21.1.11

To Transform a City by Eric Swanson and Sam Williams



Eric Swanson, Sam Williams. To Transform a City: Whole Church, Whole Gospel, Whole City. Zondervan, 2011.  224 pages. 

Here is a book with a large vision.  The subtitle, corny as it sounds, actually encapsulates the message of the book.  Herein the authors explicate the ideas that we, as a whole church (not a single building or denomination), need to take the whole gospel (not just salvation from sin, but that and much more) to the whole city (not just the parts that fit conveniently with the make-up and preferences of your particular group of people). 

This book was a pleasant surprise and an enjoyable read.  It provides a good mix of biblical and theological reflection with practical suggestions and ideas. Their vision of the kingdom of God, of the city, and of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit working through the church were all refreshing, well researched and well thought out.  

One point I wanted to share came from the end of chapter two, "City and Community Transformation."  They pass on a point made by Andy Crouch that the only effective way to change culture is to to make more.  It is not enough to protest the existing culture and attendant woes if we do not offer an alternative.  In other words, if you want to change culture you need to be living out a different one already.  

Conclusion: 4.5 of 5 stars.  Excellent read, great introduction to the subject, and built on solid foundations.  Recommended.  Considering the small vision so many Christians and churches have towards God's work in our city and our culture, this book is a needed wake up call. 

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