Aimed at Catholic, Pentecostal and Evangelical audiences
The church has always promoted an idealized Jesus. Magnificent cathedrals, with depictions of Jesus in stained glass and sculpture, illustrate the success of this strategy. For its first 1,500 years laypeople didn’t have access to the gospels, so they trusted what their clergy told them about Jesus. Even after the Bible was finally widely available—due to the printing press and translations into the languages of the people—careful reading of the gospels doesn’t seem to have caught on. Surveys have shown how little churchgoers read their Bibles.
So while the idealized Jesus survives in the Christian imagination, there is little reason that it should. In preparation for writing my 2021 book, Ten Things Christians Wish Jesus Hadn’t Taught, I reread the gospels carefully, and my list of less-than-ideal Jesus quotes came to 292; the full list can be found on the book’s website.
How ironic that the gospels themselves make the case against Jesus. I wrote the book to try to get folks to pay attention: there are so many Jesus quotes we know they don’t agree with, and flatly reject.
In an effort to reach a wider audience, namely the Spanish-speaking world, where Catholicism has been losing ground to evangelicals and Pentecostals, my publisher Tim Sledge (Insighting Growth Publications) agreed that a Spanish version was in order. We arranged for David Cáceres González in Chile, who has done translation work for Richard Carrier and David Fitzgerald, to do the job.
In this book I invite the devout to go on an adventure of discovery: what made the individual gospel authors tick? —and how did they disagree with each other? Above all, why did they create the differing Jesus-script we find in their writings? For example, there’s a huge difference between Jesus depicted in Mark’s gospel and the one we find in John’s gospel.
This adventure of discovery is especially about thinking carefully and critically. Study each gospel episode: what was the motivation of the author, and does his depiction of Jesus match what you’ve been taught?
For those in the U.S. here is the link to the Spanish translation.
For those in Mexico, here is the link.
For those in Spain, here is the link.
For those in Brazil, here is the link.
The goal in writing this book has been to get churchgoers to pay careful attention to the gospels, and think about what their priests/preachers have told them about Jesus: is that what they find in these four documents?
David Madison has been writing for the Debunking Christianity Blog since 2016. Many years ago he was in the Methodist ministry for nine years, and he has a PhD in Biblical Studies from Boston University.