Monday, October 10, 2011

A radically alternative lifestyle

by Terry Virgo

While in Manila last year I stumbled on a secular bookshop which to my surprise boasted a large Christian book section in which Piper, Grudem, Keller and Carson among many others could be found. Strolling around the store I came across another section entitled ‘Self help’. I must confess that I chuckled (maybe I should have wept) when I found books by 2 of America’s best known TV preachers. The secular bookshop manager proved extraordinarily insightful; what was on offer was not actually “Gospel help” but “self help” masquerading as Christianity. In the USA these books would have held pride of place in the average Christian bookshop alongside the greeting cards, Christian novels and plastic angels.

Sometimes the Gospel not only loses its edge it is actually so distorted that it becomes unrecognisable. In many places in the West the church has become so enmeshed in the culture that it is difficult to discern its radical message. So many so-called Christian books encourage the believer to prosper, succeed, “be a winner” in the culture and all this by exercising faith.

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