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on May 25, 2009
In his recent release The Disappearance of God: Dangerous Beliefs in the New Spiritual Openness, Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. treats his readers to an intelligent and insightful critique of present dangerous trends in the culture and in the church while offering profound corrective steps to those who seek to remain faithful to Jesus Christ and His Word. If the material in this book has a familiar to feel to regular readers of Mohler's online commentary [...] it is not a case of deja vu. Though the publisher does not inform the reader in the front or back matter, every chapter of the book is a near verbatim repetition of some of the most salient commentaries published there during 2004 and 2005. While one may understand the desire of an author or publisher to not disclose that fact openly, readers' appreciation and comprehension of the book would be greatly aided if they were told that each chapter was intended to stand alone as an individual essay.

Among the essays contained in this volume is Mohler's landmark call for mature Christians to practice theological triage. This essay has received a wide audience and high praise from evangelicals since its original publication in 2004. The church would perhaps be greatly helped in the present generation by a book-length treatment of this subject by Dr. Mohler in the future. Additional essays treat the subjects of assurance, morality, sin, hell, beauty, the emerging church, liberal Christianity, open theism, church discipline, the "post-Christian" age, missions and preaching. Each essay functions well on its own, offering a solidly biblical analysis of the issue in the present milieu. For this reason, the book serves as a handy guide for Christian pastors and lay-people to utilize in responding to the claims and questions of those who have been engulfed in the waves of change in church and culture.

Readers may wonder why certain subjects are treated in single chapters while others are divided into "parts" over several chapters. For instance, the monumental work on theological triage is contained in the eight pages of the book's opening chapter, while the Augustinian flavored discussion of beauty covers three chapters and totals nearly thirty pages. The discussion on church discipline is divided into four parts (or chapters), covering some thirty-five pages. The divisions are as they are because of the original form of the essays. For instance, the four parts covering church discipline were originally published online on May 13, 16, 17, and 18 of 2005. Though a major editorial change may have resulted in a wide variation of chapter lengths, one cannot help wondering if continuity may have been better established in the book by combining these thematic units into singular chapters.

Additionally, because of minimal editorial work prior to publication, some loose ends are left untied. Chapter 14, on the divisive issue of Open Theism within the Evangelical Theological Society begins by stating, "Theology was front and center at the 2003 meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in Atlanta, Georgia." Mohler goes on to detail the charges which were being brought against Clark Pinnock and John Sanders for their teachings on the openness of God and the subsequent vote that was to determine if they would be able to remain members of the Society. The chapter ends with the statement, "This much is certain -- God will not change based on how a vote turns out." The original essay, written during the week of the Society meeting in 2003, ended as follows: "This much is certain -- God is not waiting to see how this vote turns out." Certainly both concluding statements are true, however, had Mohler or an editor chosen to include what actually happened with that vote (which took place over five years prior to publication of the book) perhaps his point of the theological demise within Evangelicalism would have been strengthened, in addition to his readers' curiosity satisfied. In point of fact, the Society did not vote to remove the offending brothers. Thus, inclusion of this information would have demonstrated that tolerance of unbiblical beliefs has not only infected the culture, liberal Christianity, and the emerging church, but even the cradle of evangelical theology.

Another significant weak spot in the book is in the treatment on the emerging church. While the information presented in these chapters is accurate and the analyses needed, readers may be disappointed to find very little original analyses by Mohler himself. The essays that make up chapters 10 and 11 amount to a protracted book review of D. A. Carson's Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church. Carson's work may be the most relevant and balanced examination of the emergent trends, yet in a book such as this by a scholar such as Mohler, one should expect to find original insight and critique rather than a summation of another's work. As president of one of the largest seminaries in the world, Mohler is certainly able to respond to the issues presented by the emergence of a radically different church in our day. It is our loss that we do not have it contained herein.

