We are living in a time of crisis of moral authority, with culture wars raging all around. Although the Christian churchs message speaks to the deepest issues in contention, it often seems ill-equipped to act fruitfully in our society. Instead it can easily become part of the problem, not its solution - especially if we give in to the polar tendencies to turn into either chameleons or a tribe. When Christians accommodate and compromise before the pressures of being a dissonant minority, we become chameleons. And when we turn inward as a Christian ghetto, using self-protecting measures out of fear, we become a tribe. But as Dick Keyes explains, we can avoid the perils of polarization through biblical ways forward. One is apologetics - reaching outside of the enclave or sharpening ones argument for truth. Another is overcoming individualism to reclaim a real Christian community. However, no recommendation will be successful without true dependence on God and a return to foundations. Chameleon Christianity calls Christians to righteously engage the surrounding culture. It provides tools for expressing the gospel and offers a fresh look at Christian community that crosses barriers of age, race, and gender.
Christ and Culture Revisited
Called to live in the world, but not of it, the balancing act for Christians becomes more precarious the further our culture departs from its Judeo-Christian roots. How should members of the church interact with such a culture, especially as deeply enmeshed as most of us have become? Here, D. A. Carson applies his masterful touch to the problem. He begins by exploring the classic typology of Reinhold Niebuhr and his five options offered for understanding culture. Carson proposes that these disparate options are in reality one still larger vision. Using the Bibles own story line and the categories of biblical theology, he attempts to work out what that unifying vision is. More than theory, however, Christ and Culture Revisited is designed practically to help Christians untangle current messy debates on living in the world. Carson further expands the discussion with numerous comparisons between the United States and cultures elsewhere. Though there are several recent books on culture that interact with Niebuhr, none takes anything like the biblical-theological approach adopted here. Groundbreaking and challenging, Christ and Culture Revisited is a tour de force.
It is not enough to condemn culture. Nor is it sufficient merely to critique culture or to copy culture. Most of the time, we just consume culture. But the only way to change culture is to create culture. Andy Crouch unleashes a stirring manifesto calling Christians to be culture makers. For too long, Christians have had an insufficient view of culture and have waged misguided "culture wars." But we must reclaim the cultural mandate to be the creative cultivators that God designed us to be. Culture is what we make of the world, both in creating cultural artifacts as well as in making sense of the world around us. By making chairs and omelets, languages and laws, we participate in the good work of culture making. Crouch unpacks the complexities of how culture works and gives us tools for cultivating and creating culture. He navigates the dynamics of cultural change and probes the role and efficacy of our various cultural gestures and postures. Keen biblical exposition demonstrates that creating culture is central to the whole scriptural narrative, the ministry of Jesus and the call to the church. He guards against naive assumptions about "changing the world," but points us to hopeful examples from church history and contemporary society of how culture is made and shaped. Ultimately, our culture making is done in partnership with God's own making and transforming of culture.
A model of his premise, this landmark book is sure to be a rallying cry for a new generation of culturally creative Christians. Discover your calling and join the culture makers.
Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the Arts
Imagine art that is risky, complex and subtle! Imagine music, movies, books and paintings of the highest quality! Imagine art that permeates society, challenging conventional thinking and standard morals to their core! Imagine that it is all created by Christians! This is the bold vision of Steve Turner, someone who has worked among artists--many Christian and many not--for three decades. He believes Christians should confront society and the church with the powerful impact art can convey. He believes art can faithfully chronicle the lives of ordinary people and equally express the transcendence of God. He believes that Christians should be involved in every level of the art world and in every media. Yet art and artists have not always been held in high esteem by conservative Christians. Art rarely seems to communicate clear propositional truth, rarely deals with certainties and absolutes. And the lifestyles of artists too frequently seem at odds with the gospel. So the arts have often been discouraged among Christians. Throughout this stimulating book, however, Turner builds a compelling case against such a perspective. He shows that if Jesus is Lord of all of life and creation, then art is not out of bounds for Christians. Rather it can and should be a way of expressing faith in creatively, beautifully, truthfully arranged words, sounds and sights. This stirring call is must reading for every Christian who has been drawn to the arts or been influenced by them.
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In this post-Christian era, the focus of the North American church centers on the maintenance of the institution rather than on Gods mission. In this timely volume, six missiologists examine the churchs loss of dominance in todays culture. Presenting a biblically based theology, they challenge the church to recover its missional vocation---here in North America.
The Gospel in a Pluralist Society
How does the gospel relate to a pluralist society? What is the Christian message in a society marked by religious pluralism, ethnic diversity, and cultural relativism? Should Christians encountering todays pluralist society concentrate on evangelism or on dialogue? How does the prevailing climate of opinion affect, perhaps infect, Christians faith? These kinds of questions are addressed in this book by Lesslie Newbigin. A highly respected Christian leader and ecumenical figure, Newbigin provides a brilliant analysis of contemporary (secular, humanist, pluralist) culture and suggests how christians can more confidently affirm their faith in such a context.
