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The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   228
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.2" Width: 5.4" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2009
Publisher   IVP Books
ISBN  0830833609  
EAN  9780830833603  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Soong-Chan Rah calls the North American church to escape its Western cultural captivity and to embody a next evangelicalism that is diverse and multiethnic. This prophetic minority report casts a vision for a dynamic evangelicalism that fully embodies the cultural realities of the twenty-first century.

Publishers Description
2010 Golden Canon Leadership Book Award winner The future is now. Philip Jenkins has chronicled how the next Christendom has shifted away from the Western church toward the global South and East. Likewise, changing demographics mean that North American society will accelerate its diversity in terms of race, ethnicity and culture. But evangelicalism has long been held captive by its predominantly white cultural identity and history. In this book professor and pastor Soong-Chan Rah calls the North American church to escape its captivity to Western cultural trappings and to embrace a new evangelicalism that is diverse and multiethnic. Rah brings keen analysis to the limitations of American Christianity and shows how captivity to Western individualism and materialism has played itself out in megachurches and emergent churches alike. Many white churches are in crisis and ill-equipped to minister to new cultural realities, but immigrant, ethnic and multiethnic churches are succeeding and flourishing. This prophetic report casts a vision for a dynamic evangelicalism that fully embodies the cultural realities of the twenty-first century. Spiritual renewal is happening within the North American church, from corners and margins not always noticed by those in the center. Come, discover the vitality of the next evangelicalism.

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More About Soong-chan Rah

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Soong-Chan Rah is Milton B. Engebretson Associate Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago, IL. He is the author of The Next Evangelicalism (IVP Books, 2009). Prior to coming to North Park, Soong-Chan was the founding and senior pastor of Cambridge Community Fellowship Church, a multi-ethnic, urban church in Cambridge, MA. Soong-Chan has a B.A. from Columbia University, a M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a Th.M. from Harvard University, and a D.Min. from Gordon-Conwell. Soong-Chan serves on the boards of Sojourners, the Christian Community Development Association, World Vision, and the Catalyst Leadership Center. He lives in Chicago with his wife Sue, a special educator and his two children, Annah and Elijah.

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Good start  May 26, 2010
The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity
The author of The Next Evangelicalism, Soong-Chan Rah, has garnished a reputation as being a bit of a firebrand. He has become known for publicly criticizing the racial insensitivity of Christian organizations on several occasions. But, let's admit it, while they make us uncomfortable, we need firebrands now and then. Some would call them prophets.

Rah is more than a rabble rouser though. He's a professor at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago, has pastored urban, multi-ethnic congregations and is a respected associate of several social justice-oriented evangelical organizations, networks and publications.

Rah's thesis in The Next Evangelicalism is that the future of American evangelicalism rests upon reconciliation and renewal through confronting of its past and present "white cultural captivity." He places the data from Philip Jenkin's The Next Christendom and Davild T. Olson's The American Church in Crisis beside each other (both worth reading). Rah's conclusion is the only American church in crisis is that which is bound by "white cultural captivity." The church immigrating from the Southern hemisphere is thriving. Not only in the south but in America. Rah asserts that by confessing and letting go of the captivity mentioned above American evangelicalism as a whole will flourish.

I resonate with his thesis but I confess that I was dissapointed. With his title being a nod to Jenkin's The Next Christendom I assumed that the book would contain significant data. Yet while willing to provoke the reader, I felt that Rah did not explain terms or defend conclusions as well as I thought a scholar would. I assume that he was aware that much of what he wrote would be received as accusation by many of those within "white cultural captivity." Because of that I had hoped he would diffuse emotions with logic, confound his detractors with solid data. Instead, he teeters somewhere between anecdotal and academic throughout the book.

I probably wouldn't be so critical if it were not for the fact that I think Rah's argument needs to be heard. I don't want him to be written off. But Rah is probably much smarter than I. He's likely aware that data or emotions isolated will not heal the rift in the American church. We've got to talk. And by unapologetically taking on a wide spectrum of theological, cultural and ecclesiastical issues, while exposing racism and cultural dominance there he has certainly started a conversation. So, I say read the book. It may trouble you. If it does, know it was probably meant to.
Activist with no Answers  May 20, 2010
I will not re-hash the thorough reviews titled "Anger, Acceptance, Ambivalence" and "A non-serious..." with which I agree.

