Church Planting in Post-Christian Soil: Theology and Practice (Homiletic Book Review)

Nelson Cowan, a doctoral candidate in Liturgical Studies at BU School of Theology, recently reviewed Church Planting in Post-Christian Soil: Theology and Practice by STH Practical Theology alum Dr. Christopher James. Please see the beginning of Cowan’s review below and visit the Homiletics website for the full review 

Homiletic is a scholarly forum in homiletics and a review of publications in religious communication. It is a freely accessible, peer-reviewed journal. Homiletic is sponsored by the Academy of Homiletics.

Christopher B. James. Church Planting in Post-Christian Soil: Theology and Practice. New
York: Oxford University Press, 2018. 368 pages. $34.95.

Review Excerpt

Forecasts of church decline coupled with the rise of the “nones” and the “spiritual, but not religious” are commonplace as concerned pastors, leaders, and parishioners lament the future of U.S. Christianity. However, practical theologian Christopher B. James offers a glimpse of ecclesial hope and rebirth in the midst of such funereal predictions. A revised and expanded version of his doctoral dissertation at Boston University, Church Planting in Post-Christian Soil: Theology and Practice is a mixed-method, qualitative and practical ecclesiological analysis of Seattle new church-starts founded since January 1, 2001 and active through 2014 (243). Based on compelling research that the city of Seattle functions as a religio-cultural trend-setter for the rest of the United States, James argues that the ecclesiological insights and practices of Seattle new church-starts helpfully predict what will spring forth across the United States. As such, he finds it critical to look within these communities of faith to mine them for their ecclesiological contributions—practical and theological—as well as to offer constructive proposals going forward.

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