Great Giveaway, The: Reclaiming the Mission of the Church from Big Business, Parachurch Organizations, Psychotherapy, Consumer Capitalism, and Other Modern Maladies

Overview

Toward an evangelical postmodern ecclesiology

Has the contemporary evangelical church given away much of what it means to be the body of Christ? Indeed it has, argues David Fitch. The North American church has largely conceded its unique calling by relinquishing traditional church functions and adopting modern methods. As a result, the church's role in spiritual formation, leadership, worship, and other essential functions has become barely ...

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Overview

Toward an evangelical postmodern ecclesiology

Has the contemporary evangelical church given away much of what it means to be the body of Christ? Indeed it has, argues David Fitch. The North American church has largely conceded its unique calling by relinquishing traditional church functions and adopting modern methods. As a result, the church's role in spiritual formation, leadership, worship, and other essential functions has become barely distinguishable from other societal institutions.

The Great Giveaway examines the many practices of the church, details how each has been compromised by modernity, and offers suggestions for how the church might recover these practices in a biblically faithful manner.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This is a searing but loving insider critique of the individualism that marks North American evangelicals. Fitch, senior pastor of the Life on the Vine Christian community in Arlington Heights, Ill., blames an embrace of modernism for attempts by evangelicals to "individualize, commodify, and package Christianity." He criticizes mega-churches that end up functioning like capitalist businesses with CEO-style pastors judging success by the number of "decisions for Christ" produced. Each chapter outlines the various ways evangelicalism has "given away" its influence and then offers concrete practices designed to help the church reclaim its mission. Fitch's most scathing criticism is saved for the evangelical willingness to embrace modern psychology, which he blasts as patient-centered rather than Christ-centered. He challenges evangelical churches to think smaller (in terms of congregation size), place less focus on coercive evangelism, return to communal catechesis, offer more liturgical worship and provide opportunities for small group intimacy where Christians can confess their sins, repent, read scripture and pray together regularly. Intellectually rigorous, this book's critical tone will undoubtedly upset many conservative evangelicals, but will point the way for the more moderate ones for years to come. (Oct. 15) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801064838
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/1/2005
  • Edition description: ANN
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 877,203
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

David Fitch (Ph.D., Northwestern University) is pastor of Life on the Vine Christian Community of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Long Grove, Illinois, and is adjunct professor of ministry, theology, and ethics at Northern Seminary.
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Table of Contents

Introduction : the great giveaway : toward a postmodern evangelical ecclesiology 13
How evangelicals give away ...
1 Our definition of success 27
When going from ten to a thousand members in five years is the sign of a sick church
2 Evangelism 47
Saving souls beyond modernity : how evangelism can save the church and make it "relevant" again
3 Leadership 71
When evangelical pastors end up in moral failure : the missing link between the pastorate and the virtues
4 The production of experience 95
Why worship takes practice : toward a worship that forms truthful minds and faithful experience (not merely reinforces the ones we walked in with)
5 The preaching of the word 127
The myth of expository preaching : why we must do more than wear scrolls on our foreheads
6 Justice (our understanding of) 153
Practicing redeemed economics : Christian community in but not of capitalism
7 Spiritual formation 181
The need for more preaching (and penance) in the psychologist's office, or why therapy never should have left the church in the first place
8 Moral education 201
Evangelicals and the training of our children to be good Americans : the example of character education in the public schools
Conclusion : let us return to the practices 227
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    What's wrong with the evangelical church? Plenty...

    This book was recommended at a service I attended recently, and it blew my mind. It's like David Fitch (the author) had been listening to my complaints about the megachurch I've been attending for years. He critiques the modern church for refusing to take more literally the practice of being the Body of Christ, instead employing business formulas and models to grow their numbers (and their budgets). He also criticizes the palming off of issues that should be resolved in the church itself (by its members), by encouraging members to use therapists or counseling centers linked to the church, which often results in a lack of conflict resolution and the dismissal of important issues. There's a lot here and it's very thought-provoking.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2011

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