Tullian Tchividjian. Unfashionable: Making a Difference in the World by Being Different. Colorado Springs: Multnomah, 2009. 205 pp.
- Available in the following formats: hardcover, Kindle, audio CD
- Excerpt: chapter 1
- See endorsements by Chuck Colson, John Seel, J. I. Packer, Ravi Zacharias, Daniel L. Akin, Michael Horton, R. Kent Hughes, D. A. Carson, T. M. Moore, Ed Stetzer, Collin Hansen, Kevin DeYoung, Thabiti Anyabwile, and Dan Cruver (among others).
Tullian is the founding pastor of New City Church outside Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, which is now merging with Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. (Yesterday morning was their first combined service.) Tullian succeeds the church’s founding pastor, D. James Kennedy. Cf. interviews Tullian did with Justin Taylor (2007 and 2008) and Josh Harris (2007: parts 1, 2, 3).
Tullian’s thesis in Unfashionable is “that Christians make a difference in this world by being different from this world; they don’t make a difference by being the same” (p. 9, emphasis in original). Relatively few Christians readers will disagree with the thesis; disagreement will come, I suspect, in the nuts and bolts of application.
In the foreword Tim Keller addresses “the divisive issue of how Christians should relate to our broader culture” and explains the traditional approach and three responses to it (pp. xv–xvii):
- “Relative indifference”: “convert as many people as possible”
- main problem today = “the loss of moral absolutes”; “‘take the culture back’ through politics and grass-roots social activism”
- main problem today = “the church’s irrelevance to the concerns of people and the problems of society”; church’s calling = “to connect with the felt needs of people and especially to work against inequality and injustice in society” (e.g., Willow Creek, Saddleback)
- main problem today = “the ‘Constantinian error’ of seeking to reform the world to be like the church. Instead the church has become like the world”; the church must be “a counterculture,” and “shouldn’t try to transform the culture”
Keller compliments Tullian for “selecting the strengths of each approach.”
Tullian’s Intellectual Mentors
Tullian lists fifteen of his “intellectual mentors” (p. 188): Os Guinness, John Seel, James Davison Hunter, Peter Berger, John Frame, David Wells, Stanley Hauerwas, Francis Schaeffer, Abraham Kuyper, William Willimon, Michael Horton, Tim Keller, Chuck Colson, Cornelius Plantiga, and Andy Crouch.
Tullian’s Recommended Reading on Culture
He also shares what he calls “my Top 40” books on culture (pp. 172–74). The first are his “top fifteen” followed by twenty-five more.
- James Davison Hunter, American Evangelicalism
- Dick Keyes, Chameleon Christianity
- D. A. Carson, Christ and Culture Revisited [cf. my thoughts on this]
- John Stott, Christian Mission in the Modern World
- Andy Crouch, Culture Making
- Cornelius Plantinga, Engaging God’s World
- David Wells, God in the Wasteland
- Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society
- Os Guinness, The Gravedigger File
- Chuck Colson and Nancy Pearcey, How Now Shall We Live?
- Abraham Kuyper, Lectures on Calvinism
- David Wells, No Place for Truth
- Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon, Resident Aliens
- Craig Gay, The Way of the (Modern) World
- Michael Horton, Where in the World Is the Church?
- C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man
- Ken Myers, All God’s Children in Blue Suede Shoes
- H. Richard Niebuhr, Christ and Culture
- Francis Schaeffer, The Church Before the Watching World
- John Stott, The Contemporary Christian
- Albert Wolters, Creation Regained
- Dick Staub, The Culturally Savvy Christian
- T. M. Moore, Culture Matters
- Richard Mouw, He Shines in All That’s Fair
- Michael Wittmer, Heaven Is a Place on Earth
- Paul Marshall, Heaven Is Not My Home
- John G. Stackhouse Jr., Making the Best of It: Following Christ in the Real World
- John Seel and Os Guinness, No God but God
- Peter Berger, The Noise of Solemn Assemblies
- Cornelius Plantinga, Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be
- Rodney Clapp, A Peculiar People
- Os Guinness, Prophetic Untimeliness
- T. M. Moore, Redeeming Pop-Culture
- Peter Berger, Rumor of Angels
- N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope
- Brian Walsh and Richard Middleton, The Transforming Vision
- Dick Staub, Too Christian, Too Pagan
- Nancy Pearcey, Total Truth
- Richard Mouw, When the Kings Come Marching In
- Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon, Where Resident Aliens Live