About the Book

“Many Americans think that race problems are a thing of the past because we no longer live under the Jim Crow laws that once sustained overt structures of segregation. Unfortunately, says Paul Louis Metzger, today we live under an updated version of segregation, through the subtle power of unchallenged norms of consumer preference. Consumerism affects and infects the church, reinforcing race and class divisions in society. Intentionally or unintentionally, many churches have set up structures of church growth that foster segregation, such as appealing to consumer appetites. Metzger here argues that the evangelical Christian church needs to admit this fault and intentionally move away from race, class, and consumer segregation. Challenging the consumerism that fosters ethnic and economic divisions and distorts evangelical Christianity, Consuming Jesus puts forth a theologically grounded call to restructure the church’s passions and practices, transforming the evangelical imagination around a nobler, all-consuming vision of the Christian faith.”

Paul Louis Metzger (small)Author Bio

Paul Louis Metzger is professor of Christian theology and theology of culture at Multnomah Biblical Seminary, Portland, Oregon, and founder-director of The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins. His other books include The Word of Christ and the World of Culture.

Table of Contents

  1. Foreword, by Donald Miller
  2. Introduction: Trading Stone Altars for Coffee Bars
  3. A Faulty Order: Retreating Battle Camps and Homogeneous Units
  4. Disordered Vision: Battling the Consumer Balrog
  5. Reordering the Cosmic Powers: Turning the Tables at the Stone Table
  6. Reordering the Christian’s Life: The Supernatural Shakeup
  7. Reordering the Church: Recovering the Lost Ark
  8. Reordering the Church’s Outreach: Overcoming Market Forces and Building Beloved Community
  9. Conclusion: A Nobler Vision of Patchwork Quilts and Church Potlucks
  10. Afterword, by John M. Perkins
  11. Acknowledgments
  12. Index of Subjects and Names
  13. Index of Scripture References

Book Reviews

Rick McKinley
— pastor of Imago Dei Community, Portland, Oregon
“Paul Metzger has become a catalytic voice in the city of Portland. His passion for the gospel engaging the culture is at the core of his life. Because of that, Paul continues to tackle gospel-centric issues that the church for too long has ignored, been ignorant of, or simply dismissed. This book is one of those great tackles that makes the highlight reel on SportsCenter. With theological depth, cultural understanding, and a prophetic edge, Paul calls us to face one of the key issues threatening the church in the West and educates us on how that may look. This is an important book.”

William Storrar
— director of Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton
“Paul Metzger is a prophetic voice in the American evangelical community. His theological vision of a church consumed by Christ and not by consumerism could not be more timely or helpful. Writing with scholarly depth and human empathy, he exposes the consumerist roots of racial and economic divisions in the body of Christ and shows how faithfulness to the gospel leads to a reconciled evangelical community and witness.”

J. Kameron Carter
— Duke Divinity School
“In the wake of the transformations that took place in the last half of the last century, it was impossible for an earlier generation of evangelical intellectuals to ignore the modern world’s, indeed America’s, race problem. But rarely was the lip service paid to the problem translated into careful reflection on theology’s own culpability in forging the racial world in which we live and move and have our being, to say nothing of reimagining theology itself and church life beyond the racial world that Christianity and its theologians had such a significant hand in making. Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church is the breakout book of a new generation of young evangelical intellectuals who are striving not to make the mistake of their theological-evangelical fathers. It should be read.”

Mark DeYmaz
— pastor of Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas
“Consuming Jesus sounds the death knell for a paradigm of church growth driven by the homogeneous unit principle and measured in success by numbers, dollars, and buildings. Metzger writes with personal passion and professional expertise, providing a wealth of insight for practitioners addressing the question If the kingdom of heaven is not segregated, why on earth is the church? His work should be read by everyone desiring to restore the local church to a place of compassionate influence within the community.”