Frost and HirschThe Shaping of Things To Come

This is a book that should be read by every Christian who knows something is wrong with today’s version of Christianity but can’t put their finger on what it is. The authors challenge every facet of Christianity today from ordination to the traditional creeds and offer a new, but ancient, way forward.

I found myself saying “Yes, But!” On one level I envy the journey on which they invite us to join them. On another level I wonder what will become of the Church if what they propose is followed.  They are on to something, but following it will totally destroy the church as we know it. They go far beyond “reshaping” or talking about innovation as is found on the cover.  A better title for the book might be “The Rewiring of Things To Come: The Beginning of a Revolution.”

The authors are advocating a wholesale rewiring of Christianity back its 21st century roots. I Know; we’ve heard this before. But these two authors have gone far beyond most of us. They actually show how to be the church without being institutional at all. They talk about a missional, incarnational, messianic, apostolic church that is found within the surrounding community rather than apart from and behind four walls. The authors describe what Christians and churches need to do and to be in order to reach the post-Christendom world.

The book begins much like many other books on the emerging church.  So don’t put it down till you get to the end.

I dare you to read this book, and if you do, to find ways to apply it to your church. Doing so will drive you crazy.

Response from the author

Dear Bill

You have exposed us for the revolutionaries that we are….our cover is blown  🙂 But I have to say that I feel very flattered by your review.  Thanks for the deep affirmation I find in it.  🙂 and thanks for its warnings as well

Just a bit of feedback on your feedback. Often people who read the book, but can’t see the implications in the more total, systemic, way that you have percieved them, are left with an uneasy but amorphous feeling of the same thing you have described.  But rather than respond as you have, as suggesting that there is something that the church needs to discern in our message, respond in a far more defensive way. This has gotten us into trouble at times. I suppose we should expect this, but are all too aware that this reaction sometimes removes us as an active conversational partner in the strategic dialogue that we feel the church must have.. We are all too aware of this somewhat renegade image and are trying our best to overcome this in order to enter into a meaningful conversation around these issues.  We are both deeply and covenantally committed to ‘the Church” and its ongoing renewal. If you could just affirm this somewhere, i will be very grateful.  Also the words ‘totally destroy’ might not be read well in this light. I know it is your review and not mine, but you did ask.

Both mine and Mike’s new work (we are writing separately this time) will help people in established churches engage with the possible ‘rewiring’ that you talk of.  Perhaps we are a bit wiser and more patient with the situation, or perhaps it is because the church at large is at last coming to grips with the missional issues that we face.  I suspect it is both.  But I find myself unusually hopeful and optimistic at present.