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Evangelical Landscapes: Facing Critical Issues of the Day [Paperback]

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Item Number 145040  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   208
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.26" Width: 6.34" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   0.59 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2002
Publisher   Baker Academic
ISBN  080102594X  
EAN  9780801025945  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
This collection of essays from renowned scholar John G. Stackhouse examines the evangelical movement in North America.

Publishers Description
Evangelical Landscapes presents a wide-ranging discussion of evangelical growing pains as the movement confronts a variety of challenges in the new millennium.

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More About John G. Stackhouse, Jr.

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John G. Stackhouse, Jr. is Professor of Religious Studies at Crandall University in New Brunswick, Canada. His previous book, Can God Be Trusted?: Faith and the Challenge of Evil (OUP, 1998) was named one of Christianity Today's books of the year.

John G. Stackhouse currently resides in Vancouver.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Good analysis of problems in evangelicalism, but not many answers given to the problems raised  Dec 16, 2006
In this book John Stackhouse deals with many issues in contemporary Evangelical churches, such as a lack of spiritual maturity, how parachurches compete with local churches, the senior pastor problem, biblical illiteracy, etc.

This book is made up of eleven essays, many of which Dr. Stackhouse had written for other publications (mostly Christian journals), so the chapters in this book do not always seem to flow into each other. For example, in chapters seven through nine he goes from talking about Billy Graham and the nature of conversion to models of women in ministry to the lack of Christian scholarship in evangelicalism. As far as I can tell there are three underlying things which connect all of his chapters together.

The first is, obviously, evangelicalism. He rarely strays outside of evangelical church to discuss what other denominations do differently. While it is nice that he focuses so well on his topic, I think that perhaps comparing evangelicalism to other denomination in some of the areas he talked about would have been helpful.

The second underlying theme is that evangelicalism has problems. All of his chapters deal with problems in Evangelicalism, instead of what it is doing right. This can also be a very good thing. I think the problems are what we need to be dealing with, but if one only read this book, you would probably come to the conclusion that evangelicalism is one of the worst Christian groups in existence. Perhaps Dr. Stackhouse should have at least included some of the things that evangelicalism is getting right, just to balance the picture a little bit. I am not saying that he needs to focus on the good things in evangelicalism, because that is what most evangelicals tend to do and that does not help us solve our problems at all. I am saying that in order to present an accurate picture of the state of evangelicalism, as he claims to be trying to do with a title like Evangelical Landscapes, he need to stop focusing solely on what is wrong with evangelicalism. It may be that there are a lot of things wrong with evangelicalism. I doubt many informed people would argue that. But I also think people reading about evangelicalism should hear both the good and the bad, not just the bad.

The third issue he continually brings up in each essay is the changing nature of evangelicalism. He constantly tells us that the issues in contemporary evangelicalism are not the issues of the last generation's evangelicalism. On this point, I have no criticism of Dr. Stackhouse. I think that this is an extremely important point that he is making. He makes us realize that if we are still using the same methods of teaching in the church that were used in the last generation, it is likely that they will not be effective. Take his section on biblical literacy for example. If one taught a lesson in an evangelical church, say, twenty-five years ago, one could allude to scripture verses all the time and the audience would be able to keep up with you. They would be able, not only to know what you were referring to, but probably why you were referring to it. If one tried to do that same thing in an evangelical church today, it is doubtful that even the pastor would know what you were referring to, and certainly the number who understood what you were saying would be very few, if there would be any at all.

But what do we do about this? How should we respond to the utter lack of biblical literacy (or perhaps just literacy in general)? This brings up to mind the biggest complaint I have against Dr. Stackhouse's book: he provides few answers. He raises many critical questions, and I am glad he does, but he never really gets around to suggesting what we should do about these problems. He does provide small paragraphs at the end of some sections saying something like "if only evangelicals would follow the bible..." (see the last paragraph of chapter three for a good example of this) or something of that nature, but he never gives us any ideas about how to do that. His so called answers are simply naïve suggestions telling us to stop doing what we are doing wrong. I seriously doubt that this will be of much help at all. Getting up on a Sunday morning and telling a congregation that they are biblically illiterate will probably not solve the problem. All it will probably do is offend people and get you into trouble without having really helped the people in your congregation at all. Do not get me wrong, this is an excellent book, but it would have been even better if he had at least some practical suggestions about what we should do to remedy these problems.

In conclusion, I would say that this is a very helpful book for anyone who wishes to become a scholar in the evangelical tradition. The issues which Dr. Stackhouse raises are ones which anyone who is a position of leadership/teaching in evangelicalism will have to deal with. These are not problems which will just go away, they are problems which must be dealt with. Any evangelical scholar who does not deal with these issues does not seem to me to be really connected with the movement he is a part of. If you simply live in an ivory tower doing your research, but never helping the church deal with the issues which threaten to tear her apart, then it seems to me that you have become entirely isolated from those who you claim are your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Overall grade: A-

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