It’s not at all uncommon for me to receive unsolicited books in the mail in exchange for a kind review (rarely do I), and it’s not uncommon for heretical book sellers to send free books to churches like a drug dealer hands out free crack to get people hooked. When I unexpectedly received Evangelical White Lies in the mail I also got two other books; Dream Big Plan Smart, which is basically a multi-level marketing scheme done in the name of Jesus and the Church Growth Movement, one of those ‘cast your vision’ pieces of tripe. I also received Rediscovering Discipleship, written by Robby Gallaty and published by Zondervan, which I didn’t give a second glance to before I put it on my infamous “bad theology shelf’ because its forward was written by Ed Stetzer, who I don’t consider an expert on anything except peddling Heaven Tourism, showing condescension and exhibiting white guilt (it might be a good book, but I can’t get past Stetzer on the cover).
I thought that was a good metaphor for evangelicalism at the time, and took a picture of it. Chances are, if one ‘Christian’ book out of three is sound, you’ve had a good day. There’s a lot of refuse to navigate out there in evangelical land, and Mike Abendroth is one of the good guys who helps us to do that.
For full disclosure, I know Mike, but not well. I flew him in to speak along side me at the 2015 Reformation Montana Conference, and we spent the weekend together in Montana. So if you think this review is biased, you’re probably right. Mike’s a good guy, and he does good work.
Evangelical White Lies is designed to answer a series of questions, and to answer questions often misunderstood by evangelicals thanks to no shortage of misinformation out there from America’s pulpits. Questions are answered, like:
- Can you live the gospel?
- Must Christian’s tithe?
- Is work only a means to an end?
- Should the focus be on the family?
- Does bodily exercise profit?
- Is green God’s favorite color?
- Does God still speak outside of his revealed word?
As always, Mike provides nothing at all controversial…if you’re me, anyway. If you’re a mainstream milk-toast evangelical, your head might positively explode reading Mike’s answers.
For example, chapter 11 is on the topic of cessationism (although it’s titled more creatively. Does God still speak outside of his revealed word? Evangelical White Lies tackle the golden calves, and does so with gusto. I had to smile to see Mike address that cherished classic, I Come to the Garden Alone – the hymn by C. Austin Miles – and lays the cessationist smack-down on it, and apprises the reader that Miles was a guy who had visions of Mary and some other weirds stuff, and what the song is actually about is direct, divine revelation. He goes on to Charles Stanely, who advocates listening to God’s “whisper” (if God whispered to Charles, I think He’d say something about getting Andy in line), and explains from the Bible why we can’t and shouldn’t expect that to happen.
For crying out loud, Mike even goes on to address Ann Voskamp’s theoerosism (he doesn’t call it that, but he should because it’s an awesome term) and Sarah Young’s divination in Jesus Calling.
To put it succinctly, Evangelical White Lies is basically a polemics book, and one that is both entertaining and informative. Two thumbs up, and you should definitely own a copy. You can buy it here.