Thursday, October 03, 2013

Transcending Polarization In the Church

Worship at Redeemer

My friend Don Follis just finished reading Rich Nathan's new book Both-And: Living the Christ-Centered Life in an Either-Or World. I checked it out and...   oh noooooo...  another book I'm going to have to read! Check out these reviews (look at the variety of people giving them):

"Charles Simeon (the great eighteenth-century evangelical vicar of Holy Trinity, Cambridge, England), when addressing some of the more challenging dilemmas of the Christian faith, famously observed that 'the truth is not in the middle, and not in one extreme, but in both extremes.' Following in this tradition, with his rigorous mind and his intrepid spirit, Rich tackles some of the issues of our day, but never without bringing to bear the instincts of his pastoral heart. An absolute treasure of a book--a treat awaits you when you come to read it!" (John Mumford, national director, Vineyard UK)

"Rich Nathan is one of the great communicators of his generation--and he is also a practitioner. The extraordinary development of the Vineyard church he leads in Columbus, Ohio, with its outreach programs to help the poorest and most marginalized in that city, is testament to his visionary leadership." (Nicky Gumbel, pastor and pioneer of the Alpha Course)

"This book promotes biblical balance in every chapter. It offers an excellent, readable, orthodox, winsome presentation of Christianity. If even a quarter of our churches were living the kind of biblically balanced faith presented here, unbelievers would be knocking at our doors. A must-read." (Ronald J. Sider, professor of theology, Palmer Seminary at Eastern University, and author of Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger)

"In our polarized world, and in an equally polarized church, Rich Nathan and Insoo Kim's book, Both-And, is a breath of fresh air. Both-And calls readers to embrace a powerful, compelling and holistic Christian faith. This is a hopeful, practical and inspiring look at what Christianity is meant to be." (Adam Hamilton, pastor and author of Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White)

"Fearlessly, Rich Nathan and Insoo Kim speak truth to culture and church. Calling their readers to a mature and robust faith, they attack simplistic binary thinking such as 'healing vs. suffering,' 'love vs. holiness' and 'evangelism vs. social justice.' Rather than avoiding such theological tensions, they call us to embrace them. Why? Because it is at the nexus of these polarities that we best experience the grace and wisdom of God." (Alec Hill, president of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA)

"Our world is increasingly polarized, even among the followers of Jesus. Rich Nathan and Insoo Kim, using Scripture and illustrations from their own life and leadership, patiently explain a way forward through the tensions for believers who must live in this world. Read it a chapter at a time and reflect how your life and leadership can be more true to God's desires." (Dave Travis, CEO for Leadership Network and coauthor of Beyond Megachurch Myths)

"Too many of us have a gospel with a hole in it, or as pastors Rich Nathan and Insoo Kim write, we have an 'either-or' gospel. I'm so thankful for Rich, Insoo and Vineyard Columbus for giving us a living example of a church that is out to set the gospel free. Be warned: following their wisdom will turn you into a radical disciple of Jesus Christ!" (Richard Stearns, president of World Vision US and author of Unfinished: Believing Is Only the Beginning)

"I loved reading this book, and how it transcends so much polarization in the church. This book has been urgently needed for a long time. In our pride, we Christians often reject the vision of other parts of the church and divide without hearing one another. This book's straight preaching rightly challenges the church to embrace the whole biblical message and to be the whole people of God." (Craig Keener, professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary and author of The Historical Jesus of the Gospels)

"Rich Nathan has, by the grace of God, founded and fathered one of the most beautiful and fruitful churches I have ever had the privilege to experience. Consequently, whatever Rich has to say on church vision, practice and leadership are words of the righteous overflowing with wisdom (Proverbs 10:31), which is clearly what we have with his latest book, Both-And. Rich Nathan, with his gifted copastor Insoo Kim, boils down the kingdom principles which compass their church life and ministry: grounded in Sacred Scripture, dependent on the Holy Spirit and attuned to twenty-first-century culture. Both-And exposes some of the cul-de-sacs Christians have walked blindly into and recalibrates us to the pathways where Christ walks. The authors' thesis is that God's ways are seldom found by forcing a dogmatic either-or, far less in a compromised halfway house, but rather by a robust holding of polarities in creative tension. Irenic and pastoral, humble and wise, provocative and prophetic, Both-And is a vision for church that deserves the widest readership across the traditions. Everyone who cares about the church should read this brilliant book." (Simon Ponsonby, pastor and author of Loving Mercy)

"Both-And is a prophetic word for our day. It is relevant. It is challenging. It is compassionate. It is courageous. Get Both-And. Read Both-And. It is for your life." (Richard J. Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline and Sanctuary of the Soul)

"We live in a wounded day of cultural tension and polarity, which often bleeds into our faith communities. This book's call to 'both-and' thinking and living is a much-needed healing salve for the church." (James Choung, author of True Story and Real Life)