Religious No More

Religious No More: Building Communities of Grace and Freedom by Mark D. Baker

Too many Christians are "religious"--their faith is more a human endeavor than a response to God’s loving initiative. Such religion assumes that our value comes not from God but from what we do. It absorbs principles and postulates from the surrounding society, leading to further misconceptions about God and our relation to our Creator. All this hinders people from experiencing vibrant Christian community, where they could freely love and be loved.

Mark Baker suggests that just as car companies test automobiles under severe conditions to uncover weaknesses, North American Christians may detect fallacies in their “gospel” by examining howit plays out under the challenges of poverty, injustice and entrenched religiosity. Baker’s test case is drawn from his ten-year

missionary experience in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, at churches born out of North American mission work.

Baker observes Honduran church life, draws parallels to religion in the North American church and mines from Paul’s letter to the Galatians exciting possibilities of robust Christian grace and freedom. The result is a bracing and refreshing approach to Christian community for laypersons, pastors, missionaries and mission strategists.

“This is biblical theology at its best: timely, integrative, liberating.” Richard B. Hays, Professor of New Testament, The Divinity School, Duke University

“Potent for both its prophetic challenge and its pastoral encouragement toward the transformation of evangelical faith and life. Do we have ears to hear?” Joel B. Green, Associate Dean of the School of Theology and Professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary

“Baker’s powerful book explores the complex dynamic between the apostolic message in its original setting, the community that hears and reads it in scriptural form, and the evangelist or preacher who interprets it by word and deed in the present situation. This is no abstract study in hermeneutical theory but rather an engaging instance of a living encounter with the divine Word in all its concreteness.” Geoffrey Wainwright, Cushman Professor of Christian Theology, Duke University

“One of the first significant steps to build upon and weave together liberation concerns, serious biblical exploration and evangelical theology. Baker has written a book that will become seminal for . . . scholars interested in contextual, biblical and theological studies.” Willie James Jennings, Associate Dean of Academic Programs, Research Professor of Systematic Theology and Black Church Studies, The Divinity School, Duke University.

“Mark Baker’s ‘Religious No More’ is a sheer delight. Approachable, easy to read . . . passionately showing us a vision of what the church can be, it is a refreshing sight indeed."Kevin Taylor, Fair Haven United Methodist Church, Houston TX in "Perspectives in Religious Studies”

Available from: Wipf & Stock Publishers