Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Book Review: Christ Among the Dragons by James Emery White

There have been well-publicized predictions in the past couple of years forecasting the demise of evangelicalism. These predictions have come from both within and without the church, ranging from InternetMonk.com's "The Coming Evangelical Collapse" to the New York Times Magazine's article "The Evangelical Crackup".

James Emery White is just one of the many who are not ready to call it quits just yet, as he demonstrates in Christ Among the Dragons. While we are fast approaching uncharted territory—hence the somewhat cryptic but intriguing title—While offers what he suggests are "introductory ways to regain our sense of true north in the four arenas that brought us together". He sums up these four arenas as follows:
  1. The nature of truth and orthodoxy
  2. Cultural engagement and the evangelistic enterprise
  3. Christian community and civility
  4. The identity and character of the church
White excels at describing the cultural climate and pinpointing the areas that seem to be both the locus of our division and the avenue through which we can bring new life to evangelicalism. I was less impressed, however, with the remedy for the diagnosis. As I finished the book, I came away with a vague sense that I was ready to do something but uncertain where to start. In fact, if Mr. White ever reads this review, I think a book solely expanding on the evangelical response in the four arenas of truth, culture, unity, and the church would be a welcome offering from his proverbial pen.

That disappointment aside, however, Christ Among the Dragons is a worthwhile and insightful diagnosis of both evangelicalism and the culture it is trying to reach.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Recommended for: Any Christian interacting with the popular culture

This book was a free review copy provided by InterVarsity Press.

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