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A Peculiar People: The Church as Culture in a Post-Christian Society

Overview

Voted one of Christianity Today's 1997 Books of the Year!

Christians feel increasingly useless, argues Rodney Clapp, not because we have nothing to offer a post-Christian society, but because we are trying to serve as "sponsoring chaplains" to a civilization that no longer sees Christianity as necessary to its existence. In our individualistic, technologically oriented, consumer-based culture, Christianity has become largely irrelevant.

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Overview

Voted one of Christianity Today's 1997 Books of the Year!

Christians feel increasingly useless, argues Rodney Clapp, not because we have nothing to offer a post-Christian society, but because we are trying to serve as "sponsoring chaplains" to a civilization that no longer sees Christianity as necessary to its existence. In our individualistic, technologically oriented, consumer-based culture, Christianity has become largely irrelevant.

The solution is not to sentimentally capitulate to the way things are. Nor is it to retrench in an effort to regain power and influence as the sponsor of Western civilization. What is needed is for Christians to reclaim our heritage as a peculiar people, as unapologetic followers of the Way. Within the larger pluralistic world, we need to become a sanctified, subversive culture that develops Christian community as a truly alternative way of life. Christians must learn to live the story and not just to restate it.

Writing inclusively with considerable verve, Clapp offers a keen analysis of the church and its ministry as we face a new millennium.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The church's role in Western culture currently is undergoing a profound redefinition. What does it mean to be the church or a Christian in the postmodern age? Clapp (Families at the Crossroads) describes the confusion American Christians, and particularly evangelical Christians, feel as accustomed religious roles and influences change. Clapp explores the impact of the "culture wars" on the church and, while critical of the methods of many of the evangelical "warriors," sees redeeming value in many of the assertions they make about a distinctive Christian way of life. Clapp redefines liturgy, social ethics and especially evangelism and missions for a postmodern church whose locus is not the individual but the faith community. Clapp offers a refreshing and reforming evangelical perspective to the church and culture debate. Clapp argues that evangelicanism has too often focused on the salvation of the individual to the exclusion of the development of community. He here contends that for the church to be a dynamic institution it must recognize its historical tensions and move beyond them to establish community. (Nov.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830819904
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 11/12/1996
  • Pages: 251
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Until spring 1999, Clapp was senior editor for academic and general books at InterVarsity Press. He was formerly an associate editor for Christianity Today, and he has served on the editorial boards of The Journal of Family Ministry and Marriage Partnership.

His essays have appeared in a variety of publications, including Christianity Today, Regeneration Quarterly and Books and Culture. Clapp is now an editor with Brazos Press, a new imprint of Baker Book House.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Where I'm Writing From
1. The Church as Unchurch: How Christians Became Useless
2. The Church as Private Club: Irrelevant for Constantine's Sake
3. The Church as Nation-State: Why America Is Not the Issue
4. The Church as Type: Why Christians Should Thank God for the Culture Wars
5. The Church as Church: Practicing the Politics of Jesus.
6. The Church as Worshiping Community: Welcome to the (Real) World
7. The Church as Parade: The Politics of Liturgy
8. The Church as Listening Community: The Performance of Scripture
9. The Church as World: On the Faithfulness of Pagans
10. The Church as Mission & Message: Evangelism After Constantine
11. The Church as a Way of Life: Liturgy After the Liturgy
12. The Church as a Community of Friends: About Beginning Where We Already Are
Notes
Index
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