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The Mystery of Christ . . . and Why We Don't Get It [Paperback]

By Robert Farrar Capon (Author)
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Item description for The Mystery of Christ . . . and Why We Don't Get It by Robert Farrar Capon...

Capon uses a variety of exchanges to drive home his point that salvation can be achieved not just through faith, but by active works. Along the way, he explores guilt, forgiveness, love, anger, romance, grief, spiritual contentment, the Incarnation, reincarnation, resurrection, and more--managing, in the process, to make salvation something fresh and new.

Citations And Professional Reviews
The Mystery of Christ . . . and Why We Don't Get It by Robert Farrar Capon has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Booklist - 10/15/1993 page 397

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Pages   195
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.18" Width: 6.02" Height: 0.51"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 19, 1993
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN  0802801218  
ISBN13  9780802801210  

Availability  57 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 25, 2016 02:58.
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More About Robert Farrar Capon

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Robert Farrar Capon is the author of numerous books on theology, cooking, and family life. His works include Between Noon and Three; Kingdom, Grace, Judgment; and Genesis, the Movie. Capon lives on Shelter Island, New York.

Robert Farrar Capon has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Harvest/HBJ Book
  2. Modern Library Food

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Christology
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Soteriology
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology

Christian Product Categories
Books > Bible Study > New Testament Studies > Jesus Studies

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Mystery of Christ . . . and Why We Don't Get It?

Amazing grace  Mar 10, 2007
I am a fan of Robert Capon. This book is an addition to an already impressive list of books on issues of faith, forgiveness, grace and relationship. Using his typically reader friendly style, Capon puts to rest those pesky arguments for adding works to the "finished" work of God in Christ. He deftly illustrates that the Bible is clearly a book about GRACE, redemption and forgiveness.

Religion is about control, rules, judgement, and exclusion . . . genuine faith is about inclusion, forgiveness, love and above all . . . Grace.
Stay away from this book!  May 22, 2006
When I was just starting out in my new Christian faith I stumbled onto Robert Capon's writings, including this book. Perhaps it was providential, because the insanity of his theology mirrors that of Luther, and it drove me into the arms of the Roman Catholic Church. This stuff is Luther's inconsistent, confused take on the Gospel, carried to its logical conclusion. Luther denied the value of human works and efforts to do good in the economy of salvation, and so does Capon. They both trample roughshod over the Epistle of St James, not to mention the Gospels and the Epistles of St. Paul. Capon extracts the teaching on the necessity of faith for salvation, from its context in all of the New Testament, and, like a follower of Luther anxious to push the boundaries even further, makes even the act of faith "trash". Yes, that's in this book.
I spent many sleepless nights trying to reconcile Capon's insistence on our universal salvation, granted by God through Christ's death whether we repent or not, with the many sayings of Our Blessed Lord and the teachings of St. Paul that insist on repentance and amendment of life in order to be saved from eternal damnation. Remember, Our Lord warned that the Tower of Siloam may have killed some people who happened to be in the way, but that we would all likewise perish unless we repent. Capon gets around these hard sayings by putting irony in the mouth of Our Lord. That irony is certainly a reflection of Capon's twentieth-century Northeast-Corridor mindset.
What Capon is missing is that after we are moved by the gift of faith to be baptized, the Holy Spirit, if we cooperate with Him, will give us the graces we need to overcome our vicious tendencies. This is ignored in all of Capon's writings (and I've read them all). So according to him, we are home free, acquitted in full and in advance of all our sins, and left to deal with this weird "freedom" by a God who (in Capon's words in another of his books) is "rooting for the cancer cells" as much as He roots for us. He has invented an extreme form of Luther's doctrine, one which leaves us with no reason to add our works, penances, love, and sufferings to the work done by Our Lord on the Cross.
In sum, avoid this book unless your faith is strong enough to take on the author's bad theology. You'd be far better off reading "Summa of the Summa" by Peter Kreeft as an intro to Thomistic philosophy, and then reading the Summa Theologica. (Luther, by the way, despised St. Thomas Aquinas, and that tells you what a poor thinker Luther was.)It would nourish your mind far better than this nonsense, and would be a better introduction to the essentials of the Faith held by the Church right up until Luther's rebellion.
Rare Compilation of Brilliant Insights for Christians  Oct 21, 2004
Among countless commentaries on the Bible and Christianity in general, this one deserves this highest praise. Like a skilled surgeon, Capon gently moves his reader through the maze of misrepresentations many of us heard and read in church or on t.v. toward the most convincing array of facts concerning not only the many sayings attributed to Jesus, but also to how we can confidently and safely live into the Way that He promised to us.
I found so many useful interpretations and questions in this little volume that I will continue to study and admire it for decades to come.
I urge anyone serious about Bible study and living Christianity to read this, one of Capon's best in my opinion.
No transformation...  Jul 1, 2004
James Carpenter's review on the back of this book states: "This is an exuberant, triumphant theology... A rigorous Paulinist, Capon is at least half right--a very good score for a theologian!" I tend to agree--Father Capon is at least half right. He focuses on grace as a free gift to such an extent that he loses the transformative aspect of Christianity almost completely. As long as you have faith/trust/believe then you're home free! As God has already done away with the consequences of all sin, all guilt, in Jesus' death and resurrection, no one is condemned any longer. Therefore, the only people who will be in hell are those who reject the free gift of grace. They will not be there for their sins. I agree, but see sin as the blocking off of God's grace. By sin I don't mean the mistakes and stumbles we make along the way, but pure out-right nastiness.

