I’m going to experiment a bit with the notion of doing “Book Reviews” periodically at EricNentrup.com. A good chunk of these are books that either one of my readers, peers, or mentors has recommended to me or I’ve come across by way of the other blogs I read. The actual task itself helps me to glean more from the book and the commitment to posting my findings as a “book review” on my site is the accountability I need in order to follow through. Plus, I’d like to think I might be able to offer some insight towards your next reading choice!So, without further ado…BOOK REVIEW“Revolution” by George Barna – Tyndale, 2005Reviewed by Eric Nentrup (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In “Revolution” (Tyndale, 2005), George Barna brings his statistician’s expertise to the topic most are calling “The Emerging Church.” But to Barna, “emerging church” is too small a descriptor to capture what he claims is an historic movement. He prefers to call it a “Revolution,” and sets out to define what type of Christ-followers are playing active roles as “Revolutionaries,” reshaping the institution of church and doing so in a grass-roots fashion:> “…the Revolution is about recognizing that we are not called to go to church. We are called to be the church.” Barna reminds us:> “…the Bible neither describes nor promotes the local church as we know it today.” And that conventional church as we know it, “is neither Biblical nor unbiblical. It is abiblical–that is, such an organization is not addressed in the Bible…We made it up. It may be healthy or helpful, but it is not sacrosanct.”Barna spends most of the book describing this Revolution subjectively, not focusing on the data of his research, but rather on the data’s implications. And Barna’s interpretation is that people seeking to follow Christ in the present are eschewing modern methods in favor of returning to a first-century lifestyle. The result, eventually, will be a DECREASE of emphasis upon the established local church for filling the need of spiritual community and growth. Later, Barna substantiates the Revolution with benchmarks that align with Jesus’ teaching and example, quoted chapter and verse. Barna is both convinced and convincing in this quick read, posing a credible forecast that the landscape of the church is undergoing considerable, if not monumental change.
All in all, I’ve found another log to toss on the fire that started with McLaren and Miller’s core texts for the church that is emerging. Another reviewer of “Revolution” in the latest issue of Christianity Today panned Revolution, citing Bonhoeffer’s “Life Together” as not only more edifying but more relevant (and even more revolutionary).My thoughts are still more towards the “fix what needs broken” regarding local church, as I believe there’s TONS broken. And thereby, I don’t feel the need to be “glass half-full” with comments towards denominational church. That’s just too much like sticking your fingers in your ears and la-la-la-ing our way through the things we don’t want to hear. So, like McLaren’s books, I think Revolution is an essential missive in understanding just WHAT it is that we’re currently experiencing and soon to experience.That said, I’m working HARD on not being “anti-institutional.” I’ve taken to heart the truth (which I THINK I got from McLaren’s “Generous Orthodoxy, but I’m too lazy to fact check this tonight) that it “takes an individual to start a movement, but an institution to sustain it.” That helps me spend less time curling my lip towards institutions, corporations, denominations, and the like. I’m more intrigued with “new growth” in the midst of so much dead wood, and Revolution doesn’t disagree with that thought.So…Rudy lent me Rob Bell’s “Velvet Elvis” and I think I might weigh in on it next.So, if you get an Amazon.com gift certificate for Christmas, and are curious enough about Revolution, McLaren’s books, or “Velvet Elvis,” do me a favor and click through the link above to snag a copy for yourself.Merry Christmas, everyone….Christ is born!