Incarnate: The Body of Christ in an Age of Disengagement, By Michael Frost
  • Length: 239 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: February 10, 2014
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 4417
  • ISBN: 9780830844173

*affiliate partner

  • 12th Annual Outreach Resource of the Year Recommendation (Missional Church)
  • 2014 Best Book of Missional Theology, from Byron Borger, Hearts and Minds Bookstore

The story of Christianity is a story of incarnation—God taking on flesh and dwelling among the people he created. God appointing and sending people as his body, his hands and feet. Disciples of Jesus bearing the good news even as they bear the marks of his passion. Whatever Christianity is, it is at least a matter of flesh and blood and the ends of the earth.

And yet so much of contemporary Christian culture is rooted not in incarnation but in escape—escape from the earth to heaven, escape from the suffering of this world, escape even from one another. Christianity is increasingly understood as something personal, conceptual, interior, private, neighborless. If Jesus was God incarnate, the church is in danger of being excarnate.

Michael Frost expertly and prophetically exposes the gap between the faith we profess and the faith we practice. And he offers new hope for how the church can fulfill its vocation: to be the hands and feet of Christ to one another and to our neighbors, to the ends of the earth and to the end of the age.

"We are all facing it--the rootless, disembodied, cyber-based existence of today's modern world. We are struggling to live amidst flat landscapes that separate mind from body from soul. In Incarnate Michael Frost shows us how this world defies the incarnation. He unfolds the glories of returning to the body as the place where God has come in Christ to restore our lives. His writing couldn't be more inspired. His book couldn't be more timely."

David Fitch, Lindner Chair of Theology, Northern Seminary; author, Prodigal Christianity

"God has always desired to have his presence with us--the wholeness of his presence in and among us. It is sin that interrupts that presence. But in redemption that interruption has been removed. Incarnate will take the Christian community to the cutting edge of where the Spirit of God is pulling us to go. It is a significant book for a significant time."

John M. Perkins, founder of the Christian Community Development Association, author of Let Justice Roll Down and Welcoming Justice

"In a culture obsessed with practices, technologies and forms of entertainment that distance us from what is most real-and-true human experience, Michael Frost wisely takes us back to the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ. Incarnate teases out the real-world implications of the embodied presence of God in Jesus Christ as the missional key for the body of Christ. Essential reading for faith communities seeking to follow Jesus into loving God by loving neighbors."

Dwight J. Friesen, associate professor of practical theology at The Seattle School of Theology Psychology, coauthor of The New Parish

"This timely book is about more than simply becoming better Christians, it is about making the world a better place. With biting commentary and insightful critique of society--as well as the church's posture in it--this book may be Mike's best to date (and that says a lot). It is well researched and thoughtful in its summation. I am recommending it to all that I work with to help frame our true mission. We have needed this book for a long time, and I am so glad it is finally here."

Neil Cole, author of Organic Church, Organic Leadership, Church 3.0, Primal Fire, Cultivating a life for God and Journeys to Significance

"Once again, renowned Australian missiologist Michael Frost delivers up a rich and wide-ranging combination of astute commentary and informed critique. His central theme--a lament over our increasingly disincarnate lives--is balanced perfectly by his firm and salvific call to all of us to rediscover and reclaim our Judeo-Christian heritage as 'spirited bodies.'"

Phyllis Tickle, author, The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why

"With this book my comrade Michael Frost emerges as not only an already acclaimed missiologist but also as a deeply prophetic cultural interpreter for the church in our time. I have always felt that this was the book Mike was destined to write, and I think the reader will soon agree. Profound and important!"

Alan Hirsch, founder of Forge Missional Training Network and Future Travelers

"Michael Frost has a knack for packing a prophetic punch through compelling stories and illustrations. Incarnate uses story, philosophy and theology correctively and formatively to remind Christians about our posture in an ever-changing world."

Todd Engstrom, Outreach Magazine's Resources of the Year, March/April 2015

"Much ink has been spilt in the search for the perfect adjective to describe what the Church is called to be. Incarnate may be one of the best. The Church is to be the Body of Christ at work in the world. Frost calls the Church to its original mission and provides a vision for finding our way back, providing insights into forces that keep us from experiencing the kingdom."

Relevant Magazine, March/April 2014

"Frost's cultural reach is wide, and his enthusiasm for his topic is sincere. His analysis of culture should provoke thought and discussion in church circles and prove worthwhile for pastors."

Library Journal, February 15, 2014

"Written by an Australian missiologist, this book examines the church in an age of unprecedented rootlessness, addiction, ambiguity, and disengagement—an age of 'excarnation.' Frost digs deep into the manure and mulch of contemporary culture to extract a living, breathing body of believers."

PRISM, Spring 2014

"Pastors should be students of culture so they can engage their people with the gospel more effectively. This book brings to light the slow cultural drift that a lot of Christians and some churches are experiencing, and it points us back to Christ."

Chase L. Durham, YouthWorker Journal, November-December 2014

"Frost hooked me—my whole person—with his writing. Michael has an easy style. His lovely prose takes us places with words; his metaphors are moving. I smiled as he referenced important movie ideas. Frost masterfully navigates natural history from Ireland to Hawai'I. He weaves pithy anecdotes with reflective quotations. . . . Incarnate concludes with strong praxis. The author's focus on non-anxious leadership mirrors his concern that our solutions are not one-size-fits-all. Frost's missional heartbeat raises important questions. . . . Here Michael Frost and I and all the Church can join hands to celebrate our monochotism. Our wholeness shows the whole gospel."

Mark Eckel, Englewood Review of Books, Lent 2014

"Incarnate is a thought-provoking analysis of the excarnate nature of contemporary society and church life, together with a prescription for a more down-to-earth incarnational approach for engaging local and global needs and everyday life, for forming missional leaders and by extension for theological education."

Darren Cronshaw, Journal of Adult Theological Education, 10.2

"Incarnate is a good introduction to the topical and important issue of embodied anthropology and would be accessible to both undergraduate and postgraduate students. . . . Frost arguably leads the way in exploring the implications of embodied conceptions of personhood for the missional conversation and for this, at least, his book is well worth reading."

Helen Morris, The Journal of Youth Ministry, Spring 2015


Introduction: Defleshing the Human Experience
1 Rootless, Disengaged and Screen Addicted
2 The Schizophrenic Sense of Self
3 Wandering Aimlessly in a Moral Minefield
4 The Moral Ambiguity of Our Time
5 Religion as an Embodied Experience
6 Learning Embodiment from the Master
7 Desire, Idolatry and Discipleship
8 We Are Spirited Bodies
9 Mission in the Excarnate Age
10 Defying Church-World Dualism
11 Placed Persons
12 Adopting an Incarnational Posture
13 The First Page of the End of Despair
14 Getting There
Epilogue: Christ in Us and We in Christ


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Michael Frost

Michael Frost is an internationally recognized Australian missiologist and one of the leading voices in the missional church movement. He is the vice principal of Morling College in Sydney, Australia, and the founding director of the Tinsley Institute, a mission study centre located at Morling College. An expert in church planting, Frost cofounded the Forge Mission Training Network with Alan Hirsch, and he has written more than a dozen books including The Shaping of Things to Come, Exiles, The Road to Missional, and Incarnate.