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In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion
KEVIN DeYOUNG and TED KLUCK, Moody Publishers, 224 Pages, Paper, $14.99

This book is a defense of the local church (and other traditional institutions) in a day when it is the object of criticism and the victim of outright abandonment. Aside from the authors’ attempts to be cute in their writing, which can become a bit tiresome, there really is some good thinking here regarding what we do and why. Three items stand out as being particularly valuable in this work. First, chapter 1 offers basic but vital questions about the gospel that we ought to be asking as we “do” church, beginning simply with, “Are we believing the gospel?” (“People won’t be convinced of Christianity if they don’t sense we are convinced of it.”) Second, chapter 7 has some good perspectives on the house church movement. Third, toward the end of the book are reasons to like one’s church. Probably one reason that so many people become disenchanted about their church is that they forget the blessings and concentrate on the weaknesses.

Keep in mind that the authors are covenant/Reformed in background, so this will show up in words like “sacraments,” rather than “ordinances.” The authors have already written an award-winning best seller, Why We’re Not Emergent.

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