Archives For Kingdom


A New Sort of Evangelicalism

A Review of

Revangelical: Becoming the Good News People We’re Meant to Be
Lance Ford

Paperback: Tyndale Momentum, 2014
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Reviewed by C. Christopher Smith


For many years now, I have had a tenuous relationship with the label “evangelical.”  On one hand, I have wanted to stay connected and in conversation with the tradition in which I was raised. On the other hand, I was so frustrated with almost everything that evangelicalism represented, and especially how it had come to be so closely bound with right-wing partisan politics. Even today, I still waiver on whether to call myself an evangelical. Lance Ford, author of the new book Revangelical: Becoming the Good News People We’re Meant to Be, is an evangelical; he writes in a manner that will be compelling to evangelicals, richly steeped in scripture, and full of stories that will connect with evangelicals. And yet, Ford is out to define a new sort of evangelicalism.  He describes this “revangelicalism”:
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Scot McKnight’s latest book is a provocative exploration of the relationship of church and kingdom.

Watch for our review by ERB Editor Chris Smith in our soon-to-be-released Advent print issue. (Not a subscriber?  Subscribe now…)

Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church
Scot McKnight

Hardback:  Brazos Press, 2014
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Watch the Book trailer video…

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A Pervasive Catalyst for Human Change

A Review of

The Divine Conspiracy Continued: Fulfilling God’s Kingdom on Earth

Dallas Willard and Gary Black

Hardback: HarperOne, 2014
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Reviewed by Tom Farr.
Few voices have been more profound in the world of Christian thought than that of the late Christian philosopher, scholar, and theologian Dallas Willard. Willard had a rare ability to shed light on the message of Jesus and paint a biblical picture of the Kingdom of God that is exciting and compelling. I first discovered Dallas Willard about five years ago when someone suggested his book The Divine Conspiracy.  Once I started reading it, I was hooked. Willard took the message of Jesus distilled in the Sermon on the Mount and showed its revolutionary relevance to those who desire to follow Christ today. I was drawn by the way he described Jesus as someone intelligent who has all the answers for life’s deepest questions and the way he described the Kingdom of God as an accessible reality today. There was so much wisdom from the Bible unpacked in The Divine Conspiracy that I felt drawn to the message of Jesus in way I hadn’t experienced before. I soon read almost every other book that Willard had written, and each of them explored the revolutionary concept of the now-present Kingdom of God that is a reality to those who apprentice themselves to Jesus.

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A Challenge to the American Christian Public System.

A Feature Review of

A New Evangelical Manifesto:  A Kingdom Vision for the Common Good
David Gushee

Paperback: Chalice Press, 2012.
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Reviewed by Alex Dye
No matter how many times I read about evangelicals, their history, their theology and their current work, I find myself struggling to piece it all together, to explain who they are and how they came to be.  Perhaps it is because it is not a centrally defined movement and so much of its history and faith is nebulous in that it started in different places by different people who acted in different ways with similar core beliefs.  In the introduction to A New Evangelical Manifesto:  A Kingdom Vision for the Common Good, editor David P. Gushee offers his definition of evangelicalism as a foundation for the essays that are to come:


    “…evangelicals are spiritually serious, theologically orthodox, evangelistically engaged, morally earnest Protestant Christians, members of hundreds of particular denominational traditions and tens of thousands of congregations all over the country.  (You will find other ways of defining evangelicals in this book.  But that’s good enough for now.”( ix)

In this characterization, Gushee does not explain what evangelicals believe but rather wishes to define the movement as a wide variety of adherents apart from the most radical sects within, usually identified as right wing conservatives and fundamentalists.

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Our most anticipated new book release this week is:

Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works.

James K.A. Smith

Paperback: Baker Academic, 2013.
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This is the second book in the Cultural Liturgies Series.  The first book Desiring the Kingdom was one of our 2009 Englewood Honor Books.  [ Read our Review…]

*** Other Books by James K.A. Smith

Excerpt available through Google Books…
(Sorry, it won’t let us embed the excerpt right now…)

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A Well-developed Kingdom Imagination

A Feature Review of

The Rest of Life: Rest, Play, Eating, Studying, Sex from a Kingdom Perspective

Ben Witherington

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2012.
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Reviewed by Ben Simpson


The nature of God as Trinity, the meaning of Christ’s atonement, the significance and right understanding of baptism and the Lord’s meal, and other concerns often dominate theological discussion. But those matters, while vitally important, often consume such immense amounts of energy that other matters pertaining to everyday life are left untended. Sensing the gap, Ben Witherington steps in.


