This is a really good book. Ellul is an interesting theologian who is keenly focused on how we live out the witness of the gospel within the secular world.loafingcactus
The Technological Society lays out the quandary faced by the industrial world (which still exists in the post-industrial world through an inescapable inheritance) completely, academically and inescapably. This book provides the response to it, framed as a Christian response but really the only response anyone could possibly give. The response leans not at all on Christian theology and doesn't even lean on the existence elf God in any important way. Consequently, this is a response that can be implemented by anyone, no matter what their theistic sense, though they may have to give up some of their preoccupations as developed by industrial-influenced religious thought and manners.Ellul has influenced my sense of the world and my place in it more than any single writer, though if one finds his books more dense than one is inclined to go for, try Philosophy in the Mass Age.MT
Everyone should read this book...it will rock your world.This book was written in 1948 in France but it well could have been recently published in the U.S. The picture it paints of technology ruling culture is incredibly accurate of our current state. Ellul notes that when mindless technology takes over we will see progress defined as nothing substantial but rather as just a refining of existing technology to serve itself. If you doubt what I'm saying consider the Vinyl LP record, replaced by the 8 track tape, the cassette, the CD, to the mp3...all "improvements"according to the retail culture, yet audiophiles note that the quality of audio in an LP is still the best.Is this an excellent Christian book...yes...but it doesn't need the "Christian" attachment...it is an excellent book that will seriously challenge your thinking, for the better.John
There's no question but that anyone wanting to delve into the deep and strange but wonderful world of Jacques Ellul, this is the book you MUST start with before reading any of his other seminal works. It was slow reading to say the least, but it was totally worth it. Mind blowing is how I would put its effect on me by the time I was done reading it.Johnny Brooks
I am not sure how Jacques Ellul’s book The Presence of the Kingdom ended up on my wish list, yet I am glad it did. Jacques Ellul is the first French theologian I have read. In fact this book may be the first French book I have read. (Of course not knowing French I read the English version.)A quarter of the book is made up of a Preface, A Forward to the 1967 edition, and an introduction to Ellul. While none of these sections offer much in terms of meaty thoughts, each is informative. Especially insightful was the Introduction to Ellul.I had never heard of Ellul before reading his book, or only perhaps read a passing note about him someplace. The introduction to him and his basic philosophy and reasoning process was much needed. I would have misunderstood much he wrote without this introduction.The introduction, which was penned by Daniel B. Clendenin, explains Jacques Ellul’s dependence on dialectic reasoning. “Perhaps the single most important factor for Ellul interpretation is an understanding of his passionate adherence e to dialectic.” Ellul had this to say about it, “I am a dialectician above all; I believe nothing can be understood without dialectical analysis.”Dialectics is defined as: A method of argument or exposition that systematically weighs contradictory facts or ideas with a view to the resolution of their real or apparent contradictions.Admittedly I had to look dialectic up in the dictionary. I was surprised to find that I had developed a method of thinking that was an actual method. Considering both sides is how I approach most subjects. Ellul did the same, or I do the same as him. Either way it makes for interesting reading in this book.The Presence of the Kingdom was first published in 1948. The examples, places, events, and names used in the book are dated. However Ellul’s analysis is relevant for our day. In fact it may be more relevant now than it was in 1948. (Especially his thoughts on how technology separates us from our fellow man.)Jacques Ellul makes the argument that as a Christian we are in the world, though not of it. Meaning we must be in the world. We need to engage the world system and be the light and salt Jesus wants us to be. It is up to us to influence our world through our lifestyle.This book is well worth reading.Jeff Bjorgan
My first Ellul book, a profound read, where he argues that in a world that is suicidal, intent on destroying itself, the church (as in the kingdom of God) is situated and empowered to--if it responds to its true nature--to bring a revolution, a revolution of life. Academic yet very accessible, Ellul's concepts will stick with me for a long time.Mark Sequeira
THIS IS A GREAT BOOK! I am getting tired of saying that but most books simply aren't worth acknowledging reading or taking the time to even post them. I wish all believers would read this book.