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Rethinking God: Undoing the Damage [Paperback]

By Scott Munger (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   214
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.02" Width: 6.06" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   0.7 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2007
Publisher   Living Ink Books
ISBN  0899570380  
EAN  9780899570389  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Bible translator and teacher Munger's eye-opening analysis of evangelicalism reveals areas where God's "reputation" in modern culture has been damaged: church leadership practices, political involvement, distorted theology, the problem of evil, and the fate of unbelievers. By establishing the validity of faith, he challenges Christians to reform and non-Christians to reconsider humanity's only hope.

Publishers Description


After twenty years of focused overseas, an American missionary looks home.

Dr.Scott Munger applies to his own people, especially to fellow evangelicals, his experience in culture, language, and the Bible. Their often distorted picture of God saddens him. The loving One who woos humanity, the sovereign One who chooses to risk and be wounded, is wrongly perceived on both sides of a growing cultural rift. God is often seen as an omnipotent egotist and angry legalist, brooding plotter, agent of hucksters and buffoons, an irksome meddler. His image, dark and contorted, is becoming increasingly unlovable. We who claim to follow Him do much harm-His "name is blasphemed among the Gentiles" because of us (Romans 2:24).

"Rethinking God: Undoing the Damage" transcends the cultural divide by exposing common distortions of the great, grieving lover. The book starts by establishing the nature and validity of faith. Firsthand stories from the former USSR vividly portray atheism as the foil. Later, key areas are introduced that most often damage God's reputation: church leaderships, practice, and political involvement; distorted theology; the problem of evil; the fate of people who never hear the gospel; and our understanding of Jesus, Ultimately, Dr. Munger challenges Christians to sift their unquestioned assumptions, and he gives honest reason and courage to look again at the beauty of humanity's source and only hope.

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More About Scott Munger

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Dr. Scott Munger is a former agnostic who came to faith in God. He has been trained in both science (BA, Biochemistry, Bethel College, St. Paul) and the humanities (MA, Linguistics, University of Texas); and (Ph.D., Linguistics, Free University of Amsterdam, Netherlands). Central to his field research were cultural, sociological, and linguistic studies of other peoples. He has lived and worked in a rough-and-tumble world, from the guerilla-tracked Philippine rain forest to the concrete jungle of the collapsing Soviet Union. He has served as a missionary, consultant, Bible translator, church leader, teacher, and administrator. In addition to being a long-time student of biblical Hebrew and Greek, he has taught (university, seminary, and church) in three languages and studied several others. He is an avowed Evangelical, a commissioned and ordained minister of the gospel (non-denominational), a retired member of Wycliffe Bible Translators, and former Vice President of International Bible Society. He has discussed religious issues on radio, CNN, and FOX News, and has worked with Christian leaders from the United States and around the world.

Scott Munger currently resides in Colorado Springs.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Light and Truth - Redemptive combination!  Jun 11, 2008
Scott Munger is a dear friend of mine. What endears me most to him is his pursuit and insistence on truth. What Scott has written in Rethinking God is not only provocative in terms of his clear and insightful treatment of the Bible, but is a breath of fresh air in terms of how he has put into context the absolute importance of how we think about God.

How would we ever trust someone we don't know? And how could we ever know someone if we didn't feel free to ask any and all questions of and about them? I believe that Scott would answer "we can't", so he doesn't. Rather he asks not only the obvious questions, but the questions that most of us may have but are not willing not only to ask outloud, but often times even of ourselves.

While there are many intelligent and insightful writers, there are fewer inherently honest truth-seekers. Scott's desire for personal integrity, his honest heart-felt questions and his quest to be conformed more to the image of Christ make him and his book well worth knowing and reading.
He who has ears, let him hear...  Mar 14, 2008
This book will be ignored by those who need to maintain the status quo...simply because they will have too much too lose. It will take courage to read this book. Dr. Munger takes his time to develop a solid platform, on which he establishes a valid point-of-view. I only hope and pray more people will realize that the best things are not new but usually remain hidden in plain sight. Munger has a talent for giving those of us who have "ears" the ability to "hear."
Restoring God's Rep  Feb 22, 2008
There's a short piece floating on the Net called Top Ten Reasons Why Men Should Not Be Ordained. The version I saw rather cleverly takes the logic of common objections to the ordination of women and applies it just as effectively to argue against the ordination of men. I asked my friend why she had posted it, and it turns out she is discovering how much of our religion is extra-Biblical. Well, her exact words were, "It makes me mad!"

I sympathize completely. When I uncover a loaded interpretation of Scripture or flaws from my childhood religious programming, I first feel betrayed. Then I realize how senseless my anger is, absent a deliberate perpetrator.

With Rethinking God, Scott Munger is out to correct the errors in religious programming. He seeks to refurbish God's reputation, whether it has been sullied by the self-serving distortions of God's followers or by the slanders of God's enemies. I had great hopes for this project, though in retrospect it is perhaps a hopelessly broad one.

In this single tome, Dr. Munger ranges from describing, from personal experience, the failings of a naturalistic worldview, to mounting full-fledged apologetics against the charges of atheism and pretensions of relativism, to bemoaning the dearth of character in too many publicized church leaders, to condemning the systemic causes of that dearth, to utilizing his professional skills as translator to undermine some of the most cherished and damaging evangelical presuppositions. He's quite capable in each area, but the wide swings from one to the next rather robbed the entire book of focus. I'd be quite content to purchase separate works from him devoted to each subject.

