Fall 2004, Vol. 1, No. 2
Mark Tabb, Mission to Oz: Reaching
Postmoderns Without Losing Your Way
IL: Moody Publishing, 2004).
Reviewed by Randy
C. Walls, D.Min.
of Continuing Education,
Assemblies of God Theological
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Using Frank L. Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as
his metaphor, Mark Tabb, veteran pastor (First Baptist Church
in Knightstown, IN) and author, challenges the reader to
engage in the mission to contemporary culture while maintaining
fidelity to Christian faith. Written in an easy to read format,
the book explores the basics of postmodernity without overloading
the reader with technical jargon or esoteric concepts. Tabb
provides enough understanding to help the average person
recognize the challenge of ministry in a center-less culture
by centering in on the authentic truth of the gospel.
What this reviewer found most refreshing was Tabb’s
steadfast commitment to a radical, Cross-centered gospel
that demands complete obedience to the spiritual, moral and
ethical implications of following Christ. This radical edge
often is watered down in contemporary authors’ attempt
to be relevant. Not so with Tabb. He lays it out about as
straight as any author writing on postmodernity and ministry
today: “The Cross reveals the world to a land that
doesn’t believe reality exits” (93).
Perhaps just as refreshing is Tabb’s insistence that
the only way to affect culture is to engage it. He recommends
using contemporary culture’s images and words as it
attempts to define its god in movies and music. He equates
this methodology with that of Paul in Athens (Acts 17). “Ideas
and questions about God and sin and the Bible and salvation
permeate expressions of popular culture…[but]…[w]e
must be careful that we do not use the prospects of engaging
in dialogue with the culture as an excuse to indulge our
flesh” (131). In this statement, Tabb’s missional
and pastoral concerns arise. Being in the world means participating
in the lives of people bound by its culture as we faithfully
live out our lives with Christ.
The appendix provides several resources for further study
and a great cultural exegesis tool suggests we should ask
of our culture that will serve as the bridge to presenting
the gospel. I highly recommend this book for its simple exposition
of a challenging topic and its passionate call for missionaries
to a postmodern world.
Tuesday, January 18, 2005 10:49 AM