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As the church becomes increasingly dysfunctional, Professor Schmiechen warns that the problem isn't the so-called collapse of mainline churches or the threat of secularism. He explains that the church must overcome internal divisions and the influence of modern culture by recovering Christ's gospel of reconciliation. 179 pages, softcover from Eerdmans.
After first analyzing the dysfunctional state of America's churches--with their capitulation to modern culture--Schmiechen argues convincingly that the church can be renewed only through the recovery of Christ's gospel of reconciliation. "Schmiechen, a United Church of Christ minister, analyzes the internal divisions and the capitulation to modern culture that he believes characterizes the ecumenical Protestant church today and issues a call for a theological reform of the doctrine of the church. Recent attempts to renew the church have been unsuccessful, he claims, because they have not adequately addressed the peculiar dilemma Protestantism is caught in: it stands for individual freedom yet opposes individualistic piety, and it speaks of a social gospel yet fears institutions. In other words, the church is incapable of affirming the faith and order essential for community. For Protestantism to survive, Schmiechen argues, it must reclaim its vision of the gospel as the liberating and unifying power of God. To this end, the author develops a theology of reconciliation based on a theory of atonement he derives from 1 Corinthians and offers a vision of the church in which differences can co-exist and the church can grow in the unity of Christ." - Publishers Weekly