Evangelism after Christendom
The Theology and Practice of Christian Witness
"Important reading for those interested in evangelistic practice in the twenty-first century, or those involved in theological education who are looking for a text to help students consider a theology of evangelism."--Lee Beach, Evangelical Missions Quarterly
Evangelism conjures negative connotations throughout the world because it is heavily weighed down by cultural, historical, and theological baggage. Bryan Stone draws the blueprint for recovering an uplifting and vital church practice in his Evangelism after Christendom: The Theology and Practice of Christian Witness.
This comprehensive text begins by grounding evangelism as a core church practice that reaches the world, challenges sin, offers Christ, shares Christian worship, and more. Stone then traces the evangelistic call through the stories of Israel, Jesus, and, finally, the apostles and the church. Next, Stone discusses two rival narratives to the Christian story: the Constantinian story in which the church made itself home in the world; and the story of liberal modernity, which advocates an autonomous and temporal world. The practice of evangelism, however, subverts these views by 'being the church in the world' in a distinctive, alluring way. In short, Christian evangelism extends an invitation to challenge and abandon rival narratives and join a new story that makes sense of our past and points us to a different future. This book is ideal for seminary and graduate students as well as professional ministers, pastors, and evangelists.
"Bryan Stone has provided a significant contribution to the important, ongoing discussion of what evangelism is and how it is best practiced. Evangelism after Christendom takes seriously Christ's call to bear witness in the North American context in the twenty-first century. He is attentive to issues of ecclesiology, history, and politics, and he carefully considers conflicting theological interpretations of evangelism. This is a challenging and important book for all those who seek to study how the church can embody a truly Christian evangelistic practice."--Scott J. Jones, Bishop, United Methodist Church
"Not often, but every now and then, a book comes along that not only draws together the literature of the last thirty years but also pushes the conversation forward for decades to come. Bryan Stone has written such a book. Everyone writing in the field of evangelism cannot go around, only through, this masterpiece."--Leonard Sweet, author of SoulTsunami
"Bryan Stone's Evangelism after Christendom takes the study of evangelism to a new depth. This book brings hope to those perplexed by the popularity of evangelism techniques that seemingly contradict the faithful witness of the church. Evangelism after Christendom, theologically framed and biblically grounded, is essential reading for those seeking an in-depth treatment of evangelism as constitutive Christian practice."--Laceye Warner, Duke Divinity School
"This book is thoroughly believable. It brings evangelism into the twenty-first century with the wit of a scholar and the force of the church as its champions."--Robert G. Tuttle, author of The Story of Evangelism: A History of the Witness to the Gospel
"Evangelism after Christendom is a remarkable book that was about 30 years in the making--three decades of thinking, research, experimentation and reflection on the church in post-Christendom. . . . [Stone] leads us in an inspired rethinking of evangelism. Everybody who is anybody in the post-Christendom, postliberal, communitarian, virtue-ethics, sectarian galaxy gives aid to Stone's sweeping attempt to reconstitute evangelism as a primary practice of the church. . . . The result is a book that we will be assimilating and enacting for years to come."--William H. Willimon, Christian Century
"This book offers a serious theological treatment of evangelism, questioning liberal and conservative assumptions from a deeply biblical perspective. . . . [The author] has issued a profound challenge to the contemporary church. . . . Stone offers an attractive vision of the church as a public minority within late modern, liberal, individualist culture that offers life in the triune God as an alternative to the secular lifestyle embraced by millions of people in the post-Christian West. This is a serious book and required reading for those who are struggling to understand what is wrong with the Western church today and what renewal might look like."--Craig A. Carter, International Bulletin of Missionary Research
"This seminal volume is capable of starting and sustaining complex conversations about Christian witness. Written primarily for seminarians, graduate students, and pastors."--Carolyn D. Baker, Religious Studies Review
"A thorough exploration of the current state of evangelistic enterprise and a clear vision for how the Church needs to reorient its approach to witness in contemporary society. . . . Stone makes a significant contribution to contemporary studies in evangelism by offering such a cogent critique of the Church's indulgence in Western culture. His argument that evangelism is a subversive activity that must take place outside of the West's prevailing narratives as an alternative voice, embodied in a dissident community, calls for deep reflection from all who care about the work of evangelism in contemporary society. The book provides an excellent theology. . . . This book should not be ignored as important reading for those interested in evangelistic practice in the twenty-first century, or those involved in theological education who are looking for a text to help students consider a theology of evangelism."--Lee Beach, Evangelical Missions Quarterly
"This book is not a how-to manual on church growth. It is, quite possibly, the best and most comprehensive theological treatment of evangelism available today. Its author not only draws together what's been written about this subject for three decades but points the conversation for the opening decades of the twenty-first century. This is an important book for anybody concerned about the future of the Christian church"--Richard Brown, Herald (Community of Christ)
"A sophisticated, imaginative construal of evangelism from a postliberal perspective. . . . Stone's contribution lies precisely in his innovative linking of evangelism and ecclesiology."--Hendrik R. Pieterse, Mission Studies