Are You Prodigal Enough?
A Review of
Prodigal Christianity: 10 Signposts into the Missional Frontier
David Fitch and Geoff Holsclaw
Hardback: Jossey-Bass, 2013.
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Reviewed by Christian J. Amondson
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It was the winter of their discontent. David Fitch and Geoff Holsclaw (co-pastors of a missional church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago) found themselves left out in the cold, disappointed with the “third-way” paths beyond the conservative-liberal theology wars of North American Evangelicals. The Emergent path (McLaren, Pagitt, Jones, Bell) initially offered a sense of hope for conversations that “challenged existing assumptions and sought new ways of moving forward” (xxi). Yet, as helpful as those conversations were, they ultimately left participants feeling uneasy, unable “to enter confidently into God’s living presence” (xxii). The Neo-Reformed path (Piper, DeYoung, Mohler, Carson, Keller) offered a necessary corrective to this disquiet, reminding Evangelicals that one can be missional and committed to gospel proclamation. But these commitments were often articulated dogmatically, focusing more on being “right” than being in right relationship. Was there an alternative to these dead-end options? Was there a path that could be both thoroughly committed to the proclamation of the gospel and radically sensitive to the cultural realities of real people in our post-Christian world? Fitch and Holsclaw believed there was, so they collected their notes, blog posts, and essays in an effort to articulate a new way by which Evangelicals could move out of the patterns that kept them “trapped within a bygone cultural consensus of Christian dominance that no longer exists” (xxiv). Prodigal Christianity is what emerged from their reflections.