It struck me the other day, when walking from one room to another in my home, that James Emery White’s , in his new book ( Christ Among the Dragons: Finding Our Way Through Cultural Challenges), is addressing largely the same questions that Brian McLaren is addressing in his newest book.
White’s book represents an attempt to renew a vigorous evangelicalism, and it also represents a renewed commitment to classic evangelical themes.
Is the classical evangelical paradigm viable in our culture?
Like evangelism, which is the subject of chp 4, and White’s church is about 70% drawn from the unchurched.
What are some good strategies you are seeing today to gain the attention of and find a hearing with and even speaking into the unchurched? What percent of your church comes from the unchurched?
He begins by observing the rise of mosques and the growth of Mormons, and he envelops this with the rise of spirituality and the yearning for religious experience. He quotes the famous line that many want religious emotion today without wanting religious belief. I saw this perfectly illustrated in a book by a well-known Irish journalist: John Waters, Lapsed Agnostic
. Waters finds religious feeling, in an almost Schleiermacherian sense, to be the essence of religion and belief in God.
Anyway, in such a culture of post-Christian (and post-evangelical) yearning, which he calls “metrospirituality,” and under the condition of an almost non-issue of religion, James Emery White makes an appeal to evangelize. He does so under two major terms: passivity (few seem to care or think evangelism matters and he appeals to the concept of hell as a wake-up call) and hostility (an increasing number of Christians not only do not care but are aggressively or actively hostile to anyone other than their own kind).