The Fractured Kingdom

Uniting Modern Christianity through the Historical Jesus

Jean-Pierre Isbouts


ISBN-13: 9781640656437



Bestselling biblical historian, Jean-Pierre Isbouts, weaves the origin stories of Christianity and the Lord's Prayer into a clarion call for unity in the modern church.

Modern Christianity is in the midst of a veritable schism along the fault lines of society's culture wars. Only if Christians truly understand the origins of this split, they can find their way to unity. Though few may realize it today, Jesus’s ministry unfolded in a crisis very similar to the one society is now battling. In fact, were it not for the truly catastrophic conditions in early 1st century Galilee, his reimagining of the three quintessential virtues of the Torah – social justice; compassion toward one another; and an abiding love of God – would have likely failed to attract a wide following.

Tracing Jesus’s vision for the “Kingdom of God” from its origin up through modern times, Dr. Isbouts argues for a possible antidote to the fierce divisons in modern Christianity: the Our Father. By taking readers on a historical tour of the Lord’s Prayer, The Fractured Kingdom shows why the only doctrine Christians agree on might be the last hope for forging a more equal, compassionate, and loving society.

Prof. Jean-Pierre Isbouts is one of the leading biblical historians writing today. A bestselling author, he has written numerous National Geographic books on biblical history, with an approach that examines Judeo-Christian traditions through a strictly non-denominational lens. A Professor Emeritus in Human Development at Fielding Graduate University, Dr. Isbouts is a frequent Smithsonian lecturer and also serves as the managing editor of Fielding University Press, which he founded in 2013. He lives in Santa Monica, CA..

“Dr. Jean-Pierre Isbouts hits the mark beautifully by pointing all of us living in an all-too divided nation to a different and better way forward, a way of love that is grounded in the familiar prayer that Jesus taught us. Readers will find a foundation for healing and wholeness in these pages.”
—Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and author of Love is the Way and The Power of Love

“I never cease to be amazed at the extraordinary insights and expansive knowledge of Jean-Pierre Isbouts. The Fractured Kingdom speaks to not one generation, but many—past and future—about the perils of religious division. But, instead of leaving us there, Isbouts invites us to grab hold of the promises that an authentic, godly, and life-giving faith can offer the great divides of our time. With the craftmanship of a gifted maestro, Isbouts’ book is a symphony of possibility that reaches a crescendo of hope.”
—Russell J. Levenson Jr., author of Witness to Dignity: The Life and Faith of George H. W. and Barbara Bush

“The one subject Jesus spoke about more than any other was the Kingdom of God. In The Fractured Kingdom, Jean-Pierre Isbouts, using the Lord’s Prayer as a lens, vividly explicates what Jesus meant by God’s Kingdom. I believe this is a book for all of us who call ourselves Christians, regardless of what branch of the Church we call home. Isbouts shows us that what unites us is bigger than what divides us and that Jesus needs all of us to be about the work of Kingdom building.”
—Randolph M. Hollerith, dean of the Washington National Cathedral

"The Fractured Kingdom speaks to my heart, challenging me, 'Are you truly a Christian building God’s kingdom today?' My heart replies, 'I believe, Lord. Help me to live my belief.' May The Fractured Kingdom do the same for you."
St. Anthony Messenger


Part I: Rediscovering the Historical Jesus

  1. A Land in Crisis
  2. The Lost Years of Jesus’ Youth
  3. Along the Banks of the Jordan
  4. Jesus Launches His Ministry

Part II: The Lord’s Prayer: A Blueprint for Unity

  1. Our Father, Hallowed Be Your Name
  2. Your Kingdom Come
  3. Give Us Each Day Our Bread
  4. And Forgive Us Our Debts/Sins
  5. Do Not Bring Us to the Test
  6. Deliver Us from Evil
  7. Reconstructing the Passion

Epilogue: The Splintering of Christianity

Further Reading

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