Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Book Review: So You Don't Want To Go To Church

(Originally posted to Multiply January 13, 2009)




Genre: Literature & Fiction
Author:Wayne Jacobson and Dave Coleman
Rating:     1 out of 5 Stars


Several people have recommended that I read The Shack but I have, until now, passed but friend Deb recommended it the other day so I went out to get a copy only to find none in town. All the stores were out. The people at the book store said that it fies off the shelf. I have had to order a copy.

While I certainly cannot say I am a follower of Jesus Christ or that I any longer have the faith I once had, I do know the Bible inside out. Knowing the Bible as intimately as that allows me to draw conclusions that others may miss and whether I believe it or not is not the point. There are things that define Christianity such as the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If you do everything else right but do not believe in the resurrection, for example, you are not a Christian. Or if you believe everything else but do not believe that Jesus was God then you are not a Christian. Being a Christian entails adherence to certain core beliefs that are fundamental to the faith. If one does not cling to those core beliefs one cannot make the claim of being a Christian.

Having been recommended to me so many time I had to look for reviews of The Shack to see what was going on and in doing so I came across a review by someone I know and whom I respect. The review was not glowing to say the least.

Whatever else The Shack may be, no matter how inspirational or uplifting, it is not good theology, it is not Christianity, it is not the faith of the fathers.

I will have more to say once I read it. This review is not about The Shack but about So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore which in spite of the title is also a work of fiction.

It is also a deception. The first edition of this book claims to have been written by 'Jake Colson,' one of the characters in the book. I am not sure why the authors would do that unless it was to hide who it was really written by and thus hide the fact that this book was published by the same people who published The Shack. And why would they wish to hide that other than the pounding that book has taken in Christian circles and their not wanting this book to get tarred with the same brush? The authors of this book were both at one time ministers who left the church themselves. Now we begin to see the method behind the madness of these two books once that is known and why they attempted to hide behind a fake name when they first wrote this boo. By the way, they haven't abandoned that deception entirely. They still maintain a website called jakecolsen.com.

I should say that even as fiction this is not the kind of book I would normally read even during my current crusade and rebellion. I only read it because it was recommended by the bookstore when they told me they were out of The Shack. The book blurb itself says, "What would you do if you met someone you thought just might be one of Jesus original disciples still living in the 21st Century? That's Jake's dilemma as he meets a man who talks of Jesus as if he had known him, and whose way of living challenges everything Jake had previously known. So You Don t Want to Go To Church Anymore is Jake s compelling journal that chronicles thirteen conversations with his new found friend over a four-year period and how those exchanges turn Jake's world upside-down. With his help, Jake faces his darkest fears, struggles through brutal circumstances and comes out on the other side in the joy and freedom he always dreamed was possible. If you're tired of just going through the motions of Christianity and want to mine the depths of what it really means to live deeply in Christ, you ll find Jake s story will give you hope for your own. This book probes the difficult questions and offers some far-reaching answers. It just might turn your world upside-down as well!

Well and good. But that is not really what the book is about. This book is really about the condemnation of the church and the suggestion that it be replaced with something else which the authors suggest is more in keeping with what Christ intended. Well, sure, and after 2,000 years they just happen to be the people who discovered God's will in this matter. Right.

From beginning to end this book utilizes the logical fallacy known as a straw man. From Wikipedia, " straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position. To "set up a straw man," one describes a position that superficially resembles an opponent's actual view, yet is easier to refute. Then, one attributes that position to the opponent. For example, someone might deliberately overstate the opponent's position. While a straw man argument may work as a rhetorical technique—and succeed in persuading people—it carries little or no real evidential weight, since the opponent's actual argument has not been refuted."

I could go on and on and on and on. I am not. I am just going to say this is a bad book. It misrepresents Biblical teachings about the church. It attempts to subvert traditional Christianity. If you want a specific in depth review then go here:

http://www.challies.com/archives/book-reviews/so-you-dont-want-to-go-to-church-anymore.php

Or better yet, just trust me for once and whether you are a Christian or not, avoid this garbage like the unpardonable sin.

I will reserve judgement on The Shack until I have read it myself.


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