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Encountering New Religious Movements: A Holistic Evangelical Approach Paperback – February 6, 2004

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Editorial Reviews


This book is must reading for those involved in cross-cultural witness, especially to new religionists. Most evangelicals will be stimulated and challenged by it. The subtitle, A Holistic Evangelical Approach, does not reflect a dilution of revealed truth but rather a cross-cultural perspective in presenting truth effectively by marrying missiology to apologetics for effective evangelism. It points us toward approaching new religionists the same way intercultural missionaries approach animists, atheists, secularists, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, or any other belief systemópresenting the gospel in culturally sensitive ways and using terms they can understand as we seek to love them to saving faith in Christ. (William T. Commons Criswell Theological Review 2007-03-01) --1

From the Back Cover

In the last century. new religious movements (NRMs) have sprung up around the world This book’s contributors propose that the most effective way to reach these groups is to view them missiologically as different people groups—and thus to approach them with a cross-cultural mindset—instead of following more traditional methods that focus on biblical heresies and doctrinal aberrations.

In this book, top missiologists present biblical and historical considerations, methodology and practical advice for reaching out to groups such as the Latter-day Saints, New Spirituality, Wicca, Mother Goddess, and Satanism.

 “An important ‘breakthrough’ book. Exactly what we need for an effective presentation of the gospel to folks seduced by the false promises of non-Christian worldviews.”

—Richard J. Mouw
President and Professor of Christian Philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary

 “At last, apologetics and missiology meet! Proactive in intent and positive in tone, it . . . [charts] a new way forward.”

—Ken Mulholland
Former president, Evangelical Missiological Society

“This resource is not merely a valuable compilation of strategic thinkers in the fields of Christian apologetics and missiology; it synthesizes the two disciplines and offers practical strategies for evangelism in a new day!” 

—Rudy Gonzalez
Director, North American Mission Board, Southern Baptist Convention

Irving Hexham, professor of religious studies at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, is the author of seven books, including Understanding Cults and New Religions and The Pocket Dictionary of Cults and New Religions.

Stephen Rost, pastor of Grace Fellowship of Dixon in Dixon, Cal., has served as president of the Society for the Study of Alternative Religions study group in the Evangelical Theological Society.

John W. Morehead II, associate director of Watchman Fellowship in Sacramento, Cal., is the cofounder and coeditor of Sacred Tribes: Journal of Christian Missions to New Religious Movements, an e-journal that focuses on reaching adherents of new religions.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Kregel Academic & Professional (February 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0825428939
  • ISBN-13: 978-0825428937
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #566,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Darren Cronshaw on March 28, 2010
Format: Paperback

Irving Hexham, Stephen Rost, & John W Morehead II, General Editors
Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2004

Another evangelical but more explicitly missiological approach to new spirituality can be found in some of the articles of Encountering New Religious Movements. The authors are North Americans and Australians who are engaging apologetically and missiologically with new religious movements. The North American writers provide introductory and methodological chapters and a chapter on cross-cultural mission to Latter-day Saints. The Australian chapters include Harold Taylor's discussion of contextualised mission in history (especially in Celtic and Muslim missions) and then most of the practical applications.

Philip Johnson and John Smulo discuss reaching Wiccan and Mother Goddess devotees - seeing them as a subculture with their own customs and traditions to understand, and John Smulo similarly works toward a contextualized apologetic to LaVeyan Satanism. Ruth Pollard explores sacred oils and the gospel (a good chapter for anyone interested in arguments over complementary medicine). Philip Johnson evaluates the festival booth ministry of Community of Hope with new age and do-it-yourself seekers, explaining their change from an adversarial and dismissive approach to one of dialogue and cultural understanding. In another chapter Philip explores the challenges of reaching a Bible-based group like the Christadelphians. Ross Clifford reframes a traditional apologetic to reach "new spirituality" seekers, arguing for the centrality of the resurrection, debunking myths that new spirituality seekers are not interested in factual discussion and metanarrative, and engaging rather than dismissing culture.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Scott D. Eggert on August 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is both exhaustive and exhausting to read as a lay person. If you are an ardent fan of more poetic Christian Living writing as offered by many of our current prolific evangelical writers, this book is not for you. If however you are looking for innovative, effective, and even orthodox ways to engage members of these spiritual movements that are moving from the fringe to the mainstream of western culture, then buy this book! This book casts some new light on techniques and approaches to evangelism to new religious movements. The ministry examples are insightful and present fresh ideas on contextualizing the gospel to many of the subcultures that have traditionally been bumbled by the Western Church.

Our efforts must go beyond the handing out of tracts, confrontational discussions of apologetics, and holding demonstrations. Encountering New Religious Movements provides an in-depth history of apologetics and missions to new religious movements as well as chronicling the successes and failures their-in. Though the book is written by several authors, there is a continuous attention brought to solid doctrine and sound missional philosophy in outreach. The authors are each leaders in their respective areas and provide strong biblical foundations and historical data outlining the inception of the movement they represent and the methodology they recommend.

Too many of our seminary graduates are not equipped with the knowledge of how to engage our various subcultures with the Gospel. Many of our seminaries continue to turn out pastors equipped only to perpetuate an ineffective Christendom approach to church and outreach. If our goal is to get out of the church and to impact our culture, then we must have leadership that is prepared.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By joy on January 2, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't know what I expected but this book was just okay not exactly what I was looking for...but I can't complain.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Crazy Horse on December 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a collection of essays by fifteen authors detailing recent dissatisfaction with the fundamentalist/evangelical countercult movement by those on its margins.

The collection was motivated in part by concern over the propensity of the countercult to engage primarily in internal theological boundary maintenance among American conservative Protestants (see p. 290).

In addition, lament the authors, the countercult is ineffective in witnessing, given its notoriously aggressive confrontational mode of behavior (p. 13). In cautious language, since the authors whose essays appear in this volume risk being savaged as dangerous heretics, if not as cult apologists, by those within the countercult, several essays suggest that the already marginalized countercult ought to adopt a different approach (see p. 290).

They suggest one that would tone down the confrontational, largely polemical, and also highly ineffective mode of operations set in place in 1965 with the publication of The Kingdom of the Cults. John Morehead describes its author, Walter Martin, as the "granddaddy of this counter-cult movement that over time has become a virtual cottage industry" (p. 280; cf. p. 286).

A number of essays in this volume question the effectiveness of the way countercultists deal with so-called "cults," now sometimes called "new religious movements" (p. 17). Since belligerent confrontation has not been successful in bringing fundamentalist/evangelical religiosity to "new religious movements," Morehead and others now want to blend a much softened mode of apologetics with something called "missiology" into a new "methodology" (p. 299). The editors claim that there are now some new "field-tested models" (p. 21) where the target audience is approached missiologically.
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