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Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Church: Finding a Better Way to Influence Our Culture [Paperback]

By Dean Merrill (Author)
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Item description for Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Church: Finding a Better Way to Influence Our Culture by Dean Merrill...

Written by a former vice president of Focus on the Family, this is a book for Christians who want to take the high road in the personal and corporate war on culture. Far from a prescription for apathy, this book is a passionate call to Kingdom activity--and our mission as ambassadors to a world Christ died for, not as conquerors who would remake it in our image.

Publishers Description
If America is sliding into a moral swamp, what's the best Christian response? The hardball approach of the religious right? Or is there a more productive way to engage our culture? Dean Merrill, a former vice president with Focus on the Family, challenges us to transform society--and our own hearts--from the inside out. Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Church is about attitude, about living out our convictions in a Christ-like manner instead of bullying our way into the system like any other loud and selfish government lobby. Merrill shows why returning to the 'good old days' is a wish based on a myth. He reveals how God has worked mightily throughout history in spite of decadent cultures, and how he can and will work today in the American culture. Far from a prescription for apathy, this book is a passionate call to Kingdom activity -- and our mission as ambassadors to a world Christ died for, not as conquerors who would remake it in our own image.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Zondervan
Pages   184
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.97" Width: 5.3" Height: 0.51"
Weight:   0.36 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 1997
Publisher   Zondervan Publishing
ISBN  0310213088  
ISBN13  9780310213086  
UPC  025986213084  

Availability  0 units.

More About Dean Merrill

Dean Merrill Dean Merrill, former publishing executive with Focus on the Family and International Bible Society, is author or coauthor of 31 books, including The God Who Won't Let Go and Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Church. He and his wife live in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

In The Author's Own Words...

I’m a former magazine editor (Campus Life, Leadership Journal, Christian Herald) and editorial director (David C. Cook, Focus on the Family) who has written ten books and coauthored 35 others. My works have twice been honored by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association with Gold Medallion awards, while another was named Christian Book of the Year.

I’ve had the privilege to travel widely overseas, especially during my seven years as a vice president at International Bible Society (now Biblica). My favorite part of the globe to visit is Africa.

My bachelor’s degree was earned at Christian Life College (Chicago) and my master of arts in journalism at Syracuse University. My wife and I live in Colorado Springs, Colorado; we’re the proud parents of three and the grandparents of eleven.

Spanish Biography: Dean Merrill, quien fuera ejecutivo de publicaciones de Enfoque en la Familia y de la Sociedad Biblica Internacional, es autor o coautor de 31 libros, entre ellos The God Who Won't Let Go y Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Church. Fue Presidente de la Asociacion de Casas Editoras Cristianas Evangelicas y miembro de la junta de Global Publishers Alliance, la division internacional de publicacion para la Asociacion. Tambien ha sido editor de revistas, entre ellas Campus Life, Leadership Journal y Christian Herald. Vive con su esposa en Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Dean Merrill currently resides in Colorado Springs, in the state of Colorado.

Dean Merrill has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Every Man's Series

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Reviews - What do customers think about Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry Church?

excellent, thought provoking  Nov 13, 2004
Every person who is thinking through issues of Church and culture needs to read this book. Between doing nothing in culture and fighting unwinnable culture wars, Merrill finds a middle ground, a third way.
Especially helpful to me was the section on the mythical "good old days." Those who believe in the notion that America was once a "Christian Nation" and solving our problems means getting back to that place would do well to read this short, challenging, highly engaging book.
Great book - Be conservative but not mad about it  Dec 30, 2003
I have read a few books in this category of social decline and the role of the church today in light of history. This book is defintely my favorite in this category and one of my all-time favorites. Merrill uses specific examples from history to show that the 'Good 'Ol Days' are largely a myth. Enacting more laws will not change hearts and neither will painting our Bibles red-white and blue (metaphorically) by trying to Americanize the gospel with revisionist history. Of course we have problems today...There have been problems ever since the Fall. Unbeleivers still act like unbeleivers. Why are we surprised? Some Christians act like unbelievers - that should surprise us.

Merrill is always reverent and uses our Lord as the prototype He's meant to be. This book reminds Christians to really be salt and light with practical ideas that sometimes call for sacrifice and always require reflection. We are meant to be much more than moralizing custodians of the culture. We are to transform it with love, involvement and yes, with standards of behavior - that we apply first to ourselves - just like Jesus did. Merrill is on target to tell the Church that romanticizing the past is just a distraction keeping us from really engaging the culture by "speaking the truth in love." I love this book - we can be conservative and not be mad about it.

The Very Right Response to the Problem!!!  Jul 9, 2003
Some earlier reviews of this work by Dean Merrill actually miss the point. It is not a call to be more docile, or even should be used by "humanists," but, in fact, it is a rallying call to help Christians understand their historical and biblical call to their culture.

Dean Merrill speaks with authority. He spent 32 years in the Christian media, and the focus of this book is, "...about living out our convictions in a Christ-like manner instead of bullying our way into the system like any other loud and selfish government lobby."

He uses biblical history - prophets such as Jonah and Elijah to make his point, as well as Ahab and Jezebel as analogies. He states that a "culture war" model has limitations, and head-on confrontations are external and do not make the opponents want to change. He writes that you cannot shout people into holiness. Then he points to the early church -

"Whatever early believers thought and did about Caligula's disgraceful antics, it wasn't considered significant enough to make it into Luke's history. What was the early Christian reacion to Nero? What was their view of an immature, immoral, ruthless megalomaniac at the head of their government? Paul said that 'prayers and thanksgiving be given for...kings and all those in authority.'"

"Christians are engaged in titanic struggles," he writes, and it is primarily against flesh and blood. The enemies have names, phone numbers, faxes, and photos. But the Apostle Paul and other apostles seem to stand quietly by, wishing we would realize that the Christians' real enemies are Satan and his minions.

Merrill writes that frontal resistance to evil regimes does not always win the day, and that the view of the 1st century church was to trust in the All Powerful One. The Christ-Following Minority has no choice but to understand the present reality - "there is no moral majority," and he points to some interesting facts, that in the 1760's, 1 out of 3 babies were conceived out of wedlock, and pre-marital sex was alive and booming.

In his analysis, he points out four reactions to minority status that Christians exhibit - Anxiousness, apathy, anger, and apologetics. He states that the more we sidetrack ourselves with doing the job we prefer, trying to get non-Christian neighbors and acquaintances to act Christianly without the divine life of Christ inside, the more time and energy we waste. And he provides examples - biblical examples - such as Daniel, Esther, young Jesus, and the early church and New Testament leaders.

This is compelling reading, and a little later in the book, he points out that the Founding Fathers of our country gave very little official favor or protection to Christianity. They set religion on its own in a free society to make its own mark, win its own converts, and pay its own bills.

He writes, "Our society is a post-Christian one, and has been for more than 300 years - circa 1684. The King of England finally revoked the Massachusetts Bay Colony Charter and installed his own governor and opened up voting to every land owner (white male, that is), whether they were Congregationalist, Anglican, Quaker, Jew, or even infidel. This meant the end of 'The Righteous Empire' for the Puritan leaders for the preceding 64 years, and it was partly their fault, because they'd already given up on of their core values back in 1657 with the adoption of 'Halfway Covenant' - people could join the church without a personal confession of faith."

Merrill then quotes Richard J. Mouw, who states "I am wary of efforts to establish Laws whose primary purpose is to force non-Christians to conform to Christian sexual norms," and I wholeheartedly agree with him.

As the book comes to an end, Dean Merrill has chapters dealing with the news media, and What Does the Lord Require, as well as How to truly change a culture, and he lists these five things:

-Calm Down;
-Major on the Majors;
-Appreciate the difference between Statute and Stigma;
-Keeping Looking for Allies;
-Be prepared to Lose, because sometimes even then you can win.

This is a provocative book, intended for those who Think and wish to apply the ideas within. Not everyone will agree with some of his premises. There are those in the Christian community, I am sad to say, who really want to shove the Truth down the throats of those who disagree with them, as well as try to take over the power bases of government, society, culture, and the church. We need to be wary of these, no matter what they call themselves, or even the rhetoric they espouse, even if it is politically, theologically, militarily, or culturally correct. Fascism has a friendly face in the beginning, until most of the freedoms of a land are gone. We'd best beware.

A great book. Read it and think. If it makes sense, lend to a friend, and keep it going. We might yet save the church from the church, and help it to be "pure and holy in the sight of God."

A Complete Reversal of the Actual Problem  Feb 7, 2000
For every Christian believer who is excessively angry at the evil in the world, there are at least 10,000 who are excessively docile towards the same. There are many times when our Lord and the Apostles were very angry at evil. This book encourages Christians to be even more docile than they already are. So this book is a service to the humanists, even though the author surely did not intend it this way. Christians should be much more angry than they currently are about such things as baby killing (abortion), the growing war against public Christian expression, etc. It is also fallacious to state that the only way to change society is to change human hearts. God instituted a system of civil and religious laws to regulate human conduct, without waiting for changed hearts. For instance, we did not wait until all hearts changed in order to see headhunting die out. We simply outlawed headhunting. So it goes for such evils such as abortion and the abolition of God from the public schools.
Burn the sinners?  Feb 4, 2000
In this book, Merrill presents an overview of today's culture and points out effective and ineffective methods of influencing the people of today. He does an excellent job of assessing the wrong Christian responses while at the same time giving the correct way to respond. He points out that Christians usually are apathetic, anxious, or angry when dealing with today's problems when they should really be gently defending their faith. He then gives some excellent suggestions for Christian responses, such as praying for our government, censuring, attaching negative stigmas to sinful practices, and calmly sharing the hope that they have. Merrill is very reassuring in that he reminds us that God can work just as powerfully now as he did long ago, even though we may disagree with his timing. Overall, this book gives a clear, concise direction for defending the Bible and for witnessing to others in this sinful world.

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