About

Rev. Dr. Soong-Chan Rah is Milton B. Engebretson Associate Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago, IL and the author of The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity (IVP Books, 2009); Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church (Moody, 2010); and co-editor of Honoring the Generations: Learning with Asian North American Congregations (Judson, 2012).

Soong-Chan received his B.A. in Political Science and History/Sociology from Columbia University; his M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; his Th.M. from Harvard University; his D.Min. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and is currently in the Th.D. program at Duke University.

He serves on the boards of World Vision, Sojourners, the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA), Evangelicals 4 Justice and the Catalyst Leadership Center.

Rah is formerly the founding Senior Pastor of the Cambridge Community Fellowship Church (CCFC), a multi-ethnic, urban ministry-focused church committed to living out the values of racial reconciliation and social justice in the urban context. Soong-Chan has previously been part of a church planting team in the Washington DC area, worked for a number of years with IVCF in Boston (specifically at MIT), and had mobilized CCFC to plant two additional churches.

He has extensive experience in cross-cultural preaching as well as on numerous college campuses. Soong-Chan was a plenary speaker at the 2003 Urbana Student Missions Conference, the 2005 Summer Institute for Asian American Ministry and Theology, the 2006 Congress on Urban Ministry, the 2007 ECC Midwinter Conference, the 2007 Urban Youth Workers Institute Conference and the 2008 CCDA National Conference, 2009 Cornerstone Festival, 2010 Calvin College January Series, 2010 GCTS National Preaching Conference, 2011 Disciples of Christ General Assembly, and the 2012 Fuller Missiology Conference.

Soong-Chan, his wife, Sue, who teaches special education, and their two children, Annah and Elijah live in Chicago.

 

Comments
  1. Pat Trahan says:

    Dear Prof Rah, Was introduced to your book recently at an intimate retreat with John Perkins. Great man. Great book. You hit hard, but punches are well placed. JP and several of his speakers credited the Catholic Church with being best among denominations at speaking to issues of social justice. Not sure we are much better at doing justice though. Catholic Church is conspicuously absent in your book. See any potential?

    • profrah says:

      Pat, yes there is. Not just the Catholic church but also the non-evangelical churches. The book is being directed towards the evangelical churches, because that is more of my background and the statistics that show some of the fastest rate of diversity is occurring in evangelical churches (although you would never know that from evangelical literature). We definitely need to see what’s happening across the broad cross section of Christianity.

  2. J.Ben says:

    Hi Prof Rah.

    I was just over at Eugene Cho’s blog and saw that you were encouraging people to come over to your site and comment about your new book, so I thought I would. I hope this is a good place to do it. You may want to think about creating a clearer place for people to do it, or maybe I just missed something super obvious.

    Anyway, I just finished your book. I bought it at an IV Staff conference in July. I actually just wrote a little review on my blog but to save you the trouble of going there: I loved it. I think you had some great things to say. I remembered a lot of them from when you spoke at the Shalom conference in Portland a few years ago. Creamy Ranch. That one has stuck with me for a long time.

    I have heard some critiques that you kind of bash white culture. I can see where they get that from, but I think it was good of you not to pull any punches (so to speak). If you are going to write about freeing the church from western cultural captivity, it is not the place to encourage us to stay there. There may have been good things about the Jews being in exile in Babylon, but they needed to leave.

    I am considering making this book required reading for my student leaders. The only problem is that many of them aren’t big readers and the book is not exactly an easy read. Any chance of taking the material and turning it into something a little more accessible and easy to teach? I will try to do my best with it but really the best idea I can come up with it to have them read it.

    Question: are you planning to do something at Urbana this year? I will SO be at any seminar you lead so please lead one.

    And what would it take to get you to come to Oregon State University to do some kind of event on this topic?

    Ben Emerson
    Oregon State University IV Staff.

    • profrah says:

      Ben,

      Still trying to work out the kinks. This interactive new media stuff is still very new. I am hoping that we’ll have a bulletin board of some sort available on the website. That section is still not up. We’re trying to get youtube clips up on various topics. Some of it is cost. Video production is not free. We’ll keep trying to get stuff up as soon as we can and as much as we can afford. Check http://www.profrah.com and http://www.youtube.com/profrah

  3. J.L. Schafer says:

    Hi Prof. Rah,

    Like Ben above, I wandered over to your blog because I wanted to say something about your book; I’m leaving a comment on this page because this seems like a reasonable place to do it.

    I have written a lengthy review of your book and posted it on Amazon; I won’t repeat it here. My review is negative, perhaps overly so. But I wanted you to know that I appreciate your efforts to promote a healthy spirit of self-criticism within the evangelical community because, God knows, we need it.

    I would be interested to hear your reaction to my review. It’s at

    http://www.amazon.com/review/RO012DYN83JMH/ref=cm_cr_pr_viewpnt#RO012DYN83JMH

    With regard to racism in the dominant white culture: I know there are many white evangelicals who don’t “get it” and are unaware of how deeply their perceptions, faith experience and theology are affected by their white American upbringing. Like a fish who doesn’t even know that he’s wet. Please don’t think that I am one of those people. I am a longstanding member of a very multi-ethnic (the majority is nonwhite) church and I spend a lot of energy trying to bridge culture gaps. So I do know something about these things.

    The Lord bless you and keep you.

    J.L. Schafer

  4. [...] ministries (Eugene Cho, David Park, DJ Chuang, Charles Lee, Daniel Kim) or Professors and Authors (Soong-Chan Rah, Kathy Khang). There are many others I’m leaving off, but I think these are just a few of the [...]