The Mission of God
Most Christians would agree that the Bible provides a basis for mission. But Christopher Wright boldly maintains that mission is bigger than that--there is in fact a missional basis for the Bible! The entire Bible is generated by and is all about God's mission. In order to understand the Bible, we need a missional hermeneutic of the Bible, an interpretive perspective that is in tune with this great missional theme. We need to see the "big picture" of God's mission and how the familiar bits and pieces fit into the grand narrative of Scripture. Beginning with the Old Testament and the groundwork it lays for understanding who God is, what he has called his people to be and do, and how the nations fit into God's mission, Wright gives us a new hermeneutical perspective on Scripture. This new perspective provides a solid and expansive basis for holistic mission. Wright emphasizes throughout a holistic mission as the proper shape of Christian mission. God's mission is to reclaim the world--and that includes the created order--and God's people have a designated role to play in that mission.
The Mission of God's People
Chris Wright's pioneering 2006 book, The Mission of God, revealed that the typical Christian understanding of 'missions' encompasses only a small part of God's overarching mission for the world. God is relentlessly reclaiming the entire world for himself. In The Mission of God's People, Wright shows how God's big-picture plan directs the purpose of God's people, the church. Wright emphasizes what the Old Testament teaches Christians about being the people of God. He addresses questions of both ecclesiology and missiology with topics like 'called to care for creation,' 'called to bless the nations,' 'sending and being sent,' and 'rejecting false gods.' As part of the Biblical Theology for Life Series, this book provides pastors, teachers and lay learners with first-rate biblical study while at the same time addressing the practical concerns of contemporary ministry. The Mission of God's People promises to enliven and refocus the study, teaching, and ministry of those truly committed to joining God's work in the world.
The Open Secret
In this book, an eminent missionary-scholar describes the Christian mission as the declaration of an open secret--open in that it is preached to all nations, secret in that it is manifest only to the eyes of faith. The result is a thoroughly biblical attempt to lead the church to embrace its Christ-given task of presenting the gospel in our complex modern world.
To Change the World
The call to make the world a better place is inherent in the Christian belief and practice. But why have efforts to change the world by Christians so often failed or gone tragically awry? And how might Christians in the 21st century live in ways that have integrity with their traditions and are more truly transformative? In To Change the World, James Davison Hunter offers persuasive--and provocative--answers to these questions. Hunter begins with a penetrating appraisal of the most popular models of world-changing among Christians today, highlighting the ways they are inherently flawed and therefore incapable of generating the change to which they aspire. Because change implies power, all Christians eventually embrace strategies of political engagement. Hunter offers a trenchant critique of the political theologies of the Christian Right and Left and the Neo-Anabaptists, taking on many respected leaders, from Charles W. Colson to Jim Wallis and Stanley Hauerwas. Hunter argues that all too often these political theologies worsen the very problems they are designed to solve. What is really needed is a different paradigm of Christian engagement with the world, one that Hunter calls "faithful presence"--an ideal of Christian practice that is not only individual but institutional; a model that plays out not only in all relationships but in our work and all spheres of social life. He offers real life examples, large and small, of what can be accomplished through the practice of "faithful presence." Such practices will be more fruitful, Hunter argues, more exemplary, and more deeply transfiguring than any more overtly ambitious attempts can ever be. Written with keen insight, deep faith, and profound historical grasp, To Change the World will forever change the way Christians view and talk about their role in the modern world.
Under the Radar
Where are the leaders like Jesus? Perhaps they are not where you think they are. In Under the Radar, Douglas Webster lays out a Scriptural challenge to recent trends in church leadership, which are quickly turning pastors into CEOs and their churches into multi-million dollar marketing machines out of touch with their biblical mission. Working from the Gospel of Luke, Doug Webster shows where we've gone wrong and what an authentic Christian leader looks like according to Scripture. Leadership in the name of Jesus, he argues, is different from any other kind of leadership in the world. Nothing the world has to offer comes even close. Jesus turns everything upside down, and inside out, and nothing comes out the same. What's more, to serve Christ often means to fly under public recognition. Here is essential reading for all who would lead the people of God.
When the Kings Come Marching In
Widely respected for his perspectives on faith in the modern world, Richard J. Mouw stands at the forefront of the Christ and culture debate. In When the Kings Come Marching In-here revised and updated-Mouw explores the religious transformation of culture as it is powerfully pictured in Isaiah 60.
Working the Angles
Eugene Peterson issues a provocative call for pastors to abandon their preoccupation with image and standing, administration, success, and economic viability, and to return to the three basic acts critical to the pastoral ministry: praying, reading Scripture, and giving spiritual direction.