This is a great book: R. Kent Hughes, Set Apart: Calling a Worldly Church to a Godly Life. Read these quotes, then put this on your “to read for 2011” list.
“…In contemporary evangelicalism there has been a deficiency of cultural awareness and a resulting lack of discernment regarding how the world has overwhelmed the thinking and behavior of Christians. This book is my contribution to the attempt to correct the imbalance.”
“…Because we’re so immersed in materialism, we cannot see it for what it is.”
“Each time he [Jesus] teaches on wealth [in the Bible], he advises giving it away. For those of us who take the Bible seriously, this raises great tensions – sanctifying tensions.”
“Even worship [in American churches] is not exempt from hedonism as people go where worship is most pleasurable, imagining that the worship of God exists to make them feel good.”
“Millions of Christians have been desensitized and sensualized as they sit passively night after night in prime time before lewdness and double entendre without the slightest twinge of conscience.”
We really need books like this that help us gauge our own worldliness and the worldliness of our churches. Hughes talks about things like materialism, hedonism, media, sex, modesty, ‘religion,’ church, and the Lord’s Day (among other things). His discussions are not legalistic, but gospel-centered; he is careful not to slip into moralism. I’ll be coming back to this book often in my future sermon prep and studies. Highly recommended – and it’s under $10!