Item description for Do We Still Need the Ten Commandments?: A Fresh Look at God's Laws of Love & Changing Perspectives by John Timmerman...
Overview Since we have grace in Christ, we don't need an outdated list of "shalt nots"---right? Wrong, says Timmerman, who describes the Ten Commandments as expressions of God's amazing love. Discover them anew as authoritative, relational, and eternal laws that provide a practical plan for living. Features end-of-chapter questions for reflection.
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Studio: Augsburg Fortress Publishers
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.52" Width: 5.55" Height: 0.54" Weight: 0.49 lbs.
Release Date Mar 31, 1997
Publisher Augsburg Fortress Publishers
ISBN 0806623497 ISBN13 9780806623498
Availability 0 units.
More About John Timmerman
John H. Timmerman (Ph.D., Ohio University) and Donald R. Hettinga (Ph.D., University of Chicago) are professors of English at Calvin College. They have won many awards for their essays, short stories, and poetry and each has authored several books.
John H. Timmerman currently resides in Grand Rapids, in the state of Michigan.
Reviews - What do customers think about Do We Still Need the Ten Commandments?: A Fresh Look at God's Laws of Love & Changing Perspectives?
Evangelical glasses filter out the power of the biblical text Jul 22, 2006
John H. Timmerman, an English professor at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, has written a thoroughly Evangelical commentary on the Ten Commandments. Rather than a catalog of "don'ts," each commandment has a positive message for Christian believers. Each one is an indication of the love of God revealed in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Each one is an occasion for the author's advice on personal morality and family life.
Timmerman makes no serious attempt to retrieve the original meaning of the Commandments in their historical and cultural context. Nor does he concentrate on the societal meaning of the Commandments as a basis for just relationships or as the foundation for community living. In fact, it is not clear that Timmerman sees any normative or directive value in the Commandments apart from Christianity.
"We look to the Ten Commandments for guidance, not because we hope to gain merit or favor by keeping them. We will always fail in our efforts. But, because Jesus has kept those commandments for us, and because he has won for us a place in God's family, we respond in loving obedience to such divine love." (p. 173)
Thus, for example, the author spiritualizes the Commandment against stealing into an instruction to keep our commitments, concentrating on things like tithing and the atonement. He doesn't even mention social justice (giving to each person one's due).
Nowhere in the book is there any sustained treatment of larger world issues such as poverty, war, violence, famine, environmental degradation, or the deceitful propaganda of advertising. Nor is there any indication that a contemporary interpretation of the Ten Commandments could speak to those issues. Timmerman's moral horizon rarely goes beyond the individual, the family, and the local congregation.
The author treats false witness as deception, gossip, and "failure to act in love and mercy." He equates "witness" with Chirstian witness to God's love in Jesus Christ. He seems oblivious of the meaning of false witness as lying in court where someone's life is at stake, thus subverting the whole judicial process. Similarly, Sabbath observance involves Sunday worship, family dinners, and games with the children. Timmerman fails to uncover the deep lode of Jubilee justice in the Sabbath Commandment that calls for humane treatment of workers and redistribution of wealth.
All in all, Timmerman gives us many pious thoughts for middle class Christian living but fails to appreciate the power of the Ten Commandments to guide us toward a just and peaceful society.