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Unfashionable: Making a Difference in the World by Being Different [Kindle Edition]

Tullian Tchividjian , Timothy Keller
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

From the foreword to the book by Tim Keller:
“Here you will learn how we must contextualize, how we Christians should be as active in Hollywood, Wall Street, Greenwich Village, and Harvard Square (if not more) than the halls of Washington, DC. And yet, there are ringing calls to form a distinct, ‘thick’ Christian counter-culture as perhaps the ultimate witness to the presence of the future, the coming of the Kingdom.”


“Tullian Tchividjian, one of today’s brightest young Christian leaders, makes a refreshing call for orthodoxy. He does not apologize for the gospel; he wears it like a red badge of courage. Read this book to recover the faith once for all delivered to the saints in fresh, courageous terms.”
–Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship and author of The Faith


“Tullian Tchividjian is the real deal. His life and his words speak in stereo. I love reading books that challenge the way I think. Unfashionable goes beyond that. It’s counterintuitive. It’s counter-cultural. And it’s a must-read for those brave enough to really follow in the footsteps of Jesus.”
–Mark Batterson, lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington D.C. and author of Wild Goose Chase


“With the right balance of reproof and encouragement, critique and construction, Unfashionable displays with succinct, vivid, and engaging clarity the relevance of the gospel over the trivialities that dominate our lives and our churches right now..”
–Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen professor, Westminster Seminary in California, and host of White Horse Inn


“Plainly, powerfully, and pastorally, Unfashionable gives a bird’s-eye view of the real Christian life–Christ-centered, church-committed, kingdom-contoured, future-focused, and counter-cultural all the way. It makes for a truly nutritious read.”
–J. I. Packer, professor of theology at Regent College and author of Knowing God


In this windowless world, God, transcendence, and mystery have become less and less imaginable…. Everything’s produced, managed, and solved ‘this side of the ceiling,’ which explains why so many people are restless and yearning, as I was, for meaning that transcends this world–for something and Someone different.”
–from Unfashionable



From the Hardcover edition.


