We're taking a break from Paul to Titus this week to review a book which, in one sense, breaks my heart -- and in another sense, makes me very happy.
The "breaks my heart" sense is that, like what appears to be all bloggers writing for blogs north of 2000 daily readers, I've gotten the acquisition call from a publisher you'd recognize, and I was working on a book -- no deal yet but the agreement was/is that after the book was presentable they'd help me get it over the hedge of the proposal, across the back yard of finishing, and into the glistening suburbia of published books. No contract, but active interest from the acquisitions people, which is better than I was at last year or even last quarter.
Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck -- turns out to be exactly the book I was writing. You know? So it was a great idea, I just had it 2 years too late. Back to the drawing board.
But in the very real and more-fulfilling "this is exactly the book I was writing" sense, you get to read the book for yourself and get infected by the right attitude toward the bride of Christ which is the church. The bonus for Christian publishering is that they don't have to risk publishing a book I would write which, let's face it, would vex many people and embarrass many more.
So what's so great about this book? Well, first of all, Ted Kluck is one of the great things about this book. I love the way he writes. Get this:
Church isn't boring because we're not showing enough film clips, or because we play an organ instead of guitar. It's boring because we neuter it of its importance. Too often we treat our spiritual lives like the round of golf used to open George Barna's Revolution. At the end of my life, I want my friends and family to remember me as someone who battled for the Gospel, who tried to mortify sin in my life, who found hard for life, and who contended earnestly for the faith. Not just a nice guy who occasionally noticed the splendor of the mountains God created, while otherwise just trying to enjoy myself, manage my schedule, and work on my short game.You know: Booyah. Take your faith seriously enough to treat it as if it was more important than something. Anything.
And the other great thing about this book is Kevin DeYoung, who may be the most vivacious baby-baptizer in the world:
We all have different callings. Some may be drawn to pro-life issues, and others to addressing global hunger, but let's make sure as Christians that our missional concerns go father than those shared by Brangelina and the United Way.This book is not for sissies, and it's also not written over anyone's head or down from some lofty confessional soap box. Here are two young guys who are great writers, very good thinkers, lovers of people, and humble servants to God's word, seeking to call people out of the world and into Christ in the only place God's people normally are found. (watch what happens to that in the meta)
What makes the church unique is its commitment, above all else, to knowing and making known Christ and Him crucified. True, the biblical story line is creation, fall, redemption and recreation. But the overwhelming majority of Scripture is about our redemption, how God saves lawbreakers, how sin can be atoned for, how rebels can be made right with God.
The list of endorsements of this book is as long as my arm. If you find it stuck on the shelf somplace spine-out, you'd probably buy it based on those endorsements. But here you have a book which, in a way far better than I have done in my few years in the blogosphere, hammers out the gracious necessity of the church for the believer, and points at convictional reasons for you people to go and find a church, join together with a church, worship God in a church, and be part of the church.
Read this book, repent of your past neglect for these things, and rejoice that God will for give you. You won't regret it.