From Publishers Weekly
This is a searing but loving insider critique of the individualism that marks North American evangelicals. Fitch, senior pastor of the Life on the Vine Christian community in Arlington Heights, Ill., blames an embrace of modernism for attempts by evangelicals to "individualize, commodify, and package Christianity." He criticizes mega-churches that end up functioning like capitalist businesses with CEO-style pastors judging success by the number of "decisions for Christ" produced. Each chapter outlines the various ways evangelicalism has "given away" its influence and then offers concrete practices designed to help the church reclaim its mission. Fitch's most scathing criticism is saved for the evangelical willingness to embrace modern psychology, which he blasts as patient-centered rather than Christ-centered. He challenges evangelical churches to think smaller (in terms of congregation size), place less focus on coercive evangelism, return to communal catechesis, offer more liturgical worship and provide opportunities for small group intimacy where Christians can confess their sins, repent, read scripture and pray together regularly. Intellectually rigorous, this book's critical tone will undoubtedly upset many conservative evangelicals, but will point the way for the more moderate ones for years to come. (Oct. 15)
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A new crop of leaders is emerging. The Great Giveaway cuts a clear path into the future. -- Robert Webber, author of Ancient-Future Faith
A stern but truthful diagnosis of the state of evangelicalism's captivity to America. -- Stephen Fowl, author, Engaging Scripture
Dr. Fitch offers an important work for evangelicals who seek hope for the church beyond pragmatics and culture wars. -- Brian McClaren, author and pastor
His analysis is trenchant and motivated out of love for the body of Christ. He deserves a hearing. -- Gerry Wisz, Aspiring Retail
This book will provide an alternative to the failure of imagination on the part of many Christians in our society. -- Stanley Hauerwas, Duke Divinity School