What is my upcoming book, “Unboxing God—An Unevangelical Guide to Christianity,” about?
For a long time, I’ve had thoughts and questions about certain things about Christianity that didn’t fit in with the evangelical—or even protestant—understanding of things. As I began reading more and more about historical Christianity, I discovered that my thoughts were very close to those held by the early church theologians, and by the Eastern Church today. I also discovered that many of the divergent Western theologies began with Augustine in the late 4th Century. So, this book is an attempt to remove God and Christianity from Augustinian boxes, and later evangelical theological boxes, to reveal a God who is much larger than we have been taught, while remaining anchored to the original creeds and beliefs of the Church.
What kind of teachings am I referring to when I say they “didn’t fit?”
I’m talking about core beliefs about the Bible and atonement theories. Is the picture of God that we have in the Old Testament—that differs so much from what we see in Jesus—reflect the people’s thoughts about God rather than the truth about God? And notice that Paul uses a variety of metaphors to describe Jesus’s work on the cross; why does Western theology focus on only one—penal substitution—as if it’s the one and only way to see salvation? Things like that. And as it turns out, the early Church had those thoughts as well.
What other beliefs have I traced to Augustine and other Western theologians?
Original sin, for one. The total depravity of man. And God’s wrath poured out on mankind, so that he had to punish Jesus instead of us. Eternal torment. The list goes on. In the book I try to give explanations of the origins of these doctrines and provide historic, “unevangelical” ideas to consider.
A final note:
While I present my opinions on the issues I discuss, I am not at all dogmatic about my thoughts. I have tried to keep a conversational tone throughout the book. I quote from a lot of people I respect. I try to ask questions and pose possible answers, while giving reasons to dispose of ideas that I find unacceptable. My hope is that I can encourage people to ask their own questions. I think God is big enough to handle the questions, and I want people to find that bigger God.