Mere Churchianity: No C.S. Lewis
At the end of last year, I started blogging for books with Waterbrook/Multnomah. They give me a book, I read it and write a thoughtful and honest review. Here is the first of such reviews. Enjoy. I picked up Mere Churchianity because I “get” the premise. There are many things about the evangelical church, and, in reality, the human church, that I don’t agree with, and ways that we, as Christians, have distorted the very real and very amazing message of Jesus. This is the stance from which Michael Spencer writes.
It is difficult to know what to expect from a book like this. I wondered if he would encourage all Christians to leave the church, or suggest that everyone get involved in house churches, but he did none of these things. In fact, for much of the book, I found myself forgetting that this was a book written for people who were thinking about leaving the church, or already had. It seemed much more like a book written to remind Christians about what they are supposed to believe. There were sound challenges in the book, good reminders of truth that we, as a whole, often forget, such as the person of Christ, who He is, and His role in our lives. However, there were many things in the book that I considered to be interpretation by the author, interpretation that I didn’t agree with. It is one thing to talk about who Jesus was, based on things that we truly know, but I find extrapolation about such an important person to our faith unwise. With discernment, I think that Christians will be able to see the truth, as distinct from the interpretation, but I think it’s a shame that a book which fights against the muddied waters of church doctrine gives so much to wade through.
I am sure that it is difficult to write a book of this sort, especially when one has been such a member of what is being criticized. I respect Michael for that, but I can’t help but feel that such a book brings a certain amount of division by its very nature.
I do think that a person who is seeking God about what they should be doing and where they should be doing it, could hear from God that separation from the church that they currently attend is part of that, at least for a time. However, I also think that it is important to remember that the Church is a worldwide concept, hard to avoid, if one is really seeking God. Spencer writes about how church can be seen between two people talking about Jesus over coffee, and I agree, however, if this is the case, how can a person who is actively seeking God and not completely secluding themselves, hope to escape the church? Different forms of involvement, perhaps, and ones that are meaningful and authentic to that person, but still the church.
This book was not an easy read for me. There was a lot to process, a lot to wade through, a lot of questions that I needed to ask myself about the reactions that I was having, and a lot of prayer. Especially for those who have never thought of their Christian life outside of structured church activities and 12-step programs, this book will open some eyes. It offers a point of view not unique in our world, perhaps for this reason alone, it is important.
If you’re interested in reading this book, here is a link to an excerpt, which might make your decision easier.
Should you like my review and wish to rate it, click here.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.