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Prophetic Untimeliness: A Challenge to the Idol of Relevance

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  154 ratings  ·  19 reviews
The buzz among evangelicals today is about relevance and reinvention, about new ways of "doing church" through revising, innovating, borrowing, mixing, and experimenting. Yet, says Os Guinness, in our uncritical pursuit of relevance, Christians have actually become irrelevant. By our determined efforts to redefine ourselves in ways that are more in line with the modern wor ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Baker Books
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David Zimmerman
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a thought-provoking examination of the principle of relevance as it has shaped modern Christian methodology and theology. It is divided into three parts that serve as an introduction to the premise of the book, an explanation of the premise, and a recommended response. Part one hooked me, and part two is well-marked with highlights and underlining. There is much truth to be gleaned from its few pages. Part three was a little disappointing because I felt like the content was less shaped b ...more
Nov 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
Os Guiness makes an excellent observation about the quest for relevance leading to irrelevance in today's Church. I only wish he would have quoted Tozer instead of Nietzsche.
Apryl Anderson
Oct 18, 2011 rated it liked it
This is one to pass along to the trendy bishop. I'm an artist; I know all about being out-of-step with the world. Guinness was preaching to the choir with this one.
Cynthia Roy
May 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Made many acute observations about the Western Church in today's culture. However, it asked a lot of questions and offered few answers in return, leaving the reader quite unsatisfied.
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very relevant in addressing the current "youth culture idol" in the church. By striving to become "relevant" the church has missed out on discipling several generations. What a disaster.
Andy Hickman
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very good diagnosis and commentary.

“Essential for 'untimeliness' [true prophetic and penetrative discernment. Ed.] is appreciation for the historical, for no human perspective gives us a better counter-perspective on our own day.” - Os Guinness.

“One cannot stand out more clearly from the whole contemporary age than through the way one employs history.” - Nietzshe, Untimely Meditations.

“We Americans seem to know everything about the last twenty-four hours but very little of the past sixty centuri
Jan 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wow! That's all I know to say. I bought this book 5-6 years ago and can't believe I've waited until now to read it. Guinness' main argument is that while the church has sought so furiously to be culturally relevant, the church has actually lost all relevancy completely. The church is irrelevant. What is the answer? Holding fast to Jesus and God's timeless truth.

I am convicted over how my views of "progress" and "relevancy" have been shaped far more by American culture than the Bible. "Whatever
Robert Vincent
Nov 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Prophetic Untimeliness was an informative book. It gave me insight on how to live truly “redeeming the time”. I found the meaning of redemptive time and how it applies to meaningful and joyous living. Some of the principles found here were already evident to me. One of the most striking is that without God we are diminished as human beings. “…trying to exceed our human reach makes us not superhuman but inhuman and barbarous.”

I believe Guinness has reached his goal in writing this book stated in
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I just read it a second time (it's a shorter book). It's like the opposite of Facebook. Newest and popular-est is not automatically the bestest!
Apr 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
One word still sticks out to me about this book from when I read it a number of years ago: loneliness. Guinness isn't gimmicky and bemoans the feeble attempts of the church to be relevant in contemporary culture when they possess the truth of the Gospel. Yet, he's realistic and explains that the road to biblical relevance can indeed be lonely. Speaking the truth may not be popular, but it's always significant. But speaking the truth won't necessarily attract a crowd either. The message of the ch ...more
Mike Crews
Mar 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book! A timely book on the necessity of being untimely! (Sorry, I couldn't resist!) Guinness' writing is clear and concise, and his call for relevance rooted in faithfulness to the truth of the Bible and the Gospel is especially refreshing! In my own humble opinion every pastor, missionary, church planter should read this book before you are tempted to jump on the "missional" bus. Thanks Tim Campbell for sending me a copy. It will be one of those few choice volumes that deserves at lea ...more
Rob McFarren
Dec 19, 2016 rated it liked it
This book started off with great promise and a fascinating premise and observation of how he modern clock has impacted life. Unfortunately, the author used it as a jumping off point into some other areas which were not as compelling in their seeming security of knowing the right gospel. This book was good with some good frameworks presented, although I can tell I'm not in agreement to some of the conclusions he makes for what is worldly and what is Christian.
Apr 18, 2012 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the book. Os shows us the cultural influence that we can never escape, the influence it has had on the church, and where the wind is blowing us as a nation.
Mar 22, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: justfinished
Pulls no punches.
Walt Walkowski
Feb 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: church
Os really makes you think about what it really means to be relevant. I will probably read this one again...
Laurie Elliot
Jan 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Listened to an Os Guinness lecture yesterday morning and remembered just how good he is. Love his books, too. And this is my all time favorite.
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Os Guinness (D.Phil., Oxford) is the author or editor of more than twenty-five books, including The American Hour, Time for Truth and The Case for Civility. A frequent speaker and prominent social critic, he was the founder of the Trinity Forum and has been a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution and a guest scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Studies. He lives near Washi ...more

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