Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Vanishing Evangelical

Miller, Calvin. The Vanishing Evangelical: Saving the Church From Its Own Success by Restoring What Really Matters. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2013.

Calvin Miller, a well-known author, takes a look at the decline in membership in Evangelical churches and recommends an increase in intellectualism and the arts to restore its vitality in the 21st century. Miller seems to treat the subject fairly. I am impressed by the amount and variety of popular works of the day as well as literary works such as those by Jane Austen that he uses to make his points. He encourages his audience to read the Bible regularly and in an organized plan such as those that emphasize reading the Bible through in a year. He encourages reading a Psalm and a hymn each day. He encourages his readers to study the lives of martyrs and great heroes of the faith rather than spending their time reading the latest materials available in their local Christian bookstore. Miller did a very good job pointing out how Christianity was in the early 20th century, drawing examples from the reaction against liberalism and from the religious debates that were quite popular and well-attended that pointed out denominational differences. While he is not necessarily encouraging a return to the way things were done in that era, he is encouraging a return to the intellectualism that accompanied the era. This should be a popular book with those in Evangelical churches, particularly lay leaders and clergy. This review is based on an e-galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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