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Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God

The Scandalous Truth of the Very Good News

Brian Zahnd

About Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God

God is wrath? Or God is Love?

In his famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” Puritan revivalist Jonathan Edwards shaped predominating American theology with a vision of God as angry, violent, and retributive. Three centuries later, Brian Zahnd was both mesmerized and terrified by Edwards’s wrathful God. Haunted by fear that crippled his relationship with God, Zahnd spent years praying for a divine experience of hell.
 
What Zahnd experienced instead was the Father’s love—revealed perfectly through Jesus Christ—for all prodigal sons and daughters.


In Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, Zahnd asks important questions like: Is seeing God primarily as wrathful towards sinners true or biblical? Is fearing God a normal expected behavior? And where might the natural implications of this theological framework lead us?
 
Thoughtfully wrestling with subjects like Old Testament genocide, the crucifixion of Jesus, eternal punishment in hell, and the final judgment in Revelation, Zanhd maintains that the summit of divine revelation for sinners is not God is wrath, but God is love.

Praise

“With the heart of a pastor and the skill of a poet, Brian Zahnd cuts through all the fear and fundamentalism to reveal a gospel that is indeed good news. Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God is a beautifully written, pointed, and prophetic tribute to the love of God as revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. As Zahnd shows us, this love is not weak; it’s not a safe, feel-good cop-out. Rather, it’s the very revelation of God, the force that changes the world.”
—Rachel Held Evans, author of Searching for Sunday

“The same attributes that make Brian Zahnd a great pastor make him a gifted author: he’s honest, humble, willing to change his mind, and unfailingly centered on Christ. For him to reconsider his view of God took study and prayer, and we benefit. Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God will be an extraordinary gift to many, for it clearly and compellingly teaches God’s love. This is the book that the evangelical church needs.”
—Tony Jones, author of Did God Kill Jesus?

“Brian Zahnd walks boldly into the violent propensity of so much Christian theology and preaching that has wounded so many people, a propensity in which he himself has participated. He not only shows what bad, irresponsible theology this is, pervasive as it continues to be; he exposes the ‘hackneyed trope of dispensationalism’ that feeds so much worldly violence and that authorizes so much wounding. But more than that, in his poetic mode, Zahnd invites to an alternative that is grounded not in ‘Biblicism’ but in the reality of Jesus who embodies the inexplicable love of God that passes all human understanding. Zahnd writes as one emancipated to evangelical joy. He invites his readers to walk with him into such a God-given vocation that honors the God of love and that loves the neighbor.”
—Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

“I know we’re a bit too quick to say things like ‘This will change your life!’ these days, but seriously: this book will change your life. For too long, too many of us have wondered if God is angry or disappointed or frustrated or disgusted with us: you don’t need to wonder anymore. Brian’s new book is one of the most beautiful, truthful, and compelling visions of God as revealed by Jesus I have ever read. I can’t shut up about this glorious, necessary, healing book: it is a must-read for every Christian.”
—Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist and Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith

“I can’t count the times I felt like standing and cheering while reading this book. Brian Zahnd knows his material extremely well. He speaks from a blend of study and experience, with the authority of a theologian, the care of a shepherd, and the inspiring beauty of a poet. From Genesis to Revelation, Brian helps us identify, expose, and oppose the weaponization of Scripture and instead embrace Jesus as the Bible’s central theme and God’s ultimate self-disclosure. If you read one book about Jesus this year…buy mine. But if you read two, this one will do just nicely.”
—Bruxy Cavey, teaching pastor at the Meeting House, and author of The End of Religion and (re)union: the Good News of Jesus for Seekers, Saints, and Sinners

“With too many American Christian leaders echoing the angry, arrogant, vindictive, and violent rhetoric of our political culture, it’s hard to imagine a book more relevant and needed than Brian Zahnd’s Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God. Zahnd rightly helps us see that for better or worse, we reflect the image of the God we believe in. Zahnd’s insights into Scripture are rich and deep, making clear that if we want a less violent future, we need a vision of a nonviolent God.”
—Brian D. McLaren, author of The Great Spiritual Migration

