A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack. Based on more than two hundred personal interviews with current and former Scientologists—both famous and less well known—and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.
At the book’s center, two men whom Wright brings vividly to life, showing how they have made Scientology what it is today: The darkly brilliant science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, whose restless, expansive mind invented a new religion. And his successor, David Miscavige—tough and driven, with the unenviable task of preserving the church after the death of Hubbard.
We learn about Scientology’s complicated cosmology and special language. We see the ways in which the church pursues celebrities, such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, and how such stars are used to advance the church’s goals. And we meet the young idealists who have joined the Sea Org, the church’s clergy, signing up with a billion-year contract.
In Going Clear, Wright examines what fundamentally makes a religion a religion, and whether Scientology is, in fact, deserving of this constitutional protection. Employing all his exceptional journalistic skills of observation, understanding, and shaping a story into a compelling narrative, Lawrence Wright has given us an evenhanded yet keenly incisive book that reveals the very essence of what makes Scientology the institution it is.
From the Hardcover edition.
The claim at the heart of the Christian faith is that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God. But this is not what the original disciples believed during Jesus’s lifetime—and it is not what Jesus claimed about himself. How Jesus Became God tells the story of an idea that shaped Christianity, and of the evolution of a belief that looked very different in the fourth century than it did in the first.
A master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, Ehrman reveals how an apocalyptic prophet from the backwaters of rural Galilee crucified for crimes against the state came to be thought of as equal with the one God Almighty, Creator of all things. But how did he move from being a Jewish prophet to being God? In a book that took eight years to research and write, Ehrman sketches Jesus’s transformation from a human prophet to the Son of God exalted to divine status at his resurrection. Only when some of Jesus’s followers had visions of him after his death—alive again—did anyone come to think that he, the prophet from Galilee, had become God. And what they meant by that was not at all what people mean today.
Written for secular historians of religion and believers alike, How Jesus Became God will engage anyone interested in the historical developments that led to the affirmation at the heart of Christianity: Jesus was, and is, God.
Since this translation and that of R. H. Charles were first published, several copies of the Book of Enoch were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, which further connects the book with the Jews of Palestine in the 1st century.
This translation of the Book of Enoch was once popular, so I have updated the language to make it more readable today by replacing archaic words we no longer use such as "execrate" with the modern equivalent, and changing the Roman Numerals with modern numbers.
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In Jesus on Trial, David Limbaugh applies his lifetime of legal experience to a unique new undertaking: making a case for the gospels as hard evidence of the life and work of Jesus Christ. Limbaugh, a practicing attorney and former professor of law, approaches the canonical gospels with the same level of scrutiny he would apply to any legal document and asks all the necessary questions about the story of Jesus told through Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. His analysis of the texts becomes profoundly personal as he reflects on his own spiritual and intellectual odyssey from determined skeptic to devout Christian. Ultimately, Limbaugh concludes that the words Christians have treasured for centuries stand up to his exhaustive inquiry—including his examination of historical and religious evidence beyond the gospels—and thereby affirms Christian faith, spirituality, and tradition.
She felt an early call to religious life, and overcoming various obstacles, in 1888 at the early age of 15, became a nun and joined two of her older sisters in the cloistered Carmelite community of Lisieux, Normandy.
After nine years as a Carmelite religious, having fulfilled various offices such as sacristan and assistant to the novice mistress, and having spent the last eighteen months in Carmel in a night of faith, she died of tuberculosis at the age of 24.
The impact of The Story of a Soul, a collection of her autobiographical manuscripts, printed and distributed a year after her death to an initially very limited audience, was great, and she rapidly became one of the most popular saints of the twentieth century.
The story behind this groundbreaking book--one of the most significant works of investigative journalism since Woodward and Bernstein's reporting on Watergate--has been brought brilliantly to life on the screen in the major new movie Spotlight, winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Here are the devastating revelations that triggered a crisis within the Catholic Church. Here is the truth about the scores of abusive priests who preyed upon innocent children and the cabal of senior Church officials who covered up their crimes. Here is the trail of "hush money" that the Catholic Church secretly paid to buy victims' silence--deeds that left millions of the faithful in the U.S. and around the world shocked, angry, and confused. Here as well is a vivid account of the ongoing struggle, as Catholics confront their Church and call for sweeping change.
