Guest / Limited Access /


In Joy for the World: How Christianity Lost Its Cultural Influence and Can Begin Rebuilding It (Crossway), Greg Forster, program director at the Kern Family Foundation, helps American Christians understand the church's complex relationship to the surrounding culture. Beginning with the premise that the Christian life is grounded in divine joy, he argues that our approach to cultural engagement should flow out of that same joy.

This book is the first offering in Crossway's Cultural Renewal series. It is split into three parts, each derived from the classic Isaac Watts hymn "Joy to the World" that inspired the title. The first section, "Let Men Their Songs Employ," looks at the unique challenges facing the American church as it attempts to bring the gospel to bear in all areas of life.

Part two, "Let Earth Receive Her King," relates the dynamics of the spiritual life to Christ's three offices of prophet, priest, and king. This section offers a helpful, balanced account of the spiritual formation necessary for engaging the culture of a particular community.

Finally, in part three, "He Comes to Make His Blessings Flow," Forster turns to three particular topics—sex and family, work and the economy, and citizenship and community—and puts forth a Christian response to each.

Though all three sections are valuable in their own way, I suspect Forster's opening reflections on the fraught relationship between Christian faith and American identity will make the greatest impact. Here, he manages to distill fairly academic social critiques into an accessible package.

To begin, Forster lays out what makes the United States such a unique nation. Historically, we ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Browse All Book Reviews By:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this IssueTim Keller on Enduring Suffering Without Losing Hope
Subscriber Access Only Tim Keller on Enduring Suffering Without Losing Hope
Why Christianity has the best answer to the pain that life brings.
RecommendedWhy Max Lucado Broke His Political Silence for Trump
Why Max Lucado Broke His Political Silence for Trump
In the face of a candidate’s antics, ‘America’s Pastor’ speaks out.
TrendingSpeak Truth to Trump
Speak Truth to Trump
Evangelicals, of all people, should not be silent about Donald Trump's blatant immorality.
Editor's PickThe Best Ways to Help the Poor
The Best Ways to Help the Poor
A new book, building on three classics, fills out the picture.
Christianity Today
Where Heaven and Nature Sing
hide thisJanuary/February January/February

In the Magazine

January/February 2014

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.