Since the mid-to-late 60s--and I suppose for generations before--critics of the local church have been trying to reinvent, redefine, and reshape it. Every decade or so a radically innovative movement is launched that claims as its goal, ironically, to swing the church back toward the "New Testament" model of "doing church." These fads are usually short-lived, but do not fade without leaving a trail of disgruntled and disillusioned followers in their wake. Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck have followed up their earlier work, "Why We're Not Emergent," with an excellent and practical apologetic entitled "Why We Love the Church." Interestingly, the authors write with a "hip" style that one would think to be better suited for promoting the latest church fad. Instead they tout the more traditional model of the local church. Although conceding its flaws and shortcomings, theirs is a biblically sound argument that is difficult to dispute. Writing from a reformed perspective, they encourage the reader to look with fresh eyes at an old institution before fundamentally abandoning it or leaving it altogether. Their approach is theologically sound and their interaction with some of the more recent proponents of the emerging church is helpful. This book belongs in the hands of every dissatisfied church member, and even those critics who seek to lampoon the church from without. The writers' plea is that, before we pass judgment on the local church, we take a long hard look at ourselves. When we do, we just may find ourselves loving the church as well.
"Why We Love the Church" is a Bible-centered defense of the church that reminds us that while we're here, the church, like humanity, will never be perfect. Therefore, rather than trash it and leave it behind, we should love it as the bride of Christ that it is. DeYoung and Kluck's book is a much-needed reminder of what the church is, especially needed by the rising generation of people my age (18-25) that are leaving the church in greater numbers. It also corrects widespread misconceptions about the purpose of the church and controversial moments in church history (i.e., the Crusades). It is a Biblical, truthful, well-backed and well-researched work that is critical for followers of Christ to know. I highly recommend this book for any young person and especially for leaders in your church.
Having read "Why I am Not Emergent", I cam to appreciate the study that Kevin put in and the daily Practicality that Ted offered. This book, "Why I Love the Church" has added to that appreciation. It has caused me to ask myself why I love the church. I have been a part of local churches in every capacity for over sixty years. In that time I have heard a lot of "new" ideas on how to remake, reform, renew, or remove the church, but they all seemed to end up being no more that a house built on sand with no foundation. When they fell, it was the church built on a solid foundation of Jesus Christ and His Word that had to take them in.
According to the masterplan and its execution, the Church is nothing but the answer to the question "Who Jesus Christ is", in his standing self-revelation at his perfect and diacritical death on the cross, without any institutional and organizational features (Matt. 16: 13-28; 27: 50-61; John 8: 21-28; 19: 30-37).Contrary to the Christian agenda, the Biblical mandate for the new and universal form of worship of God, in Spirit and truth, clearly overrules any local congregations (John 4: 21-26).