Item description for Next Reformation, The: Why Evangelicals Must Embrace Postmodernity by Carl Raschke...
Overview Aimed particularly at evangelicals, this book argues that postmodernism and Christianity are not mutually exclusive. Rather, Christians must minister within the framework of postmodernism.
Publishers Description Can evangelical Christianity be postmodern? In The Next Reformation, Carl Raschke describes the impact of postmodernism on evangelical thought and argues that the two ideologies are not mutually exclusive. Instead, Christians must learn to worship and minister within the framework of postmodernism or risk becoming irrelevant. In this significant and timely discussion, Raschke demonstrates how to reconcile postmodernism with Christian faith. This book will appeal to readers interested in the relationship between postmodernism and Christian faith as well as church leaders and pastors wrestling with the practical implications of cultural changes for worship and ministry.
Citations And Professional Reviews Next Reformation, The: Why Evangelicals Must Embrace Postmodernity by Carl Raschke has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Library Journal - 01/15/2005 page 119
Library Journal - 01/01/2005
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Studio: Baker Academic
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.12" Width: 6.1" Height: 0.69" Weight: 0.8 lbs.
Release Date Nov 1, 2004
Publisher Baker Academic
ISBN 0801027519 ISBN13 9780801027512
Availability 0 units.
More About Carl Raschke
Carl Raschke, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Denver, is the author of The Next Reformation: Why Evangelicals Must Embrace Postmodernity, among other books.
Carl Raschke currently resides in the state of Colorado.
Reviews - What do customers think about Next Reformation, The: Why Evangelicals Must Embrace Postmodernity?
Moving Postmodern Theology Forward, Slowly Mar 26, 2007
No doubt, over the next half century there will be no shortage of ink spilled in reconciling postmodern philosophy with modern theology and religion. Raschke's book is an excellent starting place for anyone looking to get in on this conversation.
Raschke writes assuming that the reader will have little or no experience with postmodern philosophy, or philosophy at all. While the issues and ideas might not be easily picked up by the philosophy beginner, they will at least be covered. As my undergrad philosophy professor used to say, "Clear as mud, but it covers the ground."
Those more advanced in philosophical thought will probably find this to be the book's biggest fault as well. Philosophical conversations that took thousands of pages and hundreds of years to come by are covered in a page or two.
I give this book three stars because it does not do a great job of bridging the gap that I mentioned above. The beginner will probably be too confused by Raschke's somewhat convoluted academic style of writing. The more experienced philosopher will gain some interesting ideas to think about in terms of postmodernism's value in theology. Personally, I was somewhat amused that a Derrida scholar could also be a big fan of German Reformation thought and Pentecostal emotionalism. I could probably bump this review up a star for that fact alone.
Postmodernism Defended Apr 21, 2006
If you are a Christian interested in philosophy (as this reviewer is), and if you have become convinced (as this reviewer has) that 21st century evangelical Christianity is thoroughly Hellenized, then you should find this book interesting.
This is a mostly "academic" work (i.e., it is not "light" reading), but even if you have not read much philosophy you can wade through it if you keep a philosophical dictionary close by.
(1) Raschke has a Ph.D. from Harvard University, and his analysis of the history of Western Philosophy (and its impact upon Christian thought) is very well-argued. This reviewer has been disillusioned with many recent Christian writers who seek to criticize "Postmodernism" without really understanding it (i.e., they have read none of the primary texts - and react with a fundamentalist zeal - full of fire, but without knowledge). This is easily understandable - since reading Jacques Derrida is almost as relaxing as a root canal. But the "Christian bookstore" definition that "postmodernism = relativism," is simply un-scholarly. Raschke has read Derrida, Foucault, Levinas, et. al. (where was Lyotard?), and does not fall into to the "simplification" error of many recent popular Christian writers.
(2) Raschke recognizes that the modernistic quest for "certainty," is a Western idea with philosophical roots in the foundationalist thought of Descarte. For an easier to read analysis of this issue read Lesslie Newbigin's, Proper Confidence: Faith, Doubt, and Certainty in Christian Discipleship, (this is a great little book, http://www.this site.com/gp/product/0802808565/sr=1-1/qid=1145588003/ref=sr_1_1/002-4823991-7848833?%5Fencoding=UTF8&s=books). Raschke pummels this idea relentlessly using Derrida as the hammer (and Derrida is a great hammer!). Christianity is not about "certainty," (the perpetual quest of Western Philosophy), it is much more existential - it's about faith.
