Asserting that Western society is now "a very different, very difficult mission field," Guder charts the church's historical shift away from evangelism, examines cultural barriers to evangelical ministry, and presents a missional theology for contemporary believers. His practical insights are sure to spark lively discussion among those who take the Great Commission seriously. 238 pages, softcover from Eerdmans.
Western society is now a very different, very difficult mission field. In such a situation, the mission of evangelism cannot succeed with an attitude of "business as usual." This volume builds a theology of evangelism that has its focus on the church itself. Darrell Guder shows that the church's missionary calling requires that the theology and practice of evangelism be fundamentally rethought and redirected, focused on the continuing evangelization of the church so that it can carry out its witness faithfully in today's world.
In Part 1 Guder explores how, under the influence of reductionism and individualism, the church has historically moved away from a biblical theology of evangelism. Part 2 presents contemporary challenges to the church's evangelical ministry, especially those challenges that illustrate the church's need for continuing conversion. Part 3 discusses what a truly missional theology would mean for the church, including sweeping changes in its institutional structures and practices.
Written for teachers, church leaders, and students of evangelism, this volume is vital reading for everyone engaged in mission work.
Darrell L. Guder is Henry Winters Luce Professor Emeritus of Missional and Ecumenical Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary.
Academy of Parish Clergy, Book of the Year (2001)
"In a market saturated with books on evangelism that describe specific methods and programs, Darrell Guder's work is a refreshing theological consideration of the topic. . . In The Continuing Conversion of the Church, Darrell Guder provides a theology of evangelism that takes seriously the changing cultural situation of North America, the church as an instrument of God's mission, and the biblical foundation of evangelism. His work provides a balanced treatment of the culture, the church and the gospel for a church challenged by recent changes in the North American mission field."
Theological Book Review
"This is a good book for all who wish to reassess their own grasp of the Church's evangelistic calling and are not afraid to be challenged to re-imagine the Church to make this calling fruitful. It would be one essential book for Church leaders to read and meditate on during a sabbatical period of leave."
"This inspiring book, addressed to a large audience of educated Christians and theology students, deals with the foundations of evangelism, the basic challenge to translate the gospel in every human culture, and the continuing conversion of the church that is constantly evangelized throughout the historical unfolding of its mission."
"The serious pastor, student, or layperson will find this book an excellent resource."
International Bulletin of Missionary Research
"This readable and very well-documented book is a vital resource for church leaders who seek to orient their faith communities to God's mission."
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