Thursday, December 29, 2005

Barna's (So-Called) "Revolution"

Sam Storms of Enjoying God Ministries has written an extensive, must-read review of George Barna's new book, Revolution.

Part 1

Part 2

Here is Storms' summary of Barna's thesis:

Barna’s thesis is that one can be a Christ-loving, Bible-believing, soul-winning, God-exalting Christian without any formal involvement in or connection with the “church”. The absence of the latter, be it noted, is not because of circumstances beyond your control. It’s not that some people, because of geographic isolation or persecution or other factors, cannot find or plant or become involved in a local church. The Revolution is a movement of people who easily could but refuse to do so, believing that for them, at any rate, true spirituality and authentic obedience to God and a genuine, thriving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is possible only by forsaking membership in, support of, and allegiance to a local congregation of believers.

Storms concludes his extensive review in this way: “I hope and pray that people who read this book (if they must) will have the discernment to recognize its flaws and resist its gut-level appeal. With all due respect to George Barna and his many accomplishments for the sake of the Kingdom, this is a bad book that encourages a bad agenda for the people of God.”

Here are some more reviews and quotes:

Kevin Miller, writing in Christianity Today: "Do you want to become a Revolutionary? First, trade your copy of Revolution for Life Together, the manifesto written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer during the dark days of Nazi Germany. Then, if you want to do heroic and revolutionary exploits, go back to your local church. That's something so spiritually challenging that several million people no longer want to do it."

Michael Haykin writes: "Here is Evangelicalism throwing the past and its caution to the winds and eloping with the fervently anti-institutional spirit of the age—a nymph with oh so many paramours. Nothing really revolutionary here. Just utter silliness and the giddiness of childish infatuation."

Chris Treat at Reformation 21 writes: “His exegesis is so thin that the most telling result of Barna’s book may be how much evangelical leaders take his exegesis seriously. If Barna’s weak exegesis can convince evangelical leaders that the Bible is silent about the local church, then evangelicalism has surely reached the pinnacle of Biblical ignorance."

Update: broken links to the Storms' review are now fixed