...Still, something has gone tragically wrong when a marketing researcher declares that the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is simply doomed--especially in terms of local congregations. "There is nothing inherently wrong with being involved in a local church," he argues. "But realize that being part of a group that calls itself a 'church' does not make you saved, holy, righteous, or godly any more than being in Yankee Stadium makes you a professional baseball player. Participating in church-based activities does not necessarily draw you closer to God or prepare you for a life that satisfies Him or enhances your existence. Being a member of a congregation does not make you spiritually righteous anymore than being a member of the Democratic Party makes you a liberal wing nut."
A closer look at that argument reveals a glaring non sequitur. It completely avoids the question of what the church should be, and it undercuts a basic biblical premise--that the local church is supposed to be the very place where Christians are drawn into the very passions Barna identifies--and into so much more.
Mohler announces his review at Together for the Gospel Blog. There, he adds, "In one sense, the book is something of a poison pill for evangelical Christianity" and
Almost everything Barna says about the shortcomings and failures of evangelical churches is accurate. Superficiality and worse mark so many churches, and it is no wonder that so many believers never develop into mature Christians and so many churches never experience the power and glory of God in congregational life. Unfortunately, Barna's approach is even worse -- abandoning the local church altogether as the normative context for Christian involvement.