Item description for An Agenda for Change: A Global Call for Spiritual and Social Transformation by Joel Edwards...
Overview A compelling tract for our times addressed to evangelicals to set the agenda for coming years calling for presenting Christ credibly to the 21st century, rehabilitating the term ?evangelical? to mean ?good news?, and engaging in spiritual and social tansformation.
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Reviews - What do customers think about An Agenda for Change: A Global Call for Spiritual and Social Transformation?
Concise - Intriguing - On Target Jul 1, 2008
"An Agenda For Change" is an engaging book for many reasons. It clearly and succinctly identifies how Christians have discredited the gospel in their attempt to be socially relevant. In our earnestness to "make" Jesus relevant in the 21st Century, we have transformed Jesus into a marketing tactic rather than living transformed lives to attract unbelievers. We have twisted Jesus' command to be in the world but not of the world.
Joel Edwards takes a simple 3-part approach to explaining the Christian's loss of credibility in today's society in a way that brings not defensiveness but a desire to take a self-assessment of our part in the discrediting of the gospel and evokes a desire to live transformed lives.
Jesus doesn't need flashy marketing and all the newest toys and gadgets and strategies to attract the crowds. There's plenty of mass marketing appeal for everything under the sun. What Jesus needs is for His followers to be real ... to live an unassuming, faithful, servant-oriented life that makes us stand out from the crowd. It's not how loud we can shout for Jesus - it's how quiet and transforming we can be for Jesus. It's not always about what we say - sometimes its about what we don't say!
I highly recommend An Agenda For Change ... but only if you really want to be the change!
Joel Edwards, An Agenda For Change Jun 25, 2008
An Agenda for Change, by Joel Edwards, could be summed up with the statement, "It's all in the presentation. Much of our potential audience is not listening because of the way we are delivering the message. If we want people to listen, we must change the way we deliver the message. We live in a world that celebrates differences. We have to demonstrate that what we have is not only different but better. Edwards discusses the history of the early church in that it was in the midst of a pagan society, hated and persecuted. Why did the early church grow? Because it was sold on Jesus and the people of the early church displayed a different lifestyle that attracted others. The pluralistic, anti-Christian society we face today as Christians is similar to what the early church faced for the first 300 years. The church is much stronger when it is being challenged than when it being protected. In many ways the church ceased being different after AD 325 as it became a part of the culture, not different. The first difference was the church's stand on Jesus. Recent surveys show that the average Christian does not believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation, but rather just one among many. Rather than spend our time in religious bashing, we need to carrying out acts of kindness. Acts of kindness speak far louder than our loud clashing rhetoric. If we speak for Jesus, then we need to speak to the issues Jesus addressed: * Corruption in the religious world * The mistreatment of children, especially infants * The need to be servant leaders * Jesus was a historical personality sent by God in a divine fashion--virgin birth * Unique in forgiveness * Concerned about the widow, orphan, and sinner * Teaching, preaching, and discipling * Performing of healings and exorcisms The need to recognize the power of the Holy Spirit in our ministries * Strange movements of the Spirit, especially as seen in the extreme in some areas of the Pentecostal movement. Edwards says miracles carry a lot of baggage with them, but we still need them (37). * Evangelicals on the theological right who are unwilling to seriously pray even for healing. Where the church is growing most rapidly is in Africa, South America, and Asia, and in all of these cases numerous miracles are being reported. Healing and miracles are a significant part of the ministry. Edwards says: "The plain truth is that Christians who deny the place of miracles may wake up to find out that we are out of step with a contemporary culture growing weary with `reason', which changes nothing and no one." (39) The problem of identifying evangelicals The use of the term evangelical is used to cover extreme conservatives all the way to Roman Catholics and some Orthodox church leaders. Who is in and who is out? * Establishing identity of evangelicals is difficult * No individual evangelical group has the right to declare that it defines what an evangelical is. * The truth should not be used to bludgeon others * The truth should not be used to exclude others * Evangelicals are not the final arbiters of the truth (those who make final judgments) * Should be recognized by a commitment to the Bible and its authority in all matters of doctrine and ethics * No single cultural interpretation should be allowed to dominate * Orthodoxy is critical, but it is bigger than all of us. We are not appointed to be God's thought-police. * God is not party-political * Our evangelical status is not based on how we vote
Transformation Requires Conversation Main Theme Jun 2, 2008
Joel Edwards presents an excellent case for the need for Evangelicals to engage our culture in conversation, instead of condemnation. Rather than a high-and-mighty attitude with an us vs. them mentality, Edwards states that when we "enter into dialogue, sinners are given the dignity of choice and the option not to be fully persuaded...Only a conversational church can really be a witnessing church because it can never fully understand itself unless it is in conversation with its world."
Jesus engaged His culture in conversation. He presented the truth as it related to his culture and allowed His culture to make the decision to follow. He didn't condemn the sinners, but condemned the religious leaders of His day. Edwards contends that when we "hurl advice from the safety of our pulpits and insular conferences...We end up head-butting our world in the name of love."
An excellent book for looking at the mission of Evangelicals from a heavenly perspective. The reason I gave it 4 stars instead of five: 1)I would have liked to have seen more "how-to's" 2)got hung-up on the English spelling of some words, but became used to it once I got deeper into the book.
Evangelical Change Is Good News May 10, 2008
Joel Edwards makes a concise examination of the role of Evangelical Christians in his book, An Agenda for Change. He defines the differences that exist within the family of believers who consider themselves evangelicals and brings to the table compelling arguments to join together as one body instead of "majoring on the minors" that separate us so that we can reach those who do not know Christ and share the "Good News" with them.
He shares great background and insight in his words and expresses the need for change--to quit trying to "make Christ credible but to unveil him as such." He also expresses that we need to not just be "against things" but to "for things" making the body of Christ be his hands and feet touching a dying world rather than judges to slap them around for what they are doing wrong.
And I fully agree with Edwards' stance that no major change happens without a considerable amount of prayer and that it does not happen overnight but take diligent long-term commitments.
I walked away with the feeling I could share this book with those who may think the word "Evangelical" has somehow taken on a negative connotation and how we can step beyond the need to defend ourselves but instead become the body of believers that want to represent Christ as a loving Savior.
I wished there had been more agenda May 7, 2008
First of all, Edwards' observations are terrific. If you are an evangelical and want to see some on target thoughts about the heritage of evangelicals and ideals of what we should be about, this is the book. I appreciated reading a perspective that was from outside America. His position of how evangelicals need to focus beyond our time like the example of the cathedral is very insightful.
That said, why only three stars? Two reasons: First, I believe entirely too much of this short book is spent debating whether to use the descriptive word "evangelical." I "are" one, and despite some cultural reasons that are lined out, would prefer to be known by my existence rather than by what label someone wants to hang on it. Second, maybe I am being too pragmatic (and he is obviously much more qualified than I am), but I wanted more of the agenda spelled out. The author spends most of a chapter describing a church that does not exists; the disappointment I felt in discovering it is not a "real" place is similar to my disappointment in not seeing more nuts and bolts.
By all means, read this thoughtful, insightful book.