The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity  -     By: Soong-Chan Rah
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The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity

Inter-Varsity Press / 2009 / Paperback

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Product Description

* A bold vision for the future of North American evangelicalism! Urging the Western church to escape the captivity of individualism, consumerism, and racism, Rah provides a keen analysis of the limitations of American evangelicalism and offers alternative models for congregational renewal, including those drawn from African American, Native American, immigrant, and second-generation Christian communities. 180 pages, softcover from InterVarsity.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 180
Vendor: Inter-Varsity Press
Publication Date: 2009
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0830833609
ISBN-13: 9780830833603
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

2010 Golden Canon Leadership Book Award winner! The future is now. Philip Jenkins has chronicled how the next Christendom has shifted away from the Western church toward the global South and East. Likewise, changing demographics mean that North American society will accelerate its diversity in terms of race, ethnicity and culture. But evangelicalism has long been held captive by its predominantly white cultural identity and history. In this book professor and pastor Soong-Chan Rah calls the North American church to escape its captivity to Western cultural trappings and to embrace a new evangelicalism that is diverse and multiethnic. Rah brings keen analysis to the limitations of American Christianity and shows how captivity to Western individualism and materialism has played itself out in megachurches and emergent churches alike. Many white churches are in crisis and ill-equipped to minister to new cultural realities, but immigrant, ethnic and multiethnic churches are succeeding and flourishing. This prophetic report casts a vision for a dynamic evangelicalism that fully embodies the cultural realities of the twenty-first century. Spiritual renewal is happening within the North American church, from corners and margins not always noticed by those in the center. Come, discover the vitality of the next evangelicalism.

Author Bio

Soong-Chan Rah (D.Min., Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) is Milton B. Engebretson Associate Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois. Previously he was founding pastor of Cambridge Community Fellowship Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Rah has been a part of four different church-planting efforts, and served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in Boston. He also serves on the boards of Sojourners and the Catalyst Leadership Center. He is a frequent conference speaker and contributed to (InterVarsity Press).

Author Bio

Soong-Chan Rah (D.Min., Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) is Milton B. Engebretson Assistant Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois.

Publisher Description

The future is now. Philip Jenkins has chronicled how the next Christendom has shifted away from the Western church toward the global South and East. Likewise, changing demographics mean that North American society will accelerate its diversity in terms of race, ethnicity and culture. But evangelicalism has long been held captive by its predominantly white cultural identity and history.
In this book professor and pastor Soong-Chan Rah calls the North American church to escape its captivity to Western cultural trappings and to embrace a new evangelicalism that is diverse and multiethnic. Rah brings keen analysis to the limitations of American Christianity and shows how captivity to Western individualism and materialism has played itself out in megachurches and emergent churches alike. In turn, this prophetic minority report casts a vision for a dynamic evangelicalism that fully embodies the cultural realities of the twenty-first century.

Publisher's Weekly

Professor and pastor Rah says the evangelical church has been in captivity to Western white power and must be released in the same way the early Christian church was released from Jewish cultural control. “Racism is America’s original and most deeply rooted sin,” he says bluntly. The church needs to recover a corporate confession of this original sin of building a culture and economy on the backs of Native Americans and black slaves, and a “conspicuous silence” remains on the issue of immigration from white evangelical church leaders. Stories of churches resisting ethnic change in communities, or learning from and embodying ethnic change, are a strong part of his analysis. He finds the term “emergent church” offensive, saying “the real emerging church is the church in Africa, Asia, and Latin America,” which now makes up 60 percent of the world’s Christian population. The “next evangelicalism” should embrace a theology of suffering as well as celebration, intentionally give up power, and follow the lead of second-generation immigrants. Rah rocks the white evangelical citadel with this book. (May) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Editorial Reviews

