I’m rather slow here, but I wanted to comment on George Barna’s new book. I saw the news at the Reformation 21 blog. Barna’s research has some value, but I have felt uncomfortable with his conclusions since I read his The Frog in the Kettle more than a decade ago. This new book, Revolution, goes way beyond uncomfortable. He is effectively celebrating a new churchless Christianity, an oxymoron if I ever heard one. A good review by Sam Storms may be found here, in two parts: Part 1, Part 2 (HT, Reformation 21, again).
I haven’t read the book, so I will let others review, but Barna’s voice is not alone. When evangelical ‘gurus’ advocate capitulating to trends because ‘that’s the way things are,’ they betray unbelief in the power of the gospel (I’m not commenting here on the authenticity of their Christianity, but upon their misplaced faith in worldly methodology). A desire to be parallel to the spirit of the age is exactly what the church does not need. We are a peculiar people – and that usually means being perpendicular, not parallel to the culture. Where the world celebrates success is precisely the point where we must be most cautious.
For years, many evangelical churches have been seeking to minimize the ‘churchiness’ of going to church. There is much that needs reformation in the church. I would wholeheartedly agree that the ideal is not to be found in the typical Baptist service of 1955 or 1975. However, if we leave church on Sunday thinking, “I really felt like I was at Church today,” we should say that with joy and a sense of thankful celebration.
I feel another blog post coming on. I’m going to go lie down until the feeling goes away.