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The Shaping of Things to Come

A book review

This week I’ll be writing three reviews on books by Alan Hirsch starting with ‘The Shaping of Things to Come’ that he wrote with Michael Frost in followed by ‘The Forgotten Ways’ and the ‘Forgotten Ways Handbook’. Alan Hirsch is one of the few emerging missional types to write on the use of the Ephesians 4 ministries today.

The Shaping of Things to Come’ is for those who want a detailed introduction to what it means to be an incarnational, missional and apostolic Christian in the 21st century. You need to be prepared to look at the historical and cultural aspects of mission and to reflect in depth at how the church can be re-contextualised to reach emerging generations.

Really this one is for Christian leaders and students of mission. It is well written with real stories of a few radical ideas for mission and church planting. It was fascinating but it did require a lot of attention. However this was helped by the glossary and, for me a very visual thinker I found the many diagrams summarised the points well.

There are many books around that look at the principles of the emerging church a lot of them are written from an American perspective whereas this book takes mainly an Australian view point. So I was interested to see what it had to offer.

What it presented does at times over-generalise about weaknesses in today’s church but what Hirsch and Frost propose is deeply biblical, even though the book isn’t really biblical exposition. Its arguments are compelling. It shows that there are those within the emerging church movement who are building according to the pattern outlined in scripture. ‘The Shaping of Things To Come’ is not just scholarly and culturally aware but also very biblical. I am most excited about the last section that looks at the Ephesians 4 ministries as key elements to the ecclesiology it is proposing.

If you want to get your teeth into something meaty in this area I would certainly recommend ‘The Shaping of Things to Come’.

September 26, 2011 at 6:00 pm
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