Product Description

Review

From the foreword to the book by Tim Keller: "Here you will learn how we must contextualize, how we Christians should be as active in Hollywood, Wall Street, Greenwich Village, and Harvard Square (if not more) than the halls of Washington, DC. And yet, there are ringing calls to form a distinct, 'thick' Christian counter-culture as perhaps the ultimate witness to the presence of the future, the coming of the Kingdom.""Tullian Tchividjian, one of today's brightest young Christian leaders, makes a refreshing call for orthodoxy. He does not apologize for the Gospel; he wears it like a red badge of courage. Read this book to recover the faith once for all delivered to the saints in fresh, courageous terms."- Chuck Colson, Founder of Prison Fellowship and author of "The Faith" "The modern evangelical movement was launched by the crusades of Billy Graham. It will recover its identity only if it heeds this challenge by his grandson."-John Seel, Donegality Productions LLC and author of "The Evangelical Forfeit "and co-editor of" No God but God " "Plainly, powerfully, and pastorally, "Unfashionable" gives a birds-eye view of the real Christian life-Christ-centered, church-committed, kingdom-contoured, future-focused, and counter-cultural all the way. It makes for a truly nutritious read."-J.I. Packer, Professor of theology at Regent College and author of" Knowing God " "Tullian Tchividjian is the real deal. His life and his words speak in stereo. I love reading books that challenge the way I think. "Unfashionable "goes beyond that. It's counter-intuitive. It's counter-cultural. And it's a must-read for those brave enough to really follow in the footsteps of Jesus." -Mark Batterson, lead pastor of National Community Church and author of "Wild Goose Chase" "Love is the most powerful apologetic. It is the essential component in reaching the whole person in a fragmented world. Tullian understands the deep yearnings of this generation and thoughtfully expresses how making a difference as Christians in this world begins with a willingness to engage this world differently." -Ravi Zacharias, author and speaker ""Unfashionable" is theologically careful, biblically grounded and culturally in touch. It will challenge you and point you to the radically Christ-centered life you were saved by God's amazing grace to live. Tullian Tchividjian hits us between the eyes when he says, 'Christians who retreat into a comfortable subculture are bad missionaries-it's that simple.' It is that simple, and this book will help you find the way out!"""-Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC. "With the right balance of reproof and encouragement, critique and construction, "Unfashionable" displays with succinct, vivid, and engaging clarity the relevance of the gospel over the trivialities that dominate our lives and our churches right now. The message of this book is of ultimate importance and its presentation is compelling."-Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor, Westminster Seminary in California and host of The White Horse Inn "Although the Ancient Israelites were called by God to be a 'holy nation' they failed to reach their world because they were so much like it. Today's church is succumbing to the same error. And this is what makes Tullian Tchividjian's book "Unfashionable" so prophetic and such a book for this day. May the church take note-- and reach the world!"-R. Kent Hughes, Sr. Pastor Emeritus, College Church in Wheaton "It is not easy to stand athwart the tides of the culture and challenge them without sounding either terribly prissy or hopelessly out of date. How can a thoughtful Christian be genuinely contemporary while never succumbing to the merely faddish and temporary? The challenges are enormous-but they are also tied to the most elementary tenets of Christian faithfulness. Tullian Tchividjian is a helpful and engaging guide through these troubled waters." -D. A. Carson, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and author of "Christ and Culture Revisited ""Tullian masterfully articulates the importance of the 'both, and'-showing that in order for Christians to make a profound difference in our world we must both gain a full understanding of the Gospel and express it practically in our world."-Gabe Lyons, Founder of Q and co-author of "UnChristian" "Here's what we need-a young, fresh, outspoken voice, calling for renewal and reform in Kingdom language. With a deep appreciation for the Christian past, a powerful grasp of the Gospel, and a voice that resonates with those calling for renewal today, Tullian represents a breed of young church leaders who might just help us navigate our way through the stodginess of tradition and the silliness of much that is emerging as Christianity today. May his tribe increase."-T.M. Moore, The Wilberforce Forum and author of" Culture Matters " "In "Unfashionable" Tullian Tchividjian offers all of us a window into his own life, full as it is of reading the Word and the world at the same time. His vision is theologically rich and pastorally engaging, calling us to join him in thinking deeply about things that matter most, "viz." the reality that faith always shapes vocation which always shapes culture." - Steven Garber, The Washington Institute, author of" The Fabric of Faithfulness" "Tullian Tchividjian persuasively argues that difference makers must be different. This book is an important and necessary reminder that Christians who strive to be relevant end up being redundant, while those who challenge our culture just may change the world."- Michael E. Wittmer, Professor of Systematic Theology at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary and author of "Heaven is a Place on Earth" ""Unfashionable" gets back to the heart of the Kingdom mission and the agenda of the gospel message. Striking a balance between being 'in' but not 'of' the world is not easy. Tullian, however, clearly and convincingly shows the way by telling how we can cultivate a Gospel-centered outlook and lifestyle." - Ed Stetzer, author of "Planting Missional Churches "and President of LifeWay Research "What does it mean to be in the world but not of it, a question Christians have wrestled with for years? To what degree should we conform to the culture or how should we differ and why? "Unfashionable" addresses these questions directly and helpfully, pointing the way to faithful discipleship in the Twenty-first Century.- Luder G. Whitlock, Jr., President of Excelsis and author of" The Spiritual Quest""Fashion is but a phase. If Christians want to see lasting change as the kingdom of Jesus Christ expands, they will refuse to seek the world's acclaim. Tullian Tchividjian writes with a pastor's gift for admonition and encouragement as he discerns the church's failures and opportunities to represent Christ in this world."- Collin Hansen, editor at large, "Christianity Today" and author of "Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist's Journey with the New Calvinists ""As Christians continue to chase relevance like a dog chasing its own tail, the world around us is quietly looking for something more-something deeper, something less self-aware, something unfashionable. With clear, crisp writing, "Unfashionable" challenges us to stop imitating the world and start working to renew her. Tullian makes it once again 'cool' to be uncool." - Kevin DeYoung, pastor and author of" Why We're Not Emergent" "The most wonderful thing happened to me as I read "Unfashionable" I was helped. There are so many books that are interesting and informative, but few end up being practically helpful. "Unfashionable" is one of them. As I read this cogent call for the Church to live against the world for the world, I saw several ways that my thinking, affections, and actions needed to be prayerfully addressed. I trust the same will happen with anyone who dares to consider the contents of this book."- Thabiti Anyabwile, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman, author of" What Is A Healthy Church Member? "and" The Faithful Preacher """Unfashionable"-unrelentingly orthodox and winsomely written-is a call to follow Christ in being so biblically different from the world that the world can once again see the attractiveness of the gospel. I hope it becomes fashionable for Christians to read and discuss "Unfashionable." Reading it made me glad to be a believer."- Denis Haack, editor-in-chief of" Critique "and founder of" Ransom Fellowship""If you are a Christian who longs to see the gospel shape every area of your life so that you make a difference in this world for the glory of the God, you will find "Unfashionable" a remarkable guide. With penetrating insight Tullian exposes the idolatry of our world and shows how the gospel creates a people who are both for and against the world in a way that makes much of the God who will one day make all things new."- Dan Cruver, Director of" Together for Adoption ""In "Unfashionable," Tullian calls us to a holistic Gospel centered journey that invites us, in a fresh way, to be in the world but not of it. He shows us how to be God's peculiar people by displaying his Kingdom in the world around us."- Rick McKinley, Founding Pastor of Imago Dei Community and author of" This Beautiful Mess" "From the Hardcover edition."

About the Author

TULLIAN TCHIVIDJIAN (pronounced cha-vih-jin) is the pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a visiting professor of theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, and the author of Do I Know God?, Surprised by Grace, and Jesus + Nothing = Everything. A grandson of Billy and Ruth Graham, Tullian is a frequent conference speaker and his sermons are broadcast daily on the radio program Godward Living. Tullian and his wife, Kim, have three children. Timothy Keller is the founder and Senior Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Westminster Theological Seminary, Keller is a highly regarded communicator, minister, and thinker. He is the author of multiple New York Times bestsellers including The Reason for God, The Prodigal God, and The Meaning of Marriage. Keller routinely presents well-reasoned and compelling articulations of the gospel message, with strong appeal to educated professionals living in urban contexts. Keller lives with his family in New York City.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1370 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Multnomah Books; Reprint edition (4 April 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001NLKYH4
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  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #406,827 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 16 Aug. 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
very thought provocking.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
92 of 99 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good But a Little Unfocused 5 May 2009
By Tim Challies - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Every now and again I pick up a book that I feel I should really enjoy. And yet, for one reason or another, it simply does not "click." Unfashionable by Tullian Tchividjian is just such a book. It has been widely praised by Christians I respect and its six (!) pages of endorsements contain a veritable who's who of prominent Evangelicals, each of whom tells of his esteem for the book and its author. And yet, after reading it through twice, I have significant concerns.

Unfashionable is about making a difference in the world by being different. The point Tchividjian tries to drive home throughout the book is this: Christians make a difference in this world by being different from the world; they don't make a difference by being the same. And certainly we have seen the inevitable fallout from too many Christians who have done just the opposite, chasing every trend in a vain attempt to win the world by being nearly indistinguishable from the world. "In contrast, I'm asking you to embrace the delicious irony Christ demonstrated in bringing a message of God's kingdom that subversively transforms both individuals and the world. Only by being properly unfashionable can we engage our broken world with an embodied gospel that witnesses to God's gracious promise of restoration, significance, and life." And so, through this book, Tchividjian seeks to give a clear picture of what it means to live "subversively and redemptively--for God and his expanding kingdom."

He divides the book into four sections, making it well-structured and easy to follow. In The Call, he calls upon Christians to be different from the world, and to be, well, unfashionable by the world's standards; in The Commission he calls upon Christians to be agents of renewal in the world; in The Community he shows what unfashionable Christians look like and how they live; in The Charge he gives that final charge, that final call, to make a difference by being different.

The section I most enjoyed was The Community. Here Tchividjian, showing his skill as a teacher of God's Word, teaches from the book of Ephesians, showing six ways that God tells Christians to be different. He teaches on truth, righteous anger, generosity, edifying words, kindness and love. It is a good section that simply calls Christians to be different and shows from Scripture, carefully and consistently, how Christians are to do that.

Where I struggled most was in The Commission. Here Tchividjian teaches theology of God's kingdom that I just was not able reconcile with Scripture. This is not to say that what he writes is unbiblical but rather that it strikes me as being nonbiblical. He writes about transformationalism, the view that God seeks to redeem and renew not just people but nations and cultures. I feel inadequate to really critique this kind of theology, so wish to tread very carefully here.

My concern is that such theology emphasizes the continuity between the world today and the world after the consummation of history and does so at the expense of the kind of radical discontinuity Scripture teaches. I know that when history is consummated in Christ, we will not go to some kind of ethereal cloud-land heaven. No, the Bible teaches that we will spend eternity on a renewed earth. We will live in bodies that, somehow, are still our bodies. At the same time, these bodies will rot and turn to dust and there is some reason to believe from Scripture that the earth itself will undergo that kind of a transformation. So there will be some genuine continuity between life now and life hereafter. As we read Scripture we wrestle with reconciling both continuity and discontinuity.

Yet as I read Unfashionable I saw much greater emphasis on continuity and all that this then entails. "God promises nothing short of total cosmic renewal. Our confident anticipation of that renewal--our living hope of it--triggers and sustains our excitement and motivation for making a difference by living unfashionable lives. It links us with something so grand and glorious that it easily exposes the flimsy lie behind mere fashionability." And so Tchividjian tells us that we need to take part in God's work of "revitalization" and says that we have been redeemed by God to "become agents of renewal." Without offering clear Scriptural proof he puts forth statements such as "Churches are designed by God to be instruments of renewal in the world, renewing not only individual lives but also cultural forms and structures, helping to make straight all that is crooked in our world." Now certainly Christians will be instruments of renewal, at least to some degree, but I do not find Scripture teaching that the church is to concern itself, at least primarily, with renewing cultural forms and structures.

He says also that "the New Testament clearly teaches that Jesus intends to bring about the restoration of all things--he's working in the direction of total transformation." At one point he says "By fulling engaging in every area of culture--education, art, politics, business, media, science--we're following Paul's example" at which point he quotes 1 Corinthians 9:22. And yet I do not see Paul's concern with culture except as a means to reach souls. Without laying out my concerns with the potential cost of such theology to the church and to the Christian's life, I will simply say that I do not see that the Bible teaches such an emphasis.

While such theology is found primarily in only one of the book's four sections, it does provide a foundation for much of what follows. And in that way I found that it tainted what followed.

So I suppose I wouldn't say that Unfashionable is a bad book and it is certainly not an unbiblical book. But I do feel that much of what Tchividjian teaches falls under the realm of nonbiblical. At the very least I would say that one section of this book majors on what Scripture at best regards as a minor. And hence it may just serve to distract people rather than focusing them on what the book does so well in calling people to make a difference by being different. I believe it would have been a stronger book without the emphasis (or over-emphasis) on transforming culture.
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blazing an Unfashionable Trail for Evangelicals Today 14 April 2009
By Trevin Wax - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Some evangelical Christians believe that the best way to win the world is to be like the world. Looking like the world might help us gain a hearing for the gospel.

In Unfashionable: Making a Difference in the World by Being Different (Multnomah: 2009), Tullian Tchividjian demolishes the fallacy of such thinking. Instead, Tullian skillfully shows how we as Christians make the biggest difference in the world when we are most different from the world.

The power behind our proclamation of the gospel comes not from our being in step with the world, but from our being out of step with the surrounding culture. Once you sacrifice the counter-cultural nature of the gospel in order to be "cool" in the present, you abandon the greatest opportunity you have to make a difference that will last forever.

Unfashionable is a book of depth and breadth. Tullian doesn't leave us with superficial spiritual sayings. The book demonstrates a passion for theology. Tullian goes deep into the truth of God's Word in order to emerge with a robust, strengthened Christianity for the world we live in.

But the book also contains a variety of topics. In less than 200 pages, Tullian writes about:

the atonement
the purpose of Jesus' resurrection
God's intention to renew the cosmos
the loss of Truth with a capital "T"
our culture's hunger for trascendence
the importance of the church's "togetherness
sex and lust
greed and theft
anger and truth-telling
This is a short, accessible book that ably covers a number of subjects. The thread that holds all of these topics together is the drum that Tullian beats page after page:

"Christians make a difference in this world by being different from this world; they don't make a difference by being the same."

"The more we Christians pursue worldly relevance, the more we'll render ourselves irrelevant to the world around us."

Tullian believes that a biblical understanding of Christology and eschatology will lead to a view of mission that will transform the church and the world. We are called to be God's ambassadors in this world, to join him in his mission to redeem and restore the world.

"Since God is on a mission to transform this present world into the world to come, and since he's using his transformed people to do it, our commitment to living unfashionably has cosmic implications."

Unfashionable resonates with me. Like Tullian, I want it all. I don't want to choose between the cultural mandate and evangelism. I don't want to choose between Christ's kingdom and Christ's cross. I don't want to choose between individual salvation and the connectedness of Christian community. I want it all.

Unfashionable is God-centered and gospel-soaked. And yet it is immensely practical. This book displays Tullian's passion for Scripture and his heart for personal application. You will be convicted, challenged, and encouraged as you read.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A clear and compelling book on Christian cultural engagement 21 April 2009
By Alex - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Pastor Tullian Tchividjian joins the provocative conversation on Christ and culture with this newly released (and widely endorsed) book, Unfashionable: Making a Difference in the World by Being Different. For those unfamiliar, there are a plethora of books (particularly recently) on the complex topic of how the Christian (and the church collectively) is to relate to the world. We've all heard the phrase "in the world, but not of it." But what does that look like? That's what Unfashionable is all about.

Following a helpful Foreword by Tim Keller, the book is divided into four sections: The Call, The Commission, The Community, and The Charge. The Call first describes Tullian's conversion story: briefly, though raised in a Christian family (the grandson of Billy Graham), he had abandoned the faith of his parents and left home at 16. At 21, God dramatically and quite suddenly converted him. Attending church for the first time in years, Tullian recalls being struck by how different those he met at church were from his regular "in" group. This leads to the book's theme: Christians make a difference in the world by being different from this world; they don't make a difference by being the same. He spends the rest of the section talking about the world's quest for authenticity and the church's seduction with being fashionable. Tullian writes:

"It's both sad and ironic that this shift is now putting the church in the wrong place at the right time. Just when our culture is yearning for something different, many churches are developing creative ways to be the same. Just as many in our culture are beginning to search back in time, many churches are pronouncing the irrelevance of the past. Just as people are starting to seek after truth, many churches are turning away from it. As a result these churches are losing their distinct identity as a people set apart to reach the world."

The next section of the book, The Commission, starts with the implications of the Bible being God's standard for our entire lives. The following few chapters give a concise and understandable treatment on the kingdom of God theme in the Bible: that God intends to renew the world, that the first Advent of Christ led to his inauguration as King while the consummation of His kingdom awaits His return. Until then, Christians are called to be salt and light, and we're called to do so in community with one another. One of the most helpful phrases that Tullian returns to again and again is that we're to be "against the world for the world." In other words, we're to live distinctively and attractively different kinds of lives---lives which reveal that our true citizenship is in heaven, and that our treasures are being stored there---and that although we oppose the world's godless system of values, we are "for" the people of the world: we want to show them a taste of heaven in the way we interact with each other and with them. In doing so, the hope is that they, too, will be drawn into God's alternative culture (a culture not withdrawn from the world but one that permeates it and, like light, has a transformative effect). God critiques this fallen world by creating a covenant people, called out of darkness and into His light, to be a "city set on a hill" (Matthew 5:14).

In the third section, The Community, Tullian delineates "six defining marks that ought to identify the community of God": truth-telling, appropriate anger toward God-belittling sin, hard work (serving others rather than seeking to maximize personal ease), redemptive speech, kindness, and sexual purity. The book ends with a charge to follow the example of men like Augustine, Polycarp, and the countless men and women who give their lives for Christ in hard places, Christians who "joyfully accept undeserved physical and social misery" because they know that "here we have no lasting city" (Hebrews 13:14).

I found Unfashionable to be engaging and easy to read in spite of the complexity of some of the topics addressed. Tullian writes from the heart and is particularly arresting in his discussion of some of the ways in which the church (individually and collectively) looks like the world (for instance, in its pursuit of power rather than service). While hard-hitting and realistic about the evils in the world (and the indwelling sin in the lives of Christians), the overall tone is appropriately one of hope and optimism. The strong man has been bound and his property is being plundered (Mark 3:27). God's kingdom is advancing and will one day cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. I highly recommend this book.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tullian Issues Call for Biblical Cultural Engagement 22 July 2009
By Matthew P. Cochrane - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In Unfashionable, Tullian Tchividjian blasts the contemporary evangelical scene that believes the church must be like the world in order to reach the world. Looking around and observing ministries more focused on style than substance, Tchividjian cries "Enough!" and calls Christians back to living an unfashionable lifestyle by living "against the world for the world."

The book begins with a concise, but helpful, foreword by Timothy Keller. Keller understands that engaging the culture remains an enigma for the church. Traditionally, evangelicals have approached culture with a hands-off approach, believing that the only thing that mattered was saving lost souls and that by doing so culture would be changed "one heart at a time." As American social values changed drastically in the last generation, however, most evangelicals abandoned this approach for a more proactive one, employing different strategies to redeem cultural values.

The book is divided into four main sections: The Call, The Commission, The Community and The Charge. In the first section, Tchividjian clarifies exactly what he means by unfashionable. He writes:

"...by unfashionable I'm not talking about what you wear or how you look, the lingo you use or the music you listen to. I'm talking about something deeper, more significant - and much more demanding."

So what does Tchividjian mean by "unfashionable?" He writes, "Christians make a difference in this world by being different from this world; they don't make a difference by being the same." Instead, Tchividjian believes Christians can best make a difference by leading an unfashionable life by patterning "our ideas, beliefs, methods, and tastes in accordance with God's ways rather than the world's."

In this section Tchividjian also provides a helpful working definition for worldliness. He writes:

"Worldliness, then, is characterized in the Bible as the sinful misdirection of God's good creation. It means adopting the ways, habits, thought patterns, practices, spirit, and tastes of this world in spite of how far they take us from God's will and design."

Tchividjian contrasts this with Christianity by saying, "If what's fashionable in our society interests you, then true Christianity won't. It's that simple."

In the second section, The Commission, Tchividjian gets to the heart, and most controversial part, of his message. Namely, that a Christian's job on earth is not only to evangelize lost souls but also to redeem culture. In other words, humans also have a "cultural mandate." The cultural mandate, Tchividjian explains, is the "first job description" God gives mankind found in Genesis 1:28. The verse reads, "And God blessed them. And God said to them, `Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'"

Tchividjian writes this is much more than a command to procreate. He explains:

"It was never God's intention for people to have a hands-off approach to the world. From the beginning of time, God purposed that we would make something out of the world; he meant his image bearers to create, to build an earthly culture for his glory."

He adds this mandate was "not annulled by the Fall." The command for humans to create and subdue culture still stands as evidenced by similar commands given to Noah after the Flood (Gen. 9:1-7) and to Abraham (Gen. 12:2-3).

