Monday, July 5, 2010

"Mere Churchianity"

Do you ever read books you disagree with?

Do you ever read books and afterward not know whether you liked them or not?

Do you ever read books that challenge many things you believe?

Mere Churchianity is one of those books.

This book, written by the late Michael Spencer (known as the blogger Internet Monk), is an uncomfortable read - and I mean that in the good sense of the word.

Michael Spencer was one of the most popular Christian bloggers in this country. Part of the reason for his popularity was that he was willing to challenge the status quo of evangelical church life in our culture. He accurately identified real problems and suggested solutions for these.

Spencer took many of his thoughts and ideas about the church and put them down on paper not long before his death from cancer earlier this year. In Mere Churchianity, Spencer in particular writes to those who love Jesus but have become tired of the evangelical church. The author talks much about what the church should look like and what it actually does look like. He makes helpful suggestions for what people should do who are followers of Christ but who don't love Christ's church.

I'll be honest: I both liked and disliked this book (is that possible?).

First what I liked: Spencer is willing to call the evangelical church to task for its failings. He accurately points out how the church in this country by and large does not provide opportunities for real relationships, real communication, and real shared life. He discusses how the church has expectations for its members that are far removed from the teachings of Jesus.

As for what I didn't like: Spencer is very hard on the evangelical church - too hard in my opinion. He makes some sweeping statements that simply do not apply to all churches. Additionally, he seems a bit soft on some significant doctrinal issues.

Over all, I recommend this book because it caused me to think and ask myself some questions. I certainly did not agree with all the author wrote, but how interesting is a book if it doesn't challenge its reader? I probably agreed with about 75% of what he had to say.

To order, click here.


Arthur Sido said...

I liked some of what he had to say on his blog and really disliked a lot of what he said. I thought he was soft on a lot of doctrinal issues as well, so I expect the same from his book: lots of agreement and lots of disagreement. I have the book in my queue to buy at Amazon, just have to finish some other books first.

Eric said...


I think Spencer makes his best points when he deals with the need for real relationships and community. I wonder why he seems to belittle doctrine.