It seems to me that the different sections would appeal to different sorts of readers, so I am at a loss as to what to recommend. Personally, my religious outlook was changed profoundly by two of Munger's exegeses. In the section, Is God a Heavenly Narcissist?, he demonstrates that Isaiah 43:6,7 speaks about people being created to show God's glory, not to give him glory through praise. At another point, he reveals that the verb "take" in the Third Commandment, "Thou shalt not take the Name of the LORD thy God in vaine," means something similar to a wife taking her husband's name and family reputation. It means that a Christ-ian should live a life worthy of the Name he or she has "taken." The restriction to speech turns this fundamental commandment into a legalistic willow switch for berating trivial impiety.

Unhappily, Rethinking God seems to have suffered the disservice of having been left orphan by the editorial community. I was constantly distracted by misspellings and poor usage: "Holding the reigns of `truth'" on p. 2 and "quail to question him" on p. 35. and "a new religion is canvassing the land" on p. 62 and "careen off a cliff" on p. 63. Beyond these needless embarrassments and probably producing them is a sometime telegraphic style laden with metaphor and cliché. I paused several moments in puzzlement over each clause like "but it does exclude blind faith from the copyright" (p. 3) and "A Christian leader who does not walk with God will chase Saul's phantoms" (p. 35). Moreover, the book is inflated by many lengthy quotations from Scripture--a few judicious summaries would have made it much more readable. I hope the author finds for his next book an editor who will more tightly define audience and subject matter and challenge him to draw out his thoughts into clearer and more powerful exposition. And proof the thing, for goodness sake.

Representative quotes:

"Another comment about faith--our second hiking shoe. Some people boldly declare that circumstances, especially in early life, determine our core beliefs. In select cases that claim may be true, but no one can prove that it holds universally. Furthermore, the idea cuts itself off at the ankles: We need only ask what circumstances produced someone who believes it. Finally, siblings raised in identical environments often end up with very different views. So neither my faith, nor that of most Communists, arises from external forces. Such forces may push us here or there, but we draw the conclusions. After a long struggle, I came to my own convictions quite willingly, and can explain why. That doesn't make my faith true, but it does exclude blind fate from the copyright."
p. 3

"More important (sic), the verb in the final phrase `prepared for destruction' is an ambiguous form in Greek. It can mean either `were prepared by someone else' or `prepared themselves.' The difference is huge. English usage tends to push our understanding of `prepared' to the passive `were prepared.' The story of Pharaoh, however, and the whole tenor of Paul's writings here and elsewhere suggest that such people prepare themselves..."
p. 100

"The Bible consistently teaches that God will not judge us by what we claim to believe, the doctrines we profess, or the religious rituals we perform. How much less by what we have merely heard. God will judge us upon how and why we conduct ourselves in life."
p. 141
The Truth Can Hurt a Bit  Jan 16, 2008
Scott Munger has given us a wake-up call -- A serious dose of Truth in Love. Although some of these issues are controversial in the Evangelical machine, Dr. Munger gives sound biblical support for why we need to reexamine ourselves. Too many lives are at stake -- Jesus gave us a simpler and more selfless way to reach the world. Again, some of the ideas delivered by Dr. Munger are controversial, but heartfelt dialogue about God and His true message are absolutely necessary today. Passive participation in Christendom isn't doing us any good. It's time to ReThink some things -- Randall Niles
A Stirring Call to Re-examine today's Church  Oct 16, 2007
Articulate and direct Scott Munger calls on the church and individuals in the church to rethink their concept of God. Dr. Munger tells his personal story of agnostic uncertainty to his acceptance of the truth of the Gospel message. He shares personal stories and observations from his life in rain forest in the Philippines to the former USSR, Asia and Europe.

Munger has been trained in Science, in Biochemistry, in the humanities, and in linguistics. He has done research in the fields of cultural, sociological, and linguistic studies of other peoples. Well known for his stance on Evangelicalism today he has been featured on CNN and FOX News.

After twenty years of overseas missionary service Dr. Munger applies the understanding gained in culture, languages, and Biblical studies to challenge the American church to examine the veracity and power of their faith.

Dr. Munger asks the reader to consider the ways in which we have allowed our church structure, programs, political action groups, and a vague or misinterpreted theology to distort the picture of God we give to the world. A world desperately in need of the message we profess has power over sin and the promise of eternal life. He calls the reader to involve themselves in politics as citizens, to vote, to speak up for rights, and to pray for governments and their leaders. He cautions the reader: "Don't confuse earthbound political positioning with the divine administration of eternity."

The problem of evil is presented from a philosophers view and then from the scriptural teaching. Pain, suffering and the source of evil are all considered in light of the Christian's response. In the chapter which includes "Stories from the Rain Forest" Dr. Munger stimulates the thinking of the reader in areas of evangelism and missions.

The familiar story of the woman at the well related in John chapter four provides lessons in contrasts: Compassion, not condescension, truth not tolerance, relationship, not religion, fulfillment, not fluff, service, not self, and organic, not organized. The appendix, notes, and index included in the book make this an excellent resource for class study, reference, and lesson or sermon preparation.

Dr. Scott Munger asks the hard questions. Thought provoking and challenging "Rethinking God" is a wake up call to today's Evangelical.

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