Pastor Jerry Cook has a passion to see the church be more effective Monday through Saturday in the world in which she lives. Such is the stated theme of his book, The Monday Morning Church. Cook defines “the church on Monday” as “the body of Christ at work in the world” (p. 3). This work is a sequel to Cook’s earlier book, Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness (p. 9). Here, in The Monday Morning Church (MMC), Cook wants to call Christians to “make Jesus accessible to people, right where they live” (p. 4), by being “incarnational” in our communities (p. 5).
MMC is a book centered on a devotional look at the book of Ephesians, where the author wants to use Ephesians “as an illustration and dramatic guide to becoming the church on Monday” (p. 10). If we understand who we are in Christ and what we possess as believers, we will be more effective in our witness of Christ to the world. I applaud this idea and passion presented by Pastor Cook. Thus, MMC is arranged into four different sections, “Where Is God on Monday,” “Who You Are,” “What You Have,” and “How You Live.” The opening section provides the author’s argument for why we need to be more intentional and aware of our Christian witness to the watching world. The majority of the book is a devotional exposition of the book of Ephesians.
I would readily commend Pastor Cook for his passion and desire to see Christians and the church to be fervent, intentional, and aware of the way we live out our life in Christ before a watching and needy world. His desire that we not merely ignore the world during our week is a necessary call for any believer in any age.
However, I did not find MMC to be the kind of book to provide adequate answers or a consistent approach of how to accomplish the author’s aim. While his aim is commendable, I felt that the opening section calling for the church’s involvement in the world was radically disconnected from the remainder of the book in its devotional exposition of Ephesians. Furthermore, Cook suggests that what is done on Sunday needs to be disconnected from what the church does on Monday. For example he states, “Any effort to present Jesus as Savior must focus on the church on Monday rather than the church on Sunday” (p. 5, emphasis his). Cook states that on Monday, “[Jesus] ceases to be one of the characters in the program of the institution called church. Rather, he works beside people” (p. 6). This is a false dichotomy between Christ and the church’s function as both a corporate gathering and as a scattered witness.
Other problematic issues in MMC include Cook’s assertion that God doesn’t punish sin, but sin punishes sin (p. 73). He denies God’s sovereign involvement in anything “bad” (tragic) that takes place in our world (p. 85). He states that prophecy in the New Testament is completely different than that of the Old Testament, though no biblical support is given (p. 147). He also suggests that God does not want to control your life, but instead, you should (p. 167). He promotes the idea that we need to love ourselves more (p. 171) and produce more self-esteem. He redefines biblical submission in the home, suggesting that submission has nothing to do with authority (pp. 183-185).
In summary, MMC is not the fruit of careful biblical study. It begins with a commendable call to the church to be more effective in its witness, but fails to deliver on its aim. – Bret Capranica, Christian Book Previews.com
Fired by the passion to take the message of the gospel beyond the walls of the church, Jerry Cook challenges Christians to reconsider their role in society. He emphasizes that the church on Monday operates in the experience of the non believer where the greatest impact for God can occur. He encourages Christians to consider themselves strategically placed by Jesus Christ to go to the non believer rather than having them come to God. Drawing from the book of Ephesians, he challenges traditional thinking of how ministry occurs and what the church should be while presenting an exciting new paradigm of living for Christ.