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The Continuing Conversion of the Church (Gospel & Our Culture) Paperback – March 20, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: Gospel & Our Culture
  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Seventh Impression edition (March 20, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080284703X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802847034
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #281,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Dauermann on May 31, 2007
Format: Paperback
When he wrote this book, Darrell Guder was Peachtree Professor of Evangelism and Church Growth at Columbia Thoelogical Seminary, Decatur, GA. He is now Princeton Theological Seminary's Dean of Academic Affairs and the Henry Winters Luce Professor of Missional and Ecumenical Theology.

Originally planned as a revision of his "Be My Witnesses," this book is instead its sequel. His thesis is that "the only way that evangelization can truly be the heart of ministry will be through the continuing conversion of the church," which can only take place through authentic interaction with the very gospel it professes, communicates and embodies.

The book is divided into three parts. In Part I, "The Church's Calling to Evangelistic Ministry," Guder examines in Chapter One the twentieth century debate about the church's mission against the background of a survey of church history and the prevalence of "diffusionist mission." This is Lamin Sanneh's term for Christendom's wedding of mission with colonialism, spreading the "cultural advantages" and culture patterns of the West in the guise of spreading the gospel. World War I and World War II overturned Christian self-confidence, while exposing westerners to the sophistication of other cultures they had formerly imagined as being pagan, uncomplicated, and monolithically needy. This encounter resulted in the Church reconsidering the nature of mission in a post-colonial world, finding its center in the Missio Dei (Mission of God), a theme highlighted in Karl Barth's address at the 1932 Brandenburg Missionary Conference.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Riesling Rev on January 27, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Guder does an excellent job of explaining the historical development of the current status of much of the church in the United States today. He describes the problem as "reductionism," a reducing of the good news to something less than the full gospel and then claiming that this reduced gospel is the full package. Western Christianity has consistently been reduced to the salvation of the individual soul and has forgotten that our identity as Christians is to be Christ's witnesses in the world, the community formed by God's calling that is sent to bear witness in our words, actions, and in community life. Guder's critique is much needed today with so much focus on strategies for church growth, marketing, focus on the individual, and use of secular big business methods. What the church needs is to be continually converted itself, engaging in constant Bible study and repentance from our culturally based reductionisms. Unless the church is continuously being evangelized itself, it cannot truly engage in the evangelization of the world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeff DeSurra on April 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
Dr. Guder has laid a great introduction to missional theology. Identifying key problems that have faced the church during the "Christendom" era into a post-Christendom world, he lays out how the church can adapt to a world that has been secularized. He notes how the gospel under the control of Western culture has been reduced in the past to simple formulas that don't capture the fullness of the New Testament and how this has effected the Church's mission. In response to this reductionism, Guder pushes for a theology that recaptures the importance of the missio Dei, the mission of God, and how the church becomes the community sent into the world for the world rather than the bastion or institution of salvation. For anyone looking for an introduction to what missional theology is all about, I highly recommend this book. It is readable and written compassionately.
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