Paul the Progressive? : The Compassionate Christian’s Guide to Reclaiming the Apostle as an Ally
By Eric C. Smith
Contrary to popular opinion, the apostle Paul is not Progressive Christianity’s Enemy #1.
A generation of biblical scholars has sparked a revolution in thinking about the apostle Paul. Now, bible scholar and progressive Christian pastor Eric C. Smith is helping Christians see how that revolution makes a difference for people engaged in the work of justice and inclusion.
In Paul the Progressive?, Smith revisits an often misunderstood Paul in light of modern biblical scholarship, telling the story of a Paul who challenged the norms of his day, broke down barriers of gender and ethnicity, and re-imagined God’s plan for the world in terms of radical inclusion and salvation available to everyone.
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"To say this book is full of gems here and there does not suffice. Rather, the entire text sparkles and shines, page to page, start to finish. It dazzles in both its scholarly rigor and pastoral care. Smith manages to pull off a rare feat: he cuts the biblical material with his exegetical incisiveness, even while he comforts with his pastoral tenderness those marginalized and excluded by many in the church. Whether you hate Paul, or (like me) like him but only conditionally, this is your next book. Let Smith re-introduce you to the real Paul, a Paul who is much more authentic and compelling than the deformed one we unfortunately have inherited." ―José Francisco Morales Torres, Assistant Professor of Historical and Comparative Theology, Claremont School of Theology
"As an African American biblical scholar, I appreciate Smith’s argument in Paul the Progressive. Concisely moving through various texts in the Pauline corpus, Smith’s work has wide-reaching implications for those of us who fight for liberation and justice within church and society." ―Angela Parker, Assistant Professor, New Testament and Greek, Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology
"Dr. Eric Smith has presented a groundbreaking work that is both scholarly and accessible that helps us to reframe our understanding of the teachings of Paul in order to see him as an agent of progress and social reformation on the issues that are at the center of our theological and public discourse today. Smith’s work has helped me to begin reconciling my broken relationship with the Apostle and has birthed in me a renewed interest in Paul’s writings as tools to inspire and insight positive change in my own life and in my community of faith. If you’re looking to be challenged, intrigued, and inspired, Paul The Progressive? is a must read!” ―Rev. Brandan Robertson, Lead Pastor of Mission Gathering San Diego and author of True Inclusion: Creating Communities of Radical Embrace
"I am a firm believer that every worshiping Christian deserves a chance to work out their faith in ways that make sense to them. We all need resources that are accessible and informative to get there. Eric C. Smith has done that on a subject much debated in Christian communities for ages: what do we make of Paul. If you have ever deliberated over whether Paul distorted or enhanced the core message of Jesus, you should add this book to your library. Whether you agree with his conclusions or not, you will appreciate his scholarship, find his writing style engaging, and be grateful for what he has added to a critical and ongoing debate in the life of the Church." ―Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