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Customer Review

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good content, but left with lots of unanswered questions, 12 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Total Church: A Radical Reshaping Around Gospel and Community (Paperback)
This book is about an important subject. In essence, the authors are arguing that there needs to be a deeper level of community among church members without it being a self-indulgent thing and without falling into some recent traps in which churches have compromised on the preaching and teaching of the word and on the authority of scripture. I am completely on board with the books message. Our culture is shot through with family breakdown, is individualistic and there is a great deal of loneliness to which the church needs to serve as an antidote. Frequently, however, the church doesn't.

I am giving it three stars because it is a good book for people who are asking deep questions about what type of church will work and thrive in the 21st century there is a lot of wisdom and guidance.

I give it less than five stars for two reasons.

Firstly, I think it could have been written better. There lacks a clear definition of what is meant by community. I found the book a bit too `wooly'. I was about 2/3rds into the book before I began to get a taste of what the book meant by community. I kept asking, What exactly are you advocating? Christians living near to each other? Extended households? Bulk purchasing? Car sharing? Families taking in single people? Church based small businesses? `Acts 2' levels of sharing goods? How far can and should local churches facilitate or `push' this? Is it through simply leading by example, a membership covenant, teaching, strict rules or what?

Secondly, I felt that there were a couple of `blind spots' - subjects I think are absolutely crucial to the book's theme, but which were not mentioned.

One is the issue of education. While there was some discussion on teaching and discipling children and youth in a church setting (which is only going to be for a few hours a week), what about the the rest of the week? I would have liked a discussion on how we educate our children, i.e. State schools, independent schools or Christian schools - or at home? The simple reason being that churches are often left rather amateurishly trying to `unteach' our children a secular worldview which they are being taught at school for 30+ hours a week. Unsuccessfully too, as we are losing our youngsters in droves.

The other is the subject of families, fatherhood and marriage. I think this should have been emphasised more. There are nods in this direction, I take the view that unless men are taught to be strong husbands and fathers, and unless we know how to build godly families, we are not going to build the level of community that is envisaged here.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Sep 2010 11:18:24 BDT
The detractions are simply beyond the scope of a short book. There are other books that attempt to deal with these issues.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Oct 2010 22:57:11 BDT
J McMurdo says:
In my humble opinion, the 2 issues I have raised are so crucial to the theme they cannot be overlooked.

Sounds from your wording as though you have some connection with the authors - am I right?

Posted on 1 Jun 2012 21:47:08 BDT
Daniel Kirk says:
I think that God-centered Family and God-centered Marriage address your concerns in a very practical work book type way. I've been reading the first with my wife and it has been very useful. From memory Tim Chester is one of the authors of all of the four books in the series with some other co-authors such as Steve Timmis.
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Location: Northern England

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