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Carl Raschke: The Next Reformation


It is in chapters 7 and 8 that the Emergent and Charismatic influences on Raschke’s thinking can be most clearly seen. They are also the most biographical. In them the author sketches what he believes postmodern ministry and worship are about. Both are marked by informality, relationships, and the continued presence and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. The one major weakness of Raschke’s book is the chapter (8) on worship. He too easily equates renewal and revival with the contemporary charismatic movement. The traditional and mainline churches with their liturgy and ceremony can just as well be the scene of revival. Let us not take God out of one box only to place him back into a newer, shinier box.

There are at least two reasons why evangelicals should read this book. First, it is not the usual evangelical book on postmodernism because it is written by someone who has embraced postmodernity. Most varieties of books on postmodernism within conservative Christianity are by authors attempting to debunk postmodernity. Whether one agrees with the concepts of postmodernity or not, we owe it to ourselves as responsible thinkers to read both sides of the argument. The Next Reformation is just that, a clear and cogent presentation of what postmodern thought is and what that means for evangelicalism.

Second, this book will challenge or affirm your faith depending on your current mindset. If you are one of those rational thinkers, a child of modern philosophy, who is genuinely concerned about how postmodernism will effect your church, then this book is a must read for you. You will be challenged by the sound and knowledgeable argument of Raschke and see that postmodernism is not the “boogeyman” that many conservative writers make it out to be. If, on the other hand, you are worried about the current intellectual or spiritual climate of evangelical churches, this book will encourage you to see that changes taking place right now are cause for “awe and preparation, and pondering” (207). Postmodern ministry, as Raschke shows, will be a time of great opportunity and challenge, but one that God is able to equip the church to meet.

Reviewed by Robert Cooke


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Category: Ministry, Winter 2006

About the Author: Robert Cooke, BTh, MTS, lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada where he is an adjunct professor of biblical studies and coordinator of distance education at Queen’s College Faculty of Theology. Robert is also actively involved in youth ministry and is a member of the Society of Pentecostal Studies and the Society of Biblical Literature.

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