Total Church

Before I turn to the actual review of this book, let me put this on record... What follows is the material that originally sat in the sidebar of this blog, and I'm merely doing what I said I would do after Christmas, ie. thinning out some of the longer reviews and posting them in the main body rather than clogging up the sidebar. When I first posted this I was surprised to find it picked up and quoted by Tim Chester on his own website, not in a negative way, but simply as a matter of record... I've previously noted this and would recommend that if you want to learn more about the Crowded House/Total Church idea, that you don't simply look at this book but go to Tim's blog, it actually, gives a better idea of what it is all about... But, here's the original review, unadulterated or adorned...

This is a book in which the authors write as if they have just invented fire, or rather recieved it express delivery from heaven... they completely disregard historic, and contemporary precedent for their "gospel & community" approach, falling into the trap of some of the "back to the New Testament Church" brigade, who forget that those NT models sat within a specific time and culture. Their approach to the poor is patronising. Their attitude to other forms of ecclesiology is arrogant. Their dismissal of academic theology is disengenuous, given the level of theological content within the book. Their comments on worship within a less literate society is shallow, again especially so given the high view of written scripture espoused here. And as for their introduction to the section on pastoral care, rarely has any book left me so angry... They are clearly tapping into the post-modernist zeitgeist, whilst remaining rigorously, and self-righteously orthodox (or should I say conservative evangelical) in their theology, unlike more emergent community/house churches. There is something to be said for their critique of a lack of community within many established churches, the lack of scriptural orthodoxy/rigour within many emergent communities, and the subjective individuality of much modern "spirituality"... But the whole book left me with a sense of frustration at the "we know best" mentality... They have NOTHING good to say about anyone else or any other Christian tradition... This may not be a fair representation of the actual church community associated with Crowded House, but on the basis of this book, they needn't bother making any room for me...



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