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About the book’s title: Forgive 70 X 7 Our Forgotten Power":

In 1998 DeWall published a work called “Escaping the Mental Straightjacket: Personal Experience As Our Spiritual Guide.” His purpose was to encourage the reader to think for oneself and recognize the many ways in which society and religion control our world view and the way we think. He analyzed many extraordinary experiences, such as near-death and out-of-body experiences, after-death communications and various psychic phenomena. He wanted to show that the unusual, the paranormal and the psychic are for the most part in total harmony with basic Christianity.

His approach in writing “Forgive 70 X 7: Our Forgotten Power” was different. First, he decided to use the Bible (especially the Gospels) and history as his primary sources. But his primary purpose was to explain the basic teachings of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels.

For DeWall, the focus of Jesus’ teaching was on forgiveness. Regretfully, what he taught is not what most Christians believe. The common belief for most is that forgiveness is a gift Jesus came to give — a gift we can receive only if we have sufficient sorrow. On the contrary, Jesus never mentioned sorrow as a prerequisite for being forgiven. Instead, we are forgiven only insofar as we forgive others, as the Lord’s Prayer so aptly states. In Jesus’ terms, forgiveness is not so much a gift he gives to us as a gift we are to give to others. That is why he subtitled the book “Our Forgotten Power.” Topics related to forgiveness include confession, baptism, grace and salvation.

As with everything DeWall has written, he is not concerned if his readers disagree with his conclusions. He only wants them to examine what Jesus actually said and how our beliefs changed over time — then make up their minds for themselves.

Jesus’ teachings were radical for his time, so much so that his hearers must have been startled by what he said. We will react the same way, if we can peel away our conventional beliefs to discover what he actually said.

“I do not write to convert others to my way of thinking,” DeWall says. “I believe that theology is the domain of every person. Of course, I do want my opinions to be seriously considered, but I first want my readers to think for themselves. If they do that, disagreement is not important.”

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