Book Review: Coffeehouse Theology by Ed Cyzewski

Coffeehouse Theology book cover I received this book as part of NavPress’ free book for review program. But I would have picked it up for myself anyway just because of the title.

Cyzewski presents a paradigm for Christians to "work" and "live" their theology in the post-modern world. I first heard the word "post-modern" from Len Sweet, who wrote a blurb for this book, and you can see Sweet’s influence here.

I also should – sheepishly – admit that it took me a lot longer to read this book than I originally thought it would. But I think that’s a testament to the meat of Cyzewski’s writing more than anything else. This isn’t a “fluff” piece by any stretch.

“Coffeehouse Theology” made me think about my faith in the context of the world I live in. For a very long time I lived my Christian faith without giving much thought to other Christians or other people.

“Contextual Theology” as a concept reminded me of something I learned about during my own seminary days, although we didn’t call it that. It’s the concept of “sitz im leben” or “setting in life.” It is an idea that, when taken too far, removes God as the immediate author of Scripture. “Coffeehouse Theology” doesn’t do that. Instead, it takes the idea that the Bible was written in a specific time and place and presents it as an important part of how Christians live their lives in their own “specific time and place.”

After I closed the book when I finished reading, the first thought that came to mind was that I hope all Christians will develop contextual theology. We live in a very diverse world and if we are going to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with other people, we need to know something about other people and we’re going to need lots of help from other Christians.

Another thought came to mind as I was reading – “why re-invent the wheel?” It would be presumptuous boarding on arrogance to think that we as Christians today are in a unique situation. But what Solomon said is still true today – there isn’t anything new under the sun. We can learn something from what the people of God were dealing with in the past. It helps us understand Scripture and it will help us formulate the words of our message of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I enjoyed this book and recommend it.

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