People have asked my view on Barna’s Revolution and I’ve said little not wanting to attract attention to it, or I’ve responded with the cryptic “the covers are way to far apart” or “Church-less Christianity is like sex-less marriage—it can only last one generation.”
But the book is getting enough attention that I’ll give my view here. Simply put this book is heresy. Not only is it classical doctrinal heresy but Barna enthusiastically recruits people to his imagined second reformation. Open Theism is a gnat of an error next to the outright heresy of this book. The fact that many evangelicals will not even notice the doctrinal error here says even more about the state of the church than anything about good brother Barna himself.
(Yes, I forgive Barna personally—he’s a great researcher and authoritative on sine co-sine and percentages of errors in research but he’s a theological idiot so what would I expect from him but theological idiocy?)
Now before I get going too much on a guy who failed at church planting and now has become a local church sourpuss I’d better send you to this more moderate statement by three IWU profs which I signed.
UPDATES AFTER THE ABOVE POST:
I posted the following “damned with faint praise” review AT Amazon.com which approaches this another way:
A wonderful way to develop Ecclesiology!, December 14, 2005
Evangelicals who are unable to think theologically might be
enticed to think by this book. In it Barna pursues
his typically market-driven philosophy of affirming any market trend as good.
He says 20 million people are practicing church-less Christianity so he
scampers off panting affirming the trend away from the Body of Christ. He
delights in recruiting others to his purported "revolution" which he
pronounces as significant as the Reformation. (really!)
It is a wonderful book to read to see how an expert researcher but novice theologian does theology at the Sunday school level. It is wonderful gift to the Christian church for most who reads it will immediately see it has no ecclesiology and is out of step with 2000 years of Christian orthodoxy--even of the generous type.
And to the evangelicals who won't notice his amateur theologizing and Sunday school hermeneutics-so what? They are so wedded to trends that they are already destined to be the "new liberals" cut loose from classical orthodox Christianity anyway--they are in process of trading places with the mainline church who are rapidly becoming the new conservatives.
Every thinking Christian ought to buy this book and read it as a test to see if they even notice the departure from ecclesiological orthodoxy. If they don't notice--it is time to read! If they do, --same thing--it is time to read!
I love this book for it will spark a renewed interest in the central question of ecclesiology--what is the church? Thank you Barna for providing the goad evangelicals need to think--even though your answer is wrong it serves a wonderful purpose!
Then, Christianity Today published the following review by Kevin Miller
Review by Gary E. Gilley
Sam Storm’s LONG review