Tim Morey, in Embodying our Faith: Becoming a Living, Sharing, Practicing Church combines the rare attributes of an engaging intelligent mind, crisp clear writing, and an obvious-ominous concern for his subject matter and uses them to ask one fundamental question: "Is there a way that we as the church can be faithfully, even radically biblical, and at the same time be culturally relevant?" Churches, seemingly and in their own context, have often assumed that they are biblical, and that the way they approach church is biblical.This is precisely why, according to Morey, only 17% of American adults are attending church and that this number should drop to around 14% by 2020.a mere ten years away. Even those who retain their faith in Christ are losing their faith in the church and leaving it in disturbing numbers while claiming the church "is a detriment" to their faith. Yet, while Morey betrays his ominous concern, he clearly has hope, because he believes the postmodern context (understood as cultural phenomena not as a philosophy) is the perfect context in which the church can grow, can minister, and can overcome its weaknesses.For younger generations postmodernism has caused a "titanic shift" away from modernism, and the way it describes and interprets the reality around us, to postmodernism--which rejects absolute truth claims or the possibility of knowing truth as modernism claimed it could-and implanted new ways of thinking about, processing, and interpreting information. The consequences, while many, have particular relevance to, in Morey's mind, moral relativism, skepticism, and religious pluralism, that are all unified by a rejection of any meta-narrative which claims to explain anyone of them, or all of them authoritatively or exhaustively.But what does this mean for the church? Division. Within the body, and from the world. Churches are increasingly mirages within reality, rather than a place where reality can be discussed and wrestled with. Even when churches try to minister to the postmodern with "alternative services" such efforts often collapse or end up splitting churches. So how can the church participate, even if it recognizes that it can't change itself? This is just a tasting of the discussion that will go on in Embodying our Faith: Becoming a living, Sharing, Practicing Church. It very well may be the most challenging book you read this year-and read it you should for if you are a part of a church, you will need to help navigate the church in the postmodern world, or watch it fade into the distance.
"Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." Mohandas Gandhi famously critiqued the contemporary church with this pithy phrase. The challenge ever since has been for the church to look more like Christ. Tim Morey had this challenge in mind as he oversaw the planting of Life Covenant Church in Torrance, California, and he keeps it in mind as he coaches other church planters in the Evangelical Covenant Church. In this book he brings his experience, combined with research and theological reflection, to help your church cultivate the irreducible qualities of an embodied apologetic: a community that is revealed by its faithful to be experiential, communal and enacted.
Tim Morey (D.Min., Fuller Theological Seminary) is founding and lead pastor at Life Covenant Church in Torrance, California. He also serves on the Evangelical Covenant Church's national church planting team and as adjunct professor teaching practical theology at Talbot School of Theology.
Eddie Gibbs is senior professor in the School of Intercultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and a senior adviser to the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology and the Arts. His seminars for church leaders about leadership in the emerging church have been held in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway, Australia, South Africa and around the United States. Gibbs has also written several books, including and (with Ryan Bolger)
"Authority in our postmodern culture has been transferred from those people who merely talk about things in academic vacuums to those people who express their ideas in action and cultural engagement. Tim Morey is a leader who not only writes about how the church can witness to the gospel in this culture but demonstrates, through his own experience and the experience of his church, how we can enact it in a relevant, authentic and very biblical way. He is the sort of leader that I give authority to, and the picture of the church he paints and embodies is the sort of church I want to be a part of."
"Tim Morey isn't just writing about embodied faith. He and the community he has formed are demonstrating a new, creative, missional way of life. Be prepared to be both inspired and challenged by the mission-focused faith that is at the center of Tim's community and at the heart of this important book, calling us beyond ourselves in the service of Christ."
"In this wonderful book, Tim Morey not only makes the case that the church is called to live missionally right here in North America, but he does a fabulous job laying out what the vision and structure of such a church would look like. Using his experiences as a church planter and years of deep thinking about missional living, Tim paints an enticing picture of what it means to incarnate our witness in worship, community and mercy ministry, that is, an embodied apologetic that can bring real transformation to individuals and the culture around us. This is an exciting and helpful book."
"How can the church stay both biblical and relevant for a postmodern generation that is mostly unreached, unchurched or dechurched? Tim Morey answers that question not from the ivory towers of academia (though he has certainly done his homework there!), but through a real-life ministry that is relational, missional and incarnational. This book should be read by anyone who longs to see the church thrive in the twenty-first century.
"Tim Morey is a disciple who is becoming like his master, Jesus of Nazareth (Luke 6:40). As a fellow ECC church planter, it has been my honor and joy to watch Tim's church-plant ministry grow and develop here in the South Bay of Los Angeles. He has learned his lessons well, because he himself has lived them well. First and foremost, Tim Morey embodies his faith. I am so thankful he has taken the time to pass on what Jesus has taught him!"
"Tim Morey is a missionary to our culture. In Embodying Our Faith he demonstrates a robust commitment to sound biblical principles, practically applied, as the church produces disciples of Christ in a postmodern context. Illustrated with stories from a true pastor's heart, this book is one of the best examples I have seen of contextualization--applying the changeless truth of the gospel to the deep spiritual needs of a changing culture."
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