1. Disappearing Church: From Cultural Relevance to Gospel Resilience
    Disappearing Church: From Cultural Relevance to Gospel Resilience
    Mark Sayers
    Moody Publishers / 2016 / Trade Paperback
    $9.99 Retail: $14.99 Save 33% ($5.00)
    3.5 Stars Out Of 5 3 Reviews
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  1. The Woodlands, TX
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Excellent Book. Much Needed by Modern Church
    February 17, 2017
    MichelleWelch
    The Woodlands, TX
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Mark Sayers has written a book that should be on every pastors shelf, indeed on every Christ followers shelf as well. He has obviously spent many hours working with God on the reasons behind the decline in the Church as a whole. I love one of the lines in the book which says "In a world where friends are added with a button and the beautiful, blank faces of stock photography stare out at us, church and faith offer us true, face-to-face encounters." As Mark points out, it is only with these encounters that we can live out the words of Christ in Matthew 28:19-20. Gnosticism has indeed reared it's ugly head in the modern church in new, stealthy ways that make self seem more important than obedience to God's calling in our lives. As Mark says "the enemy is not outside the ramparts, it is inside the castle." It is time for the Church to sit up and take notice. "To learn to abide in Christ, we also must break from the lures that surround us, while still offering good news to the culture that seduces us." An excellent book.
  2. 2 Stars Out Of 5
    Disappearing Church
    September 13, 2016
    HeidiMarie
    Quality: 4
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 2
    Disappearing Church by Mark Sayers delves into the issue of Christians leaving the church at a really fast rate. Sayers gives his thoughts on why that is. He says that people are leaving the church due to their concern for instant gratification and escaping the rules and confines of Christian life- the secularization of the west.

    I really didn't like this book at all. It was super dry and hard to get through. There is no personal voice to the book at all, and it actually reads like a textbook, coming across as really grumpy, judge, and preachy. His thoughts seemed very outdated. I looked at the copyright date in the front and was shocked to see that it was published this year. Sayers was really vague, not really giving specific examples with little evidence to back up his claims. Honestly, he really just said the same thing over and over and over for 200 pages.

    I also didn't agree with the majority of what Sayers said. While he went on and on about how the people who leave the church are the bad and sinful ones, he hardly even acknowledged that in the majority of cases, the problem is with the church itself and the leaders in the church. I'm pretty sure there was only one sentence on this in the whole book.

    Though it is a short book, it took me longer than usual to get through it. Overall, I gave it 2/5 stars. It has some great reviews on Goodreads, but I don't really get it.

    *I received a copy of this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
  3. Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    When the salt becomes unsalty....
    April 5, 2016
    SnickerdoodleSarah
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Disappearing Church by Mark Sayers posits an interesting thought: We live in a culture riddled with "liberal Christian residue", our seemingly secular culture is basically Christian liberalism without the label of 'Christian' and without being considered 'religious' . By trying to be relevant by trying to appeal to the ever-changing culture around them liberal Christianity became so relevant that it's basic tenets became a part of the culture and thus the church 'institution' was irrelevant as the culture had already been won. Sayers illustrates it in this way, "" Like a team of suicide bombers who obliterate themselves yet irrevocably change the cultural atmosphere, liberal Christianity has essentially destroyed itself as an ecclesiological, institutional force, yet won the culture over to its vision of a Christianity reshaped for contemporary tastes."

    The author explains that the modern 'church' has imbibed and taught a contemporary form of gnostisism (his chart comparing ancient and contemporary gnosticism to the Gospel is very interesting)"This new religion could be detected in an increasing obsession with the self, with personal development and the preference of spirituality over religion, and with therapy over communion with a transcendent God." The discovery of self is the religion of the day, even in many Christian churches the goal is self-satisfaction, self-fulfillment, self-discovery, a follow your heart mentalityetc. Sayers points out that it is no wonder people can leave church so easily without even finding another one as they can get the same teachings from the world. The book brings to light the idea of our day and age that personal spirituality is better and more holy than organized 'religion'.

    Though I thought that Sayers insights into our modern culture were fascinating I do have some misgivings about the book. Sayers says some things that imply to me that he may consider Roman Catholicism a legitimate/biblical type of Christianity, and thus the people who hold those doctrines are Christians, that concerns me. He uses movie illustrations that I think were rather unnecessary and I didn't quite get what he meant by using the statement, "withdraw/return"it's probably just me.

    Overall though it was rather interesting, though I think it could have been betterit just seemed as though there was something missing, though I'm not sure what at the moment. But again, it is a very interesting insight into the 'disappearing' institutional church of our day and is quite thought provoking. I'll end, as I usually do, with one of my favorite quotes from the book:

    "As Rolheiser comments, 'Our age tends to divorce spirituality from ecclesiology. We want God, but we don't want church.' However, the great flaw of our search for spirituality and faith minus church is 'the unconfronted life. Without church, we have more private fantasy than real faith.Real conversion demands that eventually its recipient be involved in both the muck and the grace of actual church life.' More than ever we need the limitations and glorious messiness of churchThe mere fact that God chooses it, in the same way that He chooses us, humble vessels, is part of His grace that fools the wisdom of the world."

    Many thanks to Moody Publishers for sending me a free review copy of this book (My review did not have to be favorable)
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