(1) Raschke disparages "propositional truth." He analyses and quotes the theologian Cornelius Van Til extensively, while neglecting the greater 20th century Philosopher Gordon H. Clark. Raschke scathingly critiques Francis Schaeffer, while embracing the irrationalism of Kierkegaard (Kierkegaard is an interesting writer, but he wasn't a Philosopher - and he never claimed to be - he repeatedly said "I'm a writer"). In this reviewer's opinion, to criticize "propositional truth," is to beat one's head against a stone wall (i.e., it is an unrewarding and painful activity which makes the "criticizer" look foolish). Contrary to some recent hyperbole, propositional truth is not at risk at all - and "propositional truth" is not "hard to understand." Propositional truth will be standing long after its critics have returned to dust and ashes. Not only are propositions NOT hard to understand, the Holy Bible (the Word of God) is written in propositions; predications. When Raschke embraces irrationalism, he slips, he slides - he looses ground (grounding, credibility). Raschke is a very intelligent man, so the reader must understand that this is not accidental - his sustained attack on foundationalism (and his method of attack) traps him in irrationalism.
(2) Raschke embraces Charismatic foolishness. This is the hardest to swallow. In the next to last chapter of the book, this Harvard Ph.D. documents how (emotionally weakened by a failed marriage) he experienced some charismatic phenomena in a Dallas, Texas meeting, and is forevermore changed into what Brian Maclaren calls "a new kind of Christian." For the orthodox thinking Christian who has experienced Christ as the "wisdom of God" - this leap into irrationality/foolishness is astounding. Wake up man - you are better than this!
This is a very interesting book. It is generally well written, and if I could delete about 20 pages (out of 215) I would give it 5 stars. As it is, I will give it only 3. I can only recommend it for thinking Christians who are attracted to Postmodernism (as this reviwer is). It is educational and well written, and may serve as a warning of the foolishness that can follow when one embraces irrationalism and calls it "Christian."
Interesting, But... Oct 7, 2005
I too, like many other reviewers, am an avid reader of postmodern literature. I was looking forward to this book finally being the academic work to convince Evangelicals to Embrace Postmodernism, as subtitle says. Furthermore I was fascinating to see how this member of the academy would substantiate some of the claims and practices of the Emerging Church movement.
Raschke's explanation of the philosophical foundations of western thought and therefore Evangelicalism was insightful. His references to some key philosophers in Europe and America and the relation of their thought to eachother was superb. However, in the end of the day, His argument did not convince that Evangelicals should embrace postmodernism for two primary reasons. First, His reductionsitic outlook of Evangelical Christianity in western culture is an inaccurate portrait of the Evangelical Church. He tends to lump all evenagelicals in the same right wing, condemning, propositional focussd camp. But this is not the case in reality. Second, his attempt to use Luther and the other major Reformers of the Prostestant Reformation does not do justice to the context those reformers were in. As one who has studied Luther extensively, I simply do not see all his points about the Refomers view of Scripture and therefore the conclusions he draws seem to be a stretch. He fails to use the reformers to substantiate his case.
This book is interesting but I encourage you to read it critically, just as Raschke has read modern culture and Evangelicalism.
From the back of the book: Sep 16, 2005
The author has produced a creative and provocative textual pastiche that weaves together a constructive interpretation of theology, a critical investigation of history, a dynamic reflection on church growth strategy, and a poignant spiritual autobiography. His pronouncement of a new Reformation will irritate many wallflower evangelicals, but is may also motivate a few to get on their feet and move to the rhythms of a postmodern celebration of Christ's freedom and love.
A Philosopher and Theologian discovers the Holy Spirit Sep 12, 2005
Reflecting on how things were done in past can be a useful exercise, but as the trite saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. Does gaining a more enlightened perspective based on hindsight mean that what was done in the past was all wrong, and somehow we will get it right this time, because we now we know better? Raschke's thesis on the un-holy alliance of Evangelical theology with Cartesian rationalism and British evidentialism seems to suggest that. His arguments defending that assertion provides interesting read, but the subtitle (Why Evangelicals must embrace Postmodernity) is what caught my eye. What I had hoped to gain was a clearly stated, cogent argument, to support that statement. Instead, what the reader gets is Raschke's personal and fascinating journey of a theologian and philosopher who discovers the power of the Holy Spirit as expressed through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Interwoven in this personnel narrative are provocative statements about oppressive Evangelical church counsels imposing things such as inerrancy and fundamental tenants of faith on believers. I found many of Raschke's hindsight statements helpful, as they do provide some explanation for why Evangelicals are the way they are. But the philosopher him in is still tugging at him as evidenced by his attempts to frame Postmodernity as a harmless philosophy, even suggesting that Derrida's theory of language is not so harmful when it comes to Biblical Hermeneutics. His definition of Postmodernity is as vague as readers on the topic have come to expect. That is because, as he says, Postmodernity is simply popular culture. And I thoroughly agree with him that Evangelicals should mix with popular culture in their mission to be a light to the world. If you are a patient and mature reader, Raschke provides many good insights that make the book worth reading.