A Lover's Quarrel With The Evangelical Church - Book Review

A Lover's Quarrel With The Evangelical Church by Warren Cole Smith is exactly as the title describes, a lover's quarrel. The book opens with "My name is Warren, and I'm a recovering evangelical." In the book Smith offers his honest perspective of his problems with the evangelical church. What's interesting is that all the while Smith claims to be an evangelical. It's an insiders look, saying "Here are some problems I see. I don't like them but, I'm apart of this as well and I think we can come together and fix these things."

Some of the main issues Smith tackles are those of the "Christian-Industrial Complex" in which he brings up topics like Christian publishing houses, record labels, and the like that make millions of dollars a year and questions their motives.

He criticizes what he calls "Body-Count Evangelism" in which numbers become more important that the souls of those people. Smith makes a very true statement: "In the era of body-count evangelism, people become statistics. True salvations become opportunities not for joy, by for bragging." It's a sad truth that I've seen this very thing take place. Thankfully not in the church I'm currently serving. I would say it's also easy to look at the surface of some things and make judgement calls rather than seeing what happens behind the scenes. Sure there are people that slip through the cracks... I wish this wasn't the case but, the truth is in large churches it just happens sometimes. The goal is not to allow anyone to simply walk an isle and leave. We want to win people to Jesus Christ by sharing His love and message. We want to then not count them as a number for a quota, but instead grow them in their spiritual walk with Jesus Christ and then send them out to the world as representatives of the love and message of Jesus Christ they themselves came to know. I'm thankful that it's more than numbers at my church home. I'm thankful we're not a statistic and that we don't count them.

Overall Smith writes with honesty and passion towards the topics he addresses. However, there are moments when it seems that Smith is ranting more than examining and condemning more than diagnosing. Early in the book Smith is a but confusing with his writing and mentions about 4-5 items that are the "theme" of the book. I felt myself confused about what exactly the theme of the book was and wondering why my conclusions were different than the author's expressed ones. The book didn't pick up for me until about the third chapter. A Lover's Quarrel With The Evangelical Church is a decently written and raises some good questions that all evangelical churches need to examine and be reminded of.

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