European Udo Middelmann is a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary and the President of the Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation. He is actively involved at Swiss L'Abri. His strong American connection gives him an interesting perspective of the similarities and differences of religion in the United States and Europe.
The book is obviously deep and written by an educated author. Unfortunately, the material resembles a dissertation adapted for book reading. Long sentences turn into long paragraphs that run in circles and often venture off into oblivion. At times it is difficult to grasp the author's point or decide if he agrees or disagrees with his own statements.
The message is mixed with biblically supported and unsupported ideas. At one point, the author states that American pastors have Christian funerals all wrong. We are not to accept death and tragedy as God's will, but we are to fight against these fallen-sin produced events. He comes quite close to denying that God has ultimate control over all events whether happy or tragic.
Although most Christians will agree that the church needs to seriously seek God's will instead of internalizing current culture, many of the theological statements lack real biblical support. There are times when the original premise is correct, but a serious leap over the logical process leads to dubious conclusions. Theologians who enjoy debating philosophy might enjoy this book, but the average Christian will be confused and disappointed. -- Beth Loughner, Christian Book Previews.com
"In God we trust." "God bless America." "Attend the church of your choice." "The churches of this town welcome you." In no other country are Christianity and God so obviously part of the culture. There are street signs directing people to local churches. Worship services are broadcast on radio and television. Politicians attend prayer breakfasts, and schoolchildren proclaim the country "one nation under God." Yet, it seems that the church has become more like the culture than the culture like the church.
As a European with strong American ties, Udo W. Middelmann gives us an objective observer's view of church life in the United States. He expresses both his great admiration for America's historically strong ties to Christianity and his grief over what is happening to the church under the influence of modern culture. He observes that church attendance is often a choice governed by convenience and pleasure, and Bible knowledge is reduced to personal edification, spirituality, and private interpretation. The Bible and its message are viewed as products to be packaged and marketed, and all the while Christians' attitudes become more self-serving.
Middelmann urges churchgoers and pastors to reverse these trends and embrace a renewed focus on the true teaching of biblical, historic Christianity. This book is a convicting message about the dangers of settling for the mere trappings of Christianity while ignoring the life-changing and culture-changing influence of the Bible.