Fabricating Faith: How Christianity Became a Religion Jesus Would Have Rejected

Richard Hagenston. Polebridge (Baker & Taylor, dist.), $18 trade paper (120p) ISBN 978-1-59815-146-6
In this unremarkable and repetitious study, Hagenston, a United Methodist minister and former pastor, tiresomely rehashes the idea that Jesus was a man who proclaimed a merciful God rather than a God satisfied by the sacrifice of blood. Marching rapidly through the history of biblical interpretation, clunky readings of Paul’s writings, and superficial readings of the Nicene and Apostle’s Creeds, he explores how Christianity developed into a religion that looks nothing like the religious message that Jesus himself embraced and taught. According to Hagenston, Jesus “firmly rejected sacrifice and taught that salvation comes solely through repentance, both to one another and to a merciful God.... He would have reacted with utter disgust at the thought of being viewed as a sacrificial Lamb of God.” In the end, Hagenston merely states as fact that the notion that Jesus would reject the Christianity that has evolved over the last two millennia, and he offers no meaningful reflections about what impact this might have on contemporary Christianity. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/09/2014
Release date: 07/02/2014
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