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Book Jacket

128 pages
Sep 2003
Baker Book House

Prophetic Untimeliness

by Os Guinness

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


"Anyone who’s been involved in a church within the last decade has heard about the push to make services and evangelism more palatable to our world. Or more relevant. Or less uncomfortable. And this movement is what Os Guinness addresses in his latest work, “Prophetic Untimeliness.” He points out that in our efforts to become relevant we’ve actually become superfluous.

"Guinness is not advocating being irrelevant, but suggesting that we not attempt to make Christianity fashionable. The wisdom we receive as believers gives us a perspective that transcends our time, thus the “untimeliness” of the title. Guinness writes, “…by our determined efforts to redefine ourselves in ways that are more compelling to the modern world than are faithful to Christ, we have lost not only our identity but our authority and our relevance. Our crying need is to be faithful as well as relevant.”

"For those not familiar with Guinness, he has been a solid Bible scholar since his days as an Oxford graduate student, and is a founder of the Trinity Forum. His passion is bringing academic thought into practical, popular understanding. And this book definitely helps Christians discern what it means to be in the world, not of the world. Which isn’t an easy biblical directive to follow.

"Mr. Guinness presents a methodical explanation of time, exploring the origins of our modern-day concept of time, how today’s Christian church has succumbed to cultural pressures that make it irrelevant, and what we can do to be relevant with faithfulness. He frequently quotes C.S. Lewis and Nietzsche, contrasting godly wisdom with the world’s viewpoint, which makes sense since this book began as a lecture series on C.S. Lewis and time.

"Sound heavy? Not the way Guinness guides you through the landmines this topic inevitably produces. It is a book that will make you pause, think through a point, and then continue reading. I have so many dog-eared pages that I want to remember, to discuss with others, and to just go over again.  

Don’t rush through this small treatise on our modern culture and the church. It is the most important book I’ve read this year, and I highly suggest it to anyone wanting to make a difference in their part of world." -- Stacy Oliver, Christian Book Previews

Book Jacket:

Never have Christians tried to be so relevant. But never have Christians ended up so irrelevant. How can this be? The problem, says Os Guinness, is that our views of relevance and our efforts to redefine ourselves are captive to the seductions and pressures of our modern clock culture. Ironically, we end up as neither relevant nor faithful. And in the process we are in danger of losing not only our identity but our authority, our significance, and even our very soul.

Prophetic Untimeliness is a hard-hitting critique written with deep love for the church. It offers constructive suggestions for living with integrity in the midst of modern pressures and explores how to be truly relevant without being trivial or trendy. Inspired by C.S. Lewis, Guinness outlines a creative approach--"resistance thinking"--through which the pursuit of relevance is balanced by the disturbing truths of the gospel. Only by such prophetic untimeliness can we be faithful to Christ and speak with integrity and wisdom in a world that is hungry for some truly good news.