Friday, November 9, 2012

Book Review: The Church in an Age of Crisis

The Church in an Age of Crisis: 25 New Realities Facing Christianity
I happened to finish this book on the night of the national election. Perhaps that is a bit of coincidence; perhaps a bit of irony. Nevertheless, this book seems to hit right at the bottom line of the direction the country is going. In a nutshell the premise of Dr. James Emery White’s latest volume can be captured in the well-known phrase, “The times, they are achangin’.”
Dr. White is the founder of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC. “Meck,” as it is fondly known, is considered to be one of the fastest-growing church starts in the United States. Dr. White is the author of several other books – Rethinking the Church and What They Didn’t Teach You in Seminary. He is also the author of the popular conservative blog Church & Culture.
In this volume Dr. White confronts virtually every cultural and social stigma that plagues the cause of Christ in a culture that is rapidly losing its moral values. There may be a lone cockroach somewhere in a dark corner that he fails to squash, but that may be only because it has failed to raise its ugly head.
The book is efficiently organized into five categories – Faith, Mindset, Marriage and Family, Media and Technology, and Mission – with five subcategories pertaining to each. Each of these subcategories has an interest-catching title that makes you want to discover what lies within. The volume is obviously highly researched and well thought through. I have always enjoyed Dr. White’s writing style. It is fast-paced and accordingly a quick and lively read.
But this is not a book that one would want to “skim” through. Each chapter must be read, digested and reflected upon. Dr. White hits hard in the very first chapter, “A Post-Christian America.” Even the title gets your attention. In it he documents the rise of secularism and how it affects our moral values.
In the section on Mindset, Dr. White has a chapter entitled “The New American Dream.” He seems to sum it up in one sentence, “Opportunity is very different than entitlement.” Be sure to read that chapter for the details.
Also under Mindset is a chapter entitled “Forgetting How to Blush.” It deals with truth – the truth. He sums it up with one powerful statement, “What lies at the heart of a culture that no longer knows how to blush is a culture that no longer knows the truth,” and then leads us to Romans 1.24-25.
In Media and Technology there is a chapter “Is Google God?” Dr. White argues that true wisdom has faded to a few million page hits on Google. “…wisdom can’t be googled.” If you think technology is the answer, you’ll want to stop to meditate here.
The final five chapters under the heading of Mission are not only a must read for all believers, but also a definitive challenge. It is a challenge to all Christians to defend the faith and spread the faith – before it is too late.
This is a book that should be in the top of every reading list for every believer. It has been described as a “wake-up call,” but I believe it is more than that. It is a stern and dire warning, not just to believers, but to all Americans who care about their country.
Disclosure: I received a copy of the book for review and the thoughts and opinions of this review are entirely my own.