So, okay. I’ll buy it. I’ll review it. But will this book transform my life? It will not. It will go on the shelf with all of the other books that breathlessly present themselves as “the answer” to “the problem” that “the church” has lost some time between 120AD and 400AD. But I’m simply not buying it. And I suspect neither will the up and coming generation of Christians.
There’s going to come a time when the younger generation of Christians who are sick of being marketed to say “Enough is enough!”
But not before we get one more book that promises to uncover the secret to the Christian faith that has been lost in the mists of time. A secret that will change everything. Again.
Andy Stanley’s latest book Irresistible is presenting itself as the latest in a long, and increasingly frantic and jammed together, line of books in the past two decades that promises to unlock the mystery.
The marketing people are nothing if not optimistic:
Is there something new that we missed? It would seem so if the pre-order blurb is any indication.
“Once upon a time there was a version of the Christian faith that the world found irresistible. This faith only survived—it thrived. Why? What did the early Christian know that we don’t? Find out in the new book Irresistible by pastor and author Andy Stanley, now available for pre-order….”
It’s perfectly fitting that the story begins “Once upon a time”, because what follows is pretty much the fairy tale we’ve been spun the last twenty years, as we continue the hand wringing about how much we’ve lost the plot.
And the charge is right there is it not? “Is your Christian faith irresistible”. What sort of question is that? Well, no sort of question as the graphic does not contain a question mark at that point. Perhaps they’re making more of a statement: Your Christian faith is not irresistible, and you know it, you slacker.
Well, mine’s not irresistible, if you ask me. Even to me sometimes.
And lots of people resist my faith all of the time. And I’m a pastor. It’s my job to make my faith irresistible. But frankly, the strike rate among my long term non-Christian friends, who I love dearly, spend time with, eat meals with, attend funerals with, is zero, nix, nada.
And I’m not an amazing evangelist either, so even when I think I’m about to knock it out of the park I don’t. And don’t start with what a general slacker I am. I am Mr Mediocre, and nobody finds mediocre irresistible in our culture.
Yet, there’s a lost version of the Christian faith that, surprise surprise, is unavailable to you (and presumably me, despite my fairly solid knowledge of the Bible) through the reading of Scripture and a popular understanding of church history. This lost version is as lost as the Lost Ark and requires an Indiana Jones (hello Andy Stanley) to find it and bring it to the surface.
Frankly I am surprised that this narrative among Christian book publishers in the US has not run its course, so predictable of message and so frequent of occurrence it is. But when times are as desperate as they are, we’ll give anything a go, right?