Michael Frost
Downers Grove: IVP, 2014, 239 pp., $11.84

Any seminary course on ecclesiology or cultural anthropology would be well-served to add Incarnate: The Body of Christ in an Age of Disengagement to its texts. It is academic (any book that addresses hermeneutics, soteriology, dualism, dichotomy-trichotomy is not a book for theological lightweights) and filled with insightful quotes from significant philosophers and theological minds. Frost invests a great deal of attention in explaining and discussing the distinction between incarnation and excarnation. The former being what the church is called to be and the latter is what he bemoans it has become. I found his description of our culture as a “departure lounge” at an airport spot-on correct. No one belongs. Everyone is disconnected from those sitting in the same room. Frost is harsh in his treatment of the screen-oriented, multi-site churches that only reinforce the excarnation happening in our isolated society. I cringed when he spent some time challenging the reader to theologically explain the lyrics to one of my favorite worship choruses (“The Stand”)…I have to admit it caused me to stop and ponder. He discusses at length the ancient practice of defleshing after someone died as a metaphor for what has happened in the church. Frost is very well read and evidently has watched a great deal of movies given that he often uses contemporary cinema to reinforce his points regarding cultural excarnation. One particularly insightful reference is the Zombie-movie-craze, happening in Hollywood. He does a fascinating job explaining how these undead reflect excarnation. The author closes the book with four practical suggestions for moving the church back to an incarnational community.

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