“Put flesh on faith! Put flesh on faith!” is the call from Michael Frost in his latest offering “Incarnate: the Body of Christ in an Age of Disengagement” (Illinois: IVP, 2014). This book is so timely, so challenging and so refreshing. Incarnate is the next step for those waiting to see where the missional conversation is heading.
In true prophetic style Frost holds the heart of God and the hand of the world. He speaks of both the places to occupy and the postures necessary to grow radical and revolutionary expressions of love and grace in the midst of disengagement; so that vibrant disciples of Jesus may be the contrast community the world strikes against to discover it needs redemption and transformation.
In Incarnate, Frost presents the idea of the practice of “excarnation”. This is a practice of ancient cultures where flesh is stripped from a corpse in a burial ritual. To excarnate is to expose a dead body to practices or elements that literally melt the flesh off, leaving only a skeleton that resembles something once living. Frost uses “excarnation” as a metaphor or better yet a descriptor of behaviour that removes self, presence and the embodiment of life from the real world, of those who choose to ‘live’ virtual lives in a virtual world. Frost calls disciples of Jesus beyond shrinking into a dualistic and excarnational Christian ghetto of consumerist worship or sprinkling religious pixy dust over the complexities, indulgences, disengagements and dislocations of virtual life. His is a call to humanize the Christian experience by being authentic and incarnationally engaged to transform the world. Christians are challenged to be vibrant followers of Jesus, disciples who are committed to incarnate the life of Christ, rather than coalesce to a virtual, disengaged or domesticated religious existence.
Incarnate critiques the ‘virtual’ experiences and pitfalls of 21st century culture. Frost offers a prophetic analysis of the postmodern preoccupation with technology, social media, the virtual worlds of virtual experiences, addictions to media, screens and technology that give rise to a semblance of living without life. He then calls forward the old, old story to be lived out in radical, authentic and meaningfully engaged ways rather than indulging ourselves in the dualism of consumerist worship within the Christian ghetto, or capitulating to the zeitgeist of excarnational living.
In this book Michael does more than just an expose’ on the missional Jesus (Jesus the Fool), or offer a critique of the church that calls for a radical and revolutionary to shift from orthodoxy to orthopraxy (The Shaping of Things to Come), or articulate some principles to remind the church how to live out its faith in a hostile world (Exiles), or call the church to revisit core Christological convictions as the basis for missional engagement (ReJesus), or develop a theology of risk and missional adventure (The Faith of Leap) or call the church to examine every element of its existence in the light of the mission of Christ (The Road to Missional). Incarnate is nothing less than a brilliant, prophetic, contemporary, contextualised discipleship manual.
Incarnate calls disciples of Jesus to a put aside dualistic theological constructs, addictions to technology and rampant individualism that threaten to excarnate their existence with rootless, hollow, disembodied and disconnected lives. In the biblical world this is the sort of faith that has the entire religious trimming and piety package yet lacks authentic Christ centred power; it is a form of godliness that lacks power (2Tim3:5). Frost’s is a call for disciples to live the authentic, gospel powered, Christ centred, faith saturated, kingdom focussed, engaged, transformed and incarnate lives.
Given Frost is so widely read, well informed and culturally adept, Incarnate is a resource full of insights, meaningful research and content sourced from leading academics and scholars from many disciplines. The text is spliced together in a way that is both an engaging read and full of helpful narrative to mediate the content. Incarnate is accessible and applicable to readers across the spectrum from the theologically trained professional to the new believer. In my opinion Incarnate is a must read for all ministers and those serious about making an impact for Christ in the world today.
- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1543 KB
- Print Length: 240 pages
- Publisher: IVP Books (10 February 2014)
- Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00HUCPPYW
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 15 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #531,603 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)