Bob Edgar's middle-of-the-road, pick-and-choose approach to the Bible is precisely what is wrong with American Christianity today. Edgar criticizes the stronghold of the "far religious right" on our government, and apparently "far religious right" means those who disagree with homosexuality and abortion, and those who support the Iraq War.
Edgar cries victim at people who call out false teachers like him. However, Edgar's attempt to bring "unity" to Christians only causes further divisiveness in the Christian community. He draws the proverbial line in the sand with the anti-war, radical Left being the "true" followers of Jesus's teachings. How charming!
An excerpt from Page 6 in the Introduction:
"The Bible mentions abortion not once, homosexuality only twice, and poverty and peace more than two thousand times. Yet somehow, abortion and homesexuality have become the litmus tests of faith in public life today...the politics of faith have been co-opted in the service of a political agenda defined by fascination with war, indifference toward poverty, and exploitation of God's creation for the benefit of a relative few."
How many times does the Bible enjoin people not to murder and steal? Not many, but there are numerous Bible passages that can lead one to an understanding of abortion that Pastor Edgar is apparently ignorant of. We should put aside such disagreements, Edgar says, because unity is more important -- according to him, more important than following the Bible. Through half-baked logic such as this, Edgar's book reads more like an ACLU "religious equality and freedom" manual rather than a balanced look at the current state of Christiantiy.
Continuing, the ravages of modern society, according to Mr. Edgar, are "hunger, illiteracy, disease, war, and environmental degradation." Sounds like Mr. Edgar has ordained himself as a prophet, since he is apparently one of the only ones to know what the Bible truly means, and what God's real intent was. Furthermore, Mr. Edgar is "not ashamed" to be labeled as the "religious liberal."
Most of "Middle Church" is just a simpleton's critique of society that sounds like it came straight from Ned Lamont's desk. Just insert "God" and "Jesus" in there a few dozen times and BAM! You've got a "Christian" book! The majority of the book just walks itself in circles as Edgar banally tries to convince the reader that ozone pollution is worse than abortion. Funny though, how on page 88 Edgar references the "sacredness of human life" in reference to preventing terrorism. Ha! Good laugh on that one. The central question in the abortion debate is whether or not an unborn baby is a human or just a lump of tissue, but Edgar simply assumes the latter and concludes that we must allow abortion in order to obey God's command to "love one another". Certainly a worthy command, and Mr. Edgar's evident care for the poor and abandoned is commendable, but in this case the Devil is definitely in the details.
Although this book is supposedly an enlightened look at the true meaning of the Bible, the vast majority of Mr. Edgar's scripture references are placed as chapter subtitles with only vague connections to the actual meaning Mr. Edgar is trying to convey. Most of "Middle Church" reads like a resume or auto-biography than a social critique on Christianity and American society. I did this, I did that, blah blah blah.
On page 115, Bob Edgar encourages American military disarmament, citing that we have way too many nuclear weapons than would be needed to "destroy any nation we choose." From then on it's typical anti-war, Leftwing propaganda speech with a random Bible verse inserted now and then to prevent too much monotony. I'd say give this book a pass, unless you're a Christian who really wants to get a scare thinking about apostates like Bob Edgar who mislead and confuse the world in the name of Christ.
1 John 2:18-26
Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us—even eternal life.
I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray.