I am going to engage in a bit of self-promotion in this blog and the next. My own engagement with the essence of the church has been in dialogue with some wonderful young adult friends, and has been published in two books. The most recent is: Refounding the Church From the Underside (Wipf and Stock, 2011). The following is excerpted from the publicity information accompanying that book:

AS THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH IN THE WEST MOVES FURTHER INTO THE POST-CHRISTIAN ERA a dilemma rises for those thoughtful followers of Jesus Christ who find themselves in venerable older church institutions that have become forgetful of their reason for being in the purpose of God. Such Christendom church institutions, as Henderson designates them, rather become somewhat idolatrous of their traditions, sanctuaries, their ecclesiastical accouterments, not to mention their dependence on a questionable category of persons called clergy. A younger generation, involved in many of these churches, is raising insistent questions about the integrity of so much of this—while at the same time being appreciative of so much that is good.

Henderson’s long career as a teaching pastor and mentor to younger generations helps us walk through this dilemma with refreshing insights about purpose (teleology), Kingdom integrity, form, and the disciplines necessary to transform these communities from the underside. He employs the term refounding as indicating something much more profound than renewal—a reclaiming of its original intent in the heart and mind of God.

“With equal parts of wit and humor, coupled with a pastor’s penetrating insight, Henderson asks the tough questions about the church’s relevance today. Readers will find his humility in the face of the church’s self-absorbed nature refreshingly honest for a career pastor and missiologist and his steps for refounding the church both practical and compelling. As a self-confessed ‘church cynic’ and someone torn between my identity as a beloved of God and as a ‘millennial’ in a decidedly post-Christian age, I found Henderson’s book both dangerously subversive and altogether captivating.”                                                       – Erik Vincent, M.Sc. (Oxon) –

“If Robert Henderson never writes again he has given the church a splendid capstone to his years of service in its behalf … This is his call to move forward by going back to the core of Christ’s teaching about the way God works in the world through his chosen disciples. These are they who pledge to obey Christ’s teachings and embrace his kingdom mandates. This is a bracing manifesto from a dedicated servant of the Lord who loves Christ’s kingdom too much to allow it to be trivialized by churches more interested in being contemporary than being faithful. Tough stuff!”                 – William Pannell, Professor Emeritus, Fuller Theological Seminary –


Grace and peace to you.

(… To be continued …)

About rthenderson

Sixty years a pastor-teacher within the Presbyterian Church. Author of several books, the latest of which are a trilogy on missional ecclesiology: ENCHANTED COMMUNITY: JOURNEY INTO THE MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH, then, REFOUNDING THE CHURCH FROM THE UNDERSIDE, then THE CHURCH AND THE RELENTLESS DARKNESS. Previous to this trilogy was A DOOR OF HOPE: SPIRITUAL CONFLICT IN PASTORAL MINISTRY, and SUBVERSIVE JESUS, RADICAL FAITH. I am a native of West Palm Beach, Florida, a graduate of Davidson College, then of Columbia and Westminster Theological Seminaries.
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