C.S.Lewis coined the phrase “chronological snobbery” which means that Christians tend to discount the old and embrace the new. When it comes to the church, it’s certainly in vogue these days to write about the need to scrap the whole enterprise and rebuild from the ground up. If I let myself focus on all the trouble that arises between the stained glass windows I can feel that way myself sometimes.
This is why I love Why we Love the Church by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck. This book is refreshing in the midst of a seemingly endless barrage of books aimed at tearing down the local church. Author after author these days attacks the church as inauthentic, overly-authoritarian and off mission. Do we really need any more would-be prophets selling books criticizing the church for embracing commercialism? The other day I came across the blog of a major Christian publication asking for the best story illustrating the problem of commercialism in evangelicalism today. As a promotion for the book, the publisher would then reward the author of the best story with a free copy of the book (the book denouncing commercialism that is).
I think the overall point is: yes, Christians are hypocrites. And DeYoung and Kluck do an excellent job making the case that the church seems like it’s a mess to the outside world because it is comprised of a bunch of sinners. But in spite of being a mess, the local church is still plugging along after 2,000 years. All the prophets of doom who in the 1980’s announced that if the church didn’t give itself over to seeker-sensitive thinking have been replaced by the new prophets of doom proclaiming that if the church doesn’t embrace a missional model it will die in five years, or a decade, or next month.
On the heals of my post about this having been the summer of the local church for me, this book just reinforces a growing sense that there is more to the ministry of the local church than I have often thought. Yes, Bono is out there fighting world hunger and dissing President Bush but brothers and sisters in Christ are meeting every week to care for children and widows, study the bible and then go out and live as salt and light in their community. The man who is working hard to provide for his kids while also serving as a deacon and teaching a Sunday School class may not being giving a concert in New York or Tokyo next weekend but he will be listening to my daughter say her verses in AWANA next Wednesday night and for that I’m grateful.
Whether you love the church or not I’d encourage you to pick up this book and be reminded of all the good things going on within the body of Christ.