If you only read one book on evangelism this year, it needs to be Evangelism after Christendom: The Theology and Practice of Christian Witness by Bryan Stone. I continue to have moments where I’m reading and something clicks that I’ve observed in the Church but never quite had the words to describe. I’m sure some of you will disagree with some of the premises. Nevertheless, if you want to really think critically and theologically about evangelism in the years ahead (and I think you should), you’ll want to have a conversation with Bryan Stone.
Here’s the last major quote that gave me pause:
What inevitably takes place in the practice of evangelism within a Constantinian social imagination is that the question of following Jesus as Lord is abstracted from the concrete loyalties, habits, and patterns of conduct associated with Jesus and the apostolic life. That question is instead transformed into a question of one’s nominal membership in a religious group. It may also be transformed into a question of one’s intellectual assent to propositions about who Jesus is or, as we see increasingly within the predominant consensus in modernity, into a private, inward, and dematerialized experience of Jesus’ lordship. The common denominator in all these transformations is that the sovereignty of Constantine remains intact while Christian witness is disassociated from the intrinsically material and political dimensions of the lordship of Jesus.
Check it out, you’ll be challenged and informed!