Friday, October 24, 2008

Book Review: This Little Church Stayed Home

I just finished this book by Gary E. Gilley. The full title is "This Little Church Stayed Home: A faithful church in deceptive times."

This is a great read for someone like me who believes the Bible is the authoritative word of God and that the Church is the creation of Jesus Christ and subject to His Own design requirements. We do not "do church" according to our own whims and fancies. We are the church and we obey God's instructions about form and function.

In his previous book, "This Little Church Went To Market," Gilley detailed issues with the way the "market driven" church had developed. In this book, he takes on the postmodern emerging church movement. I think his criticisms in both cases are clear, well documented and more than fair. Gilley does not impugn his target's motives - just their theology.

Nevertheless, I get the feeling Gilley is frustrated - or maybe I am reading my own frustration into his words. Why are so many prominent Christians so willing to turn a blind eye to such glaring errors? How can anyone be happy with Christianity that is only a worldly philosophy dressed in religious clothes? How can people declare their fealty to the Bible as God's Word while using it and abusing it in ways that undercut its authority?

While this book sounds many important warnings to true believers, I don't think it focuses enough on "a faithful church in deceptive times." It outlines important basic doctrines of Scripture and the Church, but does not do much to highlight the churches that are truly faithful to these doctrines.

Faithful churches can thrive. Small churches can be vibrant. Persecuted churches are often the purest. Sound churches can grow. Gilley implies these things, but doesn't give much time to developing them. I wish he would.

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