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Evangelism after Pluralism

The Ethics of Christian Witness

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What does it mean to evangelize ethically in a multicultural country? Following his successful Evangelism after Christendom, Bryan Stone addresses reasons evangelism often fails and explains how it can become distorted as a Christian practice when it is narrated and constructed in the context of empire, the nation-state and its military, and consumer culture. Stone urges readers to consider a new approach, arguing for evangelism as a work of imagination and a witness to beauty rather than a crass effort to compete for converts in pluralistic contexts. He shows that how we embody the life of Christ in our own lives is the most compelling form of evangelism in today's rapidly changing world.

1. Competing for Space in the World
2. On Ethics, Evangelism, and Proselytism
3. Evangelism, Empire, and Rival Citizenships
4. The Ecclesiality of Salvation
5. Evangelism and Pluralism in the Nation-State and Military
6. Evangelism and Nonviolence
7. The Pluralism of Consumer Culture
8. Evangelism and Pluralistic Theologies of Religion
9. Evangelism and Beauty
Epilogue: The Meaninglessness of Apologetics


"Bryan Stone has done it again. As one of our most well-informed and helpful theologians of evangelism, Stone has given us a wonderfully invigorating theological rationale for Christian evangelism in a pluralistic age. Here is an unapologetic (in the deepest, Barthian sense) call to evangelism in a world where many of us are intimidated by contemporary worldviews. Stone's discussion of evangelism and beauty is groundbreaking. This book enables the church to talk about the good news of Jesus in a manner that distorts neither Jesus nor the gospel."

Will Willimon, professor of the practice of Christian ministry, Duke Divinity School; United Methodist bishop, retired; author of Conversations with Barth on Preaching

"As it turns out, the loss of Christendom makes evangelism possible because now Christians, according to Stone, have an alternative to offer the world. In particular, that witness must be nonviolent, requiring as it does the respect of those who do not choose to be Christian. Accordingly Stone helps us own the vulnerability that comes from following Christ. I hope this book will become the standard in courses on evangelism in our seminaries."

Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law, Duke Divinity School

"Evangelism after Pluralism is a significant book--a major contribution to the study of evangelism. Offering a probing and incisive discourse on an ethics of evangelism in relation to pluralism, Stone develops an understanding of evangelism as faithful, virtuous witness that is ecclesial, nonviolent, imaginative, and subversive. His deep engagement with pluralism in the particular cultural contexts of empire, the nation-state, and consumerism is refreshing. Stone painstakingly defines evangelism as 'an embodied and corporate witness to the beauty of Christ' that demands to be replicated and shared. I commend this book to all who are concerned with integral evangelism."

Joon-Sik Park, E. Stanley Jones Professor of World Evangelism, Methodist Theological School, Ohio

"Building on his earlier outstanding work Evangelism after Christendom, Bryan Stone masterfully navigates the complex and at times treacherous landscape of church and society. Evangelism after Pluralism is a must-read for those teaching, pastoring, leading, and serving in ecclesial settings that engage the world. Stone provides a stunningly sharp, wise, and insightful case for evangelistic practice, drawing from a deep and interdisciplinary selection of pertinent resources."

Laceye Warner, associate professor of the practice of evangelism and Methodist studies, Duke Divinity School

"By what waywardness have we gotten to the point that 'evangelism' means a proselytizing wrestling match between competing faiths? Bryan Stone's Evangelism after Pluralism offers a corrective. According to Stone, to speak and to hear 'the good news' is to enter--with all one's heart, soul, mind, and strength--a mode of life that no empire or nation-state has the power to prop up or threaten. This mode of life is vulnerable flesh and blood, concretely social and ecclesial, humanely kind, giving, and gentle. This is an 'ethics of Christian witness' because the good news is meant to be lived by a body of faithful people and thus spoken in witness always and only as lived speech, always and only as a gift."

Craig Keen, Emeritus Professor of Theology, Azusa Pacific University

The Author

  1. Bryan Stone

    Bryan Stone

    Bryan Stone (PhD, Southern Methodist University) is associate dean for academic affairs and E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at the Boston University School of Theology in Boston, Massachusetts, where he is also cofounder and codirector of the...

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