Monday, August 16, 2010

Book Review: Why We Love The Church

The authors of Why We're Not Emergent have done it again. Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck have gone one step further and produced their second collaboration, on why they love the church. Surveying popular culture as well as emerging church types, they diagnose a strange problem - decorpulation. While it may be a made up word (and sure why not?), it presents the malady of many today - wanting Christ without his body; loving Jesus but hating his church.

The book is arranged almost like a pingpong game - taking chapter about. DeYoung (who is a pastor) takes the theological issues at stake and expounds the Bible as it pertains to the church; then Kluck (who is a sports writer and member of DeYoung's congregation) reflects on culture and truth in a more subjective but no less useful way. DeYoung presents the four primary reasons why people don't like the church - missiological (thinking the church has lost its way); personal (the church has an image problem); historical (thinking the church has become an institution and moved from its pure roots); and theological (that churchianity is a religion, but that's not what Jesus is about). His chapters then respond to each issue in turn, with some great quotes to give you a flavour:

'People seem to want fellowship without commitment... to learn from each other without being taught by anyone.'

'We are less the reincarnation of Christ in the world ushering in His Kingdom and more His ambassadors bearing testimony to His life and finished work.'

'What outsiders like is a pop-culture Jesus... the Jesus they like is almost certainly not the Jesus who calls sinners to repentance, claimed to be the unique Son of God, and died for our sins.'

'Many of the Christians who went to war under the sign of the cross [in the Crusades] conducted themselves as if they knew nothing of the Christ of the cross.'

Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion is a great reminder of the Biblical mandate of the Church, and is presented in a great format with the two voices alternating with the one simple message. While anyone will benefit from it, the target audience is probably teens to thirties, the emergent generation who may be swayed by the move away from institutions and structures to more free form spirituality.

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