To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World

by James Davison Hunter. Oxford University Press, 2010.
Large to change the world

Hunter’s book provides a comprehensive view of modernity and culture, including contemporary changes related to religious identity and belonging, and proposes a way for Christians to “change the world.” Hunter outlines prevailing paradigms for understanding culture, both generally and from an evangelical perspective, and he proposes an alternative view of how culture is made and changed. From there, this book provides a deep analysis of power at the intersection of culture and theology. In the final section of the book, Hunter presents his new model, a “theology of faithful presence,” which does not advocate for cultural relevance or influence, but instead puts congregational life at the center, faithfully embodying the presence of God in the world. Hunter makes the case that real change is made by responding to the incarnation with our own presence to one another, to our work, and within our spheres of social influence. Congregations interested in thinking about how they interact with (and affect) the culture around them may find this sophisticated book to be thought provoking for small group study or for leaders in the process of envisioning plans for the future.