Reviews of Common Sense Christianity

Reviews of the Book Common Sense Christianity

“For many who want to be Christian but cannot believe what they are told Christians are supposed to believe, the book could be a godsend.”        -John B. Cobb, Jr.

“Has the smell of the friction generated when faith and reality meet without avoiding difficult issues …  You may agree or disagree with all or parts of Ross’s conclusions.  You may find this book affirming or infuriating.  You won’t find if simplistic or obtuse.  You shouldn’t be bored.”        -The United Methodist Circuit Rider

“A tightly argued, blunt but appealing, book of heresy …  The admirable straight-forwardness, the impressive logical rigor, and the sustained ethical passion will appeal to those for whom issues of belief, intellectual integrity, and ethical action are paramount concerns. . .  [A]ll reflective religious men and women will be by turns stimulated, delighted, annoyed, perhaps even shocked at Ross’s claims.  They will be grate­ful, let us hope, for his challenge to honesty, integrity, and commitment.”
-The Chicago Theological Seminary Register

“There is much good sense in this book.  Its plain language and forthright style express clear, strong argument that will … give the more orthodox a stimulating intellectual exercise.”
-The Edinburgh Expository Times

“Ingenious and daring…  It is an agenda for questioning, analysis, and discussion. Not many current books succeed as well …. this book should be widely used as well as read.”         -Interpretation

“So carefully does he construct his thesis that even those who disagree… will ponder his thought-provoking ideas.”
-American Library Association Booklist

“A lively and engaging book.”
-American Journal of Theology and Philosophy

“The book both evokes and provokes thought from its readers on all sides of the sensitive topics it treats.”
-Andrew University Seminary Studies

“[A] popularization of [current] scholarship, in the best sense of that word …. a well written, clearly reasoned compendium of theological argument…”        -Choice

From the Back Cover:

“Anyone who thinks that Protestant liberal theology is history needs to read Randolph Ross’ Common Sense Christianity.  Intelligent, informed, and exceedingly well-written, it is as good a presentation of the case for theological liberalism as one is likely to find.”
-Schubert Ogden, University Distinguished Professor of Theology, Perkins School of Theology and Southern Methodist University

“A nicely written, logical book — informed and personal enough to engage the reader but serious enough to merit genuine response . . . [The] section on Jesus is convincing (though I don’t agree on all points) and makes a good case for . . . the ‘functional Christ’.”
-Harvey Cox, Harvard Divinity School

“Professional theology too often addresses problems only as they are defined by the academic tradition.  It becomes more and more remote from the thinking of the church.  Popular theology, meanwhile, has moved far to the right.  C. Randolph Ross offers a needed alternative.  He deals head on with the questions in the minds of ordinary church people in a highly rational way.  His book covers the waterfront of the types of belief-questions that arise most naturally and most commonly.  He pulls no punches, dodges no issues, uses no rhetoric or ambiguity.  He sometimes irritates and shocks.  Few will agree with all of his formulations.  But by providing clear and sensible answers to a host of questions, Ross invites clears and sensible response.  The book is an invitation to argument that could and should engage millions of lay people and pastors.  For many who want to be Christian but cannot believe what they are told Christians are supposed to believe, the book could be a godsend.”            -John B. Cobb, Jr., School of Theology at Claremont

Reviews from

[Five stars] Brought me back to Christianity  By A customer on October 5, 2002
Ever since I was a little kid, I never understood “Jesus died for your sins” (or “washed away your sins”) and whenever I questioned it, I basically was ridiculed.  So, the basis of Christianity made no sense to me.  This book rejects this portion of Christianity by relying only on the portions of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark and Luke) that are consistent.  The two chapters “Who is Jesus of Nazareth” and “Can this be Christian?” are so common-sense that I wonder how anyone can still believe the traditional way.  I recommend starting with these chapters.  Other chapters like “possessions and the use of money” are very inspiring.  After reading this book, for the first time, Christianity makes sense to me.

[Five stars]  Helped bring God into my life  By D. Washington on May 27, 2006
Quite simply, this book helped to end over 20 years of Atheism. As an intelligent person, I couldn’t believe much of what I thought I had to in order to be a Christian. This book helped me to understand what mattered and what didn’t. I now have a faith that is based on Matthew 22:37-39.  Check that out . . .

[Four stars]  Common Sense — At Last!  By Carol Hoidra on January 5, 2000
Read this book! Seekers, doubters, and non-comfy Christians of all denominations will find straightforward discussions of The Big Questions: Biblical literalism, the divinity of Jesus, the Resurrection — to name just a few of the biggest. Mr. Ross shoots from the hip, with erudition and, occasionally, with wonderful crankiness. Be advised: This book is in no way a secular debunking of religious truths. The author is clearly a man of profound faith; he demonstrates that it is possible to believe with both eyes — and the mind — open.

 [Five Stars] Ross provides a way to believe that makes sense By RC on 10/29/2004
First, I am a Christian who wants and needs to believe in Jesus. Unfortunately, there are few real answers out there, and finding others who really believe not only with their spirit and heart, but with their brains is difficult to find. Ross’s book is a unique and open approach to interpreting the gospels. His appeal is straight forward and I believe an honest approach to developing a renewed faith in Jesus. I emphasize Jesus because Ross reveals a way to understand Jesus that is defined not by theology but by common sense, which is in fact not that common. I recommend this book if you are looking for answers as a believer who cares about the mission of Jesus Christ and how Jesus still makes sense, even common sense, in today’s world. Ross has shown me a way to believe that does not involve magical thinking, and does not lose Jesus in the process. Finally, Ross challenges us as Christians to reexamine our world view, and to reconsider how we view prosperity and how a “middle class American live as a Christian?”.

[Five stars] Common Sense Christianity” – what’s that?  By Gary Seth Peetra on 2/25/2008

you don’t have to believe in “original sin,” the virgin birth, miracles or even the resurrection to be a christian!

Randolph Ross, a Methodist minister, says that:

” ‘faith’ is not equated with a set of beliefs…it is an attitude, a way of relating to people and the world, that leads one into right relationships. It is the understanding of the heart that leads one to forgive instead of seeking vengeance, to love instead of hate, to seek the good of all instead of just one’s own well-being; to give of one’s self and property for the good of others, and to feel that a god of love is pulling for all of these.

“You have Christian faith when these basic attitudes are consciously based on the teachings & example of Jesus, and there is a deep commitment to living these attitudes in your life.
“This faith is based on the presupposition that it is better to do right than to do wrong…and that the right course is that which helps others and advances the common good.”

-see? no theology, no mental gymnastics, no need to believe the unbelievable.

– think “progressive” christianity – it’s good stuff

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