The Gospel and Our Culture Series

A series to foster the missional encounter of the gospel with North American Culture. Published by Wm. B. Eerdmans in partnership with the Gospel and Our Culture Network.


The Church Between

The Church Between Gospel and Culture: The Emerging Mission in North America

edited by George R. Hunsberger and Craig Van Gelder

This excellent collection of essays, written by a diverse group of Christian leaders working on the frontier of mission within the present North American context, lays the groundwork for the newly emerging missionary encounter of the gospel with North American culture. Demonstrating that the missionary identity of the church is to be found at the intersection of culture-gospel-church, these essays outline the missionary agenda now before the church as it confronts North American assumptions, perspective, preferences, and practices.

Contributors:

James V. Brownson, Inagrace Dietterich, William A. Dyrness, Douglas John Hall, John R. Hendrick, Paul G. Hiebert, George R. Hunsberger, E. Dixon Junkin, Christopher B. Kaiser, Alan J. Roxburgh, Paul Russ Satari, David Scotchmer, Wilbert R. Shenk, Craig Van Gelder, David Lowes Watson, Charles C. West.


Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America

by Darrell L. Guder (ed.) et al.

What would a theology of the Church look like that took seriously the fact that North America is now itself a mission field? This question lies at the foundation of this volume written by an ecumenical team of six noted missiologists—Lois Y. Barrett, Inagrace T. Dietterich, Darrell L. Guder, George R. Hunsberger, Alan J. Roxburgh, and Craig Van Gelder.

The result of a three-year research project undertaken by The Gospel and Our Culture Network, this book issues a firm challenge for the church to recover its missional call right here in North America, while also offering the tools to help it do so.

The authors examine North America’s secular culture and the church’s loss of dominance in today’s society. They then present a biblically based theology that takes seriously the church’s missional vocation and draw out the consequences of this theology for the structure and institutions of the church.


Bearing the Witness of the Spirit: Lesslie Newbigin's Theology of Cultural Plurality

by George R. Hunsberger

In this in-depth study of Lesslie Newbigin’s thought, George Hunsberger brings into clear view the “theology of cultural plurality” developed in Newbigin’s book and demonstrates its importance for the missiological enterprise today.

Interacting closely with Newbigin’s published and unpublished works, Hunsberger describes Newbigin’s biblical rationale for the life and witness of the church in a culturally plural world. By teasing out Newbigin’s thinking in this realm, Hunsberger gives shape to a theological area of inquiry and reflection badly needed for fruitful discussions of cross-cultural mission, religious pluralism, and ecumenism.


Confident Witness--Changing World

edited by Craig Van Gelder

How do we make the gospel clear and the church relevant to the postmodern, post-Christian culture in North America? Confident Witness, Changing World seeks to answer this question in practical terms immediately useful to educators and pastors.

Written by twenty-one scholars who are also skilled in doing frontline ministry, this volume discusses the radical cultural shift that has reshaped North America, one of today’s most important mission fields, and explores fresh methods for presenting the gospel with confidence amid the challenges presented by our contemporary context.

Contributors:

George D. Beukema, Stephen Bevans, James V. Brownson, William R. Burrows, Mary Lou Codman-Wilson, Marva J. Dawn, Dan Devadatta, Paul C. Dinolfo, Isaac K. Fokuo, Robert S. Fortner, Douglas John Hall, Walter C. Hobbs, Jon M. Huegli, Stanley K. Inouye, Christopher B. Kaiser, Mary Jo Leddy, Richard J. Mouw, Alan J. Roxburgh, Clinton Stockwell, Craig Van Gelder, Lee A. Wyatt. 


The Continuing Conversion of the Church

by Darrell L. Guder

Western society is now a very different, very difficult mission field. In such a situation, the mission of evangelism cannot succeed with an attitude of "business as usual." This volume builds a theology of evangelism that has its focus on the church itself. Darrell Guder shows that the church's missionary calling requires that the theology and practice of evangelism be fundamentally rethought and redirected, focused on the continuing evangelization of the church so that it can carry out its witness faithfully in today's world.

In Part 1 Guder explores how, under the influence of reductionism and individualism, the church has historically moved away from a biblical theology of evangelism. Part 2 presents contemporary challenges to the church's evangelical ministry, especially those challenges that illustrate the church's need for continuing conversion. Part 3 discusses what a truly missional theology would mean for the church, including sweeping changes in its institutional structures and practices.

Written for teachers, church leaders, and students of evangelism, this volume is vital reading for everyone engaged in mission work.


Treasure in Clay Jars: Patterns in Missional Faithfulness

by Lois Y. Barrett (ed.),  Darrell L. Guder, Walter C. Hobbs, George R. Hunsberger, Linford L. Stutzman, Jeff Van Kooten, Dale A. Ziemer.

If you saw a missional church, what would it look like? What patterns of behavior and practice would you find there?

Building on the ground laid by the book Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America (Darrell Guder et al. 1998), Treasure in Clay Jars centers on case studies of nine missional congregations from across North America that are diverse in their denominational affiliations, worship styles, political stances, and socioeconomic backgrounds. The book explores eight concrete “patterns” common to these churches. Although the patterns may be different in each setting, they can be recognized in any congregation seeking to participate in God’s mission in the world.

The team that authored this book believes that “missional” says something not so much about the activities of the church as its character: “The church does not exist for itself, but for participation in God’s mission of reconciliation. . . . Mission is the character of the church in whatever context it exists.” The congregations studied here are “clay jars,” but each carries in its witness a remarkable treasure that points to God’s power and purposes.


StormFront: The Good News of God

by James V. Brownson, Inagrace T. Dietterich, Barry A. Harvey, and Charles C. West

Foreword by George R. Hunsberger

How does one authentically hear and live out the gospel in North America? This new book attempts to answer this question in a way that reveals much about the nature of Christian faith today and its relation to contemporary culture.

In keeping with the aims of the acclaimed Gospel and Our Culture series, StormFront investigates how the gospel intersects American culture and seeks to reorient the church to its full and proper missional vocation. Four authors noted for their understanding of modern church life offer a sober yet hopeful critique of American culture that focuses on consumerism and the privatization of religion, and they challenge the Christian church to embrace its corporate task to be salt and light to the world.

Amid the many books on the subject, this one is distinctive in its concern for application. By constrasting contemporary life with a thoroughgoing reading of the biblical narrative, the authors help American Christians discern how our cultural location makes it difficult to live out the transformative message of the gospel. Few readers will fail to be engaged by the lessons offered here.