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Letters to a Future Church: Words of Encouragement and Prophetic Appeals Paperback – March 10, 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This moving collection features an admirable range of responses, including contributions from Makoto Fujimura, Shane Claiborne, Rachel Held Evans and Walter Brueggemann." (Relevant, March/April 2012)

"My contributon to @ivpbooks 'Letters to a Future Church' sums up my work from past 3 years in 1 essay." (David E. Fitch, B. R. Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology at Northern Seminary, on Twitter)

About the Author

Chris Lewis is cofounder of the Epiphaneia Network, a movement in Canada to equip and inspire Jesus followers in kingdom ministry. They have organized a variety of influential gatherings of thought leaders and ministry activists, including the Evolving Church Conference and the Eighth Letter Conference.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (March 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830836381
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830836383
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,879,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was searching for something that was up-to-date and relevant to the Church in N. America when I came across this book for the Kindle. My technological critique is only that the formatting could be better. Some of the page headers show up in strange places on the Kindle. But this is a minor annoyance in light of what this book has to say. Letters to a Future Church is a compilation of thoughtful letters written by people who are diverse in age, interests, and their Christian backgounds or traditions. As the title implies, they are written to the 'future church'.

The letters, taken together, are haunting, troubling, critical, beautiful, and hopeful. While there is diversity of opinion and specific concerns, clearly the letter writers love the church. But don't get too prepared for a love-fest just yet. These writers are trying to inform, move, and cajole the church to be what it is supposed to be. You will find sharp critique here, but not condemnation. The writers are ever hopeful. At the (still) beginning of the 21st century, these writers decry standard church practices that undermine the very gospel the church claims to stand on. They demand that the church should actually live as a community where faith and practice are truly united in the Christian life.

In making their case, the writers point out many areas where the church has (unwittingly I hope) failed to live out its faith as a people that truly bring salt and light to the world. With agony they lament that on the whole, the measure of Christian morality is little different than their secular counterparts. Moreover, actual concern for justice and mercy, both in word and deed has been in short supply. 'Conservatives' will squirm- but so will 'Liberals'.
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Format: Paperback
"Words of Encouragement And Prophetic Appeals"

The question was asked of church leaders from around the world, "If you could write a letter to the North American church today what would it say?" Well, in the fall of 2010, over twenty-five of today's leading Christian thinkers gathered at the Eighth Letter Conference in Toronto to answer the question posed above. As a result of that conference and the letters that were written, the book, Letters To A Future Church was born.

The book Letters To A Future Church edited by Chris Lewis, the cofounder of the Epiphaneia Network in Canada and one of the organizers of the Eighth Letter Conference is a book of letters written by a number of church leaders as well as others who are a part of the church offering words of encouragement as well as heart-felt prophetic appeals.

Letters To A Future Church is composed of 4 distinct sections: Mission, Truth, Art and Hope with 20 different Chapters, a part of the book that is referred to as a "reprise" and then concludes with four letters written to "the future church from the end of a millennium." Included in the book are letters written to the church by Tim Challies, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Shane Claiborne, Eugene Peterson, John Ortberg and others. Some of the names and people included in the book you might not recognize; however, who they are what they do and their letter to the church is as equally important as those of the more established and recognized lovers and leaders of Christ's church such as Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and John Ortberg.
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Sometime at the end of the first century, a Christian prophet named John, who lived in the Roman province of Asia (modern-day Turkey) was exiled to a nasty little rock of an island called Patmos. Despite his exile, John continued to worship with his larger Church community on the Lord's Day (Sunday). One of these Sundays, John received a series of visions that became our book of Revelation. John's Revelation begins with Jesus dictating messages to the seven churches in Asia.

John's experience begs an interesting question: What might an eighth letter to the Church of North America say?

This is the question a group of Canadian believers posed to Christians all over North America. The responses they received became first the "Eighth Letter" conference and now this book, Letters to a Future Church. This is a collection of love letters written to the North American Church from a spectrum of North American Christians.

As you might expect from such a variety of worshippers, the letters range in style, content and quality. Some short, clear and poignant, like Rachel Held Evans' plea for bigger banquet tables. Some demand to be read a few times through and digested slowly, like Walter Brueggemann and Shane Claiborne's contributions.

The topics range, though a few themes emerge over and over: a call for unity instead of fighting, true community instead of paternalistic aid, and a vision for the Church to return to the forefront of culture.

Not all of the letters are excellent. But this only lends credibility to the project - the book embraces an actually diverse cultural and theological church.

I found some of the letters pretentious. Some I don't want to read again because they were too challenging.
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