How far can relevance take us?
In his latest book, Disappearing Church: From Cultural Relevance to Gospel Resilience (releases to day from Moody Publishers), Mark Sayers poses this question, and the answer is eye opening. For decades the Western church has sought to gain relevance, to gain the respect of “the public,” but in so doing has played into the hands of cultural beliefs and norms that actually undermine the gospel. By trying to validate itself the church has undermined its mission.
Can cultural decline be stopped? How should the church engage culture? How can the church present the gospel to a culture that believes in no god but the self? Are the methods the church has been using working? Sayers addresses each of these questions in the pages of this book and does so in convincing, biblically grounded, powerful fashion.
Few authors can weave together history, theology, sociology, missiology, and cultural observation in a manner that not only makes sense but is compelling and accessible. But Mark Sayers can. Drawing on an incredible breadth of sources he creates a tapestry narrative of how the church got to where it is today from where it all began in the book of Acts.
He shows that the battles the church is fighting today against cultural lies are not new battles, but rather current ones against old heresies wearing new faces. He uses scholarship as a foundation, but writes with a light touch and a rare gift for description. Writing for “normal” readers – non academics and non theologians – while describing complex ideas is difficult, but Sayers does it remarkably.
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