One of my favorite authors and pastors is Joshua Harris. When people say, "Who is Josh Harris?" I say that he’s the author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye, but that’s really not fair, because he wrote that book many years ago. The title of that book induces panic in people, but in its pages is great truth for young men and women in dating relationships. I recommend it for all young people, high-school and college. I also recommend Boy Meets Girl. Both those books profoundly affected my view of relationships as a young person.
But I’m not talking about those books today. Instead, I just finished one of Josh’s more recent works, Stop Dating the Church. Now this book was written in 2004, so its not terribly recent, but it is ever relevant today.
Josh is now a pastor of a church in Maryland. In Stop Dating the Church, Josh speaks candidly about his own lack of committment to church in his youth. He said that he was "dating the church" instead of engaging in whole-hearted committment to the church, which is God’s bride.
Today there are stacks of books in the Christian world that critique the church. Some are useful, but most are full-fledged assaults on God’s chosen instrument in this age. The fact is that God loves the Church, in spite of its shortcomings. When then, is it so fashionable to beat up on God’s bride?
Josh also speaks truth in an area where very few Christian authors and pastors speak. Committment to a church. I’m glad he took up this issue, because we live in an age of church-hopping and church-shopping. Consumer Christianity. But God’s plan and God’s will for every believer is to be actively committed, loyal, and faithful to a local church. Now, to be sure, it should be a local church that is built on and preaches from the Word of God in a systematic, clear way. It should be a church with solid doctrine. It should be a church that preaches the gospel clearly.
But one thing it won’t be is a perfect church. We must aproach our church not to see what we can take from it, but what we can contribute to it in a way that edifies the brethren.
I enjoyed this book, not just because I’m a pastor, but because I’m a lover of the church. The local church is where God is active, where His program is progressing, where His mission is being fulfilled. I like being in the center of God’s activity on earth.
Disclaimer: I don’t agree or endorse every single thing I read in every single Christian book. Christian books are written by men who are flawed. The books I write are flawed. The only book I wholeheartedly endorse without reservation is the Word of God, which has no flaws and was not written by man.