“[I]f Jesus is indeed God, then to truly follow Him is to pattern everything in our lives after His Life.” (12) This is the backdrop for McClung's book. He believes that following Jesus, “should invade every area of our lives and transform everything about us.” (12)
McClung is not bullish on the church. “I have written this book, “ he writes, “ with the underlying belief that any hierarchy and all institutionalization of the church lead us directly away from Jesus Himself.” (13) “Most churches are boring!” (186) He questions “the purpose of any form of church that does not call people to radical obedience.” (186) “Church buildings and paid church leaders are the greatest hindrance to the growth of a movement.” (208)
At first his attitude put me off but as I read on, I realized he had a point. The early disciples did not squeeze church in before going fishing or shopping. The gospel was their life. The Christian community was at the center of their life.
McClung found he had inherited a Christian culture that he had mistaken for the teachings and practices of Jesus. “We must study His teachings, look deeply at His example, and ask hard questions of ourselves and others about what it means to follow Jesus.” (15)
This is exactly what McClung does in his book. He looks at three basic truths of followers of Jesus: worship – love Jesus, mission – love the world, and community – love one another.
McClung suggests D-groups (discipleship groups) be formed to empower believers to share their faith. “We teach that a D-group becomes a church when they baptize their own converts and share the Lord's Supper together.” (232) This seems to me to go against his earlier criticism of churches, that they were not, in fact churches unless they met certain criteria. He also says that being connected to a network of small discipleship groups is important. How does that happen unless there is some organization involved (and he does not like “organized” church)?
McClung's “simple church” ideas are simply a bit of a twist on the house church movement. If you do feel called to get out of your comfort zone you can contact his ministry in South Africa. McClung and his wife are permanent residents there as he is convinced a massive discipleship movement that will touch all of Africa and beyond is going to happen there.
This book was provided for review by The B & B Media Group, Inc.