Capon is so adamant about the fact that no works can earn grace and that no sin can separate you from God's love and forgiveness, that he leaves one thinking you can go on doing whatever you like as long as you accept God's grace. Once again, I agree, but apparently have a different understanding of what accepting God's grace means. To accept God's grace is to let his love and grace flow through you. It's transformative. You can't be nasty when God's love is flowing through you, and when you are, you're cutting off the flow. When God's love is flowing through you, you *can* do whatever you like--it's just that you want like to do anything nasty. ;)

Sin blocks one's acceptance of grace--its still there, but you can't see it. God never stops loving or forgiving, but if you blind your vision by clouding it over with sin, you can't see the grace all around you. Its not that "works" are necessary to accept God's grace through faith, but that they naturally flow from you as a result of that acceptance. "Faith without works is dead" as St. James wrote. In Capon's theology, you apparently don't have to follow Jesus to be a follower of Jesus. You don't have to "take up your cross"--just believe that Jesus did.

Near the very end of the book Capon does add that "I myself take sin very seriously. As far as I'm concerned, it's what messes up my life, so anything I can do to resist it will make me, and those around me, a lot happier than we presently are." That, to me, is the key to the Christian life. Capon, however, simply sees it as an option of the Christian life, not it's point. While I don't think God will judge us for our sins, I do think the clouding of our vision caused by our sin is what puts us in hell--now and later.

I very much agree with Capon's rejection of "transactionalism", however, and think he has some wonderful things to say about the "Mystery" of Christ that is everywhere present. I agree with him that "what God revealed in Jesus was his Incarnation in the whole world." He has a panentheistic understanding of God's Incarnation, seeing the world in God and God in the world, and Jesus as a sacrament and revelation of that Incarnation.

I give the book four stars, however, not because I agree with all of Capon's theology, but because his theology makes you think and brings up some very good points. Plus I found the book to be an enjoyable read and like Capon's sense of humour. :) So it's recommended, with reservations.

This book and astrology  Feb 16, 2004
Several of the reviews have mentioned astrology in relation to this book. Don't let this put you off. It's only mentioned briefly in one chapter, and only then because the author's wife is an astrologer. People are making a mountain out of a molehill.

Unfortunately this book only managed a three star rating for me. The fictionalized discussion group chapters dragged the whole book down.


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