15/03/2006

Church: Why Bother?


Philip Yancey seems to be one of the few sound, sane voices in evangelical Christian writing today. His books are inspiring, yet down-to-earth. He uses anecdotes and Scripture to illustrate his points (never to 'prove' them) and I find his books very encouraging.

This one is rather shorter than most, and addresses the age-old question: why should Christians bother about church, when churches are so often boring or old-fashioned. He only really answers the question briefly; the bulk of the book looks at what church can be, what it should be, and what its significance is. Yancey talks briefly of his background in a fundamentalist and racist church, yet he sees even that as having had some value in his upbringing.

He describes, too, his increasing cynicism about churches in general, and a gradual change in his attitude when he began attending one in Chicago. It was by no means perfect, yet in some ways it displayed God's grace and a good picture of what it means to be 'family' - accepting all ages, all races, all income levels equally. Loving people with problems, caring about those who smelled, or talked during the sermons, or had mental problems.

Very readable and encouraging without being at all pushy. Yes, Yancey concludes, church is worth bothering with, despite its many problems. But it's just his personal opinion. Highly recommended.

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