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The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World Paperback – November 2, 2007
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"Many would have us believe that life is hopelessly fragmented and truth an elusive dream. The authors of this book beg to differ and enthusiastically point us to the cohesive centrality and absolute supremacy of Jesus Christ. Having heard these messages live at the 2006 Desiring God National Conference, I'm thrilled to see them now in print. Highly recommended!"
—Sam Storms, Lead Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Bridgeway Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
"Over the past decade evangelicals have been divided over how to respond to the challenges of postmodernism. The options—which have ranged from naïve denial to unquestioned embrace—tend to suffer from the same fatal flaw: putting the emphasis on culture rather than Christ. This collection corrects that error by providing a fresh perspective that is pastorally sensitive and biblically sound. A timely, well-reasoned book that should be enthusiastically welcomed by the evangelical community."
—Joe Carter, Editor, The Gospel Coalition; contributor, NIV Lifehacks Bible
About the Author
John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is the founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. He served for 33 years as the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is the author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God, Don’t Waste Your Life, This Momentary Marriage, Bloodlines, and Does God Desire All to Be Saved?
Justin Taylor (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher at Crossway. He has edited and contributed to several books including A God-Entranced Vision of All Things and Reclaiming the Center, and he blogs at Between Two Worlds—hosted by the Gospel Coalition.
David Wells (PhD, University of Manchester) is a distinguished research professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He is the author or editor of a number of books, some of which have been translated into many different languages. He is a member of the John Stott Ministries board, where he has worked to bring theological education to church leaders in developing countries. He is also actively involved in working to build orphanages and provide educational opportunities for victims of civil wars and AIDS in Africa. David and his wife, Jane, live in Massachusetts.
D. A. Carson (PhD, Cambridge University) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he has taught since 1978. He is a cofounder of the Gospel Coalition and has written or edited nearly 120 books. He and his wife, Joy, have two children and live in the north suburbs of Chicago.
Voddie Baucham Jr. (DMin, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is dean of the seminary at African Christian University in Lusaka, Zambia. The author of a number of books, including Family Driven Faith, The Ever-Loving Truth, and Joseph and the Gospel of Many Colors, Baucham is also a pastor, church planter, and conference speaker.
TIMOTHY KELLER is founder and pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York. He is the best-selling author of The Prodigal God and The Reason for God.
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Top Customer Reviews
Following the text's dedication to the venerable and newly-retired John Stott, Justin Taylor begins by providing a helpful overview of each chapter and releases the reader to plunge into the text at will, unbound by sequential chapter distinctions. Spurred on by Taylor's encouragement, I immediately delved into dangerous territory: the essay entitled "The Church and the Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World" by Mark Driscoll. Only having ever listened to Driscoll for a total of ten seconds once upon a time, and never having cracked a single one of his books, I found myself pleasantly surprised by his writing style and for the most part impressed by his content (I'm not one for gritty, unvarnished sermon illustrations, nor for approbation of Ultimate Fighting from the pulpit). Driscoll begins with a whirlwind tour of incarnational thinking, outlining some of the reasons why the Emergent movement draws so many young Christians into its camp. While he never condones the movement, Driscoll claims the Emergent vision of Christ's humanity is something to learn from. He then balances the deity and humanity of Christ in postmodern outreach: "as Christians enter into their local culture and subcultures, we must also remember that it is Jesus (not us) who is sovereign, and it is Jesus (not the church) who rules over all. We come in the authority of the exalted Jesus, but also in the example of the humble incarnated Jesus...Once we have the incarnation and exaltation clear in our Christology, we are then sufficiently reader to contend for the truth of the gospel and contextualize it rightly for various culture and subcultures of people, as Jesus did and commands us to do." Driscoll then goes on to discuss the ins and outs of contending for certain inalienable gospel truths and contextualizing them - without compromising them - for the culture. Contextualization, Driscoll contends, is a gospel issue. He rounds out his essay in a surprising way by narrating the cross-cultural reality of Calvin's Geneva, which should once and for all lay to rest the assertion that Calvinism is evangelistically bankrupt.
