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Doubting Thomas: Christology in Story Form by John B. Cobb, Jr.


John B. Cobb, Jr., Ph.D. is Professor of Theology Emeritus at the Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, California, and Co-Director of the Center for Process Studies there. His many books currently in print include: Reclaiming the Church (1997); with Herman Daly, For the Common Good; Becoming a Thinking Christian (1993); Sustainability (1992); Can Christ Become Good News Again? (1991); ed. with Christopher Ives, The Emptying God: a Buddhist-Jewish-Christian Conversation (1990); with Charles Birch, The Liberation of Life; and with David Griffin, Process Theology: An Introductory Exposition (1977). He is a retired minister in the United Methodist Church. His email address is cobbj@cgu.edu.. Published by Crossroad Publishing Company, 481 8th Ave. # 1550, New York, NY, 10017. Copyright ã 1990 by John B. Cobb Jr. All rights reserved. Used by permission. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.


Chapter 1: After Church -- Sunday Morning
Seminary student Thomas Atherton realizes his internship is under a university chaplain who apparently does not believe that Jesus was the Son of God.

Chapter 2: The Chaplainís Office -- Tuesday Morning
What for the chaplain is an obstacle to faith is to Thomas its very content. Could there be more than one way of being a Christian?

Chapter 3: At Home -- Tuesday Noon
As Thomas thinks about it, the study of the Bible and the history of the church makes everything about Christianity seem less fixed than he has always assumed.

Chapter 4: The Campus Cafeteria -- Wednesday Noon
Thomas is not satisfied. "It seems to me that Christians are those who say Jesus was divine -- human, of course, but not only that. He was completely unique, the one human being in whom God was incarnate. If not, isnít our continual preoccupation with this one human being inappropriate, even silly?"

Chapter 5: Prof. OíConnorís Study -- Thursday Afternoon
Thomas learns that orthodoxy about Christ didnít fall from heaven. It was not even taught by Jesus himself, and can only with difficulty be read back into the writings of Paul. What is orthodox gets decided in every generation in very human struggles within the community of faith.

Chapter 6:Chaplainís Office -- Friday Morning
Thomas complains, "You seem to think all religions are equally good, that there are many ways to salvation, and we should all just mind our own business. This relativism is just what I feared would happen if the orthodox creeds are abandoned!"

Chapter 7: At Home -- Friday Evening
Thomas asks how can one person be both fully God and fully human? Are not deity and humanity external to one another? The Chaplain replies that the more fully God is in us -- we call that grace -- the more genuinely human we are. Jesus was fully human because he was fully divine.

Chapter 8: Thomas Alone in His Study -- Saturday Morning
The question is asked: Could people find salvation through other religions -- Buddhism, for example?

Chapter 9: A Meeting of the Buddhist Fellowship -- Monday Evening
Thomas visits a Buddhist group and is severely shaken in his inability to witness to them about his own faith in Christ.

Chapter 10: Prof. Wilsonís Study -- Tuesday Afternoon
"Iím beginning to see that I can be a Christian and appreciate other traditions at the same time. All these either-ors Iíve been living with can become both-ands. You donít have to give up faith in Christ in order to appreciate what is positive in other religious traditions."

Chapter 11: Prof. Wilsonís Home -- Friday Evening
Thomas sees that people can witness passionately and confidently to the truth of their faith while remaining completely open the truths of other faiths.

Chapter 12: At Home -- Late Friday Night
Affirming Jesus as Lord is not primarily a matter of beliefs but rather action --discipleship.

Discussion Guide
The purpose of this study guide is to suggest questions that will encourage frank discussion about Christology.

Suggested Reading

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