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Stop Dating the Church!: Fall in Love with the Family of God (Lifechange…

von Joshua Harris

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We are a Generation of consumers, independent and critical. We attend church, but we don't want to settle down and truly invest ourselves. We're not into commitment-we only want to date the church. Is this what God wants for us? Stop Dating the Church reminds us that faith was never meant to be a solo pursuit. The church is the place God grows us, encourages us, and uses us best. Loving Jesus Christ involves a passionate commitment to His church-around the world and down the street. We can't be apathetic. It's time to fall in love with the family of God. Book jacket.… (mehr)
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I am reviewing the updated version of this book elsewhere (now titled, "Why Church Matters") so will not provide a full review here, but here are some of criticisms:

1. This book is addressed to people who have intellectual doubts about why the church is important and does not address pastoral concerns of those who have been seriously wounded by the church. As I read this book I thought of people I know with 'Church Angst' and found that Harris either is unaware of the ways in which churches can wound people, or he doesn't think that the emotional part of this is important enough to address.

2. This book criticizes church 'daters' as being too individualistic and me-centered but fails to provide a compelling ecclesiology. In the end it says you should join a church because that is how you will grow and get the most out of your spiritual life. Sounds individualistic and me-centered to me. Perhaps it is because this book has a low view of sacraments (the sacraments are there to demonstrate your commitment to Jesus and thus the church).

3. God's mission for the church is given lip-service but is not unpacked and only stated a few times. Thus Harris provides anecdotes of people getting serious about church and leaving their hobbies behind (clubs, special interest groups). It made me wonder, what is the purpose of church if you real advocate that the individual Christians in your group pull back from commitments to non-Christians? Be committed to church, sure, but can the church reach the world?

4. The book is written by a pastor from a pastors perspective and so the exhortations to serve in church, tithe at church and make your pastor's life a joy, seem a little self serving.

My other review, for another venue needs to extol the virtues of this book a little more (and there are some), so I am using my goodreads to gripe a little. ( )
  Jamichuk | May 22, 2017 |
You can find my full review at Quieted Waters.

This was a refreshing and informative title squeezed into a small book, in the compact hardback style C. J. Mahaney has also used for Living the Cross Centered Life and Humility.

Joshua Harris, originally famous for his dating books, moved to Maryland to study under C. J. Mahaney, pastor of Covenant Life Church. After some time there, Harris was given the opportunity to take over as the head pastor when Mahaney stepped aside. As part of his preparation for that role, Harris studied the role of the local church. This book was the result of that study. ( )
  QuietedWaters | May 22, 2013 |
In Stop Dating the Church!: Fall in Love with the Family of God, bestselling author Joshua Harris says no, God’s purpose for Christians involves a deep commitment to a local church. This commitment involves far more than showing up on Sunday to sing, chat, and listen to a sermon. Josh says that in order for us to have the kind of relationship with a local church that God intended, we must first see the Church (universal church) as God sees it.

This is the third book by Josh Harris that I’ve read. One of my favorite things about his books is that his writing style is so conversational and unassuming. I feel when I pick up one of his books as if I’ve sat down with a friend for a cup of coffee and encouragement sprinkled with confession. He uses a variety of examples, but many of them come from his own life – his own shortcomings and mistakes. And yet, his books are always grounded in scripture and demonstrate a satisfaction in Christ that many only secretly dream of.

In Stop Dating the Church!, Josh breaks down the arguments for church dating and explains why God desires that we have the close relationships with other Christians found only in a local church. Like with any commandment of God, there are real, tangible benefits to obedience. Commitment to a local church takes effort, but the benefits far outweigh that effort. Unfortunately, many of us are too committed outside of the church to have a real relationship with the other members of our local body.

In the book, Josh offers real advice on how to commit to the church and what commitment looks like. He also discusses choosing a church, including what things are a matter of taste and what things are vital to a healthy church family – and, by extension, a healthy Christian. He then talks about how to make the most of Sunday, including the church service and the rest of the day.

I highly recommend that you read this book, whether or not you think you might qualify as a church dater. I found the book convicting, but also encouraging and insightful. It’s helped me to look at my own relationship with my church in a new light and I am looking forward to applying more of Josh’s suggestions. ( )
  nlaclaire | Sep 18, 2011 |
This book is a direct and intelligent challenge to the individualism and consumerism that has pervaded the attitude towards Church held by most North American Christians. Everyone who imagines their faith as a private affair or EXCLUSIVELY a "relationship with Jesus Christ" should read this accessible and short work. I think if every congregant of a local Church read and absorbed its Biblical teaching, the Church and its congregants would be transformed. ( )
  adam3000 | May 19, 2007 |
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We are a Generation of consumers, independent and critical. We attend church, but we don't want to settle down and truly invest ourselves. We're not into commitment-we only want to date the church. Is this what God wants for us? Stop Dating the Church reminds us that faith was never meant to be a solo pursuit. The church is the place God grows us, encourages us, and uses us best. Loving Jesus Christ involves a passionate commitment to His church-around the world and down the street. We can't be apathetic. It's time to fall in love with the family of God. Book jacket.

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