Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church - eBook  -     By: Michael Horton
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Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church - eBook

Baker Books / 2008 / ePub

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Product Description

Invoking Martin Luther's treatise On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church, Michael Horton fears that the church in America has also been willingly taken captive. The captors are American culture and ideals: consumerism, pragmatism, self-sufficiency, individualism, positive thinking, personal prosperity, and nationalism. Though these are antithetical to the gospel, we have often made them part and parcel with it.
Horton argues that while we haven't yet arrived at Christless Christianity, we are well on our way. Though we invoke the name of Christ, too often Christ and the Christ-centered gospel are pushed aside. The result is a message and a faith that are, in Horton's words, "trivial, sentimental, affirming, and irrelevant." This alternative "gospel" is a message of moralism, personal comfort, self-help, self-improvement, and individualistic religion. It trivializes God, making him a means to our selfish ends. Horton skillfully diagnoses the problem and points to the solution: a return to the unadulterated gospel of salvation. Here is a must-read for anyone concerned about the state and future of Christianity and the church in America.

Product Information

Format: DRM Protected ePub
Vendor: Baker Books
Publication Date: 2008
ISBN: 9781441202031
ISBN-13: 9781441202031
Availability: In Stock

Publisher's Description

Is it possible that we have left Christ out of Christianity? Is the faith and practice of American Christians today more American than Christian? These are the provocative questions Michael Horton addresses in this thoughtful, insightful book. He argues that while we invoke the name of Christ, too often Christ and the Christ-centered gospel are pushed aside. The result is a message and a faith that are, in Horton's words, "trivial, sentimental, affirming, and irrelevant." This alternative "gospel" is a message of moralism, personal comfort, self-help, self-improvement, and individualistic religion. It trivializes God, making him a means to our selfish ends. Horton skillfully diagnoses the problem and points to the solution: a return to the unadulterated gospel of salvation.

Author Bio

Michael Horton (PhD, University of Coventry and Wycliffe Hall, Oxford) is J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary California. He hosts The White Horse Inn radio broadcast and is editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine. He is the author/editor of more than fifteen books, including Putting Amazing Back into Grace, Too Good to Be True, Introducing Covenant Theology, and A Better Way.

Endorsements

"Horton confronts modern evangelicalism in terms reminiscent of J. Gresham Machen's challenge to liberalism in the 1920s. Both authors spotlight flaws that do more than distort Christian faith; they reject it. Horton's brush is broad--expect loud lamentation from the evangelical camp--but the picture he paints is largely accurate. His argument is convincing: therapeutic moralism has, in fact, found a home among evangelicals."
--Parker T. Williamson, editor emeritus and senior correspondent, The Presbyterian Layman
"Christless Christianity makes an important contribution in defense of the centrality of Christ to vibrant Christian life and witness. Horton has ably helped us see the train wreck that is so much of popular Christianity. While others are legitimately concerned with errors originating in the academy, errors that excite the intellectual but few average pew sitters are even aware of, Horton turns his sharp mind to exposing the mass production of a kinder, happier legalism that robs the average Christian of the liberating joy of knowing the Jesus whose work is finished and never improved. A more important and timely volume could not have been written."
--Thabiti M. Anyabwile, senior pastor, First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
"Christless Christianity establishes Michael Horton as the outstanding protagonist for classical Protestant orthodoxy. His wide-ranging and carefully researched examples show how our churches and megachurches have pandered to the culture with Gnostic, Pelagian, moralistic, and self-help heresies bereft of the saving action of Jesus Christ. He leaves us with a profound trust and a sure confidence in our biblical faith. What could be more important?"
--Episcopal Bishop C. FitzSimons Allison

Publisher's Weekly

In another screed on what’s wrong with American Christianity, theology professor Horton, of Westminster Seminary California, bemoans the slide of the American Christian church into what he, and others, call a moralistic, therapeutic deism. Drawing on studies, surveys and anecdotal evidence, Horton reaches the oft-repeated conclusion that American Christianity is self-centered rather than Christ-centered, Jesus is a life coach rather than a redeemer, and salvation is focused on therapeutic well-being. He rants against the purveyors of this watered-down Christianity—Robert Schuller, T.D. Jakes, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer—but saves his most savage attack for megachurch preacher Joel Osteen, whom Horton depicts as a snake-oil salesman teaching that God is a personal shopper ready to deliver happiness and prosperity if only individuals let God know their needs. Horton reveals his lack of theological depth when he argues that ancient Gnostics saw God as no different from humans. Yet Gnosticism’s entire point is this difference. Horton regrettably offers no recommendation for the reformation of American Christianity beyond a simplistic call to let the church be defined by the Gospel rather than the laws of the market. (Nov.)Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Product Reviews

