Christopher M.'s Reviews > Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church

Christless Christianity by Michael S. Horton
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's review
Jul 25, 2011

it was amazing

If there was a book I wish I'd written, this is the book. Horton's writing drips with the gospel and a passion for the Word of God in the church. He is unflinchingly biblical in his critique of the American church, claiming that no tradition is immune from reverting to "moralistic theraputic deism." While conservatives and liberals alike are in danger of becoming theologically vacuous, he is especially hard on the "seeker-friendly" movement and the "emergent church" movement. There have been two major critiques I've heard of the book. The first is that he is not specific enough with regard to the evangelical leaders he is chastising. While he specifically calls out such leaders as Joel Osteen, Brian McLaren, Joyce Meyer, and others, he doesn't mention a great many names or churches. I believe this is probably because many in evangelicalism simply need a reminder of the gospel to which they were called. He'll shoot the wolves, for sure, but doesn't see a book as the venue for calling out those who merely need a biblical kick in the pants--they'll know who they are. Secondly, many in the non-Reformed or non-Lutheran traditions will take exception with his emphasis on the administration of the sacraments and their nature as means of grace. While I agree with him about baptism and the Lord's supper, some will think he has over-emphasized them unnecessarily. To me, this is an oft-ignored aspect to the purpose of our weekly gatherings, and his points about them must be contended with.

Every American Christian must read this book. It is not only a fantastic overview of where the American church is heading, but it is a fantastic reminder of the gospel in which we need to be continually immersed. This is a gospel which is counter-intuitive, counter-everything our culture and out world values, and we need to be constantly reminded of it so as not to fall back into believing it's about us and what we do for God. I highly anticipate Horton's upcoming book, "The Gospel-Driven Life."
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