I came across this book in "Modern Reformation" mag and decided to order it right away. It's really the book I wish I had the smarts and stones to write. It's "Christless Christianity" by Michael Horton. In it he shows how the gospel message has been watered down, taken captive, and even eliminated by what he calls "Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism."
"Statements that would have appalled previous generations of mainline Protestants are assumed as a matter of course even among evangelicals today..."
He states that Christianity has degenerated into a "how-to" religion.
"Christ may still be called Savior, but we really save ourselves by knowing and following the steps of the new birth and 'victorious living.'"
Though I'm not that far into the book yet, he shows this by examining the messages of evangelical America. From Osteen's prosperity gospel to McClaren, Kimball, and Oestreicher's Emergent Message for Horton they're both the same because they translate, "sin and judgement into actions and attitudes that we can overcome with the right agenda in order to transform ourselves and the world."
For Horton these problems can only be remedied through a proper understanding of Law/Gospel and a theology of the cross. He writes, "It is that vertical relationship with God (law and gospel) that will not allow us to reduce confession to the horizontal plane of our neighbors (moralism) or our inner self (therapy).
So that's the book thus far. If you couldn't tell I'm really digging it. He's really putting words to much of the dysfunction I've been seeing within ministry. I highly recommend this book to anyone in ministry and/or who is just interested in the direction of the American church.
ps: fellow Zahleans i would love to hear your thoughts if you've read this book and/or will read it...