Book Review Link: Christless Christianity

Tim Challies posted a review of Michael Horton’s forthcoming book, Christless Christianity. Great review of what looks to be a very important, timely book. I preordered mine for 50 percent off, and I think you can too until October 31 by clicking here. The DVD series (probably great for Sunday School or Bible Study) is also available for cheap. You can also read an excerpt of the first chapter here (the last two paragraphs especially).

Check out Challies’ review here. He also posted a brief “pre-review” earlier which includes a challenging article on the good news of the Gospel (“Good news is only good in relation to what is bad. If we soften the bad news, we necessarily soften the good news…We dare not soften the bad news; we dare not lessen the offense of the cross.”) Read it here – the comments are also good. Some excerpts from Horton’s book via Challies:

“My argument in this book is not that evangelicalism is becoming theologically liberal but that it is becoming theologically vacuous…We come to church, it seems, less to be transformed by the Good News than to celebrate our own transformation and to receive fresh marching orders for transforming ourselves and our world…Just as you don’t really need Jesus Christ in order to have T-shirts and coffee mugs, it is unclear to me why he is necessary for most of the things I hear a lot of pastors and Christians talking about in church these days.”

“One could easily come away from this type of message concluding that we are not saved by Christ’s objective work for us but by our subjective personal relationship with Jesus through a series of works that we perform to secure his favor and blessing. God has set up all of these laws, and now it’s up to us to follow them so we can be blessed.” This kind of Christianity makes God merely a means to an end rather than an end in and of himself.

“Across the board in contemporary American Christianity, that basic message seems to be some form of law (do this) without gospel (this is what has been done).” He deals well here with the constant exhortations in the church today to “be the gospel,” amazed at the hubris of such a statement. “[Unbelievers] may not like our message anyway, but at least they might be relieved that we have stopped holding ourselves up as the way, the truth, and the life. If the message the church proclaims makes sense without conversion, if it does not offend even lifelong believers from time to time so that they too need to die more to themselves and live more to Christ, then it is not the gospel.”

“A genuinely evangelical church will be an evangelistic church: a place where the gospel is delivered through Word and sacrament and a people who witness to it in the world…The church as people–scattered as salt and light through the week–has many different callings, but the church as place (gathered publicly by God’s summons each Lord’s Day) has one calling: to deliver (and receive) Christ through preaching and sacrament.”

“It is not heresy as much as silliness that is killing us softly.”


One thought on “Book Review Link: Christless Christianity

  1. Hey Joel, thanks for drawing attention to this book. It looks like it fills a void, so to speak. Ties in with tomorrow’s message so I’m going to try to read that 1st chapter.


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