Ed Stetzer asked me several weeks ago to preview and review his new book Subversive Kingdom. Ed now turns out new books with more frequency than Papa Johns delivers pizzas, but this one represents a different fare for him.
Written more like a series of sermons, "Subversive Kingdom" is a challenge engage the world Jesus died to save in fresh ways--ways that are grounded in a thorough exegesis of the "Kingdom of God." The book consists of three parts that challenge the reader to a new way of thinking about how to advance God's Kingdom, the requirements for living this kind of life, and practical ways to apply "subversive living."
I like this book, and will likely use it for discussion groups with my pastors. However, the real potency of this work will not be known until its message gets into the hands, and hearts, of the "laity" in our churches. The title doesn't help, as I can't imagine the average church-goer excited about buying this one for the cover, so it will take pastors and others actually putting the book into the hands of their people. But if you can only put one book into your people's hands this year (other than Scripture of course), this is the one!
Additionally, most of Ed's books are of the "how to" variety. This one casts a fantastic vision for what it would look like if God's people would truly live "at His complete disposal, deployed by His Spirit to make creative, courageous inroads into the heart of a dying culture."
I've been using a new term with our Associational leadership recently; "broken arrow missiology." If you recognize the military reference, you know that "broken arrow" is a code word the indicates that the lines of battle have broken down to the point that they are no longer recognizable. In such a situation, you can still recognize who is with you and who isn't, but the lines of demarcation are blurred to the extent that you can no longer tell where you end and enemy territory begins. In an actual battle scenario, this is never a good situation. Yet in many ways, this is precisely how God desires for us to engage the world. As long as there are lines of demarcation between "Christian culture" and "non-Christian culture," the best we will be able to do is occasionally scoop out unbelievers from the world and bring them over to our side of the "battle lines." Problem is, God owns the whole world and demands that we take the whole thing! For this to happen, the message of the Gospel must be brought to bear in a way that interlaces with the world systems that you and I face each and every day.
In "Subversive Kingdom," Ed Stetzer has painted a great and accurate picture of what such engagement looks like. You can pick it up at your local Lifeway store, or buy it here at Amazon.