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The Challenge of Diversity: The Witness of Paul and the Gospels
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The Challenge of Diversity: The Witness of Paul and the Gospels


Fortress Press 1996

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This volume is addressed primarily to Christians of various denominations in the United States—to parishes, both laity and clergy, and to students. The book is useful in teaching, preaching, spiritual formation, and mission. Its aim is simply to be a source of Christian renewal at both the personal and the parish levels as together we seek to minister to one another and to the world. It is an invitation to reach beyond our own perspective and to embrace a wider circle of diverse viewpoints as legitimate expressions of the Christian life—both in the New Testament and in the contemporary church—and to be open to learn and grow from them.

Logos Bible Software dramatically improves the value of the The Challenge of Diversity by enabling you to find what you’re looking for with unparalleled speed and precision. The Logos edition is fully searchable and easily accessible. Scripture passages link directly to your preferred English translation and to the original language texts, and important theological concepts link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of resources in your digital library.

Key Features

  • An ecumenical approach to understanding what it is to be Christian
  • Analysis of Paul’s thought on mission and ministry
  • A strong appreciation for the diversity of Scripture and the diversity of Christianity

Praise for the Print Edition

This book is an excellent introduction to the major ways of being Christian in the New Testament. David Rhoads brings out the richness and diversity of the New Testament in such a way as to help us understand and welcome the richness and diversity in our churches and culture today. The book is both a good introduction to New Testament thought and to ways in which that thought may be meaningful in our own context.

Joanna Dewey, Harvey H. Guthrie Jr. Professor Emerita of Biblical Studies, Episcopal Divinity School

I love this book! It is an excellent guide for those who wish to draw on the rich resources of Scripture for varieties of mission and ministry in the contemporary world. Students and congregations, clergy and laity, will find that this volume enhances understanding of their own diversity and appreciation for the diversity of others.

Mark Allan Powell, Robert and Phyllis Leatherman Professor of New Testament, Trinity Lutheran Seminary

The essential point of the Challenge of Diversity is that appreciation of the diversity in Scripture and in the early church is a source of renewal in the church today. . . . The book’s principal strength is its case that church renewal must be grounded in Scripture and that diverse perspectives of particular writings must be honored. In this way Rhoads offers a welcome corrective to reductionist tendencies that gloss over theological and relational tensions within and between biblical books. . . . Rhoads offers a timely and constructive contribution for engaging the challenge of diversity, and those seeking fruitful discussion on this topic will not be disappointed.


Rhoads’ style is clear and accessible, and his passion for the renewal of the church comes through on every page. This book will prove stimulating reading for pastors, seminarians, and lay persons who are concerned to draw upon the rich resources of the Bible in revitalizing the life and mission of a diverse church in a pluralistic world.

Princeton Seminary Bulletin

I highly recommend this book for both lay and minister readers and for personal and group study. My first year seminarians in my introductory Gospels course loved it! It evoked lively discussion, helped us experience the Gospels anew, and deepened our appreciation of the profundity and contemporary relevance of diverse New Testament witnesses. It is a book that can help all of us understand and embrace the diversity that is God’s gift to the church and essential to effective mission and ministry.

The Presbyterian Outlook

Product Details

  • Title: The Challenge of Diversity: The Witness of Paul and the Gospels
  • Author: David Rhoads
  • Publisher: Fortress Press
  • Publication Date: 1996
  • Pages: 184
  • Christian Group: Ecumenical Work
  • Resource Type: Topical
  • Topic: Pauline Studies

About David Rhoads

David Rhoads is emeritus professor of New Testament at Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago and the author of Reading Mark: Engaging the Gospel, editor of From Every People and Nation: The Book of Revelation in Intercultural Perspective, and coeditor of The Season of Creation: A Preaching Commentary.