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Crossing the Threshold of Hope by Pope John Paul II
[ Pope John Paul II | 1994 ]

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The Visitation - Click to view!From the first to the 264th, the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church has played a strategic and visible role in carrying out the mission of Christ on earth. However, many have misrepresented the pontiff's position as purely political, tossed by tides of church government and international influence. Not isolated, but clearly insulated from the world's working class.

Such speculation proved untrue of Pope John Paul II when Crossing the Threshold Of Hope released, an articulate work regarded by Catholics as a theological denouement. Though richly intellectual and able to withstand the most learned of critics, it is, at the heart, to the average laymen. Like the Christian faith it espouses, a mysterious paradox when considered. Each chapter gives the Pope's answer to those unspeakably simple questions that become so complicated: "What Does 'To Save' Mean?" "Why Does God Tolerate Suffering?" His responses are delicate, yet direct, combining passages from ageless creeds with personal accounts from his childhood and years of papacy.

The section on other religions ("Buddha?", "Muhammad?", and "Judaism?") should be required reading for all Christians, laying bare many crafty illusions of philosophy. Regarding Far East beliefs: "For Christians, the world is God's creation, redeemed by Christ. It is in the world that man meets God. Therefore, he does not need to attain such an absolute detachment in order to find himself." Youthful discovery, royal pontification, pure delight, and wise rebuttal are some of the alternating tones of this fascinating individual. Often the shortest answers are the most indelible; Why believe?--in response to God's invoidable Word; What of the world?--the burden of truth is more demanding than pleasing men; Does God exist?--indeed, the key, the center, and the purpose of all human history is found in its Lord and Master.

While the "servant of the servants of God" is explicitly pained by hostilities among Christian denominations, the Pope himself makes a few offhand comments that show little consideration to the evangelical/charismatic community. "On [a] universal level, if victory comes it will be brought by Mary. Christ will conquer through her, because He wants the Church's victories now and in the future to be linked to her." One can easily see a major doctrinal debate erupting over such an interpretation.

Minor quibbles aside, this unprecedented book is certain in conviction and singular in focus on Jesus. Through Pope John Paul II's keen spiritual vision, life and faith can be seized together, with unwavering confidence that the church is Crossing the Threshold Of Hope.
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