“I have come to love Brian Zahnd and his writings. They are deep, reflective, authentic, and inspiring. Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God is a brilliant and important book that every Christian should read. If you’ve ever struggled with the violence attributed to God in Scripture, or the angry and vengeful images of God sometimes taught in Christian circles, this book will speak to you.”
—Adam Hamilton, pastor and author of Making Sense of the Bible

“Without overstatement, I believe we are living in the midst of a seismic, apocalyptic shift in how we understand the character of God. There is a widescreen revelation of God’s heart unfolding, shaking the very foundations of the Church. This revelation of the tenderness of God is so vast and pervasive that all kinds of former assumptions must be called into question—demanding that violent ‘texts of terror,’ in Phyllis Trible’s phrase, be revisited. Brian Zahnd is the most lucid, crisp, prophetic articulator of this revelation/revolution, and Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God is him at his incisive best. It is masterfully written, illuminating both the Jesus of Scripture and the violence of the world that rejected him. At the intersection of John the Baptist and Bob Dylan, Brian Zahnd prepares the way for us to behold and see that the God we heard was a lion, was actually a lamb all along. This is startling, revelatory reading.”
—Jonathan Martin, author of How to Survive a Shipwreck and Prototype

About Brian Zahnd

Brian Zahnd is the founder and lead pastor of Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, Missouri. He is the author of such books as A Farewell to Mars and Beauty Will Save The World. He lives in Missouri with his wife, Peri.

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Product Details

224 pages | Published by WaterBrook

On Sale Date: Aug 15, 2017

Trim Size: 5-3/16 x 8

Carton Quantity: 24

Sneak Peek

Click Here to download the first chapter of Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God by Brian Zahnd

About Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God

God is wrath? Or Does God’s Love? In his famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” Puritan revivalist Jonathan Edwards shaped predominating American theology with a vision of God as angry, violent, and retributive. Three centuries later, Brian Zahnd was both mesmerized and terrified by Edwards’s wrathful God. Haunted by fear that crippled his relationship with God, Zahnd spent years praying for a divine experience of hell. What Zahnd experienced instead was the Father’s love—revealed perfectly through Jesus Christ—for all prodigal sons and daughters. In Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, Zahnd asks important questions like: Is seeing God primarily as wrathful towards sinners true or biblical? Is fearing God a normal expected behavior? And where might the natural implications of this theological framework lead us? Thoughtfully wrestling with subjects like Old Testament genocide, the crucifixion of Jesus, eternal punishment in hell, and the final judgment in Revelation, Zanhd maintains that the summit of divine revelation for sinners is not God is wrath, but God is love.

Press Release

Pastor Contends God Has Received Bad Press—He’s Not a God of Wrath But Love
 
An Important Exploration into How God is Revealed Perfectly through Jesus Christ as a God of Love and Mercy
 

Could it be that our American theology has been greatly influenced by a sermon preached 275 years ago?
 
Pastor and author Brian Zahnd says that Puritan revivalist Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” long regarded as the most important sermon in American history, has shaped the American vision of God for nearly three centuries, and it is a tragedy.
 
In Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God: The Scandalous Truth of the Very Good News (WaterBrook, Aug. 15, 2017), Zahnd says that when he was a pastor in his 20s, he was greatly affected by Edwards’ vision of God as angry, violent and retributive. “What I did know was that I liked Jesus, but I was really scared of his Dad, the faceless white giant with obvious anger issues,” Zahnd writes. 
 
Similar to Protestant Reformer Martin Luther’s experience over 500 years ago, Zahnd was haunted by fear that crippled his relationship with God. In fact, Zahnd actually spent years praying for a divine experience of hell. Yet what Zahnd experienced instead was the Father’s love—revealed perfectly through Jesus Christ—for all prodigal sons and daughters.
 
