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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Living the words of Jesus
This book gives the reader the privilege of listening in on a conversation between Tony Campolo (veteran international evangelist and author of Let me tell you a story and many other books)and Shane Claiborne (a young christian activist and author of the best selling Irresistible Revolution). They share their experiences, stories and wisdom on a wide range of current hot...
Published on 14 Sept. 2012 by Peter Lloyd

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2.0 out of 5 stars Bad book despite good intentions
“Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.” (Charles Spurgeon).

This quote could sum up this book. Many of the issues appear right, some even are, but many fall short.

The book starts with an explanation on why the authors use the term Red Letter...
Published 9 months ago by Christian Disciple


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Living the words of Jesus, 14 Sept. 2012
By 
Peter Lloyd (Malta) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Red Letter Christianity: Living the Words of Jesus No Matter the Cost (Paperback)
This book gives the reader the privilege of listening in on a conversation between Tony Campolo (veteran international evangelist and author of Let me tell you a story and many other books)and Shane Claiborne (a young christian activist and author of the best selling Irresistible Revolution). They share their experiences, stories and wisdom on a wide range of current hot topics from pro-life to the environment, from homosexuality to immigration, to theology to world affairs.

The "red letters" in the title refers to the words of Jesus that are printed in some older bibles in red. The sub-title of the book is "living the words of Jesus no matter the cost" and that probably sums up what the book is about.

IRRESISTIBLE REVOLUTION: Living as an Ordinary RadicalLet Me Tell You A Story Life Lessons From Unexpected Places And Unlikely People
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A challenging and thoughtful read, 30 Mar. 2013
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If you don't want to be challenged in how you are living out your faith then don't read this book. Claiborne and Campolo take the words of Jesus in the Bible (the Red letters of the title) seriously, and aim to live by them. This book is an easy read, there is no deep and complex theology, and split nicely into chapters on topics that mean it could be easily dipped into when wanting some thoughts and ideas on a topic or real life issue you are facing.
It is written as a conversation between the two authors, and at times this is a little contrived and it is also focused on the problems in the US. But it doesn't take much thinking to link to similar issues that are faced in churches around the world today, and each chapter is filled with practical stories that Claiborne and Campolo share about how they, or people they know are actually trying to live out the words of Christ in their life. You may not agree with all their theology or their suggestions, but you can't fault their desire to serve Christ and make him known.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars red letter, 8 Nov. 2012
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I found it easy to read, not using technical or complicated words. Important Christian subjects were covered in a systematic way. Subjects covered explained some issues which I struggle with. Only on a few opinions do I still have questions ( am not sure I agree with opinions made)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Red letter, could have read better, 10 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Red Letter Christianity: Living the Words of Jesus No Matter the Cost (Paperback)
I you're looking for an alternative to right wing guns and gays Christianity, then you can't do much better than Claiborne and Campolo. In this book they take a serious look at some serious questions and offer some answers other than the knee jerk spot it and stop it that has become the modern caricature of the church.
The only downside is the style of presentation, The book is written as a conversation between Shane and Tony. Although everything they write is clear and well thought out, the linking between their individual paragraphs feels a little false. Apart from that though it's a good book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and thought provoking, 12 Jan. 2013
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M. T. Allenby (Northampton, England) - See all my reviews
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I don't always agree with Claiborne and Campolo, but they got me thinking. There are things here to challenge both liberals and conservatives.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very handy work tool, 15 Dec. 2012
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Helena Gray "fun lady" (U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Red Letter Christianity: Living the Words of Jesus No Matter the Cost (Paperback)
My husband is a URC minister and found this both a good work tool and a handy book for discussion
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2.0 out of 5 stars Bad book despite good intentions, 13 July 2014
“Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.” (Charles Spurgeon).

This quote could sum up this book. Many of the issues appear right, some even are, but many fall short.

The book starts with an explanation on why the authors use the term Red Letter Christians. The reason is the author believes that the red letters of the Bible are superior to the black letters (p. 5). This in itself is an error and much has been written to debunk this by other authors. One author refers to this as being similar to the “I follow Christ” situation in 1 Corinthians 1. Another author reminds us that the gospel writers who wrote the red letters also wrote the black letters; both are inspired AND important.

Just two pages later (p. 7) there is brief mention on the tragedy on Judges 19. The author mentions how confusing this is. Andy Stanley (Right in the eye – Stranger than fiction) offers a good explanation for this. I find it odd that the authors of this book aren’t aware of explanations like this. Straight after this discussion the authors mention the Old Testament. To them, the God of the Old Testament is a completely different God. This issue resurfaces again (p. 215) where God who is revealed in Jesus is not the same God in the Old Testament who issued commands to take the Promised Land. This misconception is bad. In the OT God’s wrath is more visible in temporal categories such as famine or war while in the NT it is in the afterlife. Don Carson (The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God, pp. 80-84) deals with this misconception well.

