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Why We Love The Church? To Read Or Not To Read?

I recently read Why We Love The Church by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck.  It's a pretty good book, I suppose.  It's not my favorite of theirs, but it's good.  I have read Why We're Not Emergent by the pair which I really liked, as well as one of Kevin DeYoung's solo works, Just Do Something, which was also a good little read.

There were parts of the book that I really appreciated being talked about, but for the most part, I found that the title was a bit misleading.  The book wasn't about "why we love the church" so much as it was a lengthy constructed argument against authors who have sprung up seemingly everywhere with their "why we left the church and why you should to" books.

That said, I do appreciate the defense.  I get tired of hearing about the "evils" of the church and how everyone is more like Jesus somehow when they refuse to step foot inside an official place of worship.  Those that write and speak about these things do touch on some truths.  I'll give them that.  Sure, there are issues with all churches.  But, the expectation of perfection in any organization is nothing short of completely unreasonable.  And, if these people who have left an organized church (noun) to "liberate" themselves with how church (verb) should be done applied those same requirements of their respective organized employers, they would most certainly find themselves needing to quit their jobs to take up some entrepreneurial enterprise.  I know I've never seen a perfect company.  Perhaps, applying those same requirements to their grocery stores would drive them to garden and farm themselves?  Banking?  Deciding what automobile manufacturer to purchase from?  It's a very deep rabbit hole.

To me, it appears to be an issue of grace.  Do people have any for others, for their church leaders, for their congregations?  Requiring perfection is lunacy.  God gives us grace since we aren't perfect and He's our example from which to refer.  It's only sensible to give grace to others.

To close, I enjoyed reading the book.  It needed to be written, I believe.  And, truthfully, I didn't need to read a full-length book listing and expounding on reasons why I love the church.  I'd love it anyway.  So, it's alright that the book was mostly dealing with people's reasoning for not loving it instead.  After all, you can't get past your stumbling block until you deal with it first.  You could hand someone a list of reasons for liking potatoes but if they have even just one thing that they don't like about potatoes and you don't address that one issue, the list will make no progress in changing their mind.  So, in that regard, perhaps the title wasn't as misleading as I originally thought.

The book is a good read.  Probably my favorite part is the following excerpt.  It shows the logical inconsistency with the arguments against organized churches.
“The church-is-lame crowd hates Constantine and notions of Christendom, but they want the church to be a patron of the arts, and run after-school programs, and bring the world together in peace and love. They bemoan the over-programmed church, but then think of a hundred complex, resource-hungry things the church should be doing. They don’t like the church because it is too hierarchical, but then hate it when it has poor leadership. They wish the church could be more diverse, but then leave to meet in a coffee shop with other well-educated thirty-somethings who are into film festivals, NPR, and carbon offsets. They want more of a family spirit, but too much family and they’ll complain that the church is “inbred.” They want the church to know that its reputation with outsiders is terrible, but then are critical when the church is too concerned with appearances. They chide the church for not doing more to address social problems, but then complain when the church gets too political. They want church unity and decry all our denominations, but fail to see the irony in the fact that they have left to do their own thing because they can’t find a single church that can satisfy them. They are critical of the lack of community in the church, but then want services that allow for individualized worship experiences. They want leaders with vision, but don’t want anyone to tell them what to do or how to think. They want a church where the people really know each other and care for each other, but then they complain the church today is an isolated country club, only interested in catering to its own members. They want to be connected with history, but are sick of the same prayers and same style every week. They call for not judging “the spiritual path of other believers who are dedicated to pleasing God and blessing people,” and then they blast the traditional church in the harshest, most unflattering terms.”


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