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Featured Book: The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus: What’s So Good About the Good News?


In a National Public Radio interview a dozen years ago, Peter Gomes admitted that his book “isn’t at all what its racy title suggests”: “I’m sorry to disappoint you,” he remarked, noting that, for example, The Scandalous Gospel doesn’t spotlight Jesus’s relationship with Mary Magdalene. As NPR reported, “…the ’scandal,’ according to Gomes, is the lack of attention to the gospel, even among those who consider themselves to be faithful Christians.”

The Galilean’s was “a disturbing and redistributive gospel,” Gomes avows, adding ruefully, “we do not preach what Jesus preached. Instead, we preach Jesus.” “Gomes doesn’t pretend that following Jesus’s teachings would be easy,” NPR reported. It’s as he told his interviewer: “‘…if we actually tried to apply it to our communities—feed the hungry, clothe the naked, love our neighbours—those are dangerous things.’”

The late Peter Gomes, a gay black Baptist minister, was for decades a Harvard professor of Christian morals and pastor of that university’s Memorial Church. “A born storyteller,” according to Publishers Weekly, “his tone [in this book] is compassionate, even when he chides those who fear conflict and change.” It describes The Scandalous Gospel as “an incisive original, aimed at cautious defenders of conventional wisdom.”

The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus: What’s So Good About the Good News?
By Peter Gomes
HarperCollins, 2007