Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Book Review: Mere Churchianity

I just finished reading Mere Churchianity by Michael Spencer and I really did not like this book. Reading the back of the book, Michael Spencer asks the question "Have you left the church in search of Jesus?" and right from the beginning, in the acknowledgments he states "Everything in this book has been written with a specific group of people in mind: friends and fellow Christians who have abandoned the church for various reasons." Maybe that is why I didn't enjoy this book, I haven't left the church...
I feel like the first half of the book mainly criticized the church and pointed out all the flaws with Christianity in America today. For sure, the church in America is far from perfect, I also really liked Spencer's question he posed, if Jesus were to walk into your church this Sunday, would he recognize it as the movement he started? I think that is a great question that we need to continually ask ourselves.
The second half of the book showed promise as he started to unpack who Jesus is and why we choose to follow him, but he quickly got back to all the mistakes that the church is making in the ways the church follows Jesus.
One part that particularly rubbed me the wrong way was when Spencer criticized the church for their use of adjectives. He complains about such terms as the "victorious" Christian life, a "good" Christian witness, "dynamic" worship, "extreme" youth ministry. Yet then he goes on to coin the phrase, which he uses throughout his book, Jesus-shaped spirituality...didn't he just do the thing that criticizes the church of doing?
I do agree with him as he finished his book, he addresses those who have left the church and encourages them to find community, find a spiritual mentor, stay saturated in the scriptures, and grow in relationships.
All in all, I did agree with him about his ending points, but I thought there was way too much of pointing out the problems with the church and not enough of giving solutions.

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