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This Little Church Went to Market: The Church in the Age of Entertainment

av Gary E. Gilley

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With many evangelical churches being subscribed to pragmatic rather than scriptural patterns for worship this book calls for the Church to return to its scriptural roots.

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I have just finished reading this short book and I had to write a small review about it. First of all, I recommend the book to anyone and everyone, but especially to those who are concerned about the lack of true biblical teaching and preaching in our churches today. I also challenge another group to read it: those who have bought into the idea that the Word is not sufficient but must be marketed to a lost world.

Gary Gilley does a good job of using Scripture to show why the focus of much of the modern church is off base. What I especially like about Gilley's approach is that he points out the bad and the good, and yes he is certainly opposed to the mentality that we do whatever it takes to get people into the church, but he takes the time to point out what is good about such a view...even if the view overall is damaging. For example, he takes pains to express his admiration of the heart these people have for those who are lost, admitting that it is a noble thing and a biblical attitude.

Ultimately, however, he is quick to bring up the biblical prescription for those who are lost. He stresses the need to stay true to the biblical model in order to truly lead people to Christ and not bring in people who merely think they are saved when in reality they are not. A simplistic approach to evangelism leads to false professions of faith, as exemplified by those who say they are saved but have no problem admitting they have not turned away from their sin (can we say antinomianism here?).

Gilley spends some time discussing the biblical model for the church, using Acts 2:41-42, which says, speaking of Peter's sermon in Jerusalem, "And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." Then those who gladly received his word were baptised; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers." Of this passage, Gilley says, "we note that when the early church came together, rather than spend the bulk of its time evangelizing, it focused on the apostles' teaching, or New Testament theology. They did this that Believers might be able to grow in their Christian experience." Furthermore, Gilley states that "the early Church also worshipped, prayed, partook of the Lord's Supper, and fellowshipped. These were the things that were important in the first church, and these are the things that should be important to us now." Amen?

Interestingly enough, Gilley points out that all these activities were done within the church, except for one: evangelism. Evangelism was done outside the church. The church is for the Believer, not for the unbeliever. How often, however, do we see churches doing everthing they can to draw in the unbeliever? Does the unsaved hate talk of sin? Let's not mention it. Does the unbeliever like loud secular music? Hey, let's play loud music that resembles the world and fails to teach doctrine. See the problem? The attempt to imitate the world leads to a lack of reverence for God, a loss of His place as our number one priority, and ultimately, a severing of our relationship because church becomes a place to exalt the worshipper rather than the Creator! Note that in 1 Corinthians Paul says "Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is NOT for unbelievers but for those who believe. Therefore, if the whole church comes together in one pleace, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? But if all prophecy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all." (1 Corinthians 14:22-24

Now then whatever you think tongues to be, it is clear that Paul teaches it is for the unbeliever...but when the church meets, the focus is prophecy, and not in the sense of foretelling the future but of truth speaking. Note that IF an unbeliever comes in, he will be impacted by this...IF he comes in. In other words, we draw in the Believer to be taught, and while we surely welcome the unbeliever, this person will either be offended by the Rock of offense or will be drawn by what he witnesses...but again, the service and the gathering is for the Believer, NOT the unbeliver. You want unbelievers in your church? Don't draw them in by watering down the Truth, do so by reaching out to your neighbors, co-workers, friends and family. Evengelize in the world, but gather to fellowship and learn, and to observe the ordinances!

Gilley writes the following: "If pastors have lost confidence in the power, authority, and sufficiency of the Scriptures, it is no wonder thast they have abandoned in droves the systematic, expository preaching of the Word...story-sermons, pop-psychology, lectures, "dear abby" style counsel, drama, musical productions, and interpretative dance are replacing true preaching." Hmmmm...anyone reading this recognize their own church in this description? If so, what are you going to do about it?

The following is from John MacArthur, as quoted in Gilley's book: "A poignant story may be touching or stirring, but unless the message it conveys is set in the context of biblical truth, any emotions it may stir are of no use in prompting genuine worship. Aroused passions are not necessarily evidence that true worship takes place."

Again...any of these types of "preaching" sound familiar? How sad isn't it?

Pick up a copy of Gilley's book and read it, I think it will challenge your thinking and make you look think twice about what preaching and worship are. Either that or it will make you really angry! :)

Finally though...as much as I love to read and as much as I want everyone to read this book...if reading it will make you forego the reading and study of Scripture...then don't read it and instead go read the Bible. I certainly will not pull a "Rick Warren" on behalf of Gilley and tell you to read his book every day for a set number of days...no...if one must be read, then read His Word.
1 rösta enoch_elijah | Oct 18, 2008 |
An excellent book on the impact of the world's philosophy in the church. The church is buying in to the Market-Driven strategy instead of the truth of God's Word. ( )
  craintk | Feb 14, 2008 |
Gilley uses Neil Postman's "Amusing Ourselves to Death" to critique the market-driven church. Very interesting and insightful, perhaps a bit of an overstatement, however ( )
  bsanner | Jan 2, 2007 |
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With many evangelical churches being subscribed to pragmatic rather than scriptural patterns for worship this book calls for the Church to return to its scriptural roots.

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