In the book, Zahnd shares his own powerful story of discovering that Jesus Christ is “the exact representation of His nature” (Hebrews 1:3) while exploring questions like:
 
·  Is seeing God primarily as wrathful towards sinners true or biblical?
·  Has our culture influenced how we view Christ’s work at the cross?
·  What about Old Testament genocide?
·  How does this affect our theology?
·  How do we understand the final judgement in Revelation?
 
There have been centuries of debates about the Old Testament picture of God. Nevertheless, Zahnd stresses that “what the Bible does infallibly is point us to Jesus.”
 
Zahnd’s challenging and thoughtful message is a significant addition to the ongoing conversation both within and outside the church on understanding and deciphering the true nature of God as revealed in His Word.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brian Zahnd founded Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, Missouri, more than 35 years ago, and he still serves as lead pastor to a congregation committed to an authentic expression of Jesus Christ in the 21st century. He’s also the author of six books including Beauty Will Save the World and Unconditional? He lives in Missouri with his wife, Peri. For more information, visit www.brianzahnd.com where he regularly blogs about important issues in the church and culture.  
 
Praise for Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God
“I have come to love Brian Zahnd and his writings. They are deep, reflective, authentic, and inspiring. Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God is a brilliant and important book that every Christian should read. If you’ve ever struggled with the violence attributed to God in Scripture, or the angry and vengeful images of God sometimes taught in Christian circles, this book will speak to you.”
Adam Hamilton, pastor and author of Making Sense of the Bible
 
“Brian Zahnd walks boldly into the violent propensity of so much Christian theology and preaching that has wounded so many people, a propensity in which he himself has participated. He not only shows what bad, irresponsible theology this is, pervasive as it continues to be; he exposes the ‘hackneyed trope of dispensationalism’ that feeds so much worldly violence and that authorizes so much wounding. But more than that, in his poetic mode, Zahnd invites to an alternative that is grounded not in ‘Biblicism’ but in the reality of Jesus who embodies the inexplicable love of God that passes all human understanding. Zahnd writes as one emancipated to evangelical joy. He invites his readers to walk with him into such a God-given vocation that honors the God of love and that loves the neighbor.”
Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

Religion/Christian Living
ISBN 978-1-60142-951-3 ● Trade Paperback ● 224 Pages ● $14.99 U.S./$19.99 Canada
eBook ISBN 978-0-6014-2952-0 ● $11.99 U.S./$13.99 Canada

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Brett Benson

By William Dusing

"In his famous sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," Puritan revivalist Jonathan Edwards shaped predominating American theology with a vision of God as angry, violent, and retributive. Three centuries later, Brian Zahnd was both mesmerized and terrified by Edwards's wrathful God. Haunted by fear that crippled his relationship with God, Zahnd spent years praying for a divine experience of hell."Author and pastor Brian Zahnd's new book...

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By shalayne arata

 "In his famous sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," Puritan revivalist Jonathan Edwards shaped predominating American theology with a vision of God as angry, violent, and retributive. Three centuries later, Brian Zahnd was both mesmerized and terrified by Edwards's wrathful God. In Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, Zahnd asks important questions like: Is seeing God primarily as wrathful towards sinners true or biblical? Is...

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By John Weirick

This is the kind of book American Protestants need to recalibrate after hundreds of years of the Edwardsian angry God complex souring our theological framework.

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By Andy Winder

Personally, I've had trouble connecting with God without feeling some sense of guilt. This book helps rid yourself of inadequacy and focus on God as a loving being rather than a vengeful one. It is very helpful for developing your testimony and having a healthier relationship with religion.

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By Matthew Andreacola

Though this is not the way I think about the writings in the Bible much anymore I can appreciate a fresh take on Jonathan Edwards sermon: "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." Edwards view of God is certainly a part of my story in leaving the conservative notion of Christianity, however Zahnd is able to morph this sermon into something beautiful. A truly loving caring creator. My favorite parts are the discussions on wrath. I was always...

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