Escaping from Fundamentalism (1984)
Author(s): James Barr
Amazon UK: Escaping from Fundamentalism
Standpoint: 0 Not yet classified
Genre(s): Advice – spiritual and practical, Polemic, and Theology
Topic(s): Biblical studies, Fundamentalism, and Pastoral issues
Especially suitable for: Evangelicals, Those struggling to accept their sexuality or gender identity, and Those who are undecided about the homosexuality issue
NB This book is not specifically about LGBT+ issues, but we have made an exception and included it here because it is so helpful to LGBT+ people from a conservative evangelical/fundamentalist background. It helps them to see that a more open and scholarly approach to Scripture is more biblical, not less.
This is primarily a pastoral rather than a controversial book. Its main aim is not to show fundamentalists that they are wrong, but rather to help those who have grown up in the world of fundamentalism or have become committed to it but in the end have come to feel that it is a prison from which they must escape. However, to do so it has to be polemical in exposing fundamentalism’s errors. It demonstrates that fundamentalism is based upon a misunderstanding of what the Bible is, and how it should be read and understood – a misunderstanding that runs counter to what the biblical authors themselves say.
“I read this book when it first came out, and it was the first book I’d seen which offered to fundamentalists themselves the escape tools they might need to dig themselves out of their absurd position. In my dialogues with fundamentalists it proved to be a helpful corrective (I’m not recommending it as something to beat fundamentalists over the head with) as it proved its points clearly and with reference to key ‘proof-texts’ much used in debate.” — C. Poote
“Barr’s book, excellent though it is, has two faults. The first is the language – Escaping from Fundamentalism was published in 1984, and its style was old-fashioned even by the standards of that time. The second is the danger that, although the readers may be convinced they are right to escape from fundamentalism, they are not given clear signposts to alternative, and healthier, forms of Christian faith. For both reasons many will prefer Keith Ward’s 2004 book What the Bible Really Teaches.” — Phil Gardner
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