Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Great Reckoning by Stephen Mattson

Could it be that Christ is missing from much of what passes for Christianity today? Have many who say they are Christians abandoned the very virtues of Jesus they claim to follow? (Loc 78/2174)

With penetrating insights like these, Mattson takes a look at what Christianity has become in the United States.

I like how he distinguishes Christendom and Christ followers. Christendom, especially as seen in the United States, depends on carnal power. That is not the case with a true follower of Christ. The gospel that Christendom promotes is one of comfort and does not address the realities of what is happening in the world. True followers of Christ seek to love and help the poor and needy and even their enemies.

Mattson presents some concepts that may not be welcome among white evangelicals. With respect to the government, for example, he asks where our true allegiance should lie. Christians who see political power as a means of furthering their faith may be sacrificing the Kingdom of God for the kingdom of mortals. He writes about war and guns and questions how evangelicals can promote those concepts, abandoning Jesus' example of nonviolence. He writes of the current president and wonders how evangelicals can ignore his sinful behavior for the sake of political power.

And that's just a little bit of how Mattson challenges American Christians. Some will hate this book. Others will be challenged by it and look again at their faith and actions in the light of the example of Jesus.

This is a good book for followers of Jesus who have become disillusioned with what Christianity has become in the United States. You may not agree with everything he says. I didn't. But you will be encouraged to know you are not crazy to think Christendom in the U.S. has gone off from truly following the example of Christ.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Stephen Mattson is a writer and activist whose work has been published in Relevant, Huffington Post, Sojourners, Red Letter Christians, and a variety of other venues. He graduated from Moody Bible Institute, served as a youth pastor, and now works at University of Northwestern - St. Paul. He and his family live near Saint Paul.

Herald Press, 216 pp.

I received a complimentary egally of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

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