The Great Giveaway: Reclaiming the Mission of the Church  -     By: David Fitch
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The Great Giveaway: Reclaiming the Mission of the Church

Baker Books / 2005 / Paperback

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Product Description

Has the North American church relinquished her God-given mission to parachurch organizations, psychotherapy, and consumer capitalism? Warning that postmodern evangelicals are increasingly modeling their ministries after secular sciences and "farming out" church functions in the name of efficiency, Fitch challenges believers to reclaim the lost practices of evangelism, physical healing, and spiritual formation. 240 pages, softcover from Baker.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 240
Vendor: Baker Books
Publication Date: 2005
Dimensions: 9.0 X 6.0 (inches)
ISBN: 080106483X
ISBN-13: 9780801064838

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Publisher's Description

"North American evangelicals learned to do church in relation to modernity," asserts David Fitch. Furthermore, evangelicals have begun to model their ministries after the secular sciences or even to farm out functions of the church whenever it seems more efficient. As a result, the church, too often, has stopped being the church.

In The Great Giveaway, Fitch examines various church practices and shows how and why each function has been compromised by modernity. Discussing such ministries as evangelism, physical healing, and spiritual formation, Fitch challenges Christians to reclaim these lost practices so that the church can regain its influence. Pastors, leaders, and students who minister to the postmodern world will find in this book fresh insight that will stir the hearts of many and spark much-needed discussion about the evangelical church.

Author Bio

David Fitch (Ph.D., Northwestern University) is pastor of Life on the Vine Christian Community of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Long Grove, Illinois, and is adjunct professor of ministry, theology, and ethics at Northern Seminary.

Publisher's Weekly

This is a searing but loving insider critique of the individualism that marks North American evangelicals. Fitch, senior pastor of the Life on the Vine Christian community in Arlington Heights, Ill., blames an embrace of modernism for attempts by evangelicals to "individualize, commodify, and package Christianity." He criticizes mega-churches that end up functioning like capitalist businesses with CEO-style pastors judging success by the number of "decisions for Christ" produced. Each chapter outlines the various ways evangelicalism has "given away" its influence and then offers concrete practices designed to help the church reclaim its mission. Fitch's most scathing criticism is saved for the evangelical willingness to embrace modern psychology, which he blasts as patient-centered rather than Christ-centered. He challenges evangelical churches to think smaller (in terms of congregation size), place less focus on coercive evangelism, return to communal catechesis, offer more liturgical worship and provide opportunities for small group intimacy where Christians can confess their sins, repent, read scripture and pray together regularly. Intellectually rigorous, this book's critical tone will undoubtedly upset many conservative evangelicals, but will point the way for the more moderate ones for years to come. (Oct. 15) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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  1. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    March 7, 2006
    Christian Book
    The Great Giveaway is an honest and wide-ranging guide for everyone who is concerned about the growing "worldliness" of the evangelical movement. Fitch's analysis is both trenchent and biblical and his suggestions are faithful to historic Christian orthodoxy, though perhaps a bit difficult to implement. Despite a couple of problematic issues that I will discuss further below, I wholly recommend this book to all those concerned that we as evangelicals are losing a sense of what it means to be the church. In the end, not only has Fitch made accessible the withering critique of modernity offered from McIntyre, Yoder, Milbank, and Hauerwas, but he has done a great service for the evangelical community in humbly offering suggestions for the the local gathered community; when faithfully shaped by God's revealed Word and the practices of being the church, it can and must be the site of our apologetics, justice, worship, spiritual formation, and moral education. Unlike many who proclaim themselves as participating in the Emergent conversation, Fitch seems profoundly committed to the Christian tradition, and his embrace of a postmodern mode of analysis is employed not with a sense of smug sophistication, but to call the church back to greater faithfulness. For those Christians who see no problem in our being transformed by the pattern of this world, we ignore the eloquent criticism and ecclesiological vision of David Fitch at our peril. Highly Recommended. Daniel Kruse Gloier, Christian Book
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