Exploring the Impact of Five Generations of Protestant Liberals

Recently use of Kingdom language in evangelicalism has markedly increased, and rightly so, as the Kingdom is central to the gospel and teachings of Jesus. Several scholars have noted similarities between this language and Protestant liberalism. Yet they have not significantly explored how liberal theology is impacting evangelical notions of the Kingdom, and consequently the gospel.

Reimagining the Kingdom traces the development of this language through four generations of liberals—from Schleiermacher to Ritschl, Rauschenbusch, and Tillich—to explore how their liberal language is affecting evangelical theology, as illustrated by progressive evangelical and Emergent Brian McLaren.

By exploring how theological liberals define the human problem, understand that problem’s solution, and interpret the nature of the One who bore that solution, this book reveals an inextricable link between progressive evangelicalism and Protestant liberalism.

It is vitally important that evangelicals understand the contours of liberal Kingdom theology to understand how it is affecting how evangelicals are showing and telling the gospel itself.

In this important guide, Jeremy Bouma explains how many who speak of the Kingdom of God do not mean what Jesus meant by it. If you are one who is attracted to the liberal gospel, this guide might just save your soul.

Michael E. Wittmer

Professor • Author

As the old saying goes, those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. Liberal Christianity seems to arise every generation in new skin and always leads professed followers of Jesus down a historically destructive path. If one reads Bouma carefully, it is possible to spot the repackaging and, in the immortal words of Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman from South Park, call “shenanigans!” I certainly would not have spent years within emergent if I knew it was nothing but the polished redux of the same theology that had killed mainline denominations. Bouma’s work is not necessarily an easy read for those without a seminary education but it is required reading for every Christian leader.

Matt Rawlings


This is an important book for anyone interested in the theology of the Emergent church, its language, and its potential impact on evangelicalism. For those who are considering identifying with the movement, the book serves as a warning. For pastors or Christian leaders engaged in the conversation it provides important historical background that clarifies the roots of this “new” theology. For myself, as a pastor, though one not particularly involved in the Emergent discussion, it was a reminder to continue teaching the basics of the gospel message, the reality of sin, and the hope of salvation in Christ alone.

Steven Kopp


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Print Length: 184 pages

Print Price: $15.00 $13.50

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