Item description for The Market-Driven Church: The Worldly Influence of Modern Culture on the Church in America by Udo W. Middelmann...
Overview In America, Christianity and God seem to be merely part of our culture. And yet, it seems that the church has become more like the culture than vice versa. As a European with strong American ties, Udo Middelmann gives us an objective observer's view of church life in the United States. He expresses both his great admiration for America's historical ties to Christianity and his grief over what is happening to the American church. Church attendance is often merely a choice governed by personal preference. The gospel is viewed as a product to package and market, while Christians' attitudes become more self serving. Middelmann urges pastors and churchgoers alike to reverse these trends and embrace a renewed focus on the real essentials of biblical, historic Christianity.
"In God we trust." "God bless America." "Attend the church of your choice." "The churches of this town welcome you." In no other country are Christianity and God so obviously part of the culture. There are street signs directing people to local churches. Worship services are broadcast on radio and television. Politicians attend prayer breakfasts, and schoolchildren proclaim the country "one nation under God." Yet, it seems that the church has become more like the culture than the culture like the church.
As a European with strong American ties, Udo W. Middelmann gives us an objective observer's view of church life in the United States. He expresses both his great admiration for America's historically strong ties to Christianity and his grief over what is happening to the church under the influence of modern culture. He observes that church attendance is often a choice governed by convenience and pleasure, and Bible knowledge is reduced to personal edification, spirituality, and private interpretation. The Bible and its message are viewed as products to be packaged and marketed, and all the while Christians' attitudes become more self-serving.
Middelmann urges churchgoers and pastors to reverse these trends and embrace a renewed focus on the true teaching of biblical, historic Christianity. This book is a convicting message about the dangers of settling for the mere trappings of Christianity while ignoring the life-changing and culture-changing influence of the Bible.
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Studio: Crossway Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.58" Width: 6.6" Height: 0.51" Weight: 0.56 lbs.
Release Date Jan 12, 2004
Publisher Crossway Books/Good News
ISBN 1581345097 ISBN13 9781581345094
Availability 0 units.
More About Udo W. Middelmann
Udo W. Middelmann is president of the Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation. He is a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary and a longtime worker at Swiss L'Abri. Udo and Debbie Middelmann have five children and three grandchildren.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Market-Driven Church: The Worldly Influence of Modern Culture on the Church in America?
Interesting outsider perspective, but... Oct 28, 2008
Middelmann in this book portrays the American church (and her colonies abroad) situation with a European perspective, and exposes the shallowness and capitulation of the American Church to Modernity and the Market forces therein. All of such is indeed very needed in this time and age. However, there are two issues of concerns that needs addressing - namely, the spector of Intellectualism and the bashing of orthodox Christianity or Calvinism.
The book rightly decries the dumbing down of the thinking faculty in the modern times, and how the faith has been reduced to simplistic cliches which are implausible to tackle the problems in the world. But the solution proposed is not the biblical response. The biblical response has always been to follow 2 Cor. 10:5 to subject our minds to Christ, and to grow in the knowledge of His Word (Ps. 119; Prov. 23:12; Eph. 4:13-14), NOT necessarily to be more open to intellectual thought, although doctrine IS intellectual. Middelmann states that the church has lost its audience not because the audience are sinners but because she has been offering "watery lemonade in the context of a rather poor sound and light show" , and therefore cannot inform or nourish people with a "hunger and thirst for intelligible insight" with the wisdom and certainties of God (p. 201). On the earthly side, such may be somewhat correct, but to state that churches have no audience not because the people are sinners is treading on very thin ground, and the whole statement smacks of the idea of Intellectualism. And we know where Intellectualism has landed Christianity in Europe -- into apostasy. For the beginning of Christianity and the epistemological foundation of all our doctrines and theologies MUST be through faith (Heb. 11:1,6) in Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:18 - 2) as based upon Holy Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21), not autonomous human reasoning and intellect.
On the second issue, the author, in an attempt to somehow attack the laid back attitude of American evangelicals, decided to blame what he calls "Hardened Calvinism" as the culprit leading to some form of fatalism and inaction on the part of evangelicals. Nevermind the fact that the majority of modern Evangelicals are not Calvinists but Arminians and even Pelagians; all of such facts are just conveniently thrown out of the window. Middelmann defines "Hardened Calvinism" with the proposition "History is the will of the Sovereign God" (p. 148). He further states that in such an absolute understanding of God's sovereignty, a "controlled view of history", people are not set free to "do both evil and good" (p. 157). Revising history, Middelmann charges John Calvin's successor Theodore Beza and the Synod of Dordt with changing "the teaching of the Bible into something quite similar to the Koran in the view of God's sovereignty and his relation to history and creation" (p. 169), ultimately insinuating that such is the "Islamization of Christianity", which is the heading for that particular chapter. Middelmann here shows his ignorance of what Calvinism actually teaches (which is not fatalism), what John Calvin actually teaches also and of the whole idea of the relation between God's sovereignty and the actions of Man. For just a cursory read through the chapters of Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion on the topic of providence, divine predestination, election and reprobation (Chapter XVI to XVIII of Book One) will show that John Calvin was vigorous in the exposition and defense of the system of theology that bears his name. Far from it also that Calvinism leads Man to inaction, but it is precisely because God is sovereign that we are liberated to do His will for whatever He asks us to do then will not be fruitless but will accomplish His purpose. Furthermore, the impetus for action has nothing to do with God's sovereignty per se, but on the passion and love we have for Him and His glory (cf Ps. 69:9). Also, God sovereignly calls people to action like what He did to the prophet Isaiah (Is. 6).
So therefore in conclusion, this book is indeed a good book in showing the problems in the compromised churches, but it is not good in giving a solution or the doctrinal errors that got the churches into this mess. In fact, the spector of Intellectualism seemingly promoted by Middelmann will destroy the churches instead of helping them.
A clarion call for reform Feb 4, 2005
The Market Driven Church: The Worldly Influence Of Modern Culture On The Church In America by Udo W. Middelmann (graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary and President of the Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation) reveals that although America is the single most Christian country on the planet where there are even street signs directing people to local churches, worship services are routinely broadcast on radio and television, politicians attend prayer breakfasts, and even school children regularly proclaim America as "one nation under God", the church is becoming more like the secular American culture than the American culture is like the Christian church community. Middelmann observes that church attendance is most often an individual choice dictated by convenience and pleasure rather than commitment and dedication. Bible knowledge is more a matter of personal edification, "do-it-yourself" spirituality, and idiocencratic private interpretation. In contemporary American culture, the Bible and its message are seen as products to be packaged and marketed, while individual Christian attitudes become more self-serving. Especially recommended to the attention of anyone concerned about the trend toward honoring the mere trappings of Christianity while ignoring the life-changing and culture-altering influence of the Bible, The Market Driven Church is a clarion call for reform and an advocacy for pastor, ministers, priests, parishioners and churchgoers to renew their focus upon the true teaching of biblical, historic Christianity.