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Provocative Church

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  51 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
This accessible book offers a practical theology of evangelism and the local church. The basic theme is that we need provocative churches which raise the question asked by the onlookers in Acts 2:12: What does it all mean?
Published by Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (first published July 2002)
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Trey Dunham
Dec 06, 2014 Trey Dunham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The idea of evangelism evokes numerous ideological and visceral reactions in everyone who has ever darkened the doorway of a church. Images of door-to-door-salesmen in white shirts and ties or sweaty, ranting, middle-aged men with expensive suits and comb-overs come most immediately to mind. Deep feelings of guilt, nausea and dread follow not long after.

We all care deeply that people come to know God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit and most of us would own up to the fact that this is perhaps our g
Michael Culbertson
Oct 12, 2011 Michael Culbertson rated it liked it
Shelves: christianity
Tomlin contends that traditional methods of evangelism are likely not to be terribly effective for post-modern generations, who are suspicious of authority, rationality, absolute claims, and inauthenticity. Moreover, the New Testament doesn't seem to support the traditional gospel-presentation, alter-call, sinner's-prayer style of evangelism. Rather, Tomlin suggests that the New Testament calls Christians, as a community, to live in such provocative obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ (primarily ...more
Dec 26, 2008 Peter rated it really liked it
The Provocative Church
Graham Tomlin
ISBN 0-281 05476-2
The book at

This is another book I have to read for my training course. Its is such a good title, I've always believe that the church should be noticeable, challenging, and something that people would look at and like or dislike. Jesus was not the sort of person people ignored – so His church should be like Him. With expectations nicely set I open the book. The first chapter is about evangelism. Hmmm, not quite what I was expec
Sep 06, 2016 Richard rated it liked it
There are some gems in this book which make it a worthwhile read. There is a lot of what we all know, but every now and again...
Dec 22, 2011 David rated it really liked it
If I could give this 4 1/2 stars, instead of just 4, I would (but don't know how). This is a helpful, accessible, and useful little book. Tomlin does a good job of
(a) briefly describing the cultural context in which the church is situated and the challenges it presents to evangelism;
(b) incorporating a theology of the Kingdom;
(c) recognizing the corporate nature of evangelism (i.e. the vital importance of the Church/church communities)
(d) giving attention to evangelism as a process, rather than
Mar 09, 2016 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian
Interesting and refreshing take on church, "evangelism", and living lives for God.
Henry Sturcke
May 20, 2015 Henry Sturcke rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this more than I did, but I found the writing muddled.
Aug 27, 2007 ryan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: churches interested in being more relevant
There's a lot I could say about this book. It impacted me on many levels. It was challenging and thought-provoking. One of the main themes that stuck with me is the question of why people who have spiritual questions today seldom go looking for answers in the church? Why is it that Christian people have such a hard time bringing their friends to church?

Tomlin does a great job answering these questions and proposing some ways that the Church can begin to re-emerge in our culture as a source of li
Bob O'bannon
Aug 12, 2012 Bob O'bannon rated it it was amazing

I am surprised this book doesn't get more attention, particularly today when it's so fashionable for churches to be busy with mercy ministry. Tomlin makes an excellent case for why churches need to serve their communities, and how this will only enhance their evangelistic credibility. People simply won't care much about the church's message if they don't see the church making a difference.
May 25, 2013 Steve rated it really liked it
"Without actions, no one listens. Without words, no one understands." p 63
I have felt a bit awkward and guilty about evangelism most of life. And I've never been confident about exactly what it was to look like until I read this book! I highly recommend this accessible, relatively short (172 pages) book to all of my Christian friends. Thanks for the recommendation, John!
Aug 18, 2014 James rated it it was amazing
This book is excellent. It really helps give perspective to the meaning and working out of evangelism....Why does the new testament say little about evangelism, because we are first called to model a new way of life in Christ before talking about it....But talk about it, explain it, share it, we must.
Mar 28, 2007 Timothy rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone seeking more in their faith
This book raises some great questions about the purpose of the church in culture, postmodern evangelism, and kingdom living. Some parts are controversial and may cause you to bristle theologically. It's still an interesting read.
Jul 29, 2008 Ross rated it really liked it
A good book study read, good for discussion on modern day evangelism
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