- Paperback: 180 pages
- Publisher: IVP Books (January 23, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780830845378
- ISBN-13: 978-0830845378
- ASIN: 0830845372
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Still Evangelical?: Insiders Reconsider Political, Social, and Theological Meaning Paperback – January 23, 2018
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"Evangelical should mean Bible believing, gospel preaching, justice seeking, and Spirit filled. Instead it has become known more by its politics than by its commitment to the word of God. This book puts the current evangelical identity crisis within a much needed historical perspective and provides a way forward to help us recover the good news of Jesus that our world desperately needs to hear." (Aaron Graham, lead pastor, The District Church, Washington, DC)
About the Author
Mark Labberton is president of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Prior to that Labberton served for a number of years as senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, California. He has also served as chair of John Stott Ministries. Today he continues to contribute to the mission of the global church as a senior fellow of the International Justice Mission. He is the author of Called, The Dangerous Act of Loving Your Neighbor and The Dangerous Act of Worship.
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In the midst of this situation, Mark Labberton, president and professor of preaching at Fuller Theological Seminary, has put together an excellent collection of short essays by evangelical scholars, writers, activists, and parachurch ministers. The contributors to Still Evangelical? offer a consistent portrayal of what an evangelical ought to be, often explicitly referring to the Bebbington quadrilateral of conversionism, activism, crucicentrism, and biblicism. Yet this is not what many now think of when they hear or read the term. As Labberton points out in his introduction to the book, “the word evangelical has morphed in common usage from being a reference to a set of primary theological commitments into something akin to a passionately defended, theo-political brand” (pp. 2-3). The rest of the introduction is a very helpful primer on the history of evangelicalism and the current situation in which the evangelical movement finds itself, setting the stage well for the chapters to come. Of particular note in the introduction is Labberton’s conclusion, where he asserts that being evangelical is a commitment to love God and identify with that love in Christ, a call to admit and repent of our sin and seek to change the world to more accurately reflect the example of Jesus, and a vision of living with integrity as the foundation of proclaiming and enacting the evangel of God’s love, justice, and mercy in Christ. As he helpfully concludes, if this is what being evangelical means, then the question is not “Still evangelical?” but rather “Yet evangelical?”
The majority of the book's contributors, all but one if memory serves, want to retain the term and take it back from its association with Trumpism. One of the strongest arguments for this comes in the book's final chapter, where Tom Lin, president of InterVarsity, argues that those Americans who do (or want to) abandon the term are being insensitive to their brothers and sisters around the world. To abandon it reveals American self-absorption and exceptionalism. Most evangelicals live outside of the United States, and the number of evangelicals around the globe is growing faster than here. U.S. evangelicals should humble themselves and seek to learn from their majority world counterparts, who have experience in living out their faith in a pluralistic setting without the power and privilege Americans have historically had.
There is not a bad chapter in the book. Each one is interesting and thought-provoking. I highly recommend it!
– Mark Young
If you once considered yourself an evangelical, do you now? It’s a question many wrestle with. It's also the question asked over and again in this book. It is answered by ten different voices from the Christian community, including these:
Shane Claiborne, Red Letter Christians
Jim Daly, Focus on the Family
Mark Galli, Christianity Today
Lisa Sharon Harper, FreedomRoad.us
Tom Lin, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
Karen Swallow Prior, Liberty University
Soong-Chan Rah, North Park University
Allen Yeh, Biola University
Mark Young, Denver Seminary
Nobody gives a perfect answer. There are none. In the book, some ask more questions. Some propose suggestions. Some agree; some disagree. But all the voices are interesting to hear and their opinions are worth listening to. Here are a few excerpts from various speakers.
~ * ~
"The efforts spent on defending our turf in the culture wars could be better served in loving our neighbor as ourselves."
~ * ~
"Christians in America in general have an image problem. When the Barna Group polled the country and asked young non-Christians what their perceptions of Christians were, the top responses were (1) anti-gay, (2) judgmental, and (3) hypocritical. . . .The very thing that Jesus said the world would know we are Christians by—love—didn’t even register on the chart."
~ * ~
"I realize Christians don’t always have the best reputation in the world, but I see that as a challenge to sing a better harmony rather than give up on the choir."
~ * ~
"Every human being is made in the image of God, and any time a life is lost, we lose a little glimpse of God in the world."
~ * ~
"I believe we should have two questions on the tip of our tongue as we engage with those around us: 1. Help me understand what you believe. 2. What brought you to those conclusions?"
My thanks to NetGalley for the review copy of this book.