In The Rest of Life, we find an exploration of rest, play, study, eating, and sex in light of the reign of God. Each of these areas of life is seldom focused upon at length, though it is in these areas our deepest yearnings are found. Who among us does not wish for more peaceful rest? Who has not wondered how to observe Sabbath in light of Jesus, the fulfillment of the Sabbath? If seen as part of life with God, how might our play, study, food choices, and sexual lives be enriched, fostering a more wholistic experience of life in the Kingdom of God?

*** Books by Ben Witherington
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Giorgio AgambenA Constant State of Emergency?

A Feature Review of

The Church and the Kingdom

Giorgio Agamben

Hardback: Seagull Books, 2012.
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Reviewed by Alden Bass.

The Church and the Kingdom is the manuscript of a lecture (or more properly, a homily) given at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris in the presence of the Bishop of Paris and other high-ranking church officials. The discourse is exceedingly brief, yet in the space of these few pages Agamben accuses the Church of having chosen temporal, political power over its original vocation to be God’s kingdom on earth. Specifically, he argues that the Church has embraced the apocalyptic time of the world over the “messianic time” which characterizes the kingdom of God. These terms require some explanation.

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Prophetic EvangelicalsContinued Improvisation Around a Common Theme

Prophetic Evangelicals: Envisioning a Just and Peaceable Kingdom

Malinda Elizabeth Berry, Peter Goodwin Heltzel and Bruce Ellis Benson, editors.

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2012.
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Review by Daniel M. Yencich

Editors Benson, Berry, and Heltzel introduce Prophetic Evangelicals by situating it as a collection of answers to the common questions, What does it mean to follow Jesus? and What is the nature of the good news (euangelion)? The editors draw upon the imagery of a prism (a nod to the Evangelicals for Social Action publication?) to explain the format and intention of the book: “As the gospel – the light of Christ – passed through shalom, we can suddenly see the full spectrum of colors that represent the themes we explore in the rest of this book because they give prophetic faith its definition” (3). Prophetic evangelicalism is thus imagined to be a continued improvisation around a common theme (31), a collection of images of what it looks like to follow Jesus and embody the good news at the heart of truly evangelical faith.

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Amy Sherman - Kingdom CallingGiving Ourselves Away.

A Feature Review of

Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good.

Amy Sherman.

Paperback: IVP Books, 2011.
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Reviewed by Mark Eckel.

As a reviewer, I decided to put my money where my mouth is: I ordered a box of Amy Sherman’s books and am giving them away.  Amy L. Sherman’s latest volume, Kingdom Calling, is a catalyst for generational change.   The subtitle Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good is the accelerant needed for the catalyst to ignite the transformation.  Countless talk about socio-economic concerns, but Sherman tells the stories of many who are doing, not talking.  The full title also explains Sherman’s belief.  The King is king of the whole kingdom.  The Church’s focus often centers on itself and its work, whereas the work of The Church’s people is who they are, where they are.  ‘Calling’ is that of folks changed by The Call, practicing agents of redemption as janitors, doctors, trades-people, lawyers, coaches, philanthropists, and all the multi-colored gifts of God’s people (1 Peter 4.10).  ‘Vocational stewardship’ means the “intentional, strategic deployment” of a believer’s full person and place “to advance foretastes of God’s kingdom” (20).  Far from programmatic, Christian work in the world is missional only insofar as it is personal: missio Dei per imago Dei, the mission of God through the image of God.  ‘The common good’ involves everyone within our sphere of influence who benefits from our God-given gifts.  Inspired by a Tim Keller sermon on Proverbs 11.10, Sherman now inspires us to help communities flourish by the giving of ourselves to justice.

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“A Kingdom Here-and-Still-Coming

A Review of
The Road to Missional:
Journey to the Center of the Church

by Michael Frost

Reviewed by Josh Wallace

the-road-to-missional - michael frostThe Road to Missional:
Journey to the Center of the Church

Michael Frost
Paperback: Baker Books, 2011.
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[ Read an Excerpt from this book … ]

I have a couple volumes by N. T. Wright sitting on my bookshelf. I’m sure that when I read them I’ll come away with a clearer understanding of the good news Jesus announces. Someday, someday I will read them.

Today, however, while I try to find God’s true and living way amid a job and a family, a church, a neighborhood, and a heart that desperately needs some hope, I could use something that responds a bit more immediately to my situation. No slight to Tom Wright’s many accessible books (especially his New Testament for Everyone commentaries), but I want something I can slip in my pocket, page through during a coffee break, or pass on to friends only mildly interested in theology or church or Jesus. I want someone to surprise and delight me with how Jesus’ good news invades the day-to-day world where I sometime find it hard to believe.

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