In this book, Mr. Hunter has written an excellent thesis on Celtic Christianity. This is not light reading, but neither is it too heady for the average reader to understand.
The basic thesis of this book is an interesting study of the fifth century evangelization of Ireland by Patrick and how his methods may be effective in today's culture. Mr. Hunter does a fine job of educating the reader about the ways Patrick used to reach a barbaric, pagan nation with the Gospel using very non-traditional methods. He theorizes that in today's world, there is a generation of "New Barbarians" - people whose lives have never been influenced by Christianity and have no true Christian experience. As in the days of Patrick, the religious institutions have failed to make the Gospel highly relative to this culture.
He concludes his study by giving examples of specific churches and ministries who have adopted creative new methods of evangelizing this largely unreached generation and have succeeded. He also issues a moving challenge to Church leaders to make the necessary changes to bridge the gap between the Church and the unchurched and bring in this vast harvest of people who are searching for God in all the wrong places.
I found this book very helpful and encouraging. I highly agree with Mr. Hunter's thesis and join with him in issuing this challenge to the Church. As a pastor, I began making these changes in our church years ago, with some success. More recently, we have been introduced to ministry groups who are literally going into the darkest parts of this alienated culture, living among the people and sharing the good news of the Gospel. The fruit of their ministry is tremendous and has challenged us to go even further to make the Church a place where everyone who is seeking God is welcome, regardless of how "uncivilized" they may be.
Those churches who are bold enough to make this change will be rewarded with an army of passionate young warriors of the faith who will go anywhere and do anything to share the love of Jesus Christ in the streets. Buy this book if you are serious about reaching the lost. You won't regret it.
I would have given this book a higher rating had it not claimed to be the "celtic" way of evangelism. Hunter presents excellent concepts for evangelism but his study of the celtic church is unimpressive. He argues that there was a contrasting view of Roman vs. Celtic ways of doing things yet many of his examples of how "Celtic" monastaries would have done things are drawn from the very "Roman" rule of Benedict.
He also accuses the "Roman" wing of the church imposing her liturgy on the Celtic churches around the 5th Century. Sure, the tonsure and dating of Easter were brought in but this was quite a while before a standard liturgy was imposed throughout Europe. Check out the Gallican Liturgy and Stowe Missal. I get the impression that the author drew examples from some stories about St. Patrick and ideas of modern authors to back up his own ideas of evangelism. I appreciate his understanding of theories and theology of evangelis, I just don't see how it is based on solid study of the Celtic church.