With new information on the important contributions of women to church history as well as the latest information on Christianity in developing countries, Gonzalez's richly textured study discusses the changes and directions of the church up to the twenty-first century. The Story of Christianity covers such recent occurrences as the fall of the Soviet Union and the return of the Russian Orthodox Church; feminist, Africa-American, and Third-World theologies; the scandals and controversies facing the reign of Pope Benedict XVI; interfaith dialogue; and the movement toward unity of all Christian churches. This revised and updated edition of The Story of Christianity concludes with a thoughtful look at the major issues and debates facing Christianity today.
In the 2014 New York Times bestseller Jesus on Trial, David Limbaugh made a case for the Gospels as hard evidence of the existence of God, drawing on his own spiritual journey from skeptic to believer. Now, in The Emmaus Code, Limbaugh unlocks the mysteries of the Old Testament and reveals hints of Jesus Christ's arrival through all thirty-nine Old Testament books.
The key to the secrets of the Old Testament, Limbaugh argues, is the crucial New Testament encounter between the risen Jesus and two travelers on the road to Emmaus. With that key, and with Limbaugh as a deft guide, readers of The Emmaus Code will come to a startling new understanding of the Old Testament as a clear and powerful heralding of Jesus Christ's arrival. Limbaugh takes readers on a revealing journey from Genesis through Malachi, demonstrating that a consistent message courses through every one of the Old Testament's thirty-nine books: the power, wonder, and everlasting love of Jesus Christ.
Live and Experience the Book of Acts today!
Experience the Book of Acts today!
Supernatural Christianity never ended!
A generation today is asking, Where are all God’s miracles which our fathers told us about? (Judges 6:13).
Author of the best-selling book They Told Me Their Stories, Tommy Welchel answered this question, living among the youth of one of the greatest spiritual outpourings ever experienced—the Azusa Street Revival. During this time, Tommy recorded first-hand accounts of the miracles that they had witnessed… and even performed themselves!
These testimonies have been shared around the world, and the results have been amazing: Miraculous healings, supernatural phenomena, and impossible situations being turned around by a wonder-working God.
As you read about the miracles that God performed during this great move of His Spirit, your faith will be stirred to:
• Encourage others that God’s healing power has not passed away
• Believe for the miraculous in your life
• Release supernatural breakthrough to people who need a touch from God
Prepare to experience a fresh outpouring of God’s Spirit… today!
Amidst scientists’ attempts to debunk Christianity’s truths and atheists’ assuming the Bible is a how-to-be-virtuous self-help book, bestselling author Dinesh D’Souza resolves to both answer the tough questions and challenge believers as well as doubters to search for the ultimate truths about theories of origin. D’Souza tackles subjects and events such as the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition, the Big Bang theory and Darwinism—everything you always pondered but never scrutinized, now placed under the proverbial microscope and studied thoroughly.
As an introduction to the world of Hebrew thought, Our Father Abraham is biblical, historical, and cultural in nature. At the same time, the writing is personal and passionate, reflecting Marvin Wilson's own spiritual pilgrimage and his extensive dialogue with Jews. The book (1) develops a historical perspective on the Jewish origins of the church, (2) sets forth the importance and nature of Hebrew thought, (3) discusses how the church can become more attuned to the Hebraic mind-set of Scripture, and (4) offers practical suggestions for interaction between Jews and Christians.
The study questions at the end of each chapter enhance the book's usefulness as a text and also make it suitable for Bible-study and discussion groups. All Christians--and Jews too--will profit from Wilson's sensible treatments of biblical texts, his thorough understanding of both the Christian and the Jewish faith, and his honest historical analysis of the general failure of the Christian church to acknowledge and understand its relation to Judaism.
The Reformation was a long struggle of ideas between the established Catholic Church and the questioning of faith brought about by the Renaissance in Western Europe. Started by Martin Luther in 1517, religious dissidence spread across Europe throughout the sixteenth century, causing wars, migration and disunity. By 1648 Henry VIII’s desire for divorce led him to break with the Catholic Church in Rome and form the Church of England.
The Reformation: History in an Hour is a clear and comprehensive look at this long and complex period of religious change. It explains the major causes of the Reformation and the differences between Protestants and Catholics. It will help you understand the significance of the Reformation in European history in just one hour.
