But Steve McAlpine’s review of Mark Sayers Disappearing Church: From Cultural Relevance to Gospel Resilience (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2016. 176 pp. $14.99) was more than a review aimed at informing. It was an article aimed at motivating us to ponder the point of the book, not just purchase the book. Refreshing!
I especially liked his concluding paragraph, where he asserts his own beliefs and quotes from the book as well, all to make a point that I heartily embrace and have been encouraging the flock at FFC to wrap their arms around, too:
“Ultimately, Sayers’s confidence is in King Jesus. For all its sociology and cultural insights, Disappearing Church is a Christocentric book. The Jesus who was killed outside the city is the Jesus we follow. We don’t expect we’ll get to be cultural winners, only that we’ll endure suffering now and enjoy glory later.
In the midst of a culture turning hard against us, this paradigm leads Sayers to declare:
What if our attempts at relevance, at mimicking and outdoing the beautiful world, actually limit our ministry potential? What if our increasing strangeness to Western culture is actually to our advantage? What if the fact that you can no longer be warmly embraced in the contemporary cultural fold if you are an orthodox Christian is actually the best thing that has happened to us?
What if indeed? The church may seem to ‘disappear,’ or fall off the cultural radar, but our confidence is in the One who will return to renew all things and bring them under his endless rule.”
A thousand amens to both McAlpine and Sayers.
And yes, I’m sold. Literally. This is the next book I’m buying.