When thinking of unfundamentalists, I often associate the voice of most unfundamentalists with anger and high ground hatetred. I understand this completely – Christians have, historically, been terrible people. Especially those Christians who see the Bible as the inerrant, infallible word of God that is the ultimate truth and rulebook for humanity.  

Why the unfandamentalist movement is growing 

There are some obvious issues with the fundamentalist mindset, these include:  

  • The Bible isn’t inerrant – there are many cases where there are blatant contradictions about the same stories. 
  • It isn’t infallible – The Bible was written by people. If you stop and take a moment to think about what that means, you’ll realise that even the most inspired, good, and wholesome humans have flaws. The argument is in this instance that God can protect His word, and that is true. He can. In the same way He can stop someone from killing another person, but He doesn’t because it undermines free will. One of the greatest gifts He’s given us.  
  • It isn’t the ultimate rulebook for humanity – many sections in the Bible assume slavery, accepts patriarchy, and condemns homosexuality. It has given fundamentalists the moral high ground when they subject a certain group of people to horrific injustices.  

The Shortcomings of Unfundamentalists 

The trouble with the unfundamentalist movement right now is that many are joining the cause as if forgetting what Jesus was all about – being universally inclusive (fundamentalists are invited too). I believe that it is because of a lack of Bible study (not memorising the verses, but rather studying the material).  

So, with this in mind, I share this reading list not as ammunition you can use on fundamentalists, but rather as a reading list to help you dig for the truth behind the story the Bible is telling us. I also hope that as you pick up some of these volumes, that you’ll fall in love with the Bible and our rich faith heritage again. And finally, I hope that you’ll be able to invite everyone into Jesus’ way of life, rather than trying to round them up and “change their minds”. 

A final note – You can read many of these titles for free on a 2-month Scribd subscription trial if you use my referral link at the bottom of the page. 

Book recommendations to explore and enrich your growing unfundamentalist 

These aren’t listed in the order you should read them, only in the order that I read them.  

Speaking Christian Marcus J Borg

Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power—And How They Can Be Restored

by Marcus J. Borg

What is meant by our Christian language? How do we understand words like “redemption”? Borg reflects on the difference in meaning between liberal and conservative Christian thinking, even though the language is identical. Borg is quite liberal, and he refuses to turn the meaning of words that are special and meaningful to him over to a Christianity that he feels has strayed from the original, radical, this-worldly message of the first Christians.

Personal Obeservations

For me, the book radically redeemed the word salvation. Stuck in the mindset that salvation meant going to heaven, I had several fears about the certainty of my destination after death. But, with the Biblical view of salvation, my heart found peace and the crippling fear of heaven or hell became a thing of the past.

The last week cover - marcus j borg

The Last Week

by Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan

In the Last Week, Borg and Crossan, reveal a radical and little known Jesus. Using Mark’s gospel as a guide, the present a day-by-day account of Jesus’ final week of life. They begin their story on Palm Sunday with two triumphal entries into Jerusalem. The 1st entry, that of Roman governor Pontius Pilate leading Roman soldiers into the city, symbolized military strength. The 2nd heralded a new kind of moral hero who was praised by the people as he rode in on a humble donkey. The Jesus introduced herein is this new moral hero, a more dangerous Jesus than the one enshrined in the church’s traditional teachings.

The Last Week depicts Jesus giving up his life to protest power without justice & to condemn the rich who lack concern for the poor. In this vein, at the end of the week Jesus marches up Calvary, offering himself as a model for others to do the same when confronted by similar issues. Informed, challenged & inspired, we not only meet the historical Jesus, but meet a new Jesus who engages & invites us to follow him

Personal Obeservations

I’ve always battled with the images we’ve held of Jesus the person. In the Last Week, I fell in love with the Person who extended the invitation to join God’s upside-down kingdom. It also improved my understanding of many of the stories in the Gospels, enriching my experience while reading these books.  

Love Wins Rob Bell

Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived

by Rob Bell

A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spend forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better. It’s been clearly communicated to many that this belief is a central truth of the Christian faith and to reject it is, in essence, to reject Jesus. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’s message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear.

In this book, Bell tells the story of the universal faith that Jesus invites us into.

Personal Obeservations

I’ve written a review of Love Wins, but the crux of the matter is this: Hell gets banished, but it didn’t make me want to live an indulgent life. Instead, it instilled in me the desire to live a holier life because in heaven, there will be things that I won’t like. God’s perfect reign involves some things that don’t come naturally to most people.

rescuing the bible from fundamentalism

Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture

by John Selby Spong

In this provocative bestseller, the outspoken and controversial Bishop John Shelby Spong reveals how literal interpretations of the Bible have been used to justify slavery, ban textbooks, deny the rights of gays and lesbians, subordinate women, and justify war and revenge.

Personal Obeservations

When I started reading Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, I wondered if I would be a Christian after finishing it. There are some beliefs, and views, that were thoroughly shattered, but once they were Bishop Spong gently lands the plane in a way that made me love Christianity more. I’ve written a review of the book if you’d like to start here.

How to read these books for free 

If you use my Scribd referral link, you’ll get a 2-month free subscription. At the time of writing this blog post, many of these titles were available on Scribd as e-Books and/ or Audiobooks.   Scribd has thousands of audiobooks, e-books, magazines, documents, and sheet music. So, once you’re done with this reading list, you can dig into so many other titles that are worth reading.  

Start Reading!