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on 18 November 2009
Stassen and Gushee's `Kingdom Ethics' is a powerfully incisive study with a strongly conservative and evangelical point of view. While it represents a massive scholarly enterprise, Stassen and Gushee still manage to write in a clear, comfortable and informal way: that alone marks this title as a remarkable achievement.

A quick search for this title on Amazon US (.com) will reveal a number of alternative reviews, as well as Amazon's excellent `Search inside' feature. The authors have chosen to view Christian ethics quite specifically through Jesus teachings as recorded in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), although that is very much seen in conjunction with Jesus emphasis on the Old Testament - especially Isaiah - as well as the rest of the Gospels, and some of Paul's teachings.

This focus on the Sermon on the Mount makes for a very original and interesting approach, and the authors' handle many difficult topics with common sense coupled great sensitivity (often from their own personal experience - including divorce, abortion, gender bias, etc.).

My criticisms would include nit-picky things like inconsistent formatting: occasional bold, inset text or shaded text boxes seem superfluous (if not inexplicable) and the frequent use of italics is certainly superfluous. I got impatient on a couple of occasions when I felt the premise was proved but the authors kept labouring away, and I also found one or two parts felt more like an Americanised, self-help book; for instance chapter 22 on prayer.

In the end though, this is a fine book on Christian ethics, even with my nit-picky criticisms. Stassen and Gushee address the most difficult issues of the modern world even if in some areas - like politics - I found less help here than I had hoped. The unbridled US American world view can be irksome (to a Brit, at least) but sometimes it is a positive boon - like the frankly shocking discussions on the death penalty (chapter 9). (Remember that not many countries still practice capital punishment so the authors' US perspective was especially helpful here.)

I would never have considered reading a book about Christian ethics were I not doing a distance learning course and this book represents the `if you only get one book on Christian ethics, get this one' choice. Statssen and Gushee aim to enable us to practice what we preach in our ethical decision making and using the Sermon on the Mount as a guide is surprisingly helpful: Recommended.

(Because `Kingdom Ethics' is strongly NT focused, I am reading Christopher J. H. Wright's Old Testament Ethics for the People of God next: it is going to be interesting to compare the two!)
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on 10 March 2017
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on 22 January 2017
This exposition of Jesus sermon on the mount challenges believers not simply to talk the talk but also to walk the walk of hope, joy, peace and justice.
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on 28 January 2016
As a beginners in these studies I find this book very clear in its distinctions and analysis. It is helping me to see issues more clearly.
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on 13 February 2016
just as described
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