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The Mystery of Christ & and Why We Don't Get It

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  129 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Widely recognized as a creative, insightful writer, Robert Farrar Capon offers still more of his uniquely provocative fare in The Mystery of Christ . . . and Why We Don't Get It. This engaging book probes the meaning of salvation – peace, forgiveness, grace, reconciliation - spoken of in the New Testament as a "mystery."
Reminding his readers, sometimes in startling ways, t
Paperback, 202 pages
Published October 19th 1993 by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
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Michael Liaw
The general description for this book on goodreads GROSSLY mischaracterizes the contents of the book. Capon does not explore that "salvation can be achieved not just through faith, but by active works." From the back jacket (as well as from having read the book), Capon reminds his readers "sometimes in startling ways, that salvation is a gift rather than a transaction," which is almost the exact opposite of the current description.

If someone has librarian status, please update. Here's is the ful
Johan Haneveld
Mar 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
One of those Capon tomes that is a pleasure to read and reread, and to return to afterwards. Again he chooses an original form to present his usual message, which is that we have diluted the good news of the gospel by presenting it as a transaction, dependent on something we do, whether it is good works, moral perfection or working up belief. Jesus as an electricity company we have to be hooked on. Instead he takes a more sacramental approach to the mystery of Christ. We already bathe in it, it ...more
Dec 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Robert Capon was an enormously popular writer in the '60s and '70s, writing all kinds of books from a liberal Episcopalian perspective, ranging in subject from marriage and housekeeping to gourmet cookery to straight theology. He has always been something of a provocateur--"If you think an onion is basically a little ball, dry and papery on the outside and wet and juicy on the inside, consider, my child, the depth of your error..." followed by a two-page rhapsody on onions. In this book, through ...more
Bianca Klein Haneveld
Nov 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book.
My expectations were high. This book was recommended by my husband for the way it completely centres around Gods grace and love, for its humor and for the obvious zest for life of Capon. It lived up to all these descriptions.
There were pleasant surprises as well. Capons writing choices appealed to me. He uses vividly described cases and lots of dialogues as a starting point to dive into his theological themes. It works. In caring for the people described and their plei
Apr 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who never quite "got" the story of The Prodigal Son and thought it was grossly unfair.
Shelves: religion
A great book that will annoy you to no end.
Jul 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Refreshing, provocative, hilarious, and I think perhaps right on point.
Adam Ross
May 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: theology
Capon is an episcopal priest, one who has written helpful books on the theology of food (Supper of the lamb) and marriage (bed and board). This is his book on the nature of Christ and the atonement. It's written in an interesting style which alternates between counselling conversations and theological explanation. The long and the short of his thesis is that Christ's death on the cross has literally taken away the sin of the entire world, saved and unsaved, so the book sort of comes across as a ...more
Jamie Howison
Mar 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
We read this one in the context of one of our church book breakfast groups, and it gave us plenty of material for discussion. The format wasn't entirely successful - interspersing accounts of pastoral counselling sessions with imagined small group "debriefings" - but in the end it did give Capon a way to proclaim his audacious theology of grace. I love what James A. Carpenter (General Theological Seminary) had to say on the book's back cover: "This is an exuberant, triumphant theology. A rigorou ...more
Sep 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Capon writes radical stuff. He draws the reader with devices that display the humanity of his subject: biographical accounts drawn from his own pastoral experience and invented dialogue with an almost fictitious chorus (he worked through a draft of the book with a demanding group of readers). The Mystery of Christ he finds is God's presumption of our innocence in Christ - not a mere temporizing presumption held unless or until our guilt is confirmed but a new relationship between human beings an ...more
Wade Stotts
Robert Capon bothers me. It's a happy kind of bothering, though, that I could use once in a while.

To quote Douglas Wilson's review of another book, "Robert Farrar Capon is a cheery old semi-Marcionite, and an unvarnished antinomian. Various times in this book, you find yourself wishing that one of the apostles, preferably Paul, would show up and box his ears for him. He says things in here that are as atrocious as it gets. That said, at the same time, on the self-deceptions of the self-righteou
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Refreshing, honest, thought-provoking, and exciting, this collection of conversations dives headlong into some of the spiritual tensions that plague us all. It's certainly not a pristine package of answers to learn by rote, but by this very nature it feels a bit closer to truth than most "religious" books ever do.
Emily Cook
May 01, 2012 rated it liked it
I loved the writing style- example conversations in one chapter, then theological explanations in the next. This pastor is comfortable leaving many questions unanswered. He points calmly to the finished work of Christ- objective justification. Though I do not agree with all of his conclusions, I found this a good and challenging read.
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Provocative and sometimes maddening, it nevertheless presents a hard kernel of truth about grace and forgiveness that is irresistible. The format of counseling sessions followed by dialogues was an excellent way of presenting what he had to say -- the dialogues are almost Platonic, and the counseling sessions feel real and engaging.
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
Capon persuasively conveys the centrality and unconditional nature of Grace using semi-fictional counseling sessions and group discussions of those sessions. This approach enables him to confront the objections and straw men which are commonly posed and to remove them as obstacles.
Jun 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Although I loved the content, I did not enjoy the format as much as I have in his other writings.
Theologically, I think he is pretty right on.
Philippe Deblois
Jul 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Classic Capon
Renate Fraatz
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
A message we very much need today: God loves you - God has forgiven you !A message for those who struggle with guilt - the down trodden - the poor in spirit !
Art Pyrs
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Greg Connour
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Jon Plummer
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John Forman
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Robert Farrar Capon was a lifelong New Yorker and served for almost 30 years as a parish priest in the Episcopal Church. His first book, Bed and Board, was published in 1965 and by 1977 left full-time ministry to devote more time to writing books, though he continued to serve the church in various capacities such as assisting priest and Canon Theologian. He has written twenty books on theology, co ...more
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“People always assume that the church's primary business is to teach morality. But it isn't; it's to proclaim grace, forgiveness, and the free party for all. It's to announce the reconciling relationship of God to everybody and to invite them simply to believe it and celebrate it.” 2 likes
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