3 Stars Out Of 5
The American Church by D.W. Glomski
June 26, 2015
This is a short book. Information on the author is limited, as I have read this book as an e-book. From what I could glean, he was an aspiring pastor but changed his mind. He has been for years with an unconventional group called the Plymouth Brethren, who hold their church meetings in house settings. He was a member of their group for 22 years. This book begins with an Introduction which prepares us for what this book will be about. This book is arranged in ten chapters which each illustrate the points that he desires to make. He then finishes this book with afterwards that contain explanations to various groups. His Afterwards consist of A Word to Pastors, A Word about the Wine and the Wineskin, A Word to the Plymouth Brethren, A Word about the Apostles, A Word about Church and Going to Church, A Word about Change, and A Word about the Number One Problem in the Church. He then ends with a list of books that he suggests to readers for further reading.
This is the first book that I ever have read in e-book form, and so I was ale to quickly go through it. Also, it is a short book, not much over 100 pages. But when I started the first chapter, my hackles already began going up and it was not so much over the author's topic of the book. I was ticked off at his hard-hitting references to people who use any government benefits and how he lumped them into one general category as welfare freeloaders who get their kicks out of living off the system or living lazy lives. While he is right in that some people indeed abuse government benefits by laziness or even by fraud (the second is not referenced), he betrays at least a misunderstanding of how the system
works in that there have been major cuts and reforms in all means-tested (need-based) government programs. He also betrays ignorance of the fact that programs like Social Security, Social Security Disability and Medicare are not means-tested and so are not considered welfare programs. As for his subject which is general spiritual immaturity, he seems to lump American Christians into one broad category as weak, sickly, spoiled, selfish and bratty Christians. I fully agree that many who attend church fellowships fit this profile and need to grow up spiritually by following Jesus instead of following people. The Bible is full of admonitions to do that and the author does backup much of what he says by using Scripture. I applaud him bringing up matters pertaining to women that are offensive to even devoted believing Christian women, such as the Biblical call to be quiet in formal church fellowship meetings and to wear head coverings in those meetings. We don't like it (I don't like it!) but these calls to women are considered part of the Bible and many of us consider the Bible to be the Word of God. But this author comes off as arrogant in his approach to addressing God's calls to submission for women, and he makes no effort to balance these mandates for female submission with Jesus' honoring women when in His Incarnation and the Biblical principle that we are all equal in personhood if not in function. When I came to the Afterwards which contained messages to certain people groups that are more encouraging than the book itself, I was looking for an Afterward for us women. I did not find it and I was disappointed. I know that the author comes from a place of not having been with any organized church fellowship for decades but he comes off as judgmental and superior in his tone though he says that he has a Pastor's heart toward the modern American Church. Maybe he does have such a heart, but it is easy to feel beat up by this book if you attend organized worship services. I think he also overlooks that many people in these organized worship services may not even have living relationships with Jesus and so may lack the power to mature in a faith that they may not even possess, as the Gospel has been watered down to stress the grace, love and forgiveness of God which we all love to hear about, while excluding the uncomfortable parts like sin, judgment, judgment and hell which all of us (including myself) find uncomfortable and offensive) which are also integral parts of the Biblical message. But this book includes important truths that all believers, especially all those in official leadership positions, badly need to hear and apply to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, he offers few practical ideas of how to put his radically counter-cultural principles into practice. This book left me wanting more.
Would I recommend this book? I would with reservations as it offers no advice for practical application. I recommend this book for Pastors and I would encourage them to read the Afterward, addressed to them, to brace themselves for the tough message in this book that shatters long-established values from centuries of tradition. I recommend this book for all Christians who, I promise, will find much of this book offensive. I warn non-Christians to avoid this book as it will inflame the prejudices most already have against the Christian community.
I received this book in e-book form, free of charge, through BookLook Bloggers, in exchange for my honest review of this book. I was not required to give a favorable review of this book.