The chapter on hell is very disconcerting. This book occasionally refers to ‘least of these’ (referring to Matthew 25:40) despite this passage referring to believers due to the term brothers and sisters. Note the similarity to Matthew 10:42 and superlative ‘least’ compared to ‘little ones’. In both instances the recipients are believers. One author claims he would still evangelise even if there was no heaven or hell (p. 50). This doesn’t make sense logically or biblically. 1 Corinthians 15 is important to this. Verse 3 tells us that preaching Christ crucified is of first importance, even more important than other good things that the authors have included in their inclusive definition of evangelism and missions. Verse 19 tells us that if there is no resurrection then we should be pitied. The Passion 2006 talk by Piper is good at discussing this. The chapter on hell gets worse. The author states “there will be some who, on the day of judgement, are not aware they had a relationship with Christ, when, in reality, they hadn’t rejected Jesus” (p. 53).

The next chapter focuses on other religions. The authors suggest we may have the same God (p. 56). The authors suggest we collaborate with other religions (p. 58). Compare this Luke 11:23/Matthew 12:30. By the way, I am referring to collaboration on faith or church activities rather than church members working side by side at the same workplace. There is the suggestion that unbelievers have the spirit of Christ (p. 59). The final part of the chapter (p. 64) is unclear to which God he wants all religious people drawn to. Is it their respective God or the Christian God?

In later chapters the book deals with political issues. On many issues I agree with them and other issues I don’t. I tend not to focus on these because there is Christian freedom to differ and with so many topics its unlikely many people would agree with them on everything. My issue with the book is its book is its view of God, the Bible and salvation. This is bad enough and demonstrated above. However these problems continue to show themselves in latter chapters.

One issue in a latter chapter is discussing communal sharing. I am not arguing either way but I have a problem with misinterpretation of the Bible. It is emphasised on page 69 that the reason Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) died was not sharing rather lying.

There are good points that I agree with such being against the death penalty. Although I am strongly against it, I might not be able to demand it of other Christians. This chapter also lacked as much information on abortion. The Bible allowed the death penalty at some stages in history but not abortion. In fact the death penalty was demanded for someone who killed a baby in the womb (Exodus 21:22-25). In my country abortion exists and Christians do very little to oppose it. The Christians in my country need to hear about abortion rather than largely skipping it like this book does. This chapter raises two issues despite me agreeing with a lot of it. Firstly, this whole book has a largely American flavour. It is directed towards Americans. I am not American so many of the points seem odd or confusing because I am not familiar with American politics. Wouldn’t the timeless words of Jesus be relevant to all rather than how this book comes across? Secondly, the generalisation and caricatures are not helpful or applicable. It doesn’t apply to me living outside America and I would be surprised if such sweeping generalisations apply to those living inside America. Secondly, in taking an issue that we are strongly for and want others to follow our wise advice (death penalty) and then demanding it of others becomes the very thing the author dislikes about fundamentalists with alcohol or dancing (p. 4).

A similar thing happens with war. I am against war but concede there may be occasions when it is just (to free those severely oppressed or to defend ourselves). I am not supporting recent wars but speaking in general. This chapter on war fails to mention Jesus’ encounter with a soldier while not telling him to give up his profession, a NT command on one occasion to bring a sword and parts of the OT. The Bible is not that narrow to dismiss the possibility of a just war. That said I do think America has a sick idolatry with guns.

This brings me to another inconsistency in this book. Despite the chapter war and violence, the book later encourages the use of a war dance in worship (p .234). I am not arguing against it or claiming it is demonic (p. 235). I am not knowledgeable enough on either of these, but I am pointing out the inconsistency in this book.

This book also fails to distinguish between the active and passive will of God. This can be seen where “if people did the will of God, Jesus would not have died” (p. 153). Lack of mention of active vs passive will. Compare the quote to Acts 2:23, Acts 4:28, Isaiah 53:10.

As previously said, there are aspects that I agree with but to keep this shorter I am skipping them. There are also aspects I strongly disagree with that also aren’t mentioned above. However, the book on the whole has a reduced view of God, the Bible and applies things poorly and/or inconsistently.

I cannot recommend this book. I realise the church should desire to be holy, living out the great commission and also being socially just. I therefore instead recommend Generous Justice by Tim Keller.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Honest discussion about the words of Jesus and how it affects practical living in the world today., 27 Dec. 2012
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Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne give real and honest reflections on a number of controversial topics relating to Christianity. I loved the simple way both authors discuss subjects that have caused people to view Christians in a certain way. Although i don't agree with all their theological views I found myself appreciating their practical approach to Christianity and found this refreshing and encouraging. I would recommend this book to people from all religions and backgrounds and to dive in and reflect on the words of Jesus and to consider what these words meant for everyone who would be willing to listen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fairly US-Centric, but..., 4 Dec. 2012
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Fairly US Centric, however there's lots of really good stuff which could really be applied to our lives generally to help us live better and more in the way that God intended.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Sorry, but not really my taste. Too American ..., 15 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Red Letter Christianity: Living the Words of Jesus No Matter the Cost (Paperback)
Sorry, but not really my taste. Too American in outlook and not particularly crafted for the UK market. Having said that, some will benefit from the authors conversations, for that's what they are. Things concerning American believers (eg Republican viewpoints, gun laws etc) won't appeal to UK believers, so I would suggest that hesitant UK readers might want to buy a used copy and see how they get on with it. Once again, not my personal taste but it may appeal to some who want to suss out the authors slant on what they term "red-letter christianity."
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