Author: Robert P. Vande Kappelle
Publisher: Wipf and Stock Publishers
We live in a time of religious warfare, not just between different religions, but also between those with differing versions of the same faith. This religious distrust and political conflict may be the worst in American history since the Civil War. Speaking as a “progressive conservative,” biblical scholar Robert Vande Kappelle uses a four-stage model of faith development to rethink core Christian doctrines. Starting with current events and a discussion on the role of religion, this book examines how inadequate faith development makes people of faith susceptible to misinformation, conspiracy thinking, and even to cultic mindsets. People of faith do not choose to believe a lie; they all want to believe what is true. Hence, it is surprising that, in the realm of religion, so many people are willing to rely upon untested and even highly disputed beliefs, beliefs most received as children. Unfortunately, many of these teachings are based upon ancient hopes and fears rather than upon factual historical information. Taken literally, dualistic teachings concerning heaven and hell, sin and salvation, good and evil, and apocalyptic beliefs such as the “end times” and the imminent return of Christ to earth are questionable, not only because they are beyond historical and scientific verification, but also because they can be misused by authoritarian leaders to control and mislead devout individuals. Thankfully, there is a way to outgrow cultic Christianity. The path to spiritual maturity comes by restoring the role of religion, a form of spirituality discovered not by addition, but by a process of subtraction. Outgrowing Cultic Christianity is useful for individual or group study. Each chapter concludes with questions suitable for discussion or reflection.