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Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion Paperback – July 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


If you've written off the church, I dare you to read this book.
-Joshua Harris, author of Stop Dating the Church

Jesus loves the church. Yes, the church is imperfect, and we have made mistakes. But if we love Jesus, then we will love what Jesus loves. This book moves us to a thrilling portrait and future of what the church that Jesus loves and builds can look like and the hope we can bring to the world.
-Dan Kimball, author of They Like Jesus But Not the Church

Well, they've done it again. The two guys who should be emergent, but aren't, have followed up their first best seller with what I hope and pray will be a second. In Why We Love the Church DeYoung and Kluck have given us a penetrating critique of church-less Christianity and a theologically rigorous, thoroughly biblical, occasionally hilarious, but equally serious defense of the centrality of the church in God's redemptive purpose. In spite of her obvious flaws, DeYoung and Kluck really do love the church, because they love the Christ whose body it is. You don't have to agree with everything they say to appreciate and profit from this superbly written and carefully constructed book. This is a great read and I recommend it with unbridled enthusiasm.
-Sam Storms, senior pastor, Bridgway Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

If you're looking for reality, authenticity, and honesty, you've found it in this book. Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck, shrewd observers and faithful practitioners, have once again written a book that is like the best of foods--good tasting and good for you. Their style is easy, creative, and funny. They are theologically faithful, fresh, and insightful. They are sympathetic with many concerns and even objections to much in the church today, yet are finally defensive, in the best sense of the word. They are careful critics of the too-popular critics of the church. They are lovers of Christ and His church. I pray this book will help you love Christ's church better, too.
-Mark Dever, author of 9 Marks of a Healthy Church

Two young men, a pastor and a layman, here critique the criticisms of the institutional church that are fashionable today. Bible-centered, God-centered, and demonstrably mature, they win the argument hands down. As I read, I wanted to stand up and cheer.
-J. I . Packer, professor of theology, Regent College

If Jesus thought the church was worth dying for, it may just be worth living in. While not ignoring the sins of the church, DeYoung and Kluck remind us why church bashing is often shallow, and why the institutional church remains the most authentic place to encounter the good news of Jesus Christ.
-Mark Galli, senior managing editor, Christianity Today

An attitude of indifference to the church has become tragically common within American Christianity. As a result, many people fail to make a solid commitment to congregational life and responsibility. The New Testament is clear--to love Christ is to love the church. Kevin and Ted provide a powerful word of correction, offering compelling arguments and a vision of church life that is not only convincing, but inspirational. This book will deepen your love of the church--and for Christ.
-R. Albert Mohler, President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

About the Author

KEVIN DEYOUNG is the Senior Pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan, located near Michigan State University. He serves as a council member at The Gospel Coalition and blogs on TGC's DeYoung, Restless and Reformed. He is the co-author of Why We're Not Emergent: By Two Guys Who Should Be, Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion, and What is the Mission of the Church? Making sense of social justice, Shalom and the Great Commission and the author of Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God's Will, The Good News We Almost Forgot: Rediscovering the Gospel in a 16th Century Catechism, The Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gap between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness, and Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have five children: Ian, Jacob, Elizabeth, Paul, and Mary.

TED KLUCK is co-author of Why We're Not Emergent and author of Facing Tyson, 15 Stories, Paper Tiger and Game Time. His award-winning writing has also appeared in ESPN the Magazine, Sports Spectrum Magazine and on ESPN.com's Page 2. An avid sports fan, he has played professional indoor football, coached high school football, trained as a professional wrestler, served as a missionary, and has also taught writing courses at the college level. He currently lives in Michigan with his wife and two sons.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Moody Publishers; New Edition edition (July 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802458378
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802458377
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #221,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Inchristus on July 19, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Some time ago a dear friend and fellow ministry partner sat down with me and strongly yet lovingly urged me (and my wife) to go back to church. Even though he intimately understood why we left our traditional church, my friend sincerely believes that it is good for us and for the church that we be connected to a local body of believers. Since that time, we have been praying about and occasionally looking for a church that we believe fits the biblical qualifications of what a church is and does.

A variety of "good" reasons have come up why we think that we don't need to be involved in a church to be the church. In some ways these reasons justify us being "churchless" Christians (Note the equivocation of "church" here. In this post, context should make it evident how "church" is used; primarily "church" means "traditional church."). Many of our reasons are addressed in Why We Love the Church and, after reading a review by my good friend Louis at Baker Books, I decided to read the book by DeYoung and Kluck. To say the least, I was surprisingly encouraged and challenged.

This book is a candid, balanced, biblically thoughtful, historically informed, and pastorally sensitive corrective to radical Christianity that says "NO!" to traditional church. Honestly, many of my ideas and feelings about traditional church have been not only addressed but adjusted at several points.

At first I was reluctant to begin this book because of past hurts and pains with traditional church.
Lord knows we have some deep pains (as you may) with churches. Not 20 pages in to the book and it seemed this would be just an apologetic for "church as usual." Statements like "I might as well have a basement without a house or a head without a body as despise the wife my Savior loves" (p.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. R. Mooney on November 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
If you were to stop someone on the street and ask them what the first thing that came to their mind was when you say "Christian," the top three answers would be Jesus, cross, and church. And why not? Two thousand years ago Jesus came to earth, died on a cross, and established the church to carry His good news to the world.

I would also contend that as soon as Jesus feet disappeared through the clouds as He ascended to heaven the arguments about how the church should be structured began. And two thousand years later, the quest for the "authentic" way to do church continues.

Unfortunately, it's popular today to say that church sucks. A growing number of people in the church will not only agree with this, but gladly tell you why. Really. So what are we to do about it?

Some say we should throw the ship that is the modern church out and build a new one based on what God originally intended before it was contaminated by "pagan rituals." Others believe that we are on the right ship, just our heading needs to be adjusted to get us headed to port.

In "Why We Love The Church" Pastor Kevin DeYoung and coauthor Ted Kluck take a stand against what they believe is an "anti-church" movement and make the case for why the institution of the church is not only necessary to the Christian faith, but is what God designed from the beginning.

The first half of "Why We Love the Church" is a critique of the home/missional church movement and why they believe so many are leaving the traditional church for these other church models. Their emphasis is that the main objective of the church is not self-help, social justice, and casual group meetings, but to preach the Gospel and make disciples.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Robbins on August 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
It's trendy these days for Christians to claim to love Jesus and want community with other believers, and at the same time ridicule, insult, and abandon Christ's bride, the church. In response to these inside attacks from the likes of Leonard Sweet, William P. Young, and George Barna, authors Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck (of Why We're Not Emergent fame) seek to defend the traditional ideas and practices of the church in their newest book, Why We Love The Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion.

In the introduction to the book, we learn they are writing to 4 different groups: The Committed (those faithfully attending and involved in a church), The Disgruntled (those who are part of local church, but becoming increasingly frustrated), The Waffling (the uninvolved and quietly dissatisfied), and The Disconnected (Christians or ex-Christians who have already left the church). Obviously the message towards each of these groups is different. Ultimately, though, the book is intended to acknowledge the church's faults while kindling a new love for our Savior's bride. Yes, there are improvements that need to be made, and much can be learned from why some people are leaving the church, but ultimately, the church is where Christians exist. If you love Christ, you will love what Christ loves, and Christ loves the church.

As with Why We're Not Emergent, the authors take turns writing chapters, DeYoung (the pastor) handling the more theological and historical chapters, and Kluck (the sports-writing layman) writing the more observational ones. Much of DeYoung's chapters consist of summarizing the ideas of "leavers" like Barna and Young. I really appreciate DeYoung's ability to remain irenic most of the time.
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