Christianity Reformed From Its Roots- A life centered in God

Written by: Jairo Mejia. 

Offering positive alternatives to open-minded believers and unbelievers alike, Christianity Reformed from Its Roots challenges the traditional beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church on God, Jesus, and the Bible. Using the text of the New Testament, theologian and philosopher Jairo Mejia challenges us to rediscover the real Jesus, a humble Peasant of Nazareth glorified by his resurrection. Mejia argues compellingly that a true concept of God is more vital today than ever before and can be understood by both agnostics and atheists-thus asserting that there is no contradiction between science and religion, but a smooth and fulfilling meshing of the two. This enlightening and uplifting volume explores such topics as: What it means to be a Christian, The globalization of religion, Action and providence of God, Reflections of Christian faith, The meaning of God as a prayer.

In addition, Christianity Reformed from Its Roots includes an extensive glossary, alphabetical subject index, and comprehensive bibliography. In our modern world fraught with violence and persecution, it has never been more necessary to center our life on God and be like Jesus as we embrace our return to the roots of Christianity.

Topics: Interfaith Issues & Dialogue. 8 Points: Eight points. Resource Types: Books.

Review & Commentary

One thought on “Christianity Reformed From Its Roots- A life centered in God

  1. Review

    Reviewed by Gerald Grudzen, Ph.D.Philosophy Faculty San Jose City CollegePresidentGlobal Ministries UniversityCo-Author with John Raymaker: Steps Toward Vatican III: Catholics Pathfinding a Global Spirituality with Islam and Buddhism (University Press of American: 2008)

    The scope of this book is very wide and comprehensive and goes well beyond the title for much of the book deals with what Thomas Aquinas called Natural Theology or Philosophical Theology. Even though the first part of the book draws heavily upon biblical scholarship and biblical themes, the author's thesis seems to center upon how to reform Christianity in light of the revolutions that have occurred in our historical and scientific understanding of the Bible, Christian dogmas and the very nature of scientific and religious truth statements. He points out very well that organized religions such as Christianity have developed elaborate dogmatic structures that cannot be easily verified within the biblical canon. He claims that many of the honorific titles for Jesus were later developments and that Jesus himself did not claim any divine title for himself but lived fully within the Jewish faith of his time which would have precluded any such claim. Much of the early part of the book attempts to develop a spirituality based upon the relationship with God (Yahweh) that Jesus had in his own earthly life insofar as we can reconstruct it within the Gospels. The first part of the book bears some resemblance to the writings of the Anglican bishop, Rev. John Shelby Spong (Jesus for the Non Religious), and Roger Haight, S.J. (Jesus a Symbol of God), who attempt to develop a Christology for the postmodern world in which we live. Jairo Mejia's book is distinguished by his attempt to place revelation in a global context and show that Christianity may be only one of the authentic encounters of God with the human race. "The differences among religions will be less because people of all religions believe there is only one God, although called by different names." (p.45)

    Mejia draws upon contemporary biblical and theological scholarship for much of his thought, but I thought more could have been said about the role of the believing community in early Christianity. We know that Christianity was successful because people were attracted to its message but just as importantly to the quality of community life that they found in the Christian ekklesia (gathering of the faithful). Any "reform" of Christianity must take into account the vibrant quality of these early communities and how they conducted themselves in the world in which they lived. Christianity, in its initial form was primarily a communal experience of the Spirit of Jesus the Christ living within the community and celebrated in the Eucharist. The demythologizing argument needs to be balanced with our human need for rituals and symbols that we find expressed in liturgical celebrations of the core Christian mysteries. Christianity embodies a participation in the life, death and resurrection of Christ but these are not just creedal statements but communal events that help us to renew our experience of the risen Christ. The second major section of "Christianity Reformed From its Roots" deals primarily with philosophical theology and the various questions that have arisen about God's existence and God's presence within creation. Mejia does a very good job of providing the reader with the many ways that God can be understood for those who are theists from the Deist position that God is completely removed from his creation in time to the Pantheists who believe in an identity between God and the universe. Much of the discussion in the second half of the book follows the classical Thomistic models of how an immaterial God relates to his material creation. The central innovative position found in the second section of the book discusses Jesus as Precursor and Prototype. "According to this interpretation, the incarnation of God in Jesus is just a model of what happens in every human being; all human beings are somehow, incarnations of God, and God is within every man and woman because they are in God …" (p. 170) The theme of Prototype lends itself to Mejia's discussion of time and eternity. Since God exists outside of time, every event in the created order occurs in God's present moment. There is no past, present or future in God. Mejia stresses God's utter transcendence much like Karl Barth but seems to stand in opposition to the evolutionary thinking of Teilhard de Chardin who projected the divinization of creation in the natural order leading to an eventual Omega point. (See the Divine Milieu) Mejia still seems to hold onto the separation of the created order from the supernatural order of being. He does stress, however, that we do participate in the actus purus of God in whom we live and move and have our being. Our utter dependence on God leads to Jairo Mejia's beautiful prayers at the end of the book which the reader will find quite inspiring.

    The reader will find much nourishment in this book even if not all the sections may be of equal interest. Jairo Mejia takes us deeply into his own struggle to discover a postmodern faith that can be just as rich and fruitful as that of the early followers of Jesus.

    Gerald Grudzen, Ph.D.

     

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