"Soong-Chan Rah doesn't just write about the changing face of evangelicalism; he is leading it. As a church planter, pastor, professor and scholar Rah is actively creating a path forward for Christians who have been caught in the traps of individualism, consumerism and racism. With real-world experience and depth of wisdom he paints a picture of church done differently and points to models, leaders and communities that are already blazing this trail. For anyone who wants to understand the future of the church in this new century, The Next Evangelicalism is a must-read."
"Soong-Chan Rah's The Next Evangelicalism is a book of amazing grace. It shows the American church how desperately blinded we are by Western colonization and white privilege. But more significantly, it helps us see God's liberation from this captivity, and how he's using churches of the marginalized to set us free."
"Equal parts pastor, teacher and activist, Soong-Chan Rah sounds a loving but prophetic call for reform and reconciliation. His passion should not be misconstrued as condemnation. Rather, this book is about family business. May the evangelical community listen and grow."
"Soong-Chan Rah explores the impact of ethnic and geographic shifts on the present and future state of evangelicalism. He gives us fair warning that parts of his heartfelt book are 'intended to provoke,' and they will. But that doesn't stop his book from being timely, thoughtful and very rewarding."
"One of the most important changes now going on in American--and indeed world--religion is the profound transformation of evangelicalism, a movement which encompasses hundreds of millions of people. This book is the best and most balanced treatment of the subject now available. It is well researched, clearly written and comprehensive."
"It's already shifted! America will soon be a minority-majority. Already some cities are. Who will lead the way into the future? You may be surprised to know there is a rising group of third-culture, liminal citizens forging paths of influence in every sector of society. Soong-Chan Rah in his book The Next Evangelicalism powerfully provokes us to take a hard look at our sins against the immigrants and this rising tide of the next generation of Christ-followers representing many tribes and nations."
"In this manifesto for change, Soong-Chan Rah calls for the church to break free from limiting and exclusive paradigms and fully embrace the dramatic cultural diversity that is rapidly defining the twenty-first century in the United States. His powerfully persuasive pen engages and challenges the reader in ways that radically transform how church life is to be understood, shaped and lived. Everyone who cares about the Christian church in the United States needs to read The Next Evangelicalism. This book ignites hope for reconciliation in the world through the church."
" The Next Evangelicalism reminds me of July 4: there's plenty to celebrate and there are fireworks going off in all directions! But I kept asking myself: What will this next evangelicalism celebration do to us? Will we stay the same or will we follow the leading of God's Spirit into the next era of evangelicalism, one that will surely be unlike what we have now? Sit down, open this book, and get ready to duck!"
"Behold, a prophet walks among us. With personal narrative, pastoral experience and excellent research, Soong-Chan Rah exegetes the present and calls the church to be released from its white, Western cultural captivity. After demonstrating how indeed the church is stuck, Rah draws from the experiences of African American, Native American, immigrant and second-generation churches to free the church so that it can become the multicultural and holistic community that God has called it to be. The Next Evangelicalism is biblical prophecy at its best, summoning God's people to reconciliation, justice and faithfulness. As such, it is guaranteed at once to disturb, challenge, encourage and inspire."
"Soong-Chan Rah has a strong and prophetic message for the entire church regarding the changing face of Christianity in the United States and throughout the world. If we are going to be faithful to God's vision of extending his love to the entire planet, it will take leaders from every ethnic group fully empowered to lead. In The Next Evangelicalism Soong-Chan provides us with important insights to help us see this diverse kingdom vision become a reality."
"Writing with uncanny nerve and refreshing candor, Rah 'captured' me from his first paragraph. As a fellow liminal Asian American evangelical pastor and leader, I too have been beckoned to join elite circles of white, wonderful Christians, only to wonder if they really valued my unique point of view or merely my appearance. Rather than just describing the problem, Rah offers a biblically infused, socioculturally informed take on the future of evangelicalism that deserves to be taken seriously by us all."
"In this important book Soong-Chan Rah provides a compelling case that the dominant forms of North American Christianity have become enslaved by the patterns and assumptions of Western culture to the detriment of the gospel. Rah seeks to liberate the church from this cultural captivity by inviting readers to learn from the wisdom of communities that have generally been marginalized by the traditional church. The future of Christian witness in North America depends on listening to these voices and learning the lessons they have to teach."
"Powerful, prophetic words. Rah's message about cultural captivity is one we need to hear and to share with others."
"A confrontational and provocative book in the best biblical sense! Soong-Chan Rah's prophetic text is a must-read! Given the cultural captivity and decline of the Western ('white') church, and the reality of nonwhite global Christianity, this important book provides us both a serious biblical, theological, and sociocultural analysis and critique of the white church, while giving us a positive vision and models of the ever increasing nonwhite and ethnic church in America that we'd do well to emulate."

