Academy of Parish Clergy, Top Ten Books of the Year (2002)
Christianity Today, Winner for The Church/Pastoral Leadership (2002)
Catholic New Times
"An excellent and timely book. . . All those huge suburban churches which in the greedy '80s conformed to the culture's reigning ethos of success in secular terms, will profit from this challenging book."
"This may well be the best and most important book Marva Dawn has written. That, of course, is saying a great deal, since she has written quite wonderful books. In this new work Dawn uses her profound reading of Paul's understanding of powers to illumine the challenges before the church. Drawing on the work of Jacques Ellul, she helps us see how the powers insidiously gain influence over our lives. Turly a wonderful book."
Eugene H. Peterson
"This is the kind of writing and teaching that can save the church from being duped by the 'deceitful tongue' of slick contemporaneity if we will only listen. Careful and honest exegetical work combined with years of frontline experience in dealing with the lies and illusions of our culture come together here as Marva Dawn brings clarity and urgency to the elusive 'principalities and powers."
Provident Book Finder
"This is excellent theology applied to the vital issues of a relevant contemporary congregation. . . A good book for group study."
Religious Studies Review
"The prolific Dawn builds on her reputation as an ecclesial theologian one who does theology from the church and for the church. As before, she combines biblical exegesis with personal experience, cultural criticism and pastoral concern."
"Marva Dawn has become a powerful interpretive force of late, and this book advances significantly the weightiness of her contribution. In the wake of Jacques Ellul she asks hard questions about the church's carelessly and eagerly embracing too much of the world's notions of success and power. Into the middle of that gigantic misstep in the church, Dawn points yet again to the cross. She agilely moves back and forth between sharp theological critique and the concrete practice of the church. In her hands the disciplines of the early church in Acts become accessible and credible. She has the real church and real pastors in purview; and to us she speaks the reality of the gospel that has been so much distorted. Dawn is gifted in clearing the deck of old carelessnesses and inviting us to fresh and urgent, yet not complex, decisions. An important read!"
Carnegie Samuel Calian
"Marva Dawn insightfully challenges our present practices and priorities in the church. She locates the church's well-being in weakness, not in following the powers and techniques of a market-driven society, 'so that Christ's power may tabernacle in us and the purposes of God might be fulfilled through us.' This useful text is a needed reminder to seminarians and parishioners alike that the church's renewal is not of our own doing it is a gift from God."
"Too many churches and Christians have grown mentally comfortable and even lazy in today's world. Dawn's is a strong voice jolting us back into the reality of radical, biblical thinking. . . In addition to many Scripture verses that teach this truth, Dawn draws on a wealth of quotes from godly men and women throughout church history. Highly recommended for church libraries."
"A theologically-intense book... A powerful and bold look at the contemporary church and its functioning within culture. . . For the ambitious and interesting objectives in this book, it is worth the read. And there is enough accessibility in Dawn's writing for anyone to get through it, but I would recommend this book to those willing to delve deeply into the theology of the church, and urge those in leadership positions to answer the call to restore the church to the ideal recounted in the book of Acts."