Climate Crisis - The Challenge to the Church, by David Rhodes
An attempt to redefine Christianity, which addresses the climate crisis towards the end of the book
Climate Crisis - The Challenge to the Church
By David Rhodes
Reviewed by Pieter J. Lalleman
While reading this book I constantly thought that its title and its contents don’t match. This is not a book about the climate crisis, rather an attempt to redefine what Christianity is.
Rhodes begins with Jesus, painting an egalitarian, inclusive Jesus. He then reinterprets everything that he does not agree with this Jesus, such as some parables, the healing miracles and even the cross. He denies the resurrection of Jesus. He goes on to criticise the Old Testament, the four evangelists (who misrepresented Jesus), Paul and the Church (both the early church and the church in our own time).
His harshest criticism lands on the head of Paul, and as someone who taught biblical studies at Spurgeon's College for more than 20 years, I found this both very difficult and disappointing to read. In short, Rhodes asserts that the entire Bible is wrong, but that the interpretation he presents about Jesus is right. (His bibliography refers to John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg.)
What is all this to do with the climate crisis? It’s only in the four-page postscript that the author addresses contemporary society, again with scathing criticism of everybody, but without concrete suggestions regarding our lifestyle. I cannot recommend this book. Surely we can and should tackle the climate crisis without becoming utterly liberal. Surely we should learn something from Jesus’ radicalism and egalitarianism, but not as presented here.
After teaching at Spurgeon's College for more than 20 years, the Revd Dr Pieter J. Lalleman is now the minister of Knaphill Baptist Church, Surrey.