Backtracking one chapter, Keller's essay was the next on deck: "The Gospel and the Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World." While trumpeting the same contextualization message as Driscoll, Keller begins by debunking older evangelism methods that more or less fail to bear fruit in the twenty-first century. In postmodern society, Keller argues that every time we speak, "we have to get to the core of things, the gospel." He goes on to define this gospel: "The gospel of a glorious, other-oriented triune God giving himself in love to his people in creation and redemption and re-creation." In the rest of the chapter he uses the experience of Jonah as an object lesson to highlight six ways in which the Church must change if it is to adequately and triumphantly reach out to postmodern culture.
After Driscoll and Keller successfully roused me from my evangelistic slumber, I took the first four addresses in sequence, beginning with David Wells' chapter lifted from his dense and heady work, Above All Earthly Pow'rs. In it, Wells lays out the historical, theoretical and theological foundations of the postmodern climate. Although largely abstract and sweeping, Wells successfully locates postmodernism as an ugly hybrid of ancient Gnosticism and paganism. After identifying many features of these times in which we find ourselves, Wells echoes Hamlet, declaring reality to be "out of joint with itself."
In a methodological but pastoral way, Voddie Baucham Jr. follows up David Wells' cultural analysis with a clear and careful explication of how postmodernism and biblical Christianity seek to answer life's ultimate questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What is wrong with the world? How can what is wrong be made right? Christian theism, as he calls it, offers answers, whereas postmodernism cannot.
Batting in the heart of the order are Piper and Carson, who tease out the themes of Joy and Love in light of postmodern hopelessness and meaningless. True to form, Piper builds logical proposition on logical proposition in order to arrive at his main point: that our joy is rooted in the supremacy of God in Christ. Like Piper, Carson also roots his argument in Jesus' revelations of himself in John's gospel, characteristically paying attention to the nuances of the text and making connections not apparent on first reading. It is a treat to read consecutive treatments of similar texts at the hands of such gifted and diverse expositors.
Like last year's Desiring God national conference compilation, Suffering and the Sovereignty of God, this book contains two question and answer periods moderated by Justin Taylor. Since the questions posed and the answers provided vary so widely, a summary would be unhelpful. Suffice to say the conversations serve to give the reader personal insight into the hearts of these evangelical church leaders.
It would be quite unfair, in final analysis, to compare these essays with one another. They are apples and oranges: each sets out to do something different and each accomplishes its goal in its own way. Of course each reader will have their favorites, but enormous profit waits for those who take in the entirety of this little book. You may even find yourself wanting to read some more Mark Driscoll.
Definitely Baucham's essay was my favorite, but there were excellent viewpoints, from Piper's 10-step process of doctrinally based joy to former Emergent pastor Mark Driscoll's thought-provoking look at "Gospel Theologizing and Contextualizing." This book has a number of quality nuggets to make the reader think, and I think the journey necessitates my highest rating.
With this said, I by no means diminish the weight of other speakers' topic. Dr. Wells solemnly warned about diluting the gospel and treating it like a marketable commodity. What he covered seems to be the highlights of a greater analysis of the threat of postmodernity and his confidence of the gospel that will prevail in the end, in his book "Above All Earthly Powr's: Christ in a Post-Modern World."
Though I sense being the audience of the conference is more edifying than reading the speakers' texts, I believe the readers would still be greatly benefited, by the call from these evangelical leaders to persevere and not lose heart, as what Dr. Well's wrote as the closing statement in his book,
"Indeed, it is entirely unnecessary to even think about overcoming the post-modern world because it has already been overcome in its sin. It is only ours to see the victory of Christ on the Cross being realized afresh in the actual circumstances of our time. That will happen when the Church humbles itself afresh, seeks the power and cleansing of God, and asks to have its vision renewed of the victory of Christ and to see, once again, his greatness. So may it be!"
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I LOVEd reading this book and made MANY notes for future references.
The book is not overly complicated; everyone was able to engage with it...Read more