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Book Recommendation: “Why We Love the Church”

September 21, 2009

If you’re almost ready to succumb to the zeitgeist of today which has written off the local church as irrelevant, boring, lame, out-of-touch, wrong, anti-woman, anti-homosexual, hyper-authoritarian, judgmental, hypocritical, corrupt or (fill in the blank if I’ve left something out), then I highly recommend Why We Love the Church by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck.  The writing is biblically thoughtful, bitingly witty and occasionally opinionated (page number is parentheses):

“We’re kidding ourselves if we think our churches don’t have weaknesses.” (74)

“. . . the claim that people like Jesus but not church is worth almost nothing in my estimation.” (77)

“Haven’t we all been made to sit through sharing times where some dear soul can’t seem to land the testimony plane?” (125)

“Where do we see Paul talking to his churches about transforming their communities?  Where does Jesus, with the corrupt oppressive Roman Empire in full sway, seem interested in world-changing initiatives?  It may be implied in passages about the cosmic lordship of Christ or living good lives among the pagans or praying for the king, but the concerns of the New Testament seem to have little to do with explicit community transformation.” (38-39)

“What makes the church unique is its commitment, above all else, to knowing and making known Christ and Him crucified.” (45)

[Quoting Dan Kimball]:  “. . . some from our staff recently visited a self-described missional church.  It was 35 people.  That alone is not a problem.  But the church had been missional for ten years, and it hadn’t grown, multiplied, or planted any other churches in a city of several million people.  That sure seems to be a problem if the church is claiming to be ‘missional'” (46).

“I can’t help but feel that lurking beneath the surface in much of the current disillusionment with the church is a dis-ease with the traditional message of salvation.” (51)

[Quoting Charles F. Kettering]:  “We have a lot of people revolutionizing the world because they’ve never had to present a working model.” (54)

“As evangelicals we’ve become addicted to ‘happy ending’ stories where we go through ‘x’ (hard thing) and then start praying and then—Shazam!—God makes everything better and we have a nice, utopian story to tell where we are the hero who ends up with the great job, the great family, the time off, the free plane ticket, the lost purse, or the great healthy kids.  The fact of the matter is, sometimes (often) the happy ending is heaven, and the getting there is a really difficult but formative part of our sanctification.” (193)

This book is a great riposte to the tear-down-the-church-and-start-completely-over mentality that is winning many hearts and minds (not to mention making a few bucks as well).  It may be hip, edgy, and trendy to criticize the church.  It’s also easier than trying to be a faithful part of one and that may be the saddest thing about today’s anti-church brigades.  May Why We Love the Church help to turn a few lost souls around who’ve chosen to take this easy but unbiblical path.

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