The church is set to undergo massive transformations in the coming years and decades. Many great authors have recently been describing desired and/or emerging models; David Alan Black is among them with his newest book, The Jesus Paradigm (Energion Publications, July 2009). The basic premise of the book is that the church has lost sight of our purpose and has become weighed down with meetings, bureaucracy, and structure and has neglected our primary call to make disciples of all nations.
Andrew Thompson at GenXRising has written about the idea of Christian America and recent studies that suggest we’re becoming less Christian.
The post and the entire comment thread are worth reading, but let me quote the following:
The gist of it is this: There never was such a thing as ‘Christian America.’ And the Christians in America shouldn’t worry about that.
There cannot be such a ‘Christian America,’ in fact, because citizenship and discipleship can never be synonymous terms. Christians owe an allegiance to Jesus Christ above the allegiance to the nation. And that means that a Christian’s primary frame of social reference is not society at large but rather the church.
Dave Black, author of the forthcoming book for which this site is named, commented in the thread:
I’m enjoying this thread, Andrew. If I understand the New Testament correctly, the church is to take on a nonconformist and prophetic identity over against the structures of the world. This is not to say that I am unconcerned about politics or about the improvement of society through legislation. Such improvements are, however, questionable if they proceed from an assumption that they will issue in a Christian America. My concern is that the church be the church, and to do that it must proclaim victory not through a political agenda but through the Christian Gospel. The Christianity of the New Testament presents not simply a more demanding ethic but rather a cross that means the death of our desire for prosperity and power. I therefore view my participation in the culture wars not in terms of calling for a macro-political utopia but in terms of the church’s calling to be the conscience and critic of culture. I’ve tried to make this point in my forthcoming book, The Jesus Paradigm.
In our foreign policy America must use its military power reasonably and with a scrupulous concern for peace. A superpatriotism that calls for unfettered power is both un-American and un-Christian in my opinion.
I would in turn link this to my own post asking just how often our answer to any question or solution to any problem is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I certainly hope this discussion will grow in the blogosphere.
The Jesus Paradigm web site is designed specifically to help carry out the mission of the book by the same name.
What do I mean when I say that this book has a mission? It’s simple. It’s author wrote it in fulfillment of the gospel commission. I’m publishing it for the same reason.
There are many things that get written about a book as it is released. There are press releases, a catalog page, reviews, and commentary. But this site is different from all of them. Everything here is about this book and what it means for Christians. I believe that Dr. Black has presented some material that we, as Christians, need to hear. I want it discussed. I hope and pray that it will be lived as well.
So watch this space for more as we approach the release date of July 20, 2009. You’ll see the theme change as the cover design matures. You’ll see announcements about the advance copies. I sincerely hope you’ll see challenging discussion of the concepts this book presents.
But you’ll only keep up if you check back regularly!
In the comment thread to this post, feel free to discuss this book openly, honestly, and courteously.
–Henry Neufeld, Energion Publications