Parakeets make delightful pets. We cage them or clip their wings to keep them where we want them. Scot McKnight contends that many, conservatives and liberals alike, attempt the same thing with the Bible. We all try to tame it.
McKnight’s The Blue Parakeet has emerged at the perfect time to cool the flames of a world on fire with contention and controversy. It calls Christians to a way to read the Bible that leads beyond old debates and denominational battles. It calls Christians to stop taming the Bible and to let it speak anew for a new generation.
In The Blue Parakeet, McKnight touches the hearts and minds of today’s Christians, challenging them to rethink how to read the Bible, not just to puzzle it together into some systematic theology but to see it as a story that we’re summoned to enter and to carry forward in our day. He calls his bold new approach to the Bible the “Third Way,” a path that walks confidently—and joyfully—between theological extremes. The Third Way is rooted in the Bible as Story, in the Bible as God’s Word to which we listen, in the Bible as revealing a life that we can apply anew in our day.
In his own inimitable style, McKnight sets traditional and liberal Christianity on its ear, leaving readers equipped, encouraged, and emboldened to be the people of faith they long to be. The Blue Parakeet is an engaging, warm narrative that is both deeply reasoned and spiritually sound. It is a book that will appeal to disenfranchised Christians who will be drawn to it because of its refreshing—and liberating—new approach to reading the Bible.
“What we’ve got in the pages of the New Testament are first-century expressions of the gospel and church life, not permanent, timeless expressions. They are timely expressions; they are Spirit-inspired expressions; but they were and remain first-century expressions. We aren’t called to live first-century lives in the twenty-first century, but twenty-first-century lives as we walk in the light of the revelation God gave to us in the first century.” (Pages 26–27)
“The biblical way is the ongoing adoption of the past and adaptation to new conditions and to do this in a way that is consistent with and faithful to the Bible.” (Page 29)
“What I learned is that sometimes we look behind the text to grasp a timeless principle and the principle is more important than doing the actual words.” (Page 15)
“What I learned was an uncomfortable but incredibly intriguing truth: Every one of us adopts the Bible and (at the same time) adapts the Bible to our culture. In less-appreciated terms, I’ll put it this way: Everyone picks and chooses.” (Page 13)
“I believe that because the gospel story is so deep and wide, God needed a variety of expressions to give us a fuller picture of the Story.” (Page 63)
Blue Parakeet is the book Scot McKnight was born to write. If you are interested in the Bible, or God, or your mind, or where these three might intersect, you will be blessed if you read this book.
—John Ortberg, senior pastor, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church
This is far and away the best, gentlest, most intelligent argument I have ever read for the absolute necessity of embracing the Bible as story. McKnight is in full and persuasive command of both his material and his craft.
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