A Good Book

October 9, 2008 at 9:36 am | Posted in Books and Movies, It's All About God | Leave a comment

I’ve been reading Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace? by James Montgomery Boice.  It is the last book Boice wrote, still in manuscript form when he died in 2000.  The subtitle is “Rediscovering the Doctrines that Shook the World.”   The book is about how the contemporary church has gotten away from the theology of the Reformation, specifically the “five solas” – Scripture alone, Christ alone, grace alone, faith alone, and glory to God alone.  Though Boice’s early chapters about church and culture are harder on the church than I believe they should be, his chapters about the five doctrines are excellent.  It seems that each one gets better than the one before it.  I’m into the last of those five chapters now, “Glory to God Alone,” and it is the best so far.  Boice offers his thesis that the church today is weak because we have lost our sense of God’s awesomeness.  With that thesis I am in total agreement.  Here are some good quotes from the chapter:

“Judging by our actions, words and church programs, I would suggest that not one in a hundred average church goers today actively thinks about God or stands in awe of him as part of an average Sunday service.  Our minds are on ourselves.”

After quoting Tozer’s lament of the low view of God prevalent fifty years ago, Boice adds these thoughts.  “Who can suppose the situation has improved over the last five decades?  Clearly it has not.  On the contrary, our escalating preoccupation with television trivia and our growing addiction to the me-centered entertainment and worldly outlooks or our culture has made the situation worse.  And the saddest thing is that most Christians are largely unaware of what has happened.  .  .  .  To listen to many contemporary sermons one would think that man’s chief end is to glorify himself and cruise the malls.”

And, finally, quoting from the Cambridge Declaration, which Boice may have helped write, “The loss of God’s centrality in the life of today’s church is common and lamentable.  It is this loss that  allows us to transform worship into entertainment, gospel preaching into marketing, believing into technique, being into feeling good about ourselves, and faithfulness into being successful.”

To quote a song we often sing in our church, written by Matt Redman, “I’m coming back to the heart of worship, and it’s all about You; it’s all about You, Jesus.  I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it, when it’s all about You; it’s all about You, Jesus”  Not only church and worship, but everything is all about God.

Gloria in excelsis Deo!

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