An analysis of the arrogance and self-righteousness found in secularism and the modern churches, showing the importance of the basic message of Christianity.
Trade Information: LPOD
Available as: Paperback, PDF
Specifications: 229x153mm (9x6in), 200pp
Published: May 2011
Published: February 2014
God is in the dock. Shall we convict him or forgive him? Shall we replace the God of Scripture with another of our choosing, mock and deride him, or ignore him? Shall we replace revelation with the chaos of speculation? We perceive ourselves, rather than God, as the center of the world and this universal condition leads to conflict with others and with God. Western civilization is giving up trust in the promise of God's mercy, justice, and forgiveness and replacing it with trust in the goodness of man.
C. FitzSimons Allison reminds us that Jesus warned us to beware the teaching of the Sadducees and Pharisees. The biblical Sadducees, who denied hope of eternal life, are a rough equivalent of our modern day secularists with their belief that this world is all there is. Like the Sadducees, secularists leave the world's final justice to the whims of history and allow no room for the eternal ideals so desperately needed in an age of disbelief.
Yet do things look any better in the modern churches? We may find in modern Christianity a belief in eternal life, but is it enough to conform to a religious group in order to merit salvation? The Pharisee's self-righteousness, says Allison, is a natural condition of us all, and is a trap into which all too many church members fall. Even when cleansed it reappears in every tradition, presenting forgiveness and transformation as a promise only for those who think they have earned and deserve it. Such a distortion of God's word is congenial to our self-centeredness, but it robs us of the justice and mercy of a loving God.
Allison argues that by heeding Jesus's warning, we have the opportunity to wipe away both Sadducean arrogance and Pharisean self-righteousness and discover anew the supreme power and joy of the Christian faith. Christ's sacrifice, he warns us, did not change human nature and "our secular arrogance and our religious self-righteousness are in our heritage as well as in the very air we breathe".
Preface by The Rev. Ashley Null
Introduction: The Center – I am Not and God Is
1. Trust in an Age of Arrogance
2. The Yeast of the Sadducees
4. Corruption of Morals and Art
5. The Pharisee Yeast
6. Anglican Pharisees
7. Roman Catholicism and the Council of Trent
8. Protestant Pharisaism
9. Why Did They Lie?
10. Blood of Christ
C. FitzSimons Allison is in active retirement as the former Episcopal Bishop of South Carolina. He is also the author of Fear, Love and Worship (1962), The Rise of Moralism (1966), Guilt, Anger and God (1972), The Cruelty of Heresy (1994).
This book is a distillation of much wisdom and Allison wears his learning lightly. It warns us against two opposite dangers: moralism without the spiritual and tolerance without morality. Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali
I started this book in an arm chair and finished it on my knees. Here is a rich treasury of insights and observations from a life well lived and thought, one that adds up to a profound and moving testimony to the wonder of the gospel and God's grace. Os Guinness, author of The Call
[The] arguments are presented with fervour and urgency, but this book is not a rant. It is the work of a scholar as well as a pastor ... This is in many ways an admirable and timely book, rooted in biblical teaching, and it should not be neglected ... Christian readers should heed its positive message. Church Times, December 2011
This is a book which promises much. It is imaginative, scholarly and written with a lightness of touch which makes it accessible to the thinking Christian as well as to the academic. Its central theme is compelling and even prophetic. It turns on the idea of yeast and what happens when its limitless powers for life-giving fermentation are corrupted, when they are not channelled within the constraints of God's good purposes. Lorraine Cavanagh, in Modern Believing, April 2012