Christianity’s Dangerous Idea, by Alister McGrath

I am mostly finished with Christianity’s Dangerous Idea by Alister McGrath, but not done yet. Its an enjoyable read about Protestantism – its origins and distinctives, in particular the dangerous idea that anyone can read and understand the Bible for themselves. Yesterday I was reading it in a park in France when some guys invited me for a beer and the next thing I knew I was explaining my book to French Catholics. It made me feel very PROTESTANT.

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Its a good book and suitable for students. Alister covers the usual suspects and touches on worthy missions background to Protestantism’s expansion but he also offers some unique insights – like the rise of the Bible belt in USA and how Anglicanism ended up north rather than down south. Interesting.

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Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Kris says:

    What do you make of the comparison to Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest as applied to Christianity? I read the book about a year ago and also found it interesting.

  • It’s a pity that you could only fit a compact scanner on your truck. It means we can’t see all of the book cover. Never mind 🙂

  • jeremy says:

    Andrew, I haven’t read the book, but is McGrath claiming that it is impossible for anyone to “Read the bible for yourself and understand it completely”? And, if he is in fact making this as a claim, do you agree with him?
    The reason I ask is I am a senior at Multnomah University and in the last three years I have gone from being intimidated by the scripture to being able to open up the bible and understand simply from the text and wrestling with the author what the author’s intended meaning is. A book that has changed my life is Dr. Ray Lubeck’s “Read The Bible For a Change.” He lays out a solid and simple format for reading the scriptures canonically, and it has really made sense to me.
    My main question for you is, do you believe that we cannot understand any parts of scripture completely simply from reading the text?

  • Espen says:

    If you pass through Paris, if you want do not hesitate to email me and we could drink a coffee somewhere–

  • Matthew Neal says:

    I just started that book oddly enough. I like the fact that he takes a serious look at the Radical Reformation when most Christian historians focus very much on the major Magisterial Reformers to the exclusion of the diversity in the Reformation as a whole.
    However I am worried that in surveying a vast cross-section of the Reformation the impression might be given that the doctrine of Sola Fide was not in fact all that central to any of the other Reformers save Luther. The fact is that the material cause of most of the Reformation was justification by faith alone and I think that is pretty clear when looking at the Council of Trent.
    The again I just started the book…

  • Madeleine says:

    If you enjoyed McGrath take a look at Stark’s book For the Glory of God.

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