Here’s what Willimon says about Horton’s new book which diagnoses the Amerincan church, Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008): “Here the roots of our current theological malaise are exposed and we see the wrong turns we took when we began taking ourselves more seriously than God. Michael Horton diagnoses our trouble in stunning, unavoidable character. Therapeutic, utilitarian deism is named, nailed, and defeated with the best weapon God has given us – the gospel of Jesus Christ. Presumptively evangelical Christianity is exposed as the latest recruit to the cause of insipid, culturally compromised liberalism. I am judged in the process. Robert Schuller’s vapid ecclesiology is us all over. My sermons are only slightly less silly and compromised than Joel Osteen’s. Mea culpa. Mea culpa. Mea Culpa” (p. 10)
Here are a few blurbs from the book:
“My concern is that we are getting dangerously close to the place in everyday American church life where the Bible is mined for ‘relevant’ quotes but is largely irrelevant on its own terms; God is used as a personal resource rather than known, worshiped, and trusted; Jesus Christ is a coach with a good game plan for our victory rather than a Savior who has already achieved it for us; salvation is more a matter of having our best life now than being saved from God’s judgment by God himself; and the Holy Spirit is an electrical outlet we can plug into for the power we need to be all that we can be” (p. 19).
“It is not heresy as much as silliness that is killing us softly. God is not denied but trivialized – used for our life programs rather than received, worshiped, and enjoyed” (p. 24).
“While God wants to give us everlasting life, we settle for trivial satisfaction of superficial needs that are to a large extent created within us by the culture of marketing” (p. 34).
This is hard hitting stuff, and much needed hard hits. Read this book and take the blows; it will help purge you of the dross and drivel of self-love and positive thinking that has taken the American church captive.
One more note: this is the perfect book to give your elders and pastors after you get a copy for yourself.