Joy for the World: How Christianity Lost Its Cultural Influence and Can Begin Rebuilding It

By Greg Forster, Series edited by Timothy Keller, Collin Hansen, Foreword by Timothy Keller

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Joy for the World: How Christianity Lost Its Cultural Influence and Can Begin Rebuilding It

By Greg Forster, Series edited by Timothy Keller, Collin Hansen, Foreword by Timothy Keller

... Show All

Can the church regain its cultural influence?

The church in America is losing ground. Unfortunately, our efforts to reverse this trend often seem to do more harm than good. In Joy for the World, Greg Forster explains how the church lost its culture-shaping voice and what Christians can do to turn things around.

This book teaches us that the key to cultural transformation is something that we might not expect: explosive, Spirit-produced joy in God and his gospel.

Part of the Cultural Renewal series.


Greg Forster

Greg Forster (PhD, Yale University) serves as the director of the Oikonomia Network at the Center for Transformational Churches at Trinity International University. He is a senior fellow at the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, the editor of the blog Hang Together, and a frequent conference speaker.

Product Details

Category: Culture & Social Issues
Evangelism & Missions
Church Ministry
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 320
Size: 5.5 in x 8.5 in
Weight: 13.5 ounces
ISBN-10: 1-4335-3800-8
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-3800-1
ISBN-UPC: 9781433538001
Case Quantity: 32
Published: February 28, 2014

Table of Contents

Introduction: Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room
Part 1: Let Men Their Songs Employ
1.  Christianity and the Great American Experiment
2.  The Church and the World
Part 2: Let Earth Receive Her King
3.  Doctrine – Teaching and Preaching
4.  Devotion – Worship and Spiritual Formation
5.  Stewardship – Calling and Discipleship
Part 3: He Comes to Make His Blessings Flow
6.  Sex and Family
7.  Work and the Economy
8.  Citizenship and Community
Conclusion: He Rules the World with Truth and Grace


“Bouncy title, thoughtful subtitle, tight writing, and nuanced analysis: Joy for the World lays out enjoyably what we need to understand to save freedom of religion. Greg Forster brilliantly shows that we should expect, embrace, and work to preserve a crowded and uncomfortable public square, because if we’re scared by it the naked public square that results will weaken Christianity and America.”
Marvin Olasky

“The miracle of Christianity is that it offers a joy that goes beyond emotion and a hope that goes beyond time. In Joy for the World, Greg Forster presents a picture of this joy that inspires readers to hope and live in such a way that they transform their communities, their culture, and their world.”
Ed Stetzer, Dean, Talbot School of Theology

“This book is against sequestration—the sequestering of Christian life into ‘spiritual’ enclaves and churchly ghettos. But it also wants the church to be the church—uncompromised, vibrant, and filled with joy. Both are necessary for the Christian community to be an agent of transformation in the civilization in which God calls it to serve, witness, and bear fruit. Greg Forster argues for a renewed form of holistic obedience, and he does so not only with joy, but also hope. Recommended with enthusiasm!”
Timothy George, Distinguished Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

“When I speak or host my daily radio talk show, I deal with three categories of Christians. Many believe we should be isolated from the culture or conclude that Christians who engage the culture can’t make a significant difference in the world. Others believe we should engage the culture, but don’t know how. Then there is the remnant trying to engage the culture that could use some instruction and encouragement. This book is for all three. Forster encourages us to be salt and light, explaining how Christians can make a difference and be a significant witness for Christ. This is a book for all Christians.”
Kerby Anderson, President, Probe Ministries; Host, Point of View radio talk show

“Forster’s deft grasp of history, philosophy, and theology enables him to offer up this rigorous yet accessible book. He offers rich, unique insights into the story of how Christians lost their civilizational influence. More importantly, he describes how a vigorous embrace by the church of whole-life discipleship—that shapes our personal, family, workplace, and community lives—can create Jesus-followers who are genuinely good citizens and good neighbors.”
Amy L. Sherman, Senior Fellow, Sagamore Institute for Policy Research; author, Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good

“Greg Forster offers a passionate call for Christians to pursue industrious, thoughtful, and patient labor in all of their life’s callings for the humble and biblical goal of blessing their neighbors. Those tempted to dismiss their ordinary occupations as necessary evils will find much to challenge and motivate them in these pages. Especially helpful are Forster’s chapters on economics and politics, and their stimulating discussion of work, citizenship, and neighborliness.”
David VanDrunen, Robert B. Strimple Professor of Systematic Theology and Christian Ethics, Westminster Seminary California

“With a refreshing depth of biblical, historical, and cultural insight, Greg Forster presents a compelling way forward for the church to rebuild influence in American society. Joy for the World opens up broad vistas of the Spirit-filled life with its transforming power, yet remains wisely tethered to the hopeful realism necessary for living with true joy in a fallen world. This book is tailor-made for every follower of Jesus who desires to embrace an integral and influential gospel-centered faith lived out and embodied in every nook and cranny of life. I highly recommend it.”
Tom Nelson, Senior Pastor, Christ Community Church, Kansas City; President, Made to Flourish; author, Work Matters and The Economics of Neighborly Love