Let's face it, Christians are outsiders in today's pluralistic society. How can we still make an impact on contemporary culture? By truly living the gospel, and not just preaching it. Clapp's keen analysis of the church's ministry will show you how developing Christian community as an alternative lifestyle can make a difference now and in the coming millennium. 276 pages, softcover from InterVarsity.
Voted one of Christianity Today's 1997 Books of the Year! Christians feel increasingly useless, argues Rodney Clapp, not because we have nothing to offer a post-Christian society, but because we are trying to serve as "sponsoring chaplains" to a civilization that no longer sees Christianity as necessary to its existence. In our individualistic, technologically oriented, consumer-based culture, Christianity has become largely irrelevant. The solution is not to sentimentally capitulate to the way things are. Nor is it to retrench in an effort to regain power and influence as the sponsor of Western civilization. What is needed is for Christians to reclaim our heritage as a peculiar people, as unapologetic followers of the Way. Within the larger pluralistic world, we need to become a sanctified, subversive culture that develops Christian community as a truly alternative way of life. Christians must learn to live the story and not just to restate it. Writing inclusively with considerable verve, Clapp offers a keen analysis of the church and its ministry as we face a new millennium.
Until spring 1999, Clapp was senior editor for academic and general books at InterVarsity Press. He was formerly an associate editor for and he has served on the editorial boards of and His essays have appeared in a variety of publications, including , and Clapp is now an editor with Brazos Press, a new imprint of Baker Book House.
The church's role in Western culture currently is undergoing a profound
redefinition. What does it mean to be the church or a Christian in the
postmodern age? Clapp (Families at the Crossroads) describes the confusion
American Christians, and particularly evangelical Christians, feel as
accustomed religious roles and influences change. Clapp explores the impact of
the "culture wars" on the church and, while critical of the methods of many of
the evangelical "warriors," sees redeeming value in many of the assertions they
make about a distinctive Christian way of life. Clapp redefines liturgy, social
ethics and especially evangelism and missions for a postmodern church whose
locus is not the individual but the faith community. Clapp offers a refreshing
and reforming evangelical perspective to the church and culture debate. Clapp
argues that evangelicanism has too often focused on the salvation of the
individual to the exclusion of the development of community. He here contends
that for the church to be a dynamic institution it must recognize its
historical tensions and move beyond them to establish community. (Nov.)
"Offers a fresh revisioning of the whole Christian enterprise . . . As the calendar makes its transition to the 21st century one senses a tremendous hunger in evangelicalism for a faith that can make the transition well. Rodney Clapp will be one of the most important North American voices participating in the conversation about how to make that transition."
"A wonderful, thoughtful, well-written call for the church to be the church. To read it is to be both challenged and encouraged."