This is one outstanding book: Os Guinness’ The Last Christian on Earth (formerly published as The Gravedigger File). The book is something like Screwtape Letters plus David Wells plus Christless Christianity plus William Willimon. With his usually sharp and penetrating style, Guinness uses a series of fictional email memos to show how the Western church has been weakened, watered down, and neutered in the last 200-300 years. Here are a few quotes from one anti-Christian agent to another happily describing some effects of Operation Gravedigger, which they hope will eventually mean the demise of the church in the Western world.
“[The anti-Christian strategy of Operation Gravedigger] may be stated like this: the Christian faith contributed to the rise of the modern world, but the Christian faith has been undermined by the modern world it helped to create. The Christian faith thus becomes its own gravedigger” (p. 21).
“The church contributed to the creation of the modern world. Soon she was committed to that world without reservation. Before long she was hopelessly contaminated – in the world and up to her neck” (p. 32).
“The Christianization of Rome led to the Romanization of the Christian faith and away from the way of Jesus” (p. 34).
“With many Christians little or no different from their ‘pagan neighbors,’ much of American Christendom is more modern and more American than it is any longer decisively Christian” (p. 55).
I’ll no doubt come back to this book in the future. For now, I do think it is a must read for those of you who, like me, lament the worldliness of the American church. If a church talks, looks, sings, thinks, and acts like the world, is it still a church?
Please, get this book!