Know your stuff: Read a concise history of the Protestant Reformation in just one hour.
At age sixteen, Lewis begins writing to Arthur Greeves, a boy his age in Belfast who later becomes one of his most treasured friends. Their correspondence would continue over the next fifty years. In his letters to Arthur, Lewis admits that he has abandoned the Christian faith. "I believe in no religion," he says. "There is absolutely no proof for any of them."
Shortly after arriving at Oxford, Lewis is called away to war. Quickly wounded, he returns to Oxford, writing home to describe his thoughts and feelings about the horrors of war as well as the early joys of publication and academic success.
In 1929 Lewis writes to Arthur of a friend ship that was to greatly influence his life and writing. "I was up till 2:30 on Monday talking to the Anglo-Saxon professor Tolkien who came back with me to College ... and sat discoursing of the gods and giants & Asgard for three hours ..." Gradually, as Lewis spends time with Tolkien and other friends, he admits in his letters to a change of view on religion. In 1930 he writes, "Whereas once I would have said, 'Shall I adopt Christianity', I now wait to see whether it will adopt me ..."
The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume I offers an inside perspective to Lewis's thinking during his formative years. Walter Hooper's insightful notes and biographical appendix of all the correspondents make this an irreplaceable reference for those curious about the life and work of one of the most creative minds of the modern era.
Titus Livius, as Livy in English, was a Roman historian who wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome well before the traditional foundation in 753 BC through the reign of Augustus in Livy's own time.
He was on familiar terms with the Julio-Claudian family, advising Augustus's grandnephew, the future emperor Claudius, as a young man not long before 14 AD in a letter to take up the writing of history. Livy and Augustus's wife, Livia, were from the same clan in different locations, although not related by blood.
A provocative argument for a mystical, rather than historical, understanding of Jesus, leading to a radical rebirth of Christianity in our time.
For forty years, scholar and religious commentator Tom Harpur has challenged church orthodoxy and guided thousands of readers on subjects as controversial as the true nature of Christ and life after death. Now, in his most radical and groundbreaking work, Harpur digs deep into the origins of Christianity.
At a time of religious extremism, Tom Harpur reveals the virtue of a cosmic faith based on ancient truths that the modern church has renounced. His message is clear: Our blind faith in literalism is killing Christianity. Only with a return to an inclusive religion where Christ lives within each of us will we gain a true understanding of who we are and who we are intended to become. The Pagan Christ is a book of rare insight and power that will reilluminate the Bible and change the way we think about religion.
In a chronicle that captures nearly two thousand years of inspiration and intrigue, John Julius Norwich recounts in riveting detail the histories of the most significant popes and what they meant politically, culturally, and socially to Rome and to the world. Norwich presents such popes as Innocent I, who in the fifth century successfully negotiated with Alaric the Goth, an invader civil authorities could not defeat; Leo I, who two decades later tamed (and perhaps paid off) Attila the Hun; the infamous “pornocracy”—the five libertines who were descendants or lovers of Marozia, debauched daughter of one of Rome’s most powerful families; Pope Paul III, “the greatest pontiff of the sixteenth century,” who reinterpreted the Church’s teaching and discipline; John XXIII, who in five short years starting in 1958 instituted reforms that led to Vatican II; and Benedict XVI, who is coping with today’s global priest sex scandal. Epic and compelling, Absolute Monarchs is an enthralling history from “an enchanting and satisfying raconteur” (The Washington Post).
Now organized around fourteen key moments in church history, this well-received text provides contemporary Christians with a fuller understanding of God as he has revealed his purpose through the centuries. This new edition includes a new preface; updates throughout the book; revised "further readings" for each chapter; and two new chapters, including one spotlighting Vatican II and Lausanne as turning points of the recent past.
Students in academic settings and church adult education contexts will benefit from this one-semester survey of Christian history.
• Explores the gnostic significance of Jesus's teachings recorded in this gospel
• Explains the true nature of the new man whose coming Jesus envisioned
• Translated and interpreted by the author of the bestselling The Gospel of Mary Magdalene and The Gospel of Philip
One of the cache of codices and manuscripts discovered in Nag Hammadi, the Gospel of Thomas, unlike the canonical gospels, does not contain a narrative recording Christ's life and prophecies. Instead it is a collection of his teachings--what he actually said. These 114 logia, or sayings, were collected by Judas Didymus Thomas, whom some claim to be Jesus's closest disciple. No sooner was this gospel uncovered from the sands of Upper Egypt than scholars and theologians began to bury it anew in a host of conflicting interpretations and polemics. While some say it is a hodgepodge from the canonical gospels, for others it is the source text from which all the gospel writers drew their material and inspiration.
