The Vanishing Evangelical: Saving the Church from Its Own Success by Restoring What Really Matters  -     By: Calvin Miller
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The Vanishing Evangelical: Saving the Church from Its Own Success by Restoring What Really Matters

Baker Books / 2013 / Hardcover

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Product Description

American evangelicalism faces a very uncertain future. In the last book before his passing, The Vanishing Evangelical, Calvin Miller writes a critical and prophetic look at the movement he loved. Believing we can shape the future only if we understand the present, American evangelicalism he warns, has largely adapted to the culture and as a result is waning in its vitality and influence.

Miller looks at broad cultural influences that are shaping the whole movement, and Miller's wise counsel challenges us to confront these forces and take steps to develop a personal, vital spirituality.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Baker Books
Publication Date: 2013
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0801015510
ISBN-13: 9780801015519
Availability: Expected to ship on or about 10/29/14.
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Publisher's Description

Evangelicalism faces an uncertain future. In this book, written just before his death, Calvin Miller takes a critical and prophetic look at the movement he loved, believing we can only shape the future if we understand the present. American evangelicalism, he warns, has largely adapted to the culture and as a result, is waning in its vitality and influence.

Rather than counting on some grand revival, Miller writes that revitalizing the heart of evangelical Christianity will instead happen one person at a time. The Vanishing Evangelical looks at the broad cultural influences that are shaping the whole movement, and Miller's sage counsel challenges the reader to confront these forces personally and take steps toward a personal, vital spirituality.

Author Bio

Calvin Miller (1936-2012) served as a pastor for over thirty years, and was also research professor and distinguished writer in residence at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama. He was a beloved author of more than seventy books of popular theology and inspiration, including Preaching: The Art of Narrative Exposition.

Endorsements

The Vanishing Evangelical is not only a fitting epitaph of Calvin Miller's well-lived life but also prophetic trumpet blast to the church given to us as he entered eternity. Upon reading his visionary summons, I was duly convicted, then encouraged; challenged, then affirmed; guilty as charged, then exonerated with grace. Calvin Miller's amazingly insightful work is written for such a time as this, calling a sedated church back to her first love and to her rightful place.
-Wayne Cordeiro,
founder and senior pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship, Honolulu, Hawaii

Calvin Miller was a pastor, professor, artist, apologist, evangelist, and writer of renown. He was also my friend, colleague, racquetball mate, and discussion partner. This is the last book he wrote, and it's well worth the read. I wish Calvin were still here so that I could take him to Starbucks to chat about several things he wrote in this volume, but I'm sure he is occupied with higher things in a better place. We are still tracking with you, Calvin!
-Timothy George,
founding dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University; general editor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture

Calvin Miller knew the evangelical world from many perspectives--as a pastor, church planter, bestselling author, and teacher. In The Vanishing Evangelical, he summons his decades of experience and his considerable talents to craft a powerful indictment of the current state of the evangelical church. Dealing with challenges such as a declining interest in worship and discipleship, postmodern thought, wavering orthodoxy, and more, the book nevertheless points to factors that indicate the potential for a more promising future. Church leaders should take seriously both Miller's concerns and his prescriptions for the future of the church.
-Michael Duduit,
executive editor of Preaching magazine; dean of the College of Christian Studies at Anderson University, Anderson, South Carolina

Calvin Miller's crowning work sizzles with prophetic zeal. Like Jesus, Miller had a passion that increased as his life on this planet ebbed. That passion comes through in the pages of this book.
-David Murrow,
author of Why Men Hate Going to Church

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  1. Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    perceptive analysis of the demise of the church
    September 18, 2013
    bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Evangelicalism is a term defined various ways so Miller starts there. He includes those who have a personal faith in Jesus Christ and believe in His atoning sacrifice, miracles, virgin birth, resurrection, second coming, and the doctrine of redemption.

    He is clear that this book is about American evangelicalism. He writes that it is in decline, lethargic and with insipid faith. The constants are gone, he says. "The problem is that the Bible is no longer the agreed-upon centerpiece of evangelical thought." (25)

    He analyzes the demise: He explores the effect of the mega-church and major ideologies on the church. We have dropped the way of life that valued devout worship. We have lost our influence on the arts. He writes, "That loss of power to influence is the force behind the decline [of worship]." (56) He comments on missions and postdenominationalism. He explains the dilution of core beliefs and reflects on the effect of computers on the church. He looks at copycat worship and sermons and computer driven faith. "The evangelical world is flat, and we are vanishing partly because its flatness is universally dull and uninteresting." (104) He comments on anti-intellectualism and the dumbing down of evangelicals: "Evangelicals are dumbing down at twice the rate of non-Christians." (132) He notes a similar attitude toward the arts. He calls for a marriage of mind and heart, of knowledge and passion. He shows where the secular age has triumphed over the Christian world and the growth of the secular culture, such as our addiction to materialism. He reveals how we have whitewashed secular movements and Christianized them, thinking we are creative.

    "If our way of life is to remain on the earth, there must be a renaissance of biblical values, and a re-education of Christian youth that will stabilize the covenant faith of their parents. This is not a renaissance that we can muddle through, slowing the preservation of our way of life. The day is late. The time to begin is now." (161)

    In the final chapters of the book, Miller sketches a plan for individual survival. He writes, "I say individual because I hold not the slightest hope for the triumph of the entire faith." (191) To try to preserve the evangelical movement is pointless, Miller argues. "Each of us - one by one - must seek our own individual vitality." (196) The way to save the whole is to focus on the parts. Yet we are not to give up hope. Don't forget, God made the dry bones live.

    As a retired Christian bookseller who has watched the evangelical church since the mid 70s, I agree with Miller. The evangelical demise is real and observable. I also agree with Miller in that the hope for the future rests with each individual Christian. He has great suggestions as how we can restore vitality to our own faith. Yes, we need revival and, yes, it must start with each of us.

    I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
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