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Over a quarter of a century ago, Richard Quebedeaux chronicled the history and prospects of evangelicalism in his sociology of religion study, The Young Evangelicals. Webber, who teaches at Northern Seminary in Wheaton, Ill., offers an insider's perspective on the present state and future of evangelicalism. He contends that the "younger evangelicals" include anyone "who deals thoughtfully with the shift from 20th- to 21st-century culture. He or she is committed to construct a biblically rooted, historically informed and culturally aware new evangelical witness in the 21st century." In this splendid overview of the shifts in the evangelical landscape, Webber examines the differences in theological thinking, worship styles and communication styles; attitudes toward history, art and evangelism; and ecclesiology between "traditional" evangelicals (1950-1975), "pragmatic" evangelicals (1975-2000) and younger evangelicals (2000-). For example, where the traditional evangelicals argued theologically that Christianity is a rational worldview and pragmatic evangelicals contended theologically that Christianity is a therapy that answers needs, the younger evangelicals' theological program involves a return to ancient Christian and Reformation teachings that Christianity is a community of faith. These younger evangelicals, he argues, are highly visual believers, possessing great facility with technology. They are committed to the plight of the poor, multicultural communities of faith and intergenerational ministry, and they recognize that the road to the future runs through the past. Webber's helpful and thorough guidebook offers a generous assessment of the history of evangelicalism as well as a judicious but enthusiastic evaluation of its prospects in the 21st century.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
A new evangelical awakening is taking place around the world. And the changes are being introduced by an emerging generation of leaders-The Younger Evangelicals. Who are they and what is different about their way of thinking and practicing church? How are they keeping ministry up to speed with our rapidly changing culture? In this provocative and energizing book, they will tell you.
"If you're suspicious about new winds blowing across the evangelical coastland, please don't criticize until you've read The Younger Evangelicals. It is by far the most thoughtful description of what's going on. If you're not critical but just curious, Webber will give you a thorough immersion into the emerging church. And if you're 'younger' yourself or young at heart, you'll find Webber giving voice to much that you have felt but couldn't yet articulate. Webber proves himself a sagely resource for this fresh, fledgling movement in this wise, warm, timely book."
Brian McLaren, pastor, author, senior fellow with Emergent (www.emergentvillage.com)
"At a time when many graying prognosticators are bemoaning the state of the church, it is refreshing to read a commentator of Robert Webber's stature who is optimistic about the future of the evangelical cause. Webber documents the presence of a cadre whom the Holy Spirit is raising up to lead the church in offering a biblically rooted, historically informed and culturally aware gospel witness. I am personally encouraged by Webber's findings."
Stanley J. Grenz, Distinguished Professor of Theology, Baylor University
"The Younger Evangelicals is an eye-popping, brain-bending look at where the evangelical church must head if it has any hopes of impacting postmodern culture. A superbly researched, foundational work, it is easily the best primer on the emerging church that I have seen."
Sally Morgenthaler, founder of Sacramentis.com, author of Worship Evangelism
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