Book Review: Stop Dating the Church by Joshua Harris.


Pages: 129

Difficulty: Easy

Would I recommend it? Yes, for the reader who is willing to self-examine and be open-minded to what he has to say.

As far as books of this length go, I think the temptation is to just quickly skim through it and be done with it – that’s exactly what I found myself doing at first.  However, despite how “cliché” or “unoriginal” the title of the book might seem, I think Harris actually makes good points.  The seven sections that he’s split the book into are:

1) Can This Relationship Be Saved? What We Miss When We Date the Church

2) He Still Calls Her His Bride: Seeing the Church from Heaven’s Perspective

3) Why We Really Need the Local Church: Thinking Globally, Loving Locally

4) Join the Club: What Passion in Action Looks Like

5) Choosing Your Church: The Ten Things that matter Most

6) Rescuing Sunday: How to Get More from the Best Day of the Week

7) The Dearest Place on Earth: It’s Time to Say Yes

Section 5 was really the section that woke me up because in the ten things that he lists, one of them is: “Is this a church that is willing to kick me out?”  I began to realize that I was guilty of not even thinking about this as a criteria.  The more I read what he had to say on the matter, the more I understood that this is where “grace” in a church isn’t just letting things slide, but coming with the biblical approach to discipline and restoring those who aren’t seriously committed to a life of faith.  It’s a hard section to swallow, but sometimes, it’s crucial that we listen to difficult points of view.

Beyond the shock value of the aforementioned section, Harris’s book is really easy to read (which is part of the reason why I started off reading it in a shallow manner).  However, it’s a book that directly addresses much of the experiences and attitudes towards church that I’ve seen and heard around me, and it’s worth using it as a mirror to see how we ourselves have been relating to the church.  The danger in a book like this for longtime Christians is that they read it with other people in mind instead of themselves; this was a trap I found myself falling into.

Harris’s attitude towards the church is summarized in these two paragraphs that he writes:

“A good church is worth waiting for, praying for, and searching out.  God is faithful.  He’ll provide the right church home for you in His perfect timing.

When God brings you the church family He has for you, cherish what you’ve been given…and don’t let go.  Because you’ve finally found the place where you and your family are going to enjoy the best days of your lives.”

I think he’s right about a lot of the points that he makes in this simple, straightforward book – it just comes down to how engaged the reader wants to be in what he has to say.


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