“My name is Warren and I’m a recovering evangelical.”
With that provocative opening, Warren Cole Smith delivers an unflinching and honest look at the Evangelical Church, in his book, “A Lover’s Quarrel with the Evangelical Church.”
I heard about this book from World Magazine (highly recommended to be read) where he has written articles for on numerous occasions.
Smith wonders if the Megachurch and Parachurch Movement that has dominated American Christianity for the last 30 years or so have really built disciples of Christ or succumb to the dictates of American secular culture.
With chapter titles like Body-Count Evangelism, The Triumph of Sentimentality, and The Christian-Industrial Complex, Smith makes a strong and convincing argument that the Evangelical Church has succumb to secular culture and is not distinct as God intended the Church to be.
However, Smith doesn’t just give criticism (which he does and he goes after prominent pastors like Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, and even the venerable Billy Graham), but offers solutions towards the end of the book that really shows that the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19 is alive, real, and life-changing around the world.
I must admit after reading this book and being a member of a Megachurch, I have thought a lot about what has Church become.
It is another social club with some spiritual language and culture to make me feel safe from the big, bad secular world outside its walls?
Is it a place where I can go to get a free concert and entertainment each week?
Is it a place where I only hear that God is love and non-judgmental and that if I follow Him perfectly, I will bless with wealth, materialism, and the perfect marriage?
Or can the Church become truly authentic and people begin to learn that Christianity can speak into every area of our lives? Even in the areas we don’t want to let God into?
Smith’s book is one that should read by every Christian who cares about the direction of the Church and how it can become truly authentic and be that distinct place unlike anything in our culture.