Why we love the church book review
n a world that is looking for God everywhere except in their local church, it is fitting that this book tackles the issue of why people don’t want to come to church, or are leaving it! We are informed that people would rather look for God “within themselves” or as this book suggests, on the golf course or even in their local Starbucks, where they believe a gathering of like-minded people achieve the same thing!
With this book, the two authors write to these individuals and try to show them what is good about church and where it stands biblically.
They do this by categorising these individuals into 4 groups:
The Committed – those who are currently attending and want to encourage them not to get disillusioned.
The Disgruntled – those who are frustrated with the lack of Christian influence within society and believe the church has let them down.
The Waffling – those who feel they do not need to go to church.
The Disconnected – those who have left the church in search of worshiping God in their own way.
They then break down the various objections to church into 4 categories:
Missiological – those who think the church is old fashioned so have to change it.
Personal – those who view the church as offensive and oppressive (anti-gay, anti-women, hypocritical etc.)
Historical – those who look at the 1st century church and want to revert to that way of meeting.
Theological – those who think that the place (i.e. a church building) where Christians meet is not really important or what God wants for Christian gatherings.
The authors give various view points from others within the church and those outside of it, and go on to defend the church institution. For those who think Christianity has done more to drive people away from church due to its historical blunders, the book asks its readers to make sure they have all the facts about these events before judging. For example, the Crusades started off by being a Godly march to save fellow brothers and sisters in Christ from Muslims who were invading Jerusalem. Yes, further crusaders then went on to do unchristian things under the crusades banner – but realistically the authors ask that people do their research before making sweeping generalisations against all the Crusades and all Christianity.
“God-centred, Bible-centred, and demonstrably mature, they win the exchange hands down. As I read (this book) I wanted to stand up and cheer…”J.I Packer
They also review books that write against organised institutions and their main reason being that they are no longer any good to society in general.
Kevin and Ted then give their reasons why they believe that society is actually not seeing the “good” the church is doing (winter soup kitchens, cloth/food banks, supporting organisations that are assisting the deprived in society etc many of which are organised by the church) but that they are only focussing on the negatives, of which there are many due to the various pseudo-Christian organisations i.e. churches that focus on raising more money and growing in numbers rather than seeking out the homeless living outside these mega-churches.
Kevin and Ted sum up all the objections by emphasising that (a) God wants organised institutions, (b) reasons to love and be part of the Body of Christ and (c) it is the best way for Christians to meet, grow and outreach to the community.
So I think ultimately they are asking us to : examine the reasons for going, or not going to church, do our own research into the matter and then make a decision based on, not what we want church to be but, what God wants it to be! We will never find a perfect church that will be all “I” want it to be – but if we look at it as a place to re-focus on God, worship Him, learn from Him and encourage and edify our fellow brothers and sisters, then I think most of us will enjoy this institution for a long time to come!
If you attend PBC & would like a free copy of the book, please contact the office today!
Diane Riebeseel - Women's Ministry
Diane was born in Scotland and before starting primary school had also lived in Zambia and Greece! Her family moved to South Africa just prior to her starting high school. It was about a year after arriving that her mother started attending a church and encouraged Diane to join her, which she did, and in her last year of high school she accepted the Lord as her Saviour. She then became involved in her local church assisting with Sunday school, youth camps, and puppet ministry. In 1988 she left South Africa for America to study at a Christian college, graduating in 1991 with a Theology degree and while attending was actively involved in Sunday school, youth rallies and the bus ministry. After graduation she moved back to South Africa until 1997 when she moved permanently back to the UK settling in London. Today Diane has been tasked with heading up our newly formed Women’s ministry.