Recommended. Kevin DeYoung is coauthor of Why We’re Not Emergent and author of Just Do Something. He serves as senior pastor of University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan, across the street from Michigan State University.
Ted Kluck is coauthor of Why We’re Not Emergent, and an award-winning sportswriter. He lives in Michigan where he attends University Reformed Church.
What with the current movement to ‘non-institutional’ churches, this was a refreshing book to read. Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck attempt to bring a balanced look at the current Christian landscape, evaluating the pros and cons of the institution that is the church. However, their intentions in this book are clear: “We don’t want Christians to give up on the church,” they write, “In fact, we hope this book might have some small effect in helping people truly love their local church no matter how imperfect it may be.” They try to debunk myths and common stigmas attached to the church, and are very clear about who’s currently spreading false ideas about God’s bride, especially focusing on the skewed ideas of emergent or missional movements. They are candid about the different stereotypes that are attached to traditional churches and systematically diffuse each bad idea about the church. DeYoung and Kluck will essentially answer every question you have about the church and its role throughout scripture and history.
Though the writing style might seem a little dry at times (when they talk about church statistics), or confusing (it’s hard to distinguish between the writing of DeYoung and Kluck), they make up for it in clarity (subtitles help) and humor (the endnotes are hilarious!). It was definitely a good book for me to read: as a person who has been very critical of the church and its role, it not only illuminated Christ’s love for the church, but it helped me understand the blessings and necessity of the church in general. I discovered that there is a mistake in thinking that we are the ones who bring about the kingdom of Christ but rather, we are given the kingdom through the church. And biblically, the purpose of the church is simple (though it is executed in various ways)–“It seems that proclaiming this message of redemption is the main mission of the church.” Between the hilarious anecdotes about their own stereotypes of the church, the straightforward talk about the church’s shortcomings, and the encouraging talk about all the blessings that the church brings to the community and believer alike, I was brought to praise God for my own church.
This book is versatile as well. DeYoung himself writes that this book was made for four types of people: the ‘committed,’ the ‘disgruntled,’ the ‘waffling,’ and the ‘disconnected’. This is true. I think each aforementioned type of person would benefit from reading parts of this book, but I also feel like every Christian falls into one of those categories. So, in an effort to be more specific in my recommendation, I think that young church-goers would benefit from reading this book the most. Young adults, college and high school students are most susceptible to misconceptions of the local church and this book provides a balanced view of contemporary issues. Instead of following a trend or a religious fad, try reading this book and all the facts first, then you can decide whether the church is biblical or not (and I guarantee you it is).