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Displaying items 1-4 of 4
Page 1 of 1
  1. Abram KJ
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Clarion Call to End Racism
    June 24, 2012
    Abram KJ
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 4
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Soong-Chan Rah writes, "As many lament the decline of Christianity in the United States in the early stages of the twenty-first century, very few have recognized that American Christianity may actually be growing, but in unexpected and surprising ways."

    In 'The Next Evangelicalism, Rah posits that mainstream evangelicalism in the United States has been too monocultural in its worldview--"white" and "Western," he says. It has been "taken captive" by individualism, consumerism/materialism, and racism. This captivity is pervasive, he writes, as seen in the megachurch movement, the emerging church movement (which Rah rightly argues pays too much attention to just white voices), and through cultural imperialism. Looking at Native American, African American, immigrant, and multicultural communities, Rah offers hopeful alternatives for evangelicalism's future.

    Every evangelical Christian should read this book. Rah has the courage to say hard things the church needs to hear. His excellent treatment of racism, especially, should be preached from the pulpits and studied in small groups.

    However, there are at least two key points where I take issue with Rah.

    First, a distraction is Rah's equating "white" with "Western" as he discusses the church's captivity. But these two are not always synonymous words, and sometimes when the author uses "white" he really means (or should mean) "Western" instead. Rah mentions T.D. Jakes as a megachurch pastor who is emblematic of the church's captivity to ("white") numerical pragmatism. But Jakes is "Western" and not "white." And there are non-white sectors of the Western church deserving of Rah's critique (for example, Creflo Dollar and other "health and wealth gospel" African American pastors should be included in Rah's critique of Western consumerism and materialism). Rah's arguments would have more force (and been more accurate) if he simply had referred to "Western cultural captivity."

    Second, I struggled to accept some final remarks: "The shift in American evangelicalism is well under way. The white churches are in significant decline." I will grant the first assertion. But as to the second, Rah does not define further what he means by "decline" and provides barely any evidence of it that I could see. In fact, if he means numerical decline, he is using a standard previously rejected in his book. (Church health ought to be measured not by buildings built or number of attendees alone, he notes, but by taking the spiritual pulse of the congregation.) Is a Church feeding the poor? Welcoming the stranger? Caring for the sick? If so, Rah would say, it is a healthy church. By this standard, the predominantly "white" church at which I recently served as youth minister, for example, is very healthy. Members of that church, and of many others I know that are like it, might read lines like this and ask, "What decline?"

    Even so, I don't want to overly fault Rah for those objections. As a reader I do not demand that Rah say everything perfectly before I accept the force and truth of his overarching claims. All in all, The Next Evangelicalism issues a clarion call to the church to end racism, embrace the growing diversity of the body of Christ, hear voices that have been marginalized, and more accurately reflect the church the Bible calls us to be.
  2. James Ward
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    August 25, 2010
    James Ward
    Musicians, be aware that this great book has nothing in it about multi- or cross-cultural music! I was incredulous as I realized again that a pastor was so oblivious to music's part in the diversity of the local body. A solid sociological overview, though.
  3. Philemon Ngare
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    August 14, 2010
    Philemon Ngare
    Have read the whole book in a few days. My perception about the Western Church has been challenged. Rah's vision for the Body of Christ in America is indeed a bold one. His prophetic voice against the sins of the Church in America is timely. Rah's American experience makes both his vision for the Church and his prophecy against sins of the Western Church more genuine and credible. It is high time the Western Church confessed her sins as discussed by Rah in his book. May I recommend Rah's text to all serious Christians in America!!!
  4. Robert E McIntyre
    1 Stars Out Of 5
    February 5, 2010
    Robert E McIntyre
    This book is written by one angry man. He must feel slighted by not fitting into American society. He uses Scripture as a battering ram to attack the American section of Christianity.
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