Ask most Christians in any church about why Jesus came to earth they would probably answer, “Jesus came to die for my sins.” But in this book Augsburger counters this common perception by emphasizing the resurrection as central to following Jesus. “Without the resurrection of Christ, there would be no reconstituting of human life and existence by God… Early Christians regarded the raising of Jesus from the dead as the decisive act of God’s saving work.”

It seems that part of Augsburger’s purpose is to carve a way between charismatic/pietistic Christianity that focuses on personal experience and the dead legalism of ethical forms of Christianity. “Our relationship with the risen Christ keeps our discipleship from becoming legalistic. The emphasis on following Christ keeps our experience from becoming merely pietistic… Believing is behaving in relationship.”

One line that has been used at least twice in the opening chapters is: “God is like Jesus.” In other words, there are many ways God has revealed Godself to the world through creation, through the Old Testament, and throughout history but the fullest and best picture of what God is like is found in the person of Jesus of Nazareth as revealed in the Gospels.

A good word to those of us who work and study in the context of an institution dedicated to biblical study: “The ultimate goal of [biblical] exegesis is fully attained only when this faith is subsequently achieved by us. The dynamic aspect of [biblical] interpretation is not in the concepts so much as in the expression of a transformed life. We are to live our understanding, to be walking in the resurrection.”

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