Books

The Gap Between God and Christianity: The Turbulence of Western Culture

By Thomas M. Stallter

What we fear most has ironically come upon us as Western individualists. We are being controlled by the invisible forces of culture and they have come between God and us. Silent but in the background...

Publisher
Wipf and Stock

ISBN
9781666712407

Publication Date
February 15, 2022

US Price
$25.99

Page Count
310

About the book

What we fear most has ironically come upon us as Western individualists. We are being controlled by the invisible forces of culture and they have come between God and us. Silent but in the background of all we do and think, its influence cannot be overlooked.

We condone and even encourage and champion the very things that create distance between our needs and God’s goodness, between our plans and his destiny for us, between our weakness and his strength. We have been deceived.

Not only have we created distance between us, but we seldom free God from these cultural and personal expectations and let him speak for himself.

We have locked God into our system and, in the end, distracted by our needs for social and personal survival. We must turn our eyes toward him, open our ears to his voice, and let him speak.

About the author
Thomas M. Stallter is Professor of Intercultural Studies and World Mission at Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana. He previously spent many years in pastoral training, church planting, relief work, and business as mission in Central African Republic and Chad.

Reviews

“Because all ministry is intercultural, The Gap Between God and Christianity has a foundational and fundamental message for all Christian workers at home and abroad: know first who you are. Why? So that you don’t superimpose your culture on the Biblical cultures or the host culture. Forged out of the crucible of cross-cultural ministry in numerous cultures, the reader can expect to find informed ways to ‘let God be God.’ Don’t overlook this jewel.”   —Tom Steffen, Biola University, emeritus.

“This book is a rich and needed cultural critique of American conservative Christianity, by a lifelong member of that community who has served half of his life as a foreign missionary, and the other half as a seminary professor. . . . Stallter concludes that cultural expectations, theological systems, and personal needs filter American views of Scripture and God, with the result that we ‘know a lot about self-assertion but little about humility and, therefore, little of the fear of God.”   —Sherwood G. Lingenfelter, Fuller Theological Seminary, emeritus.

“Tom Stallter has faithfully and pointedly served those of us who comprise his Euro-North American audience. Building on his extensive international experience and painstaking scholarly pursuits, Stallter offers here not only a penetrating critique of our enslaving Western individualism but—perhaps even more importantly—constructive pointers toward living freely as followers of Jesus Christ. Stallter’s analysis of our skewed notion of ‘conscience’ is only one of several enlightening discussions that push us to ‘let God be God.’”   —J. Nelson Jennings, Mission Pastor, Onnuri Church, S. Korea

“Thomas Stallter has provided the church an extremely valuable tool to help understand the role culture has played in the initial giving of God’s revelation, the subsequent understanding of that revelation throughout the ages, and the communication of that revelation by Christians across cultures. This understanding enables us to “let God be God within our cultural frame of reference’ and avoid the ‘intrusion of self between God and us.’”   —John R. Lillis, Pacific Theological Seminary

About the book

What we fear most has ironically come upon us as Western individualists. We are being controlled by the invisible forces of culture and they have come between God and us. Silent but in the background of all we do and think, its influence cannot be overlooked.

We condone and even encourage and champion the very things that create distance between our needs and God’s goodness, between our plans and his destiny for us, between our weakness and his strength. We have been deceived.

Not only have we created distance between us, but we seldom free God from these cultural and personal expectations and let him speak for himself.

We have locked God into our system and, in the end, distracted by our needs for social and personal survival. We must turn our eyes toward him, open our ears to his voice, and let him speak.

About the author
Thomas M. Stallter is Professor of Intercultural Studies and World Mission at Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana. He previously spent many years in pastoral training, church planting, relief work, and business as mission in Central African Republic and Chad.

Reviews

“Because all ministry is intercultural, The Gap Between God and Christianity has a foundational and fundamental message for all Christian workers at home and abroad: know first who you are. Why? So that you don’t superimpose your culture on the Biblical cultures or the host culture. Forged out of the crucible of cross-cultural ministry in numerous cultures, the reader can expect to find informed ways to ‘let God be God.’ Don’t overlook this jewel.”   —Tom Steffen, Biola University, emeritus.

“This book is a rich and needed cultural critique of American conservative Christianity, by a lifelong member of that community who has served half of his life as a foreign missionary, and the other half as a seminary professor. . . . Stallter concludes that cultural expectations, theological systems, and personal needs filter American views of Scripture and God, with the result that we ‘know a lot about self-assertion but little about humility and, therefore, little of the fear of God.”   —Sherwood G. Lingenfelter, Fuller Theological Seminary, emeritus.

“Tom Stallter has faithfully and pointedly served those of us who comprise his Euro-North American audience. Building on his extensive international experience and painstaking scholarly pursuits, Stallter offers here not only a penetrating critique of our enslaving Western individualism but—perhaps even more importantly—constructive pointers toward living freely as followers of Jesus Christ. Stallter’s analysis of our skewed notion of ‘conscience’ is only one of several enlightening discussions that push us to ‘let God be God.’”   —J. Nelson Jennings, Mission Pastor, Onnuri Church, S. Korea

“Thomas Stallter has provided the church an extremely valuable tool to help understand the role culture has played in the initial giving of God’s revelation, the subsequent understanding of that revelation throughout the ages, and the communication of that revelation by Christians across cultures. This understanding enables us to “let God be God within our cultural frame of reference’ and avoid the ‘intrusion of self between God and us.’”   —John R. Lillis, Pacific Theological Seminary

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