Although each article stands very well on its own to offer pointed and profound theological and cultural analysis, in their present form they have the feel of a disjointed miscellany, lacking the flow of careful thematic development from start to finish within the book's covers. While a reconsideration of the order of the chapters may have aided this somewhat, perhaps what is more needed is a more careful editorial process which would take the articles as they were originally written and weave them together in a way that more cohesively develops the theme of the "disappearance of God."

If this reviewer understood the main point of the book as a whole, it is that the disappearance of God in the culture has created a spiritual vacuum. Many in the church have responded to this vacuum inadequately by accomodating cultural trends to the neglect of biblical doctrine. Traditional understandings of God, hell, and the church have been jettisoned in exchange for postmodern and post-Christian ideals. Mohler addresses several of the most pressing concerns of our day (more accurately, of 2004-2005, for some of these concerns have undergone a course correction to some degree in the intervening years) with searing intellectual analyses and offers a clarion wake-up call to the church. Mohler would have the church to recommit itself to expository preaching, absolute truth, and gospel-centered missions, uniting around the central and most precious of Christian doctrines through a process of theological triage.

In conclusion, The Disappearance of God represents some of the most clear-thinking biblical thinking about several pressing issues that the church needs to confront in our day by one of its most articulate voices. Those who have read the essays before will be disappointed perhaps to find that this book contains nothing that they have not already encountered. Still, we should be glad to be reminded of the truths these writings contain and grateful to have them bound in one volume (not to mention having them accessible when there is no wi-fi connection or when a power outage occurs). While the initial disappointment of being served intellectual leftovers may taste bitter at first bite, we must not allow ourselves to be so cynical to miss the blessing that is ours because of gifted men and the fruit of their labor such as we have in this volume. The church should be grateful for present-day voices like Al Mohler, and for publishers who wish to broaden their impact.
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on May 8, 2009
I appreciated this book. Our culture appears to be adopting a worldview that more and more discredits or rejects objective, propositional, and authoritative truth. Unfortunately, this view is antithetical to and exclusive of biblical Christianity and faithful Christians. If the church at large puts on these glasses, God (as He is) is in danger of disappearing from their sight.

Al Mohler makes a strong case that the church at large needs to stop being pressed into our culture's mold and return and bolster biblical Christianity in key areas.
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VINE VOICEon June 15, 2009
My faith is simple. I can often see both sides of an argument and even though there is usually one side I support strongly, I do tend to try to be the peacemaker. So, why am I drawn to deeper looks at some of the most explosive issues that divide those who share my faith? Because I don't want to crush any growth that God's got in store for me or stifle any truth that God would want to give to me.

I've not read Albert Mohler before. The title, The Disappearance of God, intrigued me though the struggles within the Christian denominations and generations exhaust me. I tend to get frustrated when the biting and snarling ends up defeating the whole point of telling people that God so loved the world...because those who define Jesus by His followers don't really have an interest in what any of us are saying when we can't stop the snarking long enough to get it said. The fight within is not attractive in the least. And that is tragic.

However, being informed, defining beliefs, discussing the issues behind the issues make sense to me. Mohler, though a theologian with theological terms and teacher delivery, cuts through the issues and boils it down into a common sense opportunity to see the forest in spite of the trees.

Someone who hasn't spent time in church, or is clueless to what the word doctrine even means may struggle with wanting to go beyond the first few pages. But the rest of us who've been around for awhile, hung out at the doctrinal water cooler, kicked around the usual debates over baptism and eternal security could benefit from Mohler's cut to the issue teaching. Beginning with the idea of an emergency room triage team, Mohler divides the struggles within the Christian faith into those that are non-negotiable life and death, the category of dividing but not deadly, and then the minor irritations that may take nothing more than the balm of human respect to clear up.

If you are curious about the beliefs of the Emergent church, the God is ALL love teaching, the bottom line of who Jesus was and is, you could benefit quite a bit from picking up this information packed look at those questions and more. Mohler is respectful and generally quotes from published and public statements. You may not like what you read, may not agree, but Mohler goes on to recommend other books and quotes from many others.

