Book Review: Church 3.0, by Neil Cole

Review by Geoff Chang | 9Marks Journal: Pastoral Moves | 12.23.2010

If you want to acquaint yourself with a leading voice of the house church movement, read this book, but then turn elsewhere for what Scripture teaches about the local church.

Why are so many church leaders today talking about contextualization?

A lot of people today are talking about contextualization because it’s a fancy way to justify targeting the subset of the population they like best. Some people argue that we have to “contextualize” the gospel and the church into punk rock culture, or elite urban culture, or artsy hipster culture, or rich suburban culture in order to reach such groups of people.

What are the dangers of being too contextualized?

Compromising our witness to the gospel. One danger of being too contextualized is that in attempting to adapt to cultural practices of those around us we adapt our way into sin or untruth and so compromise our witness to the gospel. Losing the sharp edges of the gospel. If we focus too much on making our message relevant, or appealing, or palatable to non-Christians, we may be tempted to adjust the gospel at those points where it is most offensive.

How can you tell the difference between legitimate contextualization and unbiblical compromise?


The best rule of thumb in determining what’s biblical contextualization and what’s unbiblical compromise is the question: Does this make the offense of the gospel clearer? If so, it’s biblical contextualization. If not, it’s unbiblical compromise.

How do we contextualize biblically?

Give up your rights. The apostle Paul had the right to eat meat, to take along a believing wife, and to receive financial support. Yet he gave up these rights in order not to put any obstacle in the way of the gospel (1 Cor. 9:4-18). We, too, should be prepared to give up any rights if using them would offend those we are trying to evangelize.

Why are so many people today talking about contextualization?


Book Review: Preaching Parables to Postmoderns, by Brian Stiller

Review by Carl Trueman | 9Marks Journal: Preaching | 03.05.2010

In the end, I was perplexed by the book. There was plenty of thought-provoking material, but there was also a rather contrived view of postmodernism.

Book(s) Review: The Emerging Church and Emerging Worship, by Dan Kimball

Review by Mike McKinley | 03.05.2010

We should make an effort to make our worship clear and accessible, even to non-believers. But we have a primary responsibility to worship God according to his Word.

The Church on the Other Side, by Brian McLaren

Review by Greg Gilbert | 03.03.2010

I can appreciate Brian McLaren’s determination to think about postmodernism, but I do think he has surrendered far too much.

Book(s) Review: The Radical Reformission & Confessions of a Reformission Rev, by Mark Driscoll

Review by Mike McKinley | 9Marks Journal: The Emerging Church | 03.03.2010

Taken together, the two books constitute a clarion call to the evangelical church in America, as it adapts to its marginalized status in post-modern culture.

Book Review: A New Kind of Christian, by Brian McLaren

Review by Mark Dever | 03.02.2010

The church of Christ can survive both bad books and bad reviews. Perhaps in this case, it will have to survive both.

Book Review: After the Baby Boomers, Robert Wuthnow

Review by Matt McCullough | 9Marks Journal: Multi-site Churches | 03.02.2010

You can either shape your ministry to address the needs and desires of young adults, or you can shape your prophetic challenge to the specific weaknesses of your context.

Book Review: Why We’re Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be), by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck

Review by Jonathan Leeman | 9Marks Journal: Cooperation | 03.02.2010

Emergents, I plead with you, please read those aspects of the book carefully and with open hearts.

Book Review: I Sold My Soul On eBay, by Hemant Mehta

Review by Mike McKinley | 9Marks Journal: Cooperation | 03.02.2010

Which brings me to my question: why would the church scramble to take advice from someone who does not share its faith?

Book Review: Lost and Found: The Younger Unchurched and the Churches that Reach Them, by Ed Stetzer

Review by Bobby Jamieson | 9Marks Journal: Church Discipline (Part 2) | 03.02.2010

I think that a less-than-biblical philosophy of ministry shines through at certain points, so read with discernment.

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