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Engaging Unbelief: A Captivating Strategy from Augustine and Aquinas [Paperback]

By Curtis Chang (Author)
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Item description for Engaging Unbelief: A Captivating Strategy from Augustine and Aquinas by Curtis Chang...

Curtis Chang has found vital resources for addressing these issues in the lives of Augustine bishop of Hippo (A.D. 413) and Dominican priest Thomas Aquinas (A.D. 1259). Through a careful study of Augustine's City of God and Aquinas's Summa Contra Gentiles, Chang has discerned a valuable rhetorical strategy for engaging unbelief in cultural contexts where Christian faith seems less and less plausible.

Building on the contemporary cultural analysis of Alasdair MacIntyre, Christopher Lasch, James Davison Hunter and John Milbank as well as insights gleaned from Lesslie Newbigin and Stanley Hauerwas, Chang puts forth his own bold recommendation. We should confront challengers not with legal or moral coercion, much less violence, but by meeting and speaking with them within their own thought and language worlds. This approach will involve (1) entering the challengers' stories, (2) retelling the stories and (3) capturing those retold stories within the gospel's larger story. With theological as well as practical insights drawn from Augustine and Aquinas, Chang completes the book by offering concrete suggestions for more faithfully taking up our evangelistic and apologetic task today.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Pages   187
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.54" Width: 6.54" Height: 0.41"
Weight:   0.52 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2007
Publisher   Wipf & Stock Publishers
ISBN  1556355203  
ISBN13  9781556355202  

Availability  0 units.

More About Curtis Chang

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Chang oversees campus ministry for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Tufts, M.I.T. and Harvard.

Curtis Chang was born in 1968.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Apologetics
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology

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Giants of Church History Help Us Enter a Postmodern Age  Oct 21, 2008
Curtis Chang's Engaging Unbelief: A Captivating Strategy from Augustine and Aquinas seeks to answer the challenges of postmodernism by applying the methodology of two giants in church history.

Chang demonstrates the rhetorical effectiveness of Augustine's City of God (400's A.D.) and Thomas Aquinas' Summa contra Gentiles (1260 A.D.) by showing how each theologian confronts the epochal threat of his generation. Chang outlines their apologetic strategy as follows:
1. Enter the challenger's story.
2. Retell the challenge's story.
3. Capture the story in the wider story of Christianity by exposing the challenging story's "tragic flaw" or inadequacy.

Though Augustine and Aquinas faced different threats (Augustine's was a culture turning hostile to Christianity and Aquinas' was the rapid expansion of Islam), Chang argues that both utilized this method of apologetics. Of course, Chang does not leave us with history alone; he then shows how Christians can confront the arrival of postmodernism the same way.

Chang's book is not an easy read. Even as a student who loves church history, I found some of the historical details unnecessary. It would have been more helpful for Chang to intersperse advice for our current challenges within the biographical chapters, instead of simply bookending those chapters with the practical.

Still, there is much to be commended in Chang's work. He correctly identifies many of the problems of postmodernism, one of the features missing from many in the Emerging Church discussion.

Though he occasionally falls too far into the culture he is trying to reach (Is filmmaking really the key to reaching postmoderns? Is inerrancy a doctrine that can only arise in a modernist context, etc.?), Chang manages to strike a good balance between condemning everything about postmodernism and baptizing postmodernist thought in Christian lingo.

I would love to see a rewrite of this book because the world has changed substantially since it was published in 2000. Our collision with radical Islam on September 11 makes Aquinas' confrontation with Islam all the more compelling. And as our world continues to slip into a post-Christian state (with evangelicals waking up to the fact that there are two kingdoms that should not be confused) we would be wise to take another look at Augustine's testimony.

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