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Adventures in Missing the Point: How the Culture Controlled Church Neutered the Gospel Hardcover – March 4, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Many Christians, argue McLaren and Campolo, have missed-and keep missing-the point of the very Gospel they are called to proclaim. They mistake the Bible for a simple answer book. They mistake salvation for political liberation or celestial fire insurance. They mistake worship for feelings of personal intimacy. But the emerging postmodern culture provides an opportunity and an impetus for the church to revisit some of these topics and discover again what the Gospel is all about. In this volume, McLaren (A New Kind of Christian) teams up with Campolo (20 Hot Potatoes Christians Are Afraid to Touch) to opine and stimulate thought and discussion among their conservative colleagues. They take turns writing chapters about a variety of topics that are sometimes mundane (sin, culture, seminary) and sometimes more controversial (homosexuality, the Bible). Not every chapter includes an actual "missed point," and several contain straw men. Sometimes a favorable uptick on the accessibility meter is matched by a corresponding downturn in the one measuring theological depth. Still, the book offers much sharp insight, is solidly biblical and is helpfully illustrated by stories-it's easy to see why both authors are sought-after preachers. The writing is lively, and the back-and-forth between Campolo and McLaren is often quite interesting. They aren't afraid to disagree with each other, which encourages the reader to think a bit harder about being a Christian today-which is probably the point.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Liberal evangelicals McLaren and Campolo share chapters on topics related to, as the three section titles indicate, "God" (religious philosophy), "World" (society), and "Soul" (personal spirituality). In each chapter, one man offers his perspective on a topic, and the other briefly concurs, dissents, or differs. Never is there sharp disagreement, since McLaren and Campolo always agree that too many evangelicals miss the Christian point involved in the topic under discussion. For instance, on evangelism McLaren opines that most people don't know how to evangelize, so he offers some do's and don'ts; Campolo endorses this advice but regrets McLaren's failure to emphasize that the most important element in evangelizing is personal testimony. Such a thumbnail description may make the dialogue seem drier than it really is, and on such subjects as the kingdom of God, prophecy, homosexuality, women and ordination, sin, worship, doubt, and truth, McLaren and Campolo's exchanges are so compelling that anyone interested in contemporary American Christianity might profitably take them to heart for their own reflections on the issues. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Emergent YS
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan/Youth Specialties (March 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310253845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310253846
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #624,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Tom Hinkle on April 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Co-authored books, where either the authors alternate chapters or the authors write a chapter and the other responds, are among the most enlightening books to read, especially in the area of theology. Dialog between two authors who have different viewpoints allows the reader to arrive at his or her own conclusions, sort of like "Point-Counterpoint". While McLaren and Campolo are sometimes in agreement, they often disagree on some fundamental issues. McLaren is becoming (along with Leonard Sweet) the poster-boy for postmodern Christianity, while Campolo camps out on the left edge of evangelicalism. When McLaren takes his flights of fancy into his new kind of Christianity, Campolo is there to keep the subject grounded in a slightly more traditional interpretation (excluding a few areas, such as homosexuality, in which his views would be rather troubling to the more conservative reader).
This book brought to my mind the fact that, although the world and parts of the church seem to be moving towards postmodernism, the transition is far from complete, and, in fact, may take a few hundred years! McLaren's final essay on postmodernism, while probably the most difficult passage in the book, gives a great overview of epochs of history and how different eras and transitions have played out. All in all, I find myself having more of a kinship with Campolo than I do McLaren (McLaren's view of absolute truth being relatively unimportant is totally wrongheaded, in my view, but once again, Campolo brings some sanity to the issue with his reply), but, whichever author strikes one's fancy, this is still a terrific read.
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61 of 66 people found the following review helpful By William Krischke VINE VOICE on May 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
If you find it hard to believe that one could actually call oneself a Christian and vote Democrat, you might find this book shocking. Otherwise, most of this ground is pretty covered. That doesn't make this bad reading, far from it, because Campolo and McLaren cover their ground pretty well, summing up clearly what can be complex and confusing issues. But if you've been keeping up at all with the ongoing debates in the church and culture surrounding the issues here (homosexuality, seminary, the environment, etc.) don't expect to have your mind changed by this book.

That said, there are a few chapters that stand out:

--The one on the Bible, which offers alternative approaches to scripture (beyond analysis.) I want to make copies of this and give it to everyone in my small group.

--The second half of the chapter on worship, in which McLaren condemns chasing "the Feeling" and leaving God behind.

--The last chapter, on Postmodernism. How refreshing to hear the pomo church guru himself admit that he's growing sick of the term and its myriad meanings and mis-usages. (oy, what a thoroughly "modern" use of alliteration that was!)

It's a pretty quick and light read, and might be one to keep on the bookshelf for the sake of lending to those who are just stepping out of the hyper-religious conservative mindset.

PS - the title is a bit misleading. The authors never actually deal with "how the culture" has done anything. They just address where they think mainstream middle class churchianity has missed the point.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
A profitable read for anyone who is mildly discontent with popular doctrines/positions or is just plain curious about some current Christian thought concerning topics such as sin, doubt, evangelism, environmental stewardship, post modernity, worship, and salvation (these chapters were the most interesting to me). Even if you are not a Christian you maybe interested in reading this book because it opens a window into some major issues in Christian Theology, while showing that Christians are not quite so dogmatic as people may think.
A brief overview for those who would like a little more info.
Responsibility for the writing of the various chapters fell on one author affording the second author an opportunity to add, elaborate, counter, or all three at the end of the chapter. For the most part I consider this format a benefit but at times it became annoying. The mild annoyance was caused by some of Campolo's responses. It wasn't the fact that Campolo ocassionaly disagreed with McLaren, but fact that he seemed to expect McLaren in one chapter explain every last little detail and facet of the item being discussed, or he just plain missed McLaren's point altogether. This was my only complaint. You will also become familiar with post modernity if your not already, do to the fact that McLaren talks about it in nearly every chapter that he wrote. Which could be a possible annoyance for some,it didn't bother me though.
Campolo best chapters were eschatology and environmental stewardship.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Carter Rose on October 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is a great read. Mclaren's A New Kind of Christian was the first book of his which I read and opened my mind up for this deeper look at the individual issues. I am normally quite a quick reader, however with this I had to spend a lot of time. I found myself only really ever being able to read a chapter a night so that I could have the entire next day a school and work to formulate my thoughts and process what I had read. I found that I tend to agree with Mclaren more than Campolo however Campolos points were interesting because he brought a more fundamentalist point of view to the table, which made the book feel like you were attending a debate.---Incredably mind flexing---definately worth the money.
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