`My hope is to overcome the apartheid between the academy and the congregation, suggesting ways in which cutting-edge biblical scholarship can be a positive and liberating force for Christianity in the twenty first century.'
Liberating the Gospel is prefaced by Tom Wright's claim that Christians have for too long `read scripture with nineteenth-century eyes and sixteenth century questions', and that it is urgently necessary they learn to read `with first century eyes and twenty first century questions'. The central section of the book concentrates on reading the narratives of the Galilean ministry of Jesus within their first century context, then exploring Paul's mission in the setting of the urban and imperial world of Rome, before offering reflection on the Apocalypse in the changed world following the destruction of Jerusalem. Smith then concludes his treatise facing the `twenty first century questions', seeking to build a hermeneutical bridge to our globalised world. As a whole this major new book on Christian mission aims to contribute toward an understanding of how the dynamic message of Christ might be liberated to be heard as genuinely good news today, in the process potentially transforming Christianity, provided there is willingness to face opposition from a world resistant to the exposure of its injustices.
David Smith is a former minister of Eden Chapel, Cambridge, spent many years in service in mission in the rainforests of eastern Nigeria, and has also been Co-Director of the Whitefield Research Institute, Oxford, and Senior Research Fellow at the International Christian College, Glasgow. He is currently Honorary Lecturer in the School of Divinity, Philosophy and History at the University of Aberdeen. He has written eight other books including Mission After Christendom.