My main problem with this book is that even if I agree with what the author is saying, he presents no answers - not even a first step of application to an individual, a church leader, or a congregation. The author is posing a significant challenge without any solutions.

I would suggest finding a different discourse on this topic that is more complete.
Groundbreaking only in its simplicity  Mar 23, 2010
This book was prominently featured in the marketing materials of a suburban Chicago "pan-Asian multi-cultural" evangelical church. I wasn't sure what "pan-Asian multi-cultural" evangelicalism was, so I decided to check out the book. I was interested in learning more about the guy who is apparently at the center of this nascent movement (whose foothold, ironically, is in the posh northern 'burbs of Chicago).

In general, I cannot quibble with the main points of the book. No objective observer can deny that, broadly speaking, American evangelicalism is too individualistic, too materialistic, and too culturally homogeneous. But is this really a novel criticism? Roman Catholics have been offering the identical criticism for more than two centuries. In fact, Rah's criticism merely echoes the warnings proffered by Old Side Presbyterians, who, in the 1740s, questioned the merits of the revivalist (i.e., evangelical) impulse of the times. So, Rah's observations, while reasonably correct, are nothing new.

The apparent novelty of Rah's thesis is the notion that this is all the fault of white people. Yet Rah doesn't seem to be able to provide much support for this thesis. Certainly, most serious Roman Catholics would share in Rah's criticisms of "white" evangelicalism. In fact, Roman Catholics faced decades of persecution in this country due to their dissent from WASP culture. But, according to Rah's apparent thesis, even they must implicitly share the blame for the shallow narcissism of American evangelicalism. And what about Dutch Calvinists, German Lutherans, Scots-Irish Covenanters, and Swiss Mennonites, who have all generally absented themselves from American evangelicalism? Apparently, they too share blame. Unsurprisingly, Rah offers little to support his apparent thesis, aside from relying on broad generalities that rarely define the features of any specific socio-cultural group. (After all, does any family have 2.4 kids?) In short, the "white" thesis just can't sustain itself.

I have no affinity for American revivalistic Christianity, or for the crass populism and anti-intellectualism that accompany it. To a degree, I applaud the work of those who seek to counteract this trend, although reversing 260 years of history isn't easy. That being said, Rah's book offers little to counter the vulgarizing effects of "white" evangelicalism. In fact, Rah's thesis is no less populist and anti-intellectual than those whom he criticizes. Any form of populism tends to minimize the contributions of minority groups. It depicts minorities in a single dimension, and strips them of much of the humanity with which God has endowed them. This has been true whether the victims are African slaves, Polish laborers, or Korean merchants. But Rah is guilty of the same sin, as he callously attributes such evils to so-called "white" Christians.

I fear that evangelicals too often live in a parallel universe (i.e., the evangelical subculture), where they give too little credence to voices that arise from outside of their echo chamber. Rah would probably join me in this criticism, at least insofar as it pertains to "white" evangelicalism. Sadly, his book proves that the same pernicious features are equally true of "pan-Asian multi-cultural" evangelicalism. Which leaves me wondering... Does Rah really want to change American evangelicalism? Or does he just want to change it enough so that he can be counted among the cool kids?
A must read for those in ministry or have a heart for the Kingdom  Feb 21, 2010
Rah's "The Next Evangelicalism" is truthful, thought-provoking and timely. Everyone in ministry, church leadership, mission, etc needs to read this book. Even better, discuss it with someone or a group of people. Let's challenge the Church to think beyond Western, white cultural captivity! A must read!
Transformative  Jan 5, 2010
Too bad this book wasn't published sooner, in some ways it's way ahead of its time, but in other ways we've been needing this for quite a while now.

Soong-Chan unpacks "White Captivity" as the dominant consciousness needing to be confronted, challenged and dismantled. It's hard to read, but if you have the courage to face it this book will transform your self delusions of power and inspire you towards a more authentic way of living into the richness of community.

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