Before the summer began, I had a reading list of about 10 books that I wanted to knock out before seminary. Then I found out that the average reading requirement per class at Southern is about 1000 pages. Then I saw my syllabus for Schreiner's class. I had to cut my list to about 4, and 'The Church Between Gospel & Culture' edited by Hunsberger and Van Gelder was on that list. It is from the Gospel and Our Culture Network series. I am very glad I read it. I had heard lots about it. It is broken into 4 sections: Focusing the Mission Question, Assessing Our Culture, Discerning the Gospel, and Defining the Church. I would say that the first 2 chapters were worth the price of the book, but for some reason this book is expensive. My lovely wife bought me my copy. There is much to commend in this work. There was much in the 'Assessing Our Culture' chapter that was over my head, but I still enjoyed it.
The thesis of the book is more or less that the North American culture is no longer a churched culture, and we need to start living as missionaries where we are at. Christendom is over. We are living in postmodern times. The church needs to de-Americanize itself, and start acting like the people of God sent on a mission (to steal the words of Bosch). We must exegete Scripture, and culture. I wish I would have counted the number of times the authors quoted Lesslie Newbigin. I really wish I had more time to read more of him. One of his small ones is on the pre-seminary list. The book was insightful, and made me really excited about Dr. Wellum's class 'Christianity in a pluralist and postmodern society.' Peace!