My recommendation is to read Disappearance of God. But start at page 157. You’ll see why.
That’s the one word that best describes my feelings before I read Albert Mohler’s new book, The Disappearance of God–Dangerous Beliefs in the New Spiritual Openness.
Well, I’ve never read a Mohler book and my only exposure to him was through his blog, notably before the 2008 election where the constant themes were abortion, politics and Christianity in culture.
I have to confess, talk of politics wears me out. Talk of cultural wars wears me out.
So, I was pre-maturely assuming Mohler was the type of man who spoke dryly of everything through that lens.
I was wrong.
The First Thing You Should Know
The book takes off on page 157. Like something from the launch pad at Cape Canaveral.
In three chapters titled “Darkness at Noon-Parts 1, 2 and 3,” Mohler describes the post-Christian world we live in, the closing of the postmodern mind and the commission he recommends to the post-compliant church.
It’s the last chapter that needs a little explanation. Mohler argues:
“We must recognize that the church has been compliant for far too long, and if we are effectively to challenge prevailing worldview of postmodern culture, the church must become a post-compliant church.”
In other words: we must stop sleeping with the enemy.
Mohler points out the witness of the martyrs in the past–who gave their lives for the sake of the gospel–did not do so in a spirit of cultural compliance.
Neither should we.
The Church’s Greatest Threat
Christians are an eccentric people. We determine our values based on a book 2,000 years old. So, yes, we’re going to be at odds with the culture.
But the greatest threat, Mohler explains, is not in the world around us but in our evangelical pews where “a devastating loss of biblical and doctrinal convictions” occurs.
At root of the compliant church is a loss of theological nerve. A backbone to resist the repaganization of our culture.
This repaganization is seen in three unhealthy church behaviors:
1. It’s seen in the embrace of the romantic concept of universalism.
2. It’s seen in our pre-occupation with feel good religion.
3. It’s seen in our re-invention of Christianity as a self-help pop-psychology.
All of this leads to an abandonment of missions–the deliberate, systematic sharing of the Gospel to the unreached people of the world.
Mohler’s answer and commission to the post-compliant church…the church that’s NOT compliant?
This generation must create bold, courageous and committed Christian missionaries. “This is the sum and substance of the genuine gospel–and the true gospel is always a missionary gospel.”
What You Should Do with This Book
My recommendation is to read Disappearance of God. But start at page 157. After you’ve read the last 30 pages, THEN go back and read the rest of the book.
What you’ll find in the earlier chapters is Mohler’s common denominator: The subtle, deliberate evacuation of anything remotely New Testament in our post-modern churches.
This is apparent in his attack on the Emergent church [which, by the way, amounted to a retelling of D. A. Carson’s research], lament on the waning doctrine of hell and articulation of the absence of formal discipline in current churches.
That last topic got me to sit up in my seat. It was a compelling, historical argument to return to a formal, procedural policy of discipline in churches…
An issue worth exploring.
Another persuasive and interesting topic Mohler touched upon was Christian beauty. Bottom line: Dismiss what you always thought of as beauty. Mohler, with his four aspects of beauty, has something totally different in mind.
Here’s what you should know: After reading this book, especially the last 30 pages, I’ve moved from apprehension to appreciation for Mohler.
From ambivalence to action.
So, my final advice to you: If you can only read 30 pages this year…read the last 30 pages of Mohler’s The Disappearance of God.
It’ll stir your soul. Especially if you care about the authentic gospel. The missionary gospel.