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Evangelical Landscapes: Facing Critical Issues of the Day Paperback – November 1, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

ìThese remarkable essays cover a spectrum of issues facing evangelicalism in North America. John Stackhouse is thoughtful and engaging, at times cranky, but always provocative.î óRandall Balmer, Ann Whitney Olin Professor of American Religion, Barnard College, Columbia University ìJohn Stackhouse is a model for evangelical scholars addressing an audience outside the guild. No scandal hereóunless evangelical readers fail to pay attention.î óJohn Wilson, editor, Books & Culture There are signs all around us that evangelicals are in a state of ìspiritual adolescenceî, charges John Stackhouse, and have been since breaking with fundamentalism a half century ago. In Evangelical Landscapes, he urges believers to develop a more sophisticated approach to worship and a more deeply felt sense of what it is to be a Christian.

Evangelical Landscapes explores the past and the present state of the evangelical movement in North America. It is intended to inform, inspire, and perhaps even lead to necessary change. Provocative chapters discuss the parachurch movement, ambivalence toward the Bible, money and theology, and whether evangelicals face an era of spiritual illiteracy and superstition.

Readers interested in the future of the evangelical movement will be challenged by this perceptive and engaging book. John G. Stackhouse, Jr. (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is Sangwoo Youtong Chee Professor of Theology and Culture at Regent College. He is a contributing editor of Christianity Today and Books & Culture, and a regular columnist for Christian Week and Faith Today.

About the Author

John G. Stackhouse, Jr. (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is Sangwoo Youtong Chee Professor of Theology and Culture at Regent College.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic (November 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080102594X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801025945
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,777,292 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
In this book John Stackhouse deals with many issues in contemporary Evangelical churches, such as a lack of spiritual maturity, how parachurches compete with local churches, the senior pastor problem, biblical illiteracy, etc.

This book is made up of eleven essays, many of which Dr. Stackhouse had written for other publications (mostly Christian journals), so the chapters in this book do not always seem to flow into each other. For example, in chapters seven through nine he goes from talking about Billy Graham and the nature of conversion to models of women in ministry to the lack of Christian scholarship in evangelicalism. As far as I can tell there are three underlying things which connect all of his chapters together.

The first is, obviously, evangelicalism. He rarely strays outside of evangelical church to discuss what other denominations do differently. While it is nice that he focuses so well on his topic, I think that perhaps comparing evangelicalism to other denomination in some of the areas he talked about would have been helpful.

The second underlying theme is that evangelicalism has problems. All of his chapters deal with problems in Evangelicalism, instead of what it is doing right. This can also be a very good thing. I think the problems are what we need to be dealing with, but if one only read this book, you would probably come to the conclusion that evangelicalism is one of the worst Christian groups in existence. Perhaps Dr. Stackhouse should have at least included some of the things that evangelicalism is getting right, just to balance the picture a little bit. I am not saying that he needs to focus on the good things in evangelicalism, because that is what most evangelicals tend to do and that does not help us solve our problems at all.
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Stackhouse points out the weaknesses and shortfalls of contemporary North American evanglicals with aplomb. He knows the pulse and problems of evangelicalism and states what I think are accurate descriptions. At times, his writing seems to become something of a rant of all the problems of evangelicalism.

The book consists of separate essays connected by the commone topic of evangelicalism in North America. Stackhouse diagnoses contemporary North American Evangelicals as being stuck in "adolescence." Evangelicals have become enmeshed with the culture. They have gotten carried away by an American gospel characterized by the pursuit of success, consumerism, individualism and luxury. This has facilitated evangelicals making their needs primary when it comes to church membership. Stackhouse calls this "church shopping." (28)

American evangelicals have accommodated their comfort in the culture by making alliances with parachurch organizations that are funded to allow evangelicals to vicariously carry out mandates of the gospel. The evangelical climate in North America is highlighted with charismatic, dynamic leaders that create something akin to a cult following. Stackhouse writes that these leaders operate without needing the approval of any structural hierarchy and can focus on the activities du jour. This can lead to positive activity and change but can be a weakness leading flocks into wrong teachings or leading to corruption. Congregations gather around pastors who are deemed to be solely responsible for the spirituality of the people.

According to Stackhouse Evangelicals have fallen victim to compartmentalized lives in which Christianity/religion is one of many pursuits or priorities.
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