The church (in any and all of its various organizational forms) is in the business of making disciples of Jesus Christ, right? Well, no. At least, not if you accept the findings of Michael Spencer in his book Mere Churchianity. And, I tend to agree with him.
Michael Spencer (better known to many internet fans and followers as the Internet Monk) died in April 2010, but not before finishing writing and editing his only book Mere Churchianity: Finding Your Way Back to Jesus-Shaped Spirituality.
As the title suggests, Spencer finds a disconnect (a Jesus disconnect) between church practices and emphases today and the life of Jesus as demonstrated in the pages of the Gospels, Epistles, and the Revelation in the New Testament. He writes primarily to those who have already left or are thinking about leaving church organizations.
So, Spencer calls his reader back to a spirituality that resembles the person of Jesus Christ as we see him in the New Testament – especially in the Gospels, but also as he is modeled for us in the Epistles and the Revelation. He writes:
I’m looking for a spiritual experience that looks like, feels like, sounds like, lives like, loves like, and acts like Jesus of Nazareth. It’s that simple. (p. 65)
[M]y primary purpose is to get you to think more intentionally about Jesus. Not an organization or a set of doctrines or even Christianity. But Jesus. (p. 69)
The book is composed of four sections: The Jesus Disconnect, The Jesus Briefing, The Jesus Life, and The Jesus Community. Each section is made up of four or five short chapters. The chapters are easy to read, and filled with thought-provoking images.
I did not agree with everything that Spencer wrote. For example, he had to make generalizations about modern church organizations – generalizations that are not true in every detail to every church organization. Also, I wish he had made a distinction between “church” (in the scriptural sense of the word) and the modern organizations that call themselves “church.”
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone. Even though Spencer says he wrote the book for those who have left the church, I think people who remain staunchly in their church organizations should read it as well.
(I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review as part of their Blogging for Books program.)
(Please consider rating my review below or at the WaterBrook Multnomah site here.)