Prior to writing and while writing my book, Changing Churches, I read over forty books about the church. Today I want to share several of the books that best address the issues in the church today. I highly recommend each of these books.
Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church by Michael Horton is a wake-up call to the Christian church. Horton, a theologian and author cites the many ways the Church has lost its way; is virtually Christless. He says, “I think the church in America today is so obsessed with being practical, relevant, helpful, successful and perhaps even well-liked that it nearly mirrors the world itself.” This book expanded my knowledge and understanding of the issues facing the church today—especially the creeping syncretism (combining contradictory beliefs), false teaching and misguided changes. This is a must read for all concerned Christians.
Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever, is another excellent book about the church today. Dever, pastor of Capital Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., describes nine essential qualities missing in many churches today and necessary for the health of the church. Christians who are not growing and are not bothered about this fact should disturb us. Dever also describes social ills replacing sin in our concerns. He says, “Today, horizontal problems – problems between people – often obscure the fundamental vertical problem between us and God.” This is a book well worth reading and studying by Christian leaders and lay persons.
Vintage Church: Timeless Truths and Timely Methods by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears is another excellent book clearly describing what the church is and should be. Jesus Christ as the head of the church is exalted throughout. Chapter titles include: What is A Christian Church, Who is Supposed to Lead a Church? Why is Preaching Important? How Can a Church be Unified? How Can a Church Utilize Technology? How Could the Church Transform the World? In the chapter on church unity a detailed discussion of what divides the church including: heretics, pride, legalism, distrust, traditionalism, to little or too much organization, founder dysfunction, mission loss and doing too much. The book contains a wealth of information, is carefully researched as well as lived by the authors. This is a book written in language understandable for both pastors and laity.
Church Awakening: An Urgent Call for Renewal, by Chuck Swindoll, is a passionate and hopeful book on the church. Dr. Swindoll, a well known pastor, theologian and author, is also known for his Insight for Living radio broadcast. Swindoll addresses this book to serious church goers and church leaders, urging that the Word of God be central in church worship. He describes erosion that has taken place in the church over the years, a gradual slide from its past historical foundations. We live in a postmodern world in which many no longer believe in absolute truth. Quoting from Isaiah 12:32, "Men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do," Swindoll says the church needs discernment and clear heads in turning the tide of postmodernism that has caused the church to slide "into the murky waters of a post-Christian swamp." Swindoll’s book lifted my spirits, informed and delighted me.
“On this Rock I will build my church.” Matt.16:18