While this might not seem controversial on the surface, many evangelicals disagree with this concept, maintaining evangelism is the sole purpose for churches and, by extension, Christians. Fortunately, Tchividjian understands that the cultural mandate is never "abrogated" in the New Testament and, therefore, is still applicable to modern day Christians. Furthermore, Tchividjian asserts that "while evangelism remains a priority, the salvation of individuals isn't the church's only mission." Not too many modern day pastors would be so bold to make such a statement, but Tchividjian is absolutely correct. He continues:

"Churches are designed by God to be instruments of renewal in the world, renewing not only individual lives but also cultural forms and structures, helping to make straight all that is crooked in our world."

Tchividjian next applies this truth to the real world, showing how Christians can positively affect their cultural institutions and society at large. Politics is one cultural arena evangelicals are particularly divided on. While some evangelicals believe Christians should focus on Washington, D.C. like a laser, others believe Christians should not be involved in politics at any level. Tchividjian smartly states that of course politics is one arena Christians should be involved in but, it is by no means the only arena at play. Sometimes, evangelicals need to focus just as much attention, if not more, on other areas including finance, fashion, technology and entertainment. I found this to be a welcome difference from the "politics-is-everything" evangelical crowd while still acknowledging that politics needs to be fully engaged by Christians.

In the third section of the book, The Community, Tchividjian explores a passage in Ephesians 4 that he believes is "well worth a closer look as we think about our corporate calling to make a difference by being different." In this section, chapters are dedicated to truthfulness, anger, stealing and generosity, edifying words, kindness and love. In each of these chapters Tchividjian carefully lays out how these qualities should look within the corporate structure of the church. It is in these chapters that Tchividjian's ability to exegetically teach Scripture naturally comes forth, making this section in many ways stand out from the rest of the book.

In the final chapter of the book, The Charge, Tchividjian explains why all Christians should feel a bit of "culture shock" as we go through life, writing, "the greatest threat to a thriving, God-saturated, world-transforming faith is not physical danger but worldliness." He writes:

"Faithfully following Christ requires that Christians maintain a constant state of culture shock in relation to the sinful patterns of the world. As followers of Jesus, we must maintain what psychologists call "cognitive dissonance" toward the patterns of culture that undermine our loyalty to God and his unfashionable ways. For Christians to embody a vibrant, world-transforming presence in our culture, shock must never give way to submission; tension with the world must never give way to comfort in the world. My fear, however, is that it already has for many professing Christians."

While I share Tchividjian's apprehension about Christians being too concerned about their own worldly comforts to be in a state of culture shock, it was when I applied this thinking to my own life that I really started sweating Tchividjian's message. Does my life reflect an unfashionable lifestyle or am I pretty comfortable? After examining myself, the answer was unsettling in many ways.

This is what makes Unfashionable such a great book on different levels. It is a much needed addition to the ongoing evangelical discussion on cultural engagement. It is concise, practical and, to this layman's untrained eye, theologically sound - a rare trifecta. While I hope evangelicals adopt this book as their manual for engaging culture going forward, it is also an immense help to individual Christians needing to reexamine their own lives to ensure they are still suffering from culture shock and are not too comfortable yet.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended! 9 July 2009
By Delta Girl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book Unfashionable gives a strong wakeup call to Christians that we need to be "different" from the world/culture. We are not supposed to blend in seemlessly with non-Christians. We are however to model the love of Christ here on earth, which is something we need to focus more strongly on. The book is very encouraging in terms of being different.
Since America is such a conformist society, despite the rampant claims of individualism, there is a price to be paid for non-conformity.
We must always remember that our allegiance is to God first, then man.
The author writes in a clear engaging manner without being judgmental or preachy, which is quite an accomplishment. At the same time, he is clearly against compromise of the Word and Christianity. He outlines the dangers of compromise and re-inforces the need to go outside the church walls to minister to those in need.
I highly recommend the book to those Christians who want to make a difference and at the same time please the Lord.
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