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Bold Thinking Christianity

Because of its revolutionary nature, and the revolutionary worldwide impact of its Founder, the man who claimed to be God's Son and who rose from the dead to prove that claim, from its inception Christianity has been a bold and vigorous thinking man's religion. Many of the greatest minds in history have been Christians. Through the years, however, its precepts have too often drifted into dogma, with the result that many of its followers have forgotten how to think, and to think boldly, about their faith. This is one of the predictable and unfortunate results of religiosity in all forms-the loss of the capacity to think with courage and originality-and that even more grievous hallmark of the religious mind that goes with it, fear of ideas that fall outside the theologic borders established by traditional orthodoxies. This doctrinal orthodoxy is rooted more than we have allowed ourselves to recognize in occasionally erroneous traditions passed down by the elder-gurus of our faith.
- From an introduction to Leben magazine by Michael Phillips

Be Clear-minded, Thoughtful, Mentally Diligent

"Listen to me, everyone, and understand."
(Mark 7:14)

The mindset caused by modernity's worship of formula, easy answers, and add-water-and-stir religion has created a generation of Christians content to accept and mindlessly absorb whatever anyone tells us. Spirituality is no longer viewed as an energetic life of growth of heart and mind.
In the midst of this drift toward mental laziness, what do we make of Jesus' repeated exhortations to Take heed how you hear, and Hear and understand?
One of the foundation stones of an energetically thinking walk with God is his implied command: Be clear-minded, thoughtful, mentally diligent.
Bold thinking Christianity brings to daily faith a vigorous courage to search for spiritual truth, and to probe the depths of God's purpose, outside the box of learned dogma, cliché, and doctrinal formula. The bold thinking Christian does not live by pat answers or proof-texts but by practical reality that engages heart and brain in a harmony of obedience to the instructions of Jesus.

God, help me resist the cultural pressure and drift toward mental sloth. Awake in me the desire to be a thinking disciple of Jesus whose brain is awake and focused. Stimulate me this day to mental action. Prick my brain with disquieting barbs when I need to think with greater force about my faith. May my thinking discipleship influence the world for truth.
- From The Pocket Commands by Michael Phillips



Condensed editions of the original The Commands book, the selections capture the germ and essence of the longer challenging commentaries of the originals. 120 mini-pages About the "Pocket" Series of books Each small volume is hand-cut by Mi

George MacDonald's single greatest outcry against false teaching is easily identified:
It is that so many of those who call themselves Christians are content to believe of God that which, if they were said of any human being, would be uniformly set down as atrocities and cruelties unimaginable.
MacDonald saw in such reasoning not mere falsehood and shallow thinking by Christians, but self-righteousness and most foul, a contentment for God to act the part of an ogre who will condemn and torment souls of his own creation...if only they themselves are standing well away from the fiery pit.
From belief in such a God, MacDonald recoiled in horror. Turning from these images, he succinctly affirms what true gospel is:
Jesus' "good news" about his Father is simply that he is no tyrant of men's fancies, but a loving, tender and forgiving Father...that he is entirely light, with no darkness in him at all.
...what in it makes it good news...
It is the news Jesus brought concerning the Father...that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
Ah, my heart, this is indeed the good news! This is a gospel!
If God be light, what more, what else can I seek than God, than God himself! Away with your doctrines! Away with your salvation from the "justice" of a God whom it is a horror to imagine! Away with your iron cages of false metaphysics! I am saved—for God is light!
- From George MacDonald’s Transformational Theology of the Christian Faith by Michael Phillips



A compilation of the complete published sermons of George MacDonald, some complete and presented in both original and edited formats, others condensed to highlight essential themes. The selections are introduced and briefly placed in their theologica

"In many old and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son." (Heb. 1:1-2a RSV)

The Greek word here translated various means literally "in many ways." Actually reading somewhat redundantly, "In many ways and in many ways, God spoke of old..."
We must not misread this all-important verse. There is not an "old covenant God" and a "new covenant God"—one bad, one intent on vengeance, the other full of of darkness, the other of light.
God is one. But the revelation of God is complicated and multi-layered. It is a revelation of "many ways and many ways."
Therefore, it is not that the divine Fatherhood was not present in the Old Testament, but rather that it was obscured and often overshadowed by other manifestations.
Jesus then, brought the good news by saying, "Out of those many ways—some shadowy, some indistinct, some confusing, some given inconsistent portrayals by man's own sinful inability to see him correctly—I am here to show you the portrayal of God that rises above all the others, the highest portrayal of the divine nature, which is Fatherhood."
The divine Fatherhood was there all along. But men could not see it.

From the preface to the upcoming Eyewitness Old Testament, vol 1 ( by Michael Phillips


A community following Michael Phillips' writings as he builds on George MacDonald's threefold vision of the Christian life.