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America's most fashionable city fits Tullian Tchividjian like a glove. Tchividjian, 36, grew up in South Florida and exudes Miami's cosmopolitan, comfortable cool. He relishes the region's multicultural mix and loves to surf when he can find the time in his busy schedule as pastor of New City Church in Coconut Creek. When preaching in the summer heat, Tchividjian leaves the top of his shirt unbuttoned. This is not the kind of town that expects its pastors to suffer in dark suits.

By looks alone, Tchividjian is not the most likely candidate to write a book that calls on Christians to eschew cultural appeal. Yet that's precisely what Tchividjian has done with Unfashionable: Making a Difference in the World by Being Different (Multnomah, April 2009). His third book, Unfashionable reflects insight gained in part from his 1993 conversion experience, which fueled him with zeal only God can grant. Kicked out of his family's home as a teenager, Tchividjian indulged in almost everything Miami's sensual nightlife offered. But now he believes that Christians must forsake any hope of winning cultural acceptance if they want to affect the culture for the Lord's sake.

For decades, another Presbyterian church in South Florida pressed to win the culture for Christ. Coral Ridge, once led by D. James Kennedy, is 12 miles away from New City in Fort Lauderdale. Once visited by as many as 7,000 on Sunday mornings, Coral Ridge shrunk to 1,400–1,500 regular attendees as Kennedy's attention turned to national politics. Kennedy last preached on Christmas Eve 2006, and suffered cardiac arrest four days later. He died September 5, 2007, and the church's leaders searched far and wide for a new senior pastor.

No culture warrior himself, Tchividjian ...

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May 2009

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