Back to the emergency room analogy. I feel like Mohler checked my ears for wax and shined bright lights in my eyes and made sure all my senses were synchronized.
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on April 19, 2016
A good run down on what is wrong with the modern churches. He also provides actions to correct the wrongs. He seems to be little extreme at times but this does detract from the overall value of the book. I will let readers decide on their own.
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on November 30, 2012
Mohler begins by outlining a process to determine priorities in theological debate. First order beliefs cannot be compromised at all, and distinguish orthodox Christians from others. Second order convictions keep believers from full cooperation, but not from communion in Christ. Third order beliefs exist within single congregations. Mohler will focus in this book on first order beliefs and issues related to them.

These include: Assurance of salvation and the doctrine of perseverance; the necessity of faith in God for true virtue; the fact, nature, and ultimate seriousness of sin; hell and eternal punishment for unrepentant sinners; a Christian view of beauty; the need to insist on a core of truths which define orthodoxy, and therefore the fundamental weakness of the Emerging Church; the sovereignty of God (vs. the so-called "openness of God"); the necessity of church discipline; the existence of absolute truth given by revelation from God, and our access to it through the Scriptures; the nature of marriage as the union of one man and one woman; the necessity of faith in Christ for eternal salvation, and thus of evangelism and missions; and the urgent need for expository (as distinct from "needs-based") preaching.

As always, Mohler writes clearly, calmly, and convincingly. He is aware of other points of view; indeed, his whole book is an exercise in examining opinions which differ from his own, which happen also to be bedrock convictions of Christians throughout the centuries. He has read widely, has tried to understand what others are saying, and has framed his critique of postmodern departures from biblical truth within the ranks of professing Christians, including evangelicals, without rancor or cant.

He covers a great deal of territory in a very short space, but without being trivial or trite. This is the work of a careful scholar who knows how to communicate difficult and complex things to ordinary people. For a brief and yet comprehensive introduction to the major threats to Christianity today, it would be hard to find a better book than The Disappearance of God.

G. Wright Doyle
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on June 15, 2009
First of all, this book so brilliantly written by R.Albert Mohler Jr. is like a full course gourmet dinner. The table is beautifully set with what Paul called the "treasure" that has been entrusted to us... now it is our responsibility "to sort" through theology.

We live in today's world that is spinning so rapidly, filled with doubt and insecurity. The church is called to be a people of truth, to persevere with true faith and grace alone.

Many hot topics are discussed in Mohler's book:

* Can we be good without God?
* Disappearance of Sin
* Hell Under Fire
* The cross Is Beautiful

Basically Al Mohler is sounding the trumpet, a wake up call to the church, if you will. Carson, Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church, says "We get things wrong not only because we are not omniscient, but also because we are corrupt, morally blind, painfully selfish and given to excuses and self-justification."

I think the nuts and bolts of the book is about the moral danger of the church which is tolerance of sin. Spurgeon was driven to the Bible as his only authority and message. The foundation of expository preaching is the confidence that the Holy Spirit will apply the word to the hearts of the hearers as the ministry of word and spirit.

My rating on this book is 4 stars. The subject matter is definitely 5+ stars. I loved the exhortation and wake up call, if you will. The book is so deep and so serious in subject matter that I viewed it as a huge theology study guide. What I gleaned is that there are lots of untruths out there and that the Bible is the absolute, guaranteed authority of truth. Seek the treasure!

