Prodigal Christianity offers a down-to-earth, accessible, and yet provocative understanding of God’s mission of redemption in the world, and how followers of Christ can participate in this work. It speaks into the discontent of all those who have exhausted conservative, liberal, and even emergent ways of being Christian and are looking for a new way forward. It offers building blocks for missional theology and practice that moves Christians into a gospel-centered way of life for our culture and our times.
This book can fill the gap for the average Christian left discontented with the current options “after evangelicalism.”
Where is the Christianity that journeys into the difficult places, the places where the Christian language is not yet spoken? . . . Where is the renewal of what the church has always been but sometimes forgets to be: a people sent in mission? Where are the signposts that can direct us into the missional frontier?”
—From the Introduction
Prodigal Christianity asks the questions that point to the issues troubling church leaders in the newly secularized post-Christendom cultures of North America. How is God revealed? What is the gospel? Where is the kingdom of God? And, most importantly, how do we live these realities amidst the sexualities, pluralism, and injustices of our time? Faced with these questions, many are looking for a way beyond the Emergent and Neo-Reformed movements, which seem to speak only to the people already convinced. Prodigal Christianity moves us beyond Christian-culture-bound ways of being Christian to living radically as Jesus’s people present in the world.
Using ten “signposts,” Prodigal Christianity charts the journey every Christian must take into “the far country.” It is a journey that is radical and yet generous, defined by the very way God has come to us in Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit. Nothing is compromised as this journey breaks down boundaries around the postmodern, post-Christian, relationally scarred, sexually broken, economically marginalized peoples of our day. Exploring the depths of the Christian faith, Prodigal Christianity opens the pathway for every Christian and every church to journey forward into the missional frontier God is calling us to in these new and different times.
“When it comes to pastoral theology, the only voices I care to hear are those who are pastoring, and pastoring well. David Fitch and Geoff Holsclaw are such voices. Their book reflects a rare combination of faithful neighborhood witness, embodied church life, and theological rigor. The result is a compelling missional theology for today’s missional Christian.”
—Scot McKnight, professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary; author of numerous books including King Jesus Gospel
“Over the last decade the church has finally begun to engage what it means to be sent (missional). What we have yet to learn is how to be sent (incarnational). This is exactly the kind of book that is needed to re-engage the lost art of incarnational mission.”?
—Alan Hirsch, author of The Permanent Revolution; Untamed; Right Here, Right Now; and The Forgotten Ways
“Prodigal Christianity’s push to return to the local is not a fad. It is the aching, beseeching call of the Spirit to rediscover the deeply human shape of the gospel. In the midst of the unraveling of church life in North America, Fitch and Holsclaw grasp what’s at stake in the formation of Christian life at this time.” ?
—Alan J. Roxburgh, founder of The Missional Network; author of The Missional Leader, Missional Map-Making, and Missional: Joining God in the Neighborhood
“Thoughtful, rooted, and direct. Fitch and Holsclaw do something with Prodigal Christianity that most authors can’t pull off. They hold the tension between the prophetic and priestly. As a result they make some readers squirm?and others question. Yet their love for the church, rooted in their own experience, provides a foundation so often lacking in the missional conversations.?As a result, nobody will be able to read this book and remain comfortable where they are.”
—Gary V. Nelson, president of Tyndale University College & Seminary, Toronto
David E. Fitch is a copastor and founder of Life on the Vine Christian Community and coaches church-planting for the Midwest District of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. He is the B.R. Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology at Northern Seminary, Chicago, and is author of The Great Giveaway and The End of Evangelicalism?
Geoff Holsclaw is a copastor at Life on the Vine Christian Community and an adjunct professor of theology at Northern Seminary. He is the Mid-West regional coordinator for Ecclesia Network.