Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Why We Love the Church

I've finished reading the book Why we love the Church by Kevin Deyoung and Ted Kluck. This is not going to be a book review.  It will be more of a rant at times and a personal reflection at others, very much like the book was.

I expected a book that would challenge me because I am someone who has left organized, institutional church, but I was quite disappointed.   It made me uncomfortable but not in a good and challenging way but more in a knowledge that one of these guys is a preacher.  Their definition of "church" is not the same what we have in the Bible as it seems to include all the things that happen in or around a particular building rather than the body of believers that gather there.  As far as I can tell the biggest reason that these authors love the church is because they are very afraid of becoming emergent or being labeled as emergent.  This is a fear I can relate to as I come from a "reformed" and a somewhat biblically intellectual viewpoint.  To many in the reformed camp "emergent" and "postmodern" are swear words that reek of heresy.  Therefore when I see that the authors who set out to write a book on the "praise of organized, institutional Christianity" and throughout the book they revert to scare tactics it makes my blood boil.  At worst it is manipulative, at best it is simply weak. 

Deyoung and Kluck write in such a way as to promote the idea that everyone who leaves the institutional, organized church is disgruntled in some way and dissatisfied with Jesus.  They seem to think that those who are dissatisfied with the institutional structures have taken a backward step in growing in our faith or we have left the faith altogether.  Throughout the majority of the book one would get the impression that those who leave the church do so primarily for personal reasons because we are biblically ignorant and lack a good foundation in doctrine and history.  Buh - lone - knee.

I am reminded of Romans 8:28 as I think back on this book.  I can say with confidence that God has used this book for my good because now that I have read the best that has been written to the praise of the organized, institutional church the more confident I am that it is not where I need to be.  I have seen such an overwhelming amount of biblical evidence for gathering in a more simple, organic, participatory house church setting that the reading of 'Why we love the Church" with its utter lack of biblical emphasis makes me jump for joy that I have faithfully come out of the religious systems I once embraced.

This book may have been a good sequel to Why Were Not Emergent but it was a far cry from "Why the bible says we should love the organized instututional church". 

  • I am not going to be re-joining the choruses that are singing praises to the church as we know it. 
  • I am not going to re-attatch myself and my family to the things that are called church. 
  • I am not going to run back because the heretical boogey-man might get me. 
  • I do feel at times like I am out in the wilderness.
  • I am looking for a better place to rest.
  • I know there are more that have been called out and God will bring us together.
  • In trust, I'm marching to Zion.


  1. Bobby,

    I haven't read this book, and from your review (and many others like it) I don't think I want to waste my time on it.


  2. Bobby,

    I'm glad you read this book because it is the best defense out there of the "institutional church." Although it is the best defense, it is also a terrible defense. This should only increase our confidence in what we believe about simple church.

  3. Like Eric said, if this is the best he institutional church has to offer in way of a defense, it is in worse shape than I thought. It kills me how many people reply to my concerns about the IC with a suggestion to read WWLTC, as if it answers (or even addresses) the very real problems with the IC.

    Alan, I can give you my copy if you want to read it!

  4. @Alan-It may be a waste of time for you. I believe you have been applying God's Word to the problems with the institutional model for church for quite some time. On the other hand, if you would like to indulge your inner desires of bashing the emergent church, the Arthur has a copy you can have. Eric no longer owns a copy. He gave it to some poor sap who is a glutton for punishment;-)

  5. @Eric and Arthur-I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought this book was weak. It's as though everyone who leaves the IC is doctrinally shallow and disgruntled over feelings. The only mention in the entire work that I can remember that gave even the faitest impression that "church-leavers" had half a brain was this little ditty: "Some church-leavers could probably articulate a coherent theological-missiological-historical case for their disillusionment with the church. But more are leaving because of sheer personal exhaustion." I was anxious and then disappointed, separated only by a tiny period.

  6. I was handed a copy of this book by a brother who had concern for me. I just read the chapter that attempted to refute 'Pagan Christianity'. I didn't feel it succeeded at it's task either.

    It didn't refute the proposition that a lot of what we do as church was stuff that was added by the Romans - and not by our Lord. Yes, maybe it's not all bad... but it can't be viewed as necessary. And maybe most of it is not beneficial.

    The book left me still wondering if there was any good reasons for 'doing church'.

    But I do love Christ's church... I'm seeing it as a beautiful thing that is moving and growing in some mysterious uncontrollable way.

  7. @Jonathan-thanks for adding your thoughts. I love your last statement. In fact I'm sure that my love for Christ and for those who are in him has driven me to search for and be a part of building up a pure and lving expression of him.


As in a biblical church gathering, my word is not complete or final. Participation is allowed, encouraged and expected. Please, don't leave without adding something.