So-Called Christian: Healing Spiritual Wounds Left by the Church by Jim Turner
There is self-destructive spirit within the church today that is doing untold damage to believers of every stripe. Pastor Jim Turner in his new book, So-Called Christian seeks to explore these wounds that the church has caused its members and move toward a more healing approach to church. What did Jim miss on his journey as a Christian about the church, namely that, “The most basic truth: that real, Spirit-begotten Love produces Unity among brothers and sisters, and that Christian Unity is the burning passion of Christ (16).”
Jim places the weight of the disease that is destroying the church not at the hands of liberal education, socialistic governments or Hollywood culture but in the heart of the church itself. It is suffering from an autoimmune disease (23). How does this take place? Jim locates Man’s Sinfulness as primary at the root deterioration of the Church, but also proposes solutions that ‘overcome the effects of the disease,’ and that the gospel gives us hope for a powerful and healthy church (25). In the appeal for doctrinal purity, some members of the body of Christ have willingly thrown down flaming verbal arrows at other believers, in turn, deeming other believers as the enemy. The carelessness of our words often causes division among brothers in Christ, therefore, when to speak and what words we use are very important for the purpose of Christian unity (30-31). One of the bold sections in the chapter Just Ignore It: It Will Go Away points to the perilous road of aligning ourselves to much on one person. The sections reads, “When we invest too much confidence in a single teacher, we risk clouding our judgment and creating divisions in the body(36).” I would submit that when we also put too much confidence in one specific doctrine or doctrinal system we run the risk of creating divisions in the body of Christ. Far more than just our words, our attitudes about these issues create tension, anger, and disillusionment with other believers.
What I really enjoyed about this book is the way Jim brought us around face to face with Jesus concerning unity. He writes, “The unity of the Church is THE PROOF to the world that God the Father sent God the Son and God the Father loves the world….A unified Church shouts sacrificial love to the world (46-47).” Later on Jim writes, “To be accepted in the beloved is our undisputed position in Christ (see Eph. 1:1-14). Living out this practically is our calling (101).” Our union with Christ pushes us into unity with other believers because we have a kind of hope that does not disappoint, and secondly, our genuine relationship with believers is built on that eternal hope that can never fade or perish.
Worth mentioning, Jim includes Dr. Norman Geisler’s article in an Appendix, “The Essential Doctrines of the Christian Faith,” (Christian Research Journal, volume 28, number 5 (2005).
Thanks to Ambassador International for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.