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Encountering New Religious Movements: A Holistic Evangelical Approach

by Irving Hexham, Stephen Rost, John Morehead, etc.

Buy the book: Irving Hexham. Encountering New Religious Movements: A Holistic Evangelical Approach

Release Date: 01 January, 2004

Edition: Paperback

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Buy the book: Irving Hexham. Encountering New Religious Movements: A Holistic Evangelical Approach


Busting Old Paradigms - Creating New Ones

It would be inappropriate for me as a co-editor and co-author of this book to provide a review, given my obvious favorable "bias" toward the book's content, but perhaps some background as to whey the book was created will be helpful for those who are considering its purchase.

As an evangelical working in the area of alternative spirituality, new religious movements, or "cults" as they are popularly called in evangelicalism, for many years I used an apologetic methodology popularized by the late Walter Martin. This method begins with Protestant biblical orthodoxy and then compares and refutes the beliefs of alternative spiritualities as heresy. Having used this methodology for many years I reflected on it in light of my further research into missions literature, as well as insights provided by sociology and communication theory. The more I looked at the confrontational methodology of "countering the cults" the more it appeared to be better suited to "preaching to the choir" of evangelical churches rather than to evangelism. Curiously, while the religiously plural situation of America would seem to present evangelicals with unique opportunities for evangelism, the prevalent use of confrontational apologetic methodologies has in fact stifled effective disciple making.

Consider the cultural state of affairs in the U.S. in the early 21st century. Religious pluralism abounds and the post-Christendom culture in which evangelicals find themselves has pushed evangelicalism to the fringes of American culture. In the "between times" of the modernism/postmodernism paradigm shift, dogmatic and confrontational methodologies need to be reconsidered.

For these and other reasons the editors and contributors toward Encountering New Religious Movements have produced an interdisciplinary approach to understanding and responding to new religious movements. This book moves beyond mere denunciation and refutation in an attempt to sympathetically understand these movements; to consider why thousands, perhaps millions of people find them fulfilling; and to consider strategies for effective communication of the way of Christ in culturally appropriate ways to the varying religious cultures of alternative spiritualties. This volume represents a significant step toward creating a new paradigm for evangelicals in the 21st century. Read the book, engage the editors and authors in discussion about the book's contents, and participate in the growing movement creating this paradigm!

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