The Disappearing Church by Mark Sayers

I really enjoyed Sayers last book “Facing Leviathan” (2014), so when I saw this book appear on my Amazon recommended list, I was easily persuaded.

The big idea of this book is that “We cannot rely on the contemporary, Western church’s favored strategy of cultural relevance, in which Christianity and the church is made “relevant” to secular Western culture.” p12

Now to be honest, I don’t know any kiwi church leader that would say that relevance is their “favoured strategy.” However, in practice, relevance seems to be so emphasised by so many kiwi churches, that it does appear to be the case.  With that in mind I reckon that kiwi churches need to be engaging with this book.

I ought to say up front though that this book is a mixed bag.  Some, like me, won’t be totally convinced with Sayer’s historical narratives in a number of places.  Other chapters though were extremely poignant.  Overall however, even though I was not taken by the workings, I agree with the conclusions the book reached.

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Just do something by Kevin DeYoung

Here is a great little book I reckon every christian ought to read on the topic of guidance from God.

Kevin DeYoung is a senior pastor of University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan, USA. This was the first book of his I read quite a while ago.  He’s written loads more since, and is pretty well known round the world, (even down here).

My observation is that since the charismatic resurgence of the sixties, an undercurrent has powered though through mainstream kiwi Christianity.  It implies that we need more than God and his Word through His Spirit brought to bear by His Son.  We need something over and above this – we need dreams, visions, open doors, the audible voice of God to name a few.

Consequently it seems to me that many kiwi Christians seem to be off looking for under the couch for extra biblical revelation when they really need a generous helping of biblical inspiration.

I’m hoping this book might be of help to speak into this;

DeYoung frames it this way;

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Thoughts on church unity

Some years ago my wife and I became Christians in London through a course called Christianity Explored. Straight after the course we rather begrudgingly concluded that we ought to go to church.

My experience of Christians had not been overly positive before becoming one myself – so naturally I was fairly cautious. I had nightmares of being forced to wear a cardigan, roman sandals and eat quiche. Consequently in the early days of church attendance we picked the pew right at the back and as soon as the service was over we would flee. Sometimes we even left during the last hymn.

Ten years of experiencing church from the “other side of the fence” has seen a world of change in my outlook. I’ve come to the conclusion that church is imperative to the Christian. In fact I’d go so far as to say if you call yourself a Christian yet you are not involved in some sort of regular Christian fellowship in some way, shape or form – I can pretty much tell you now – don’t delude yourself – chances are you are not a Christian.
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Secret Thoughts…. by Rosaria Butterfield

Some choice quotes from this book:

Christians still scare me when they reduce Christianity to a lifestyle and claim that God is on the side of those who attend to the rules of the lifestyle they have invented or claim to find in the Bible. (location 202)

We in the church tend to be more fearful of the (perceived) sin in the world than of the sin in our own heart. Why is that?(location 212)

Conversion put me in a complicated and comprehensive chaos. I sometimes wonder, when I hear other Christians pray for the salvation of the “lost,” if they realize that this comprehensive chaos is the desired end of such prayers (location 589)

I learned the first rule of repentance: that repentance requires greater intimacy with God than with our sin. How much greater? About the size of a mustard seed. Repentance requires that we draw near to Jesus, no matter what. And sometimes we all have to crawl there on our hands and knees. Repentance is an intimate affair. And for many of us, intimacy with anything is a terrifying prospect.(location 491)

A life outside of Christ is both hard and frightening; a life in Christ has hard edges and dark valleys, but it is purposeful even when painful. (location 196)


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