3 Stars Out Of 5
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(0)
(1)
Quality:
5 out Of 5
(5 out of 5)
Value:
3 out Of 5
(3 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
3 out Of 5
(3 out of 5)
67%
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
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Displaying items 1-3 of 3
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  1. lou
    1 Stars Out Of 5
    Christless Christianity
    August 15, 2014
    lou
    Quality: 5
    Value: 1
    Meets Expectations: 1
    The Author confesses his carnal life, and unbelief, as he exclaims others should also remain dead to God.A modern Pharisee, he shuns the child-like faith that King Jesus encourages us to posess, as a prerequesite to being born again.Author says it is problematic to want to "experience God" and throws Henry Blackaby under the bus for doing so.Folks, this is a real dilemna, when we have the unborn shooting down the very joy of being born again.When both Father and Son make their abode in your heart, your NEW heart, you will have joy unspeakable, you will know they are there.If you don't, you havnt been born again, and must continue seeking earnestly for the gift.I know, I spoke the words as a 15 yr old young man, only to be born again 30 yrs later and after drinking and drugging my life away.First time flatline, next time was as phillip told the ethiopian-if you believe with your WHOLE heart.
  2. Andrew
    OKC, OK
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    The Gospel
    May 13, 2014
    Andrew
    OKC, OK
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Other than the Bible, I would be surprised to find a book that gives Jesus as so much glory as "Christless Christianity". I'm in my 30's, and I've been a Christian a long time, and "active" in various churches and ministries throughout my life, and as I read this book I rediscovered the true Gospel. I didn't even realize when I started the book the extent to which I've been starved for the Good News. I've been so strung out on church that makes so many demands of me - demands of my time, my money, all my talents to show (or "prove") that I'm a Christian and born-again. While the Law is good and includes good things like tithing, acts of service, etc., that is the Law and not the Gospel, and is not our lifeline. The Gospel is Christ crucified for my transgression. Jesus gets all the glory and all the credit because He did all the work. I get no credit, but I get all of His love and forgiveness. Baptism and the Lord's Supper are not opportunities where I "have to" show my dedication and commitment, but they are signs of the commitment Jesus has for me. Over the last few days since reading the book I've found myself crying off and on because I am so moved at the realization of the Good News and how much I am loved and forgiven. While not the goal when I started the book, I have also found myself praying more throughout the day, but most all I say is "Thank you" to the Father and the Son for what they have done for me. I am overwhelmed at Jesus and the Father for reaching out to me, and coming down to my level. We need to hear the Gospel all the time: Christ crucified. It's like I've never truly realized how loved and forgiven I am - and all I have to do is absolutely nothing but receive that from Him. Wow. I'm a Christian who was raised in Church, but where has the Gospel been all my life? I'm so thankful I have it now. God amazes me. The world does not need an imitation, or something "popular" - it needs the real Good News.
  3. csense
    Ohio
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A Must Read for the Introspective Christian
    June 30, 2013
    csense
    Ohio
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I came here looking for a study guide for Christless Christianity as I prepare to read it again, this time with a women's study group. I am short on time but would agree with the high rated reviews/comments already published. This is a book that helps to shift the Christian's paradigm back to "true north" so to speak, as opposed to so many recent popular books that are trying to reinvent or add to the central message of Christianity. Mike Horton shows how this is connected primarily to the lack of understanding and practice of the essential doctrine of rightly dividing the Law and Gospel in preaching and teaching, which manifests into other misguided practices/tendencies in the church. Highly encourage you to read this with an honest, non-defensive posture, and you will surely reap the benefit of being discipled by one of the best, (thankfully) non-rock star theologians of our time. I say this as a Lutheran who studies regularly the Bible and Christian non-fiction with evangelical women, not as a member of a reformed church. Final note, I would agree with the reviewer who said you must read carefully -- not because Horton is so hard to understand, but in his writing and speaking style you might miss when he is describing a general misconceptions or wrong teaching in the church, and think he is making a statement as to what he believes is biblically true teaching. If you take some time to listen to his online radio program, The White Horse Inn, a time or two, I think it would help immensely to hear how he teaches first, so that you will "hear" his written voice more clearly.
Displaying items 1-3 of 3
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