. I am convinced that the Holy Ghost works through thousands to advance truth in the world. I heartily recommend it.
This book, like other works of this couple, confirms to me that there is so much to learn from that which has already been given but has yet to be fully understood. I remain so grateful for the new vistas afforded me through their work. Come, look with new eyes.
The Givens' take us on an extraordinary journey. Our jumping off place is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints many of us baby boomers grew up in -- warts and all. With Terryl and Fiona as our guides, we travel back in time to peer into the minds of early disciples, students, teachers, acolytes of Christ who understood some of the truths we've failed, in the midst of our cultural and linguistic noise, to fully appreciate. When we arrive back to where we started, we see The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as if we are seeing it for the first time. It is no longer the same religious institution for me, but a deeper, richer and a more interwoven part of the divine universal tapestry of Believers all over the world and through all the ages.
I struggle with this book. On the one hand, the primary thesis of a God who is much more lenient and loving than our current conception is quite attractive. It’s something I think most want to believe. Yet they fail to make their case in a convincing manner. They do things like reference early Catholic writers, but then only rarely quote them. They cherry pick thoughts from a mix of LDS and non LDS authors, but offer no context. They fail to address the multiple passages across all of scripture that contradict their “recontextualizing” of the atonement. (Side note: I’m very leery of any modern author who “recontextualizes” anything, nowadays. That word is a dog whistle for a certain political and intellectual viewpoint, which almost always bleeds into the interpretation.) Overall I find myself wanting to believe their claims, and suspicious that they have given us only the parts of the story that support their claim, while suppressing the rest. I can’t really recommend this book. And it raises a lot of questions about the quality of their scholarship for their other works.
Never before have I highlighted a book as much as this one! There are so many amazing insights. I have read through this book completely twice already and continue to go through the book just to read all of passages that I have highlighted. I wish the whole world would learn the concepts found in this book.