In this new translation of the Gospel of Thomas, Jean-Yves Leloup shows that the Jesus recorded by the "infinitely skeptical and infinitely believing" Thomas has much in common with gnostics of non-dualistic schools. Like them, Jesus preaches the coming of a new man, the genesis of the man of knowledge. In this gospel, Jesus describes a journey from limited to unlimited consciousness. The Jesus of Thomas invites us to drink deeply from the well of knowledge that lies within, not so that we may become good Christians but so we may attain the self-knowledge that will make each of us, too, a Christ.
The Catholic Church claims Jesus Christ himself as her founder, and in spite of heresy from within and hostility from without, she remains in the twenty-first century the steadfast guardian of belief in his life, death, and resurrection. The teachings and redemptive works of Jesus as told in the Gospels are expressed by the Church in a coherent and consistent body of doctrine, the likes of which cannot be found in any other Christian body.
The history of the Catholic Church is long, complicated, and fascinating, and in this book it is expertly and ably told by historian James Hitchcock. As in the parable of Christ about the weeds that were sown in a field of wheat, evil and good have grown together in the Church from the start, as Hitchcock honestly records. He brings before us the many characters--some noble, some notorious--who have left an indelible mark on the Church, while never losing sight of the saints, who have given living testimony to the salvific power of Christ in every age.
This ambitious work is comprehensive in its scope and in incisive in its understanding, a valuable addition to any school or home library.
In The Truth behind Truths, author Cedric Boswell shares the history of the Jews as revealed in the Bible. He asks pertinent questions not often seen in typical histories and provides Scriptures in support of his answers. Beginning with Adam, Boswell relates different stories of Jews in the Bible and how they are truly the chosen people of God.
Boswell argues that those who currently call themselves Jews do not fit the historic evidence in their looks or how they were dispersed from Israel. He discusses skin pigmentation and explains that many of the early Jewish people were black and not white. He then explores the subject of God’s elect, the genealogy of the Jews, and the tribes of Israel. In the last section, Boswell tackles the heavy yet crucial subject of redemption.
An unorthodox and intriguing study, The Truth behind Truths seeks to open your eyes to new questions and new perspectives on the Jews of the Bible.
In a highly readable companion to books on faith and history, the scholar and author Johnson has illuminated the Christian world and its fascinating history in a way that no other has. Johnson takes off in the year 49 with his namesake the apostle Paul. Thus beginning an ambitious quest to paint the centuries since the founding of a little-known ‘Jesus Sect’, A History of Christianity explores to a great degree the evolution of the Western world. With an unbiased and overall optimistic tone, Johnson traces the fantastic scope of the consequent sects of Christianity and the people who followed them. Information drawn from extensive and varied sources from around the world makes this history as credible as it is reliable. Invaluable understanding of the framework of modern Christianity—and its trials and tribulations throughout history—has never before been contained in such a captivating work.
Praise for My Father, Maker of the Trees:
"The power of this book comes from a call to forgiveness worldwide."--Publishers Weekly
"An inspirational memoir of faith and resilience."--Booklist
"Eric's story shows how God's love and presence can overcome suffering and evil in our world."--Immaculee Ilibagiza, author of the New York Times bestseller
Left to Tell
Triumph is that history. Inside, you'll discover the spectacular story of the Church from Biblical times and the early days of St. Peter—the first pope—to the twilight years of John Paul II. It is a sweeping drama of Roman legions, great crusades, epic battles, toppled empires, heroic saints, and enduring faith. And, there are stormy controversies: Dark Age skullduggery, the Inquistition, the Renaissance popes, the Reformation, the Church's refusal to accept sexual liberation and contemporary allegations like those made in Hitler's Pope and Papal Sin.
A brawling, colorful history full of inspiring pageantry and spirited polemic, Triumph will exhilarate, amuse, and infuriate as it extols the glories of Catholic history and the gripping stories of its greatest men and women.
From the Hardcover edition.