This is a great gift for all husbands, Father's, Uncles, Cousins, Grandpa's, College Students, Pastors... you get the idea!
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on June 15, 2009
R. Albert Mohler Jr. has written a response to the deterioration of Christianity. In The Disappearance of God Mohler goes on the attack against post-modernism, the Emergent Church and its most prominent spokesman, Brian McLaren.
In the small book, we are privy to a loving reaction to a number of problems found within Church walls. These problems include: lack of teaching on sin, the absence of hell in biblical teaching, why the Emerging Church, under McLaren, is on a dangerous path toward heresy, why the church has removed itself from discipline and why pastors no longer preach exposition.
At first glance, those topics may seem boring and very fundamental. However, Mohler points out the dangers to this new way of behaving in church that will keep you turning the pages.
He doesn't exactly support his views with scripture (I missed the footnotes) and this book would be ridiculed by most in the post-modern worldview. But his is a voice that is trying to salvage the basic foundations of the Christian faith. Mohler's point is that, contrary to post-modern thought, there is Truth that is truth for everyone. The pluralistic society we find ourselves living in, can lead to the destruction of authentic Christian faith.
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on November 30, 2012
Dr. Mohler writes in a very direct way about the status of Christianity and how it came to that place. It is a wake-up call for all Christians who pursue a proper understanding of our Lord God. It is a must read.
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on June 18, 2009
The Disappearance of God by R. Albert Mohler Jr is a stark look at how the church has been transforming into the image of popular culture instead of the other way around. Mohler tackles some tough issues like the emerging church, discipline within the church, and moral relativism. The book has some terrific points, but it felt much like a college lecture. I wanted Mohler to start speaking in layman's terms and create more of a conversation than a lecture. If you can wade through the high language, you'll find some excellent arguments about how the church is failing its people and vice versa. I learned a great deal about the emergent church and how church discipline is supposed to work. I am concerned with how Mohler is addressing this topic however. I think that a lot of older members of the church will love this book and it will be preaching to the choir. However, the younger members of the church do want a more loving, compassionate church. Generations X and Y tend to communicate in a different way than previous generations, and while that doesn't excuse forgetting about the core of what Christianity is about: Christ's divinity and the Trinity, the church does need to find a new way to speak so those members will listen and want to be a part of it. Mohler's church seems to exclude them and want to discipline them right out the door.
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on November 2, 2011
This work is critical of Evangelical Christianity. Not because it is not liberal theology, but because in some ways it is following in the same path how mainline Protestant churches moved from confessional and covenant to interpreting scripture through rational thought. The author uses the term Theology Triage; what theological truths need to be held as the utmost importance if a church is to function in the obedience to God as made known through scripture. These top priorities also function in the how the Christian communicates outside the church body. God is one yet three persons is one top priority theology. Jesus is full God and fully human. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus are first order theology. Justification by faith is first order theology. The author expresses secondary theology. While I agree are not primary, but I sure would not attend a church even as a visitor knowing their practice is counter to my understanding of the bible.

It is the primary or first order theology priorities under fire in today's evangelical churches. One chapter is titled Can We be Good without God? The next chapter is titled The Disappearance of Sin. Man never wants to believe he deserves eternal torment of Hell, because he is in rebellion with God. Lot of individuals, who call themselves as evangelical, no longer hears sermons on sin, but mistakes or doing harm. These churches often do not teach about hell. The wrath of God is not taught or at a minimum. This work is about Today's theology; Today's thought process to bring Christianity into the 21st century. Certain thing is held contrary to Liberal theology, quite evangelical sounding, but open to other perspectives in today's society.

Dr. Mohler starts a discussion about the emerging church after 75 pages. This discussion lasts 37 pages. Open Theology is paramount. The church seeks to culturally relevant: Rejecting the omniscience of God. They believe in a God who does not the future, but reacts to what transpires. The doctrine of assurance and the perseverance of the saints are void, because God is not fully in control. There is deep compromise with what the Bible teaches and what society teaches is sin- going against God's Will.

This book speaks of the need for the teaching of theology and disciplining members of the church. To be more particular about who is a Christian and what it means to follow Christ. Christians should seek out churches that teach sound doctrine or only accept membership to those who believe in sound doctrine.
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