- Paperback: 322 pages
- Publisher: Kregel Academic & Professional (February 6, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0825428939
- ISBN-13: 978-0825428937
- Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.8 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: #1,682,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Encountering New Religious Movements: A Holistic Evangelical Approach Paperback – February 6, 2004
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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.”
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!”
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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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.
The paradigm shift the whole book espouses is to move away from being confrontational and aggressive with what has traditionally been called `the cults', and seek to incarnationally and sympathetically understand the culture of people in what is better termed `new religious movements'. Rather than basing ministry on mainly refuting heresy and asserting correct doctrine (as in Walter Martin's The Kingdom of the Cults), the authors espouse an approach that includes cross-cultural missiological methods including worldview analysis and cross-cultural communication.
The world is shrinking and innovations in travel and communication (let alone religious consumerism) bring a smorgasbord of religious options. The challenge is not just to hold up the cross to protect the church and our children, but to take the cross to this variety of cultural groups in evangelism. There is plenty of room for further development of these ideas and their missiological application to other new religious movements.
Darren Cronshaw is a student and teacher of practical theology and originally reviewed this for Australian Journal of Mission Studies, Vol.1, No.2 (December), p.58.
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. This book should be high on the list of required reading in our seminaries and our various church boards, sessions, and leadership teams.
If you live somewhere that you do not believe these subcultures are present, then either you do not live in the Western World or you are simply mistaken.