A Review Of Marcus Borg, The Heart Of Christianity: “Rediscovering A Life Of Faith” -- By: Mark Pretorius
Conspectus 8:1 (September 2009) p. 89
A Review Of Marcus Borg, The Heart Of Christianity: “Rediscovering A Life Of Faith”
Borg MJ 2004. The Heart of Christianity: “Rediscovering a Life of Faith”. San Francisco: Harper Collins (234 Pages).2
Marcus Borg, Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture, an endowed chair at Oregon State University, is considered by many to be one of the most influential voices in what is referred to as Progressive Christianity, a movement founded in 1996 by a retired Episcopalian priest, James Adams, in Cambridge, MA. It currently represents the most liberal established Christian group within Christianity.
Borg’s philosophy is simply that one does not have to take the Bible literally to take it seriously. He teaches that a historical-metaphorical approach to the Bible has more meaning for today’s world than is the historical-grammatical approach or that of biblical literalism. Borg summarizes his description of the historical-metaphorical approach by stating that the Bible is the Word of God metaphorically.
Although I approached this book with an open mind, and having read a couple of his other books, I have always struggled with his approach. There were some chapters that I found to contain views that I could not adopt. One was his view of religious pluralism (like many liberal Christians, he has real trouble with the idea that Jesus is the only way to salvation), and another was his view of the Bible and the inerrancy of Scripture.
Conspectus 8:1 (September 2009) p. 90
Besides this, Borg clearly seems to reject that the miracles in the Bible really happened, such as Jesus turning the water into wine. He instead reads a metaphorical meaning into it (as do other liberals who cannot accept Biblical miracles as literal). Borg claims that when we read the Bible as a literal document, we miss the metaphorical meaning (the meaning for life).
His argument is simply that we diminish our faith stories by making them merely literal. He pushes for the “more-than-literal” meanings in the Christian scripture. In my view, it is a growing modern Western mind-set that he portrays. Sadly, there are many theologians holding prominent positions in academia, who hold fast to this approach to Scripture.
As one reviewer of his work bluntly stated:
Evangelicals beware—this is the same Marcus Borg of the Jesus Seminar, the one who has categorically stated that he does not believe that Christianity is the only path of salvation, that the Bible is the Word of God, that Jesus experienc...
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