Inalienable: How Marginalized Kingdom Voices Can Help Save the American Church240
Inalienable: How Marginalized Kingdom Voices Can Help Save the American Church240
The American church is at a critical crossroads. Our witness has been compromised, our numbers are down, and our reputation has been sullied, due largely to our own faults and fears. The church's ethnocentrism, consumerism, and syncretism have blurred the lines between discipleship and partisanship. Pastor Eric Costanzo, missiologist Daniel Yang, and nonprofit leader Matthew Soerens find that for the church to return to health, we must decenter ourselves from our American idols and recenter on the undeniable, inalienable core reality of the global, transcultural kingdom of God. Our guides in this process are global Christians and the poor, who offer hope from the margins, and the ancient church, which survived through the ages amid temptations of power and corruption. Their witness points us to refocus on the kingdom of God, the image of God, the Word of God, and the mission of God. The path to the future takes us away from ourselves in unlikely directions. By learning from the global church and marginalized voices, we can return to our roots of being kingdom-focused, loving our neighbor, and giving of ourselves in missional service to the world.
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About the Author
Eric Costanzo (PhD) is a pastor and teacher from Tulsa, Oklahoma, who writes about biblical, cultural, and historical topics along with global issues affecting the church. Eric is executive director for RisingVillage.org, an organization with initiatives to help marginalized people become full participants in their communities. He is also the author of Harbor for the Poor. Eric and his wife, Rebecca, have four children who have wonderfully compassionate hearts for others.
Daniel Yang is the director of the Church Multiplication Institute at the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center, a think tank for evangelism and church planting. He has pastored and helped plant churches in Detroit, Dallas-Fort Worth, Toronto, and Chicago. He earned an MDiv from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, a BS in computer science from the University of Michigan, and is currently a PhD student in intercultural studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
Matthew Soerens is the US director of church mobilization and advocacy for World Relief and the national coordinator of the Evangelical Immigration Table. Previously Matthew served as a Department of Justice–accredited legal counselor with World Relief's local office in Wheaton, Illinois. He is the coauthor of Welcoming the Stranger and Seeking Refuge.
Table of Contents
1. Why the American Church Needs SavingPart 1: The Kingdom of God 2. Kingdom Centered 3. Decentering the (White) American ChurchPart 2: The Image of God 4. American Christian Idols 5. Imago Dei and NeighborPart 3: The Word of God 6. The Bible with Eyes to See and Ears to Hear 7. God’s Inclination Toward the Poor, Oppressed, and VulnerablePart 4: The Mission of God 8. Advocacy and Discipleship Freed from Partisanship 9. American Religion or the Great Commissions? Conclusion. A Declaration of Dependence Acknowledgments Notes Name Index Scripture Index
What People are Saying About This
"There have been few books that rightly assess and analyze the tensions American church leaders are managing in our current cultural moment. In Inalienable, the authors not only provide a proper assessment and analysis of these issues, but more importantly, they also offer a way forward. If you care about what the next generation of American Christianity looks like and how marginalized voices are shaping the future of American churches, I highly recommend this book."
"The church is flourishing in many parts of the world today, but it's easy for those of us in the West to feel a sense of hopelessness as we see the churches we attend, love, and perhaps lead mired in scandals, materialism, consumerism, and nationalism. Our brothers and sisters around the world, however, are tackling the challenges of poverty, forced migration, trafficking, and natural disasters, pointing a broken world to a better way, and we in the Western church have so much to learn and receive about the good news being proclaimed in both word and deed from the broader church. This book helps us do just that, sharing the incredible work that God is doing around the world, pointing us to a better way to listen and learn from our brothers and sisters who are living out the ways and truths of Jesus to transform their communities and ultimately point people to Christ. The Bible is the story of God centering those on the margins, and this book teaches us as the church to do the same."
"This book, by some of the most thoughtful leaders in the church today, points us away from fear and panic and toward promise and hope and joy. Jesus is building his church, and doing so, as he always has, using those who are at the margins. This book will help ready you for the exciting next generation of the Spirit's work through the church."
"This is a must-read resource for church leaders and church members, for missionaries, and for any of us living in what feels like a world turned upside down. The answer to whether God is still at work in the American church lies in its capacity to grow and learn from those outside our borders. Inalienable is a guided tour by seasoned and dedicated travelers into what it means to be a church that is both locally rooted and globally minded. It's the journey of a lifetime."
"Costanzo, Yang, and Soerens have given the American church a tremendous resource with this profound and needed book. Their impassioned call to us is to listen to our brothers and sisters in the Majority World and minority churches in the United States. These authors recognize that White American Christians can no longer act as the dominant partner in missions and theology, but rather we need to adopt a vulnerable and listening posture. This is a must-read for all Christians who long to see renewal in American evangelicalism."
"As 'the most substantial threats to American Christianity are not those from outside but from within,' Costanzo, Yang, and Soerens in Inalienable employ the voices of world Christianity to call the American church to account. From the outset, the authors employ a global hermeneutic to revisit biblical concepts of the kingdom, image, word, and mission of God from the perspective of marginalized people to address the blind spots in American Christianity. Every pastor and Christian leader in the United States should read this book."
"This is a book for our times, some strong-but-needed medicine. The authors write, 'Many in the American church have replaced worship of God with idolatrous pursuits of wealth and power, at the cost of our integrity.' In many ways, much of the American church has lost her way in consumerism, political idolatry, and shallowness. As a result, the church in America is feeble. This book is a clarion call for American Christians to listen to and learn from our brothers and sisters in the global church. The future of the American church depends on it."
"The US church is in sharp decline. As in the days of Jesus of Nazareth, however, hope sometimes springs from unexpected and forsaken places such as 'Galilee of the Gentiles.' Costanzo, Yang, and Soerens point us to those voices of hope from the global and rapidly growing immigrant church."
"This is the book I've been waiting for. Each author is writing from different disciplines and ministry backgrounds, each grateful for their tribes yet seeing something far more important—kingdom citizens made of every tribe, tongue, and nation. Until we see ourselves as one people with one King and one mission, we will forever undermine Jesus, the One we claim to worship. It's time we stop talking so much and start listening a lot more—to God and one another. The church is broken and lost—this book points to the path back home. May we get on our faces before God and repent of our deepest sin, a failure to love with abandonment."