Author: Tim MacBride
Published Date: May 2020
Over the space of a generation, Christianity in the Western world has gone from occupying a central place in the wider society to being eyed with increasing suspicion and, in some places, outright hostility. Although the church has always been a minority group, in the past decade or so it has become reawakened to that reality—and to the similarities it shares with the first followers of Jesus for whom the New Testament was written.
In this book, Tim MacBride shows how New Testament texts functioned as rhetoric for the marginalized minority groups they addressed, encouraging hearers to resist the pressure to conform to the majority culture, yet in a way that remained attractively different to outsiders. He offers suggestions for how Christians today—and preachers in particular—can use and apply the New Testament’s minority-group rhetoric to speak into our own increasingly marginalized experience. Such preaching needs to guard against either being shaped by culture or isolating preacher and hearers against culture. It must instead champion the call of New Testament authors to a middle way—a call for communities of “aliens and exiles” to engage with culture by living out an attractive difference.