‘My hope is to overcome the apartheid between the academy and the congregation, suggesting ways in which cutting-edge biblical scholarship can be a positive and liberating force for Christianity in the twenty first century.’ Liberating the Gospel is prefaced by Tom Wright’s claim that Christians have for too long ‘read scripture with nineteenth-century eyes and sixteenth century questions’, and that it is urgently necessary they learn to read ‘with first century eyes and twenty first century questions’. The central section of the book concentrates on reading the narratives of the Galilean ministry of Jesus within their first century context, then exploring Paul’s mission in the setting of the urban and imperial world of Rome, before offering reflection on the Apocalypse in the changed world following the destruction of Jerusalem. Smith then concludes his treatise facing the ‘twenty first century questions’, seeking to build a hermeneutical bridge to our globalised world. As a whole this major new book on Christian mission aims to contribute toward an understanding of how the dynamic message of Christ might be liberated to be heard as genuinely good news today, in the process potentially transforming Christianity, provided there is willingness to face opposition from a world resistant to the exposure of its injustices.
"David Smith takes up N. T. Wright’s advice that we should read the New Testament “with first-century eyes and with twenty-first century questions”. So he engages in what he calls “deep listening” to the message of Jesus and the New Testament writers. This means attending to the context in which and to which they spoke. Their Gospel was not disconnected from the political, economic, social and cultural dynamics of their world. It spoke into those dynamics, often quite precisely and pointedly. A penetrating Christian critique of economic globalisation … David’s book could not be more relevant."