Well worth listening to—yes, listening. No Irrelevant Jesus springs from numerous live presentations given by Gerhard Lohfink, who wisely chose to preserve that style of presentation in this volume. Each chapter has the ability to engage the reader as a skilled speaker would engage an audience. His ability to wrench his audience away from complacency or a half-hearted embrace of Jesus, to further challenge the church to live in a way that is anything but routine, is needed in our time and much appreciated.
Cackie Upchurch, Director, Little Rock Scripture Study
No Irrelevant Jesus is a "must read" for people who are interested in appropriating the Gospel message in the twenty-first century. Gerhard Lohfink is a master at explaining Jesus' own biblical worldview and the worldview of the New Testament itself. Fans of Lohfink's Jesus of Nazareth will welcome this worthy successor.
Thomas D. Stegman, SJ, Associate Professor of New Testament/Professor Ordinarius, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
The book, with its exposition of Scripture, social commentary, and accessible chapters, is well suited for retreat reading, adult education groups, or homiletic material.
Thomas P. Rausch, SJ, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, Theological Studies
Lohfink does not ask "what is it?" but "how does it work?" He says theory has its place, but he clearly prefers to consider the realities of faith in the context of salvation history, in the events and experiences of real people meeting the God who acts for and with them. This is a lively, challenging book expressing the strongly held opinions of a renowned New Testament scholar, who has spent his life studying who Jesus is and what Jesus teaches.
Hugh Feiss, OSB, Cistercian Studies Quarterly
Gerhard Lohfink not only demonstrates that Jesus and his church are unquestionably relevant for life today, his essays also offer readers clear and theologically wise responses to critical issues of our day. While his writing is solid and sophisticated, it is accessible to scholar and seeker alike. Brilliantly written and translated, this work should be on the reading list of everyone interested in updating their understanding of Jesus and his church with fresh and stimulating insights.
Stephen J. Binz, independent scholar, speaker, and author of biblical theology and spirituality
With his succinct treatment of complex topics, Lohfink writes with his customary level of scholarly depth. When a writer or a speaker knows their material and has had years of experience in sharing it with others, there simply is a sense of "gravitas" or trustworthiness to their writing. . . . As Lohfink sketches the "untamed" Jesus, he moves freely between biblical texts, ancient writers, modern theologians and expressions of contemporary culture. . . . Everyone who takes the time to read and ponder this book will be challenged to new depths of discipleship and alerted to new possibilities as we live into the arrival of God's kingdom already present in Christ and his Church.
Michael J. Bowling, Englewood Review of Books
"This latest book by Gerhard Lohfink is a collection of essays, each of which, in different ways, offers a means of coping with the difficulties of life in the Church today. There is a sharp intellect at work here, and immense erudition, especially in the area of the New Testament; indeed one of Lohfink's great strengths is his attentiveness to Scripture."
Nicholas King, SJ The Way
Gerhard Lohfink is to theology what Flannery O'Connor is to literature: a voice calling us to be aware of what really matters. O'Connor shouts to a culture deaf to grace; Lohfink confronts anyone trying to tame and domesticate Jesus. Modern-day prophets they are.
Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Robert F. Morneau, Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin
No Irrelevant Jesus is a profound meditation on what Jesus means for the church and our world today. In probing metaphors of the church as a sacrament, as the eschatological Israel, Lohfink explores the church's newness, its proper name as an assembly, how a sacrament works, and how faith works. He carefully parses for us how to pray as a way to get access to reality. Readers will not only be deeply enlightened but also feel a call for a genuine and deep conversion (as individuals and the church) against any taming of Jesus.
John A. Coleman, SJ, Associate Pastor, St. Ignatius Church, San Francisco, California
Gerhard Lohfink is a superb scholar and a beautiful writer who helped many readers see the Son of God in an entirely new light with his brilliant book Jesus of Nazareth. Now, in a series of wise, provocative, and inspiring essays, backed by vast learning and deep prayer, Lohfink reveals Jesus as he was and is, and the church as it was and is meant to become.
James Martin, SJ, Author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage
No Irrelevant Jesus is composed of short talks Lohfink has given over the years that are filled with exegetical and theological wisdom. . . . Lohfink is a German determined not to forget the terror that was Nazi Germany. This book is also relevant for the challenges facing Christians in America. His is a vision, deeply grounded in scripture, that I believe is our future.
Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law, Duke University
The Christian Century
Following his highly successful Jesus of Nazareth, Gerhard Lohfink delivers another stunning achievement with this passionate set of essays about why Jesus remains relevant. Originally a series of public lectures, the chapters retain their oral flair, reflected in the excellent translation. They also impart a wealth of sophisticated information on a variety of themes tied to Jesus and his ministry: miracles, the love commandment, salvation, sin and reconciliation, the nature of the church, the episcopacy, and more. This book demonstrates once more Lohfink's eminent status as a seasoned scholar who nonetheless has the ability to communicate a meaningful pastoral message. In short, a superb book on Jesus' significance for the church today!
Ronald D. Witherup, SS, Superior General of the Society of the Priests of Saint Sulpice and author of Saint Paul and the New Evangelization
"While the book did not always speak to my non-Catholic theological leanings, I found many a clever and insightful exposition of historical context. I greatly admired his ability to turn a story around and examine it in a larger context."
Barbara Zimmerman, Knox United Touchstone Review
No Irrelevant Jesus by Gerhard Lohfink is an excellent complement to the author's Jesus of Nazareth. It highlights the mystery of Jesus Christ and his message in relation to the church's nature and mission. Speaking to general readers as well as to scholars, it illumines the living Lord's "good news" in its biblical setting and also in the context of our contemporary world. Its short, clear, down-to-earth essays challenge us to orient our lives and the church to the coming of God's reign.
Robert A. Krieg, Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame
"The book makes a distinctive contribution to the current discussion about Jesus and the church insofar as it reflects a unique combination of scholarly acumen and pastoral concern in language that is accessible for the nonspecialist."
Gerhard Lohfink's work, No Irrelevant Jesus, seeks to make Jesus and His Church relevant in the contemporary culture that reduces Jesus and Christianity to one religion that is equal to all others. The book is a collection of essays from oral presentations that Lohfink made during the past several years that he later realized centered around the theme of making Jesus and/or His Church relevant today. . . . His work exhibits a mastery over the material that he has sought to understand throughout his life and it shares many theological themes found in his other work Jesus of Nazareth.
Jason Bermender, Catholic Books Review