empowered by the spirit for mission

The Evangelicals You Don’t Know by Tom Krattenmaker

Who is this book for?

This book is for anyone who wants to be introduced to the activities of some key names in a growing cluster of younger born again Americans. These are believers who don’t adhere to the right wing politics of many of their predecessors and so would not necessarily identify with the Religious Right of the Republican Party.

So who are these evangelicals?

Rather than focusing on church leaders within this grouping Tom Krattenmaker’s book outlines the work of a number of community activists and writers. He profiles such people as Kevin Palau, Stephanie and Shoshon Tama-Sweet, Tony Kriz, Lisa Sharon Harper, Dan Merchant, Paul Louis Metzger, Gabe Lyons and more.

He shows how each of these have worked on different issues related to social justice and on showing God’s love especially to the marginalised. He then goes on to explain how this fits into the current social and political scene in the States.

What impact might this book have on its readers?

You may find that The Evangelicals You Don’t Know introduces you to a new set of reading but more importantly that it gets you seeing your God given mission with new eyes.

Hopefully your appetite will be whet for more information on these evangelicals who pour themselves into social action rather than proclaiming the sort of moral rhetoric that all too often alienates people.

As you search the internet for blogs and articles about these activists and their work I pray that you will begin to see how God is beginning to do a new thing in many areas of America. And hopefully their efforts will inspire you do work on your own mission field in this way.

Do I have any criticism?

American flagThis book is the result of a lot of detailed research. The casual reader may find this heavy going. This is not helped by the writer going back and forth between issues and not always staying with the person concerned. Nevertheless, this did not spoil my enjoyment.

What did I particularly like about the book?

Tom Krattenmaker is not an evangelical and so as an evangelical myself I was pleased with his fair and objective assessment of these people.

I also liked the way that the book filled in many gaps in my understanding of American politics. Coming from outside the USA I found his assessment of current thinking of Americans on such topics as gay marriage, abortion and environmentalism very helpful.

Why would I recommend The Evangelicals You Don’t Know?

The people outlined in this book may be new to you or you may have already heard of some or all of them perhaps through blogs or social media. Either way this book gives you a fairly systematic introduction to a number of current movers and shakers who are not to be overlooked.

Please read this book and let me know what you think.


Thanks to Mike Morrell of the SpeakEasy network for sending me this book to review free of charge. I was not required to write a positive review. These are my true opinions.

Further Reading

Tom Krattenmaker’s blog
Tom Krattenmaker on Facebook
Tom Krattenmaker on Twitter

Tom on the StoryMen podcast
StoryMen – Krattenmaker interview on YouTube

Tom Krattenmaker also writes for the Huffington Post. Here are a couple of his articles that are particularly relevant to The Evangelicals You Don’t Know:
6 Evangelicals You Don’t Know… But Might Want To
A Progressive’s Confessional Journey to Focus on the Family

Buy The Evangelicals You Don’t Know at or

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August 26, 2013 at 6:00 pm Comments (0)

My Holiday at New Wine

This year for our family holiday we went to New Wine in Newark summer conference with nearly 30 members of our church. New Wine is a week long Bible camp. It is predominately charismatic Anglicans although many other types of churches take part.
New Wine
If you are keen on the big main meetings then New Wine will appear very much like a number of other Bible weeks that are around. Each of these had a thousand or more worshipping to modern worship music with usually a talk by a well known speaker followed by an invitation to go forward for prayer ministry.

But to be honest this wasn’t the main attraction for me. Not only was I more interested in the some of the seminars and art workshops during the day but also some of the music and comedy that rounded off each evening. And of course if you know me you’d know that I’d be heading for the prayer room.


P1000577One of the main things I loved about New Wine was the early morning prayer-times in the Sanctuary venue. It was a pity that its location was so close to other venues where the music was so loud. I understand it had been moved at the last minute. But it was possible to work round this.

I found two good times to be there: just after 7:00 am and at lunch time. So I was out across the campsite to Sanctuary most mornings and went two or three times for lunch time prayers. There were probably 20 or 30 people there each time and it was great as there was very little sound from other venues.

Sanctuary had a number of prayer stations with activities and suggested ways to pray and meditate and prayer walls where you could scribble thoughts and prayers. They were open most of the day but also had some more structured prayer and worship at specific times with Celtic style prayers and poetic liturgies.

I must confess that I preferred Sanctuary to the big loud worship gatherings in the other venues. Not that there was anything wrong with them. I thought they way they did the café style venues in them where you could sit and drink coffee was a great idea. I just didn’t really connect with any of these gatherings.

The school of missional leadership

I really enjoyed the school of missional leadership was an excellent eye opener on this subject. The week long series of seminars were not just talks on related themes but included group work that enabled us to begin to work through the material.

I came back with notes that I will post shortly and that hopefully can be applied in our own situation with projects such as WorkShop.

Arts & crafts

In the 3:16 venue I got to do sessions on art-journaling and ‘stitch-a-prayer’ needlework. I chose these two as rather than just learning skills they were using them in a more devotional way.

There was also an opportunity to create a picture there while listening to an evening celebration via the radio which I did one evening

P1000609On Thursday evening they had an exhibition of all the arts and crafts that had been done throughout the week.

After hours

The after-hours that I went to most was the comedy. I went to three sessions of Andy Kind who was hilarious.

On the first night I went to hear Steve Parsons, which turned out to be the music highlight of the week for me. I loved the fact it had a bar and I got a Guinness and sat on the front row soaking up some spiritual wisdom from this guy as he performed his songs. One after another these songs spoke deep into my heart.

I was glad that we had a caravan so that I could be quiet and rest during the day – often when my wife was off at one of the main meetings – and that the after-hours were not too late especially as I was getting up for the early morning prayer.