    • AR says:

      I just stumbled upon your blog and have been fascinated by the recent posts and activities surrounding the “Deadly Vipers” book. First, I thank you for taking a stand against the book. A lapsed Christian, I had long lost hope in the evangelical church to acknowledge race and privilege within a racialized society and church. Too often, racial differences are gently coddled with the bland affirmation that “we are all God’s children”. The book exposes the foothold that racial stratification has within the church itself; your willingness to meet this head-on was heartening.

  5. Esther Lee says:

    Hi Pastor Soong-Chan,
    First, greetings from your home state of Maryland. I just finished reading your book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. In the midst of all the books I have been reading and studying for seminary, I think your book has a very refreshing viewpoint and is easily read and very well written. In all the talk about postmodernism and how to minister in this generation, as a second generation Korean American I find your book very informative in the issues and type of solutions we should be further pursuing in the church of America. Especially in immigrant churches. We need to inform not only the white church of this perspective but even the immigrant churches to be able to open their doors and embrace this muticultural perspective.
    I was discussing this book with an InterVarsity supervisor of mine who happens to be Caucasian, and he also felt that you expressed very well what is happening the church today. I feel the book will not only challenge whites but people of all races and cultures to take a step back and to really start begin to dialogue and express their desire to express their love for God and for the world around them in a more practical and realistic view based on state of the culture of America today. It will challenge to look and relate to people in and out of the church in a different way. Thank you for the book! I am so proud of the fact that at one point in my high school life, you were my Sunday school teacher. You’ve come a long way!

  6. Erin Rivero says:

    Hi Prof. Rah,

    Would you consider creating a study guide to accompany the new book? My husband and I read it last fall and hope to begin a study group on the book with our peers. We’re interested in your insight on getting the discussion started, and ideas for defining our focus as we dig into the material. Any suggestions?

    Thanks for your time!

    Erin

  7. [...] Professor Soong-Chan Rah wrote an open letter to Mike Foster, Jud Wilhite and Zondervan stating publicly his offense at the [...]

  8. Scott - FL, USA says:

    Dr. Rah, I’m in the process of reading The Next Evangelicalism now. I was going to write after chapter 2, but I’m glad I read the first few pages of chapter 3 before writing. I am on my way out of the SBC and would like to apologize for the way my demonination’s leaders responded to the concerns of the Asian community about racism in our VBS material. I went to a SB seminary and worked for two years with the IMB, and your comments about the leadership of this corporation we call the SBC being arrogant and priviledged are right on. I currently serve as the student minister at a SBC church because that’s the only place I could use my limited skills upon returning from China as I resigned from the IMB. I’m currently going back to school (secular this time) for an advaced degree in Applied Linguistics: TESOL. My plan is to be a tent-maker of sorts, following the example of Paul in 1 Corinthans 9.

    My comment really has to do with chapter two of your book. I agree that American churches are materialistic and irresponsible with their finances, but I’m wondering why you didn’t bring in the idea that there are also many “christian professionals” who make a living off the Gospel who are absorbing the church’s resources that could be used to help the needy. I see Paul saying that it is fine and justifiable to be supported as a minister, but I also see him saying (and modeling) that it is better to not be supported financially by the church. We, as ministers, have conjured an illusion that we should be compensated by our churches, denominations, seminaries, mission boards, etc. in such a way that we can live a middle-class lifestyle, have health insurance, and retire comfortably at a fairly young age. I don’t see many Christian professionals using other skills to make their living and being a financial contributor to their church, and those that do have the goal of eventually being supported by their church. It seems to me this is because of the same materialistic/consumeristic mindset that you describe plaguing churches. What do you think?

  9. Lew says:

    Dear Prof. Rah,
    Are you aware of any large white churches in white communities or suburbs anywhere in the country that are drawing diverse congregations into their communities because of God’s word being taught most importantly and then the church’s warm reception of African-Americans who are led to the church’s doorsteps because of things like location, programs offered for adults and children, diverse music being played, etc.? I know of large churches in Black and Hispanic communities that have significant white members and attendees, as well as other minorities.
    Thank you for your ministry.
    Thank you.
    Lew

  10. Steve says:

    Dr. Rah – just finished The Next Evangelicalism. I’m a pastor do a growing church in the metro Boston area. I wanted to thank you for the book and ask one question – where do I start? I’m inspired but completely overwhelmed by what needs to be done as our reacts to and is ushered into this new evangelicalism. What are some practical steps churches can make to move this direction. The truth is that the emergent voice is much louder than the voice you present in your book and they offer immediate ways to change, even I’d those changes are of very little value.

    Please help.

  11. Hi Dr. Rah! Mike Morrell and I really appreciate your blog, and think you’d be an excellent candidate for our Speakeasy Blogger Network. Do you like to review off-the-beaten path faith, spirituality, and culture books? Speakeasy puts interesting books in your hands at no charge to you. You only get books when you request them, and it’s free to join. Sign up here, if you’d like: http://thespeakeasy.info

    You’re not on any contact lists, I promise; if you don’t respond, that’s it, and the invitation is open as long as you’re actively blogging. Hope you join us!

  12. [...] family and I moved to Seattle as part of our pilgrimage toward a more harmonious life and vocation.Soong-Chan Rah // Professor Rah is the author of The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western [...]

  13. [...] Soong-Chan Rah // Professor Rah is the author of The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity and Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church. Soong-Chan is Milton B. Engebretson Associate Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism and North Park Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL. [...]

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