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The Gospel beyond the Gospels

Trevor Dennis accuses the Gospels of misrepresenting God - and creates a god in his own pacifist image 

Gospel Beyond GospelsThe Gospel beyond the Gospels
By Trevor Dennis
ISBN 978-0-281-07533-1
Reviewer: Pieter J. Lalleman

Trevor Dennis’ premise at the outset is that the Gospels ‘are magnificent, but they are flawed, and some of their material is toxic’. And again, ‘the Bible never speaks with one voice on any matter of significance’ (p. 137).

From these points of departure, he explores in the first two chapters of his book what the Gospels say about the women who meet with Jesus, and he concludes that it is not enough. Chapter three is devoted to a parable of Jesus and finally chapter four studies the portrait of Jesus presented in the Gospels.

In classic liberal style, Dennis accuses the Gospels of misrepresenting God. He wants to purge them of all notions of kingship, punishment, violence and divine anger. He confidently distinguishes between elements in the Gospels which he acknowledges as stemming from Jesus, and elements which originated in later history. He chides the Gospels for having more male characters than female ones. He rejects the idea that God reigns; rather, God lives in a village and sits on a mat on the floor. Even in Paul’s hymn in Philippians 2:5-11 he discovers a mistake.

In other words, Dennis creates a god in his own pacifist image. Despite the fact that it contains quite a few good insights as well, I therefore cannot recommend this book.

The Revd Dr Pieter J. Lalleman teaches Bible at Spurgeon's College

Baptist Times, 22/09/2017
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