How does New Wine compare to other Christian camps like Spring Harvest or Greenbelt?

Spring Harvest

Having been to Spring Harvest a couple of times before I found New Wine is very similar. They had similar worship times, seminars, contemplative prayer venues and exhibitions and stalls.


• New Wine had a larger variety of seminars with noticeably more charismatic input including a number of seminars on spiritual gifts and accounts of healings.

• Spring Harvest has the advantage of some of the Butlins entertainment being available. But then New Wine had the arts & crafts workshops.

• If you bring your own tent camping at New Wine can be cheaper but less comfortable than a chalet at Butlins for Spring Harvest. However it is more expensive if like us you hire a caravan.

• Seven full days at New Wine is longer than you get at Spring Harvest which is 5 or 6 days. Greenbelt is even shorter – a long weekend of 4 days over the August Bank Holiday.

Greenbelt Festival

New Wine was great but I am sorely missing Greenbelt this year. I am looking forward to returning to Greenbelt in a year or two. It was interesting that what I liked at New Wine were the parts most like Greenbelt. But unlike Greenbelt at New Wine everything comes from an evangelical charismatic perspective.

P1000661I must also say there was nowhere near the choice of activities that you find at Greenbelt where you can often pick between music, worship, talks and discussion and other activities at the same time. And there is a lot more contemplative worship at Greenbelt.

Would I go to New Wine again?

I don’t know. New Wine may have been a one off for us but it was certainly worth it. Our daughter would love to go back another year so we may possibly return if our church’s youth group goes again.

I’m interested in perusing this year’s memory stick of the recordings that our church is purchasing and I’d definitely want to have a listen to any that our church buys in coming years too.

Related Posts

Spring Harvest: More than just the big top
10 Highlights of my Greenbelt this year
What if Greenbelt and Spring Harvest merged?

Further Reading

New Wine – the official site

August 21, 2013 at 6:00 pm Comment (1)

He’s My King – High Energy Remix

August 13, 2013 at 6:00 pm Comments (0)

7 Lessons on Hearing the Spirit from 1 Kings 13

Several weeks ago we had a visiting speaker at church who spoke on Hearing the Spirit. I understand that he spoke from 1 Kings 13 but I didn’t hear any of the talk as I was teaching the children at the same time.

The talk was not recorded and all I had was the questions that he gave us to use to discuss them. When we discussed them at our house I did hear some of the points but a lot of the time I was putting my daughter to bed.

But I thought it would be good to grapple with the passage using the questions and see if I could make some sense of it myself. These seven lessons is what I came up with:

1. To hear is to obey

Israelite altar at Beer-Sheva A man of God comes from Judah to Bethel and prophecies to the alter in front of King Jeroboam that a later king called Josiah will sacrifice the priests of the false gods on that alter.

Though the king heard what the man of God said he didn’t like it as it reminded him that Yahweh did not approve of the way he was leading the nation to worship other God’s. The way to really hear this would be for him to sacrifice the priests not wait until a later king did it. But he would not.

2. God speaks to people even when he speaks to something else

Prophesying to an object is a literary device that is sometimes used by prophets.
Though the prophet spoke to the alter God was really speaking to the humans – the pinnacle of his creation – who he knew would hear the words.

Later in the story God uses animals but his purposes are towards the people in the story as people are made in God’s image.

3. Be quick to listen and slow to speak

The King was slow to listen – he heard but did not obey – but like many extraverts today he was quick to speak. First he said “Seize him”. God punished his attack on his prophet by shrivelling his hand. He then asked for God to heal his hand and then offered hospitality and a gift as a thank you or payment for the healing.

The man of God had obviously meditated on what God was saying and knew that to receive hospitality did not fit in with God’s plan no matter how tempting. He did not act on a whim and may have found it hard to speak up and refuse the King but nevertheless he did refuse.

4. Discern the Spirit’s voice from that of others

An old prophet from Bethel then lies to him saying that an angel has visited him and asked him to offer hospitality to the man of God.

There are many who claim to be speaking God word in some way or other today – whether in prophecy or teaching. It is important to discern who is really speaking the truth – using both our minds and our spirits. Often there is mixture that we need to sift and sometimes they may actually be lying – claiming divine revelation or encounters with angels – as this old prophet did here.

5. Misrepresenting God may have consequences for those you lead astray

The man of God accepts. But then God speaks to the old prophet that the man of God will be judged for disobeying what he knew God had told him. The man of God leaves and is killed by a lion.

The danger of misrepresenting God is that people may be gullible and believe you. God will hold them accountable if deep down they know that those words are not in accord with God has spoken yet they still comply and do what you say.

6. A prophet may not always be honoured

God called the man of God from Judah to speak in Bethel – where people would not be over familiar with him. He was deceived and fell in Judah and did not receive honour in his own town by being buried with his ancestors but finally he was honoured in Bethel by the old prophet who gave him his own tomb.

7. Three distractions from hearing the Spirit

In the parable of the sower Jesus highlighted three distractions from hearing God that we can also see in this story:

a. Difficulties

The man of God appeared in some senses like the good soil but perhaps words are not rooted well enough and the difficulty of hunger meant that he fell for the old prophets lies.

b. Lack of understanding

His lack of understanding appears to have allowed the old prophet to act out of false motives but perhaps he was like the good soil in the end as he did honour the man of God.

c. Riches

The king though was clearly in bondage to riches and cares of this world. A trap that the man of God rejected when offered the gift by the king.

I really don’t know if this bears much resemblance to the original sermon but I trust that you found it interesting and edifying anyway.

Hey Andrew, what do you think?

August 6, 2013 at 6:00 pm Comments (0)