I want to point out two fundamental practical/theological flaws that I believe render the good stuff in the book unusable at best and harmful at worst.
Barna’s thesis is most succinctly summarized on the back cover of the book where he says:
Millions of believers have moved beyond the established church . . . and chosen to be the church instead.
That is probably as good a short statement of what he means by
“revolution” as you will find in the book. The book itself justifies this as a good and even desirable thing.
And my two main objections in regard to the two fundamental flaws are:
- The cure is worse than the disease. In fact, upon closer inspection it may be that the cure is the cause of the disease.
- The revolution is a Christianized Maslowian revolution that is antithetical to the biblical communitarian worldview.
While I have my doubts, I do not doubt that God can use these
self-proclaimed revolutionaries to speak to His church. Though I
may question the motives and methods of the revolutionaries, like Paul
in Philippians 1:15-18 I will be happy to rejoice that Christ is
preached wherever He is preached. But I do hope my criticisms find some resonance and offer some helpful cautions.
David isn’t a fan of Barna’s theses, and he expounds thoroughly on his objections to Barna’s encouragement of the revolution. After reading David’s post, I still wonder what his response to Barna’s research might be. If Christians are trending away from institutional churches, what should be the response of the remaining institutional church leaders and members? Is there room for unity among traditional church-attending Christians and believers led to pursue Christ outside of institutional church membership and commitment?