Common Sense Christianity by C. Randolph Ross
C. Randolph Ross has a degree in analytic philosophy from the University of Virginia and has spent time in theological studies at Yale Divinity School. After seminary he has served full time in a United Methodist parish in upstate New York for five years, then spent part time work in churches while holding down secular administrative work spending ten years wrestling on the issues which have produced this book. Published by Occam Publishers, Cortland, New York, 1989, copyright by C. Randolph Ross. Used by permission. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.
In Part Two we assess the adequacy of traditional Christian doctrine about the resurrection, the divinity of Jesus and the identity of Jesus. We also examine the relationship between faith and doctrine.
In Chapter Five we conclude that we do have a good general idea as to what Jesus said, and we proceed from this to develop two rules of Christian belief to identify when a belief is appropriate for Christians and when a belief may be required of Christians.
In Chapter Six we look at the resurrection and conclude that indeed some special experience took place, but that the resurrection does not have religious significance for us.
In Chapter Seven we consider the question of Jesusí divinity. This doctrine is not Biblical, is logically impossible (as opposed to a paradox), violates our common sense, and is unnecessary and even unhelpful.
In Chapter Eight we pause to highlight the distinction between faith and doctrine. Faith is the way we live our lives, doctrine is the intellectual explanation of this, so one may have a valid Christian belief that is not factually accurate if this belief leads one into right relationship.
In Chapter Nine we continue our consideration of traditional themes by examining the titles used to answer the question "Who is Jesus of Nazareth?" Looking at traditional titles such as "Savior", "Lord and Master", "Son of God" and "Messiah", we find none of them satisfactory. I then explain briefly what I mean by Jesus as "the Christ" understood in a functional way. This leads us into Part Three, my proposal for a common sense and faithful alternative to traditional orthodoxy.