August 5, 2020

Marcus Borg: Decide For Yourself

borggif.jpgWith all the discussion of Marcus Borg’s “Christianity” lately, it might be good to actually read the man. So for those who want to hear from Borg what he believes, I’ve put together a few Marcus Borg links that should provide you a good introduction.

Borg is a unique character. If you compare his approach to Christianity/the Bible with Crossan, there are a lot of scholarly similarities, but enormous differences in how they relate to the faith personally. Borg definitely sees himself as a Christian, but one who represents a wholly different paradigm of Christianity than the traditional conservative approach.

Read and think for yourself. Make up your own mind. That’s how it works…or should.

This brief media bio covers the basics, including his most recent books.

This is his academic resume, posted at Westar Institute. Borg’s Harper-Collins site is here.

Dr. Borg’s story of his personal faith journey is important reading for anyone who wants to understand his version of his personal Christian faith, and his continuing relationship with the church.

Borg at Beliefnet answering “Why Be A Christian?” Relevant to this discussion.

Questions and Answers, text and audio from There are sermons here that are particularly helpful. Best source on this list.

Audio from Borg on “Reclaiming the Bible.” I’ve listened to this and it is a good intro to how Borg reads the Bible totally differently than his critics.

Crossan, Borg and Luke Timothy Johnson had an email debate on the significance of historical Jesus Studies back in 2000 that’s archived here.

An extended address/essay on Spirituality and Modern Culture. Also, Borg on Revisioning the Christian Life.

An interview on Borg’s new book, “The Heart of Christianity.” Here’s a Christian Century review of the book.


  1. I’m going to step out on a dangerous limb here and say NT needs to embrace Marcus and a friend, but not a Christian friend. If not, there are no more lines to draw — except saying the words “I am a Christian”. I suggest that, at the point where Marcus is at, it’s cruel for NT to assure Marcus that he is indeed a Christian. How are they in the same yoke? How can NT honestly have sweet Acts 2:42-47 fellowship with him? What do they honestly have in common in the Gospel?

    When the book “The Meaning of Jesus” came out, a friend of mine who is a fan of NT bought it for me and I read it. I had never heard of Marcus Borg before this, and I had only heard the best things about NT Wright from my friends. In it, Marcus flat out denies that Jesus’s death was anything more than a demonstration of God’s love. He specifically denies any notion that Jesus died as a propitiation for his sins.

    If so, Jesus is a lunatic, and not in any good sense of the word. How does dying for somebody show love if it doesn’t accomplish anything? It’s like taking your best friend out into the Mississippi river in a boat, and telling him you love him very much by throwing yourself overboard and drowning yourself. “I love you this much!”

    Someone who believes this is simply not believing in any good news. There’s cosmicly good news brought by Jesus, this isn’t it. I hope NT loves Marcus until the day he dies, but he’s not doing him any good by embracing him as a fellow believer.

  2. Michael, I think you nailed it in your original post when you said something along the lines of this is what mainstream Christianity looks like today. I am a member of a downtown Baptist (CBF) church, and we do mission projects on a more regular basis with other downtown churches– United Methodist, RCC, Episcopal, Pres, UCC. Borg would be a welcome speaker at
    all of the Protestant churches except ours.

    Which is why we should all show more gratitude to folks like NTW, Baucham and Hurtado– I can say frompersonal experience that exposing these mainstream types to good evangelical scholarship might not cause a conversion, but it has caused some of them to think that the scriptures do indeed have some historical claims to truth.

  3. Michael, Thanks for the link. It provides some insight into the growing pains the church is experiencing as it is coming out of the rationalistic modern era into one more based on spiritual experience. Reintegrating spiritual experience with historical and traditional Christianity will be I think, one of the major works of our time and it is nice to see you tackling the problem here.

    I read the article on Spirituality and Modern Culture and the thing that hit me most was calling the modern view “this older way of seeing God and the Bible” as contrasted with his re-visioning of Christianity when really his re-visioning is simply resurrecting bits of truth and error that predate modern times. If only our culture were more historically literate!

    “But rather, the Christian life is about a relationship with God, as mediated to us by the Christian tradition as a whole.” I can say amen to this but I don’t think his idea of ‘Christian tradition as a whole’ is the same as mine.