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Book Review – Autopsy of a Deceased Church

May 21, 2014

This year I have set a goal for myself to read 50 books. To this point, I am well on my way to hit my goal. This reading challenge is what is driving all of these book reviews I am writing this year.

I finished two books last week. The one I am reviewing today is Autopsy of a Deceased Church: 12 Ways to Keep Yours Alive[1] by Thom Rainer.

This book was a great read. It is short in length and can be read on a Saturday afternoon. Rainer addresses some of the most obvious issues church have going on. He provides concrete examples, and provides viable solutions to each issue.

Two weaknesses: first is its length. It is so short it is only glossing over the causes and solutions. It would be interesting what a parallel book would look like where each chapter is expanded upon and given a more complete treatment. The second weakness is the book assumes people will want to change. More than likely, pastors and staff will resonate with it while the body of the church will continue on in blissful ignorance of their pending demise.

Despite it leaving a few things to be desired, I would recommend this book to pastors, elders, deacons, trustees, and church staff. It’s low cost and eye-opening content are not comprehensive, but worth the money.

[1] Thom Rainer. Autopsy of a Deceased Church: 12 Ways to Keep Yours Alive. (Nashville, TN: B&H Books, 2014).

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3 Comments
  1. A. Amos Love permalink

    Anafalz – Glen?

    Browsed a little. Enjoyed your “Church Idols” series.

    I have a challenge with Rainer implying “Today’s Religious System” is dying because they Do NOT – “Go and Make Disciples.”

    Mat 28:19:20 NKJV
    Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…
    **teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you**

    Seems easy enough, read the four Gospels, even make a list. Observe, Teach, what Jesus Did, Taught, and Commanded His Disciples. Observe, Teach, what His Disciples Did and Taught.

    BUT – I’ve noticed, Rainer, and Most pastor/teacher/leaders, Today, *Ignore* or *Twist* what Jesus Did and Taught and Commanded His Disciples. And, What His Disciples “Observed Jesus doing” and what they Did and Taught.

    Here is some of what Jesus taught “His Disciples” that, for the most part, Rainer is NOT challenging “Today’s Religious System” to Observe, and Teach. Oy Vey!!!

    Jesus taught His Disciples…
    1 – NOT to be called teacher for you have “ONE” teacher, Christ. Mt 23:8 NKJV
    2 – NOT to be called leader for you have “ONE” leader, Christ, Mt 23:10 NASB
    …. And, NOT one of His Disciples called them self Leader.
    3 – ALL shall be taught of God. Jn 6:45 KJV
    …. John, the apostle, taught, “you need NO man teach you.”
    4 – ALL things, shall be taught you by the Holy Spirit, God. Jn 14:26
    …. Paul taught, the Gospel he preached was from God, NOT from man.
    5 – ALL truth, will come as the Spirit of truth guides and leads. Jn 16:13
    6 – Jesus, as man, does nothing of himself, and is taught of God. Jn 8:28
    7 – Jesus is the “ONE” Shepherd, the Good Shepherd. Jn 10:11-16.
    …. And, NOT one of His Disciples had the “Title” – shepherd/leader/reverend.
    8 – He who speaks of himself seeks his own glory. ( Titles/Position?) Jn 7:18.
    …. And, NOT one of His Disciples called themself – pastor/leader/reverend.
    9 – If I honour myself, my honour is nothing. (Titles/Position?) Jn 8:54
    10 – Peter, knowing Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God,
    …. received *the revelation* from Father *God,* and NOT from man. Mt 16:17
    …. NOT from Jesus, as man. Jesus gave “All” the glory, all the credit to God.
    11 – Jesus said, “I am among you as he that serves.”“ Lu 22:27
    12 – Jesus said, “He that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” Mt 23:12.
    …. Humble – A modest or low opinion of one’s own importance.
    …. And, ALL His Disciples called themselves “Servants.”

    And Jesus, taught a lot in the Streets and had His Disciples DO what He DID, in the streets. Luke 9:2, And He sent them out to preach the kingdom and Heal the sick.

    Don’tcha think? It’s Kinda hard for those who call themselves teachers/leaders, to Make Disciples of Jesus. Because, Jesus taught His Disciples NOT to be called teacher, and NOT to be called leader?

    If someone “Ignores” what Jesus taught His Diciples? If some one “Opposes” what Jesus taught His Diciples? And, calls them self leader? And allows others to call them leader?

    Are they one of His Disciples?

    • Thank you for commenting on the post. I appreciate the time and consideration you put into this matter.

      I will just touch on a few of your points. Your points 1, 2, 7, 8, and 9 deal with leaders and teachers. While your quotes are correct, they would seem to be in contradiction with some of Paul’s teachings on Elders and Deacons. These two teachings would have to be reconciled to some degree. Looking at this, there are three options: 1. Jesus is wrong; 2. Paul is wrong; 3. There is a solid teaching which will reconcile these issues. I happen to see the third option.

      I do agree with Rainer in that pastors are not investing time in individuals (generally speaking). If a pastor invests time and training in individuals they are preparing individuals for service. But pastors are not the only ones who should be disciple makers. Each member of the body should be making disciples. But again, if the pastor is not leading by example, there is little for the flock to model it after in the local context.

      While I understand your points and appreciate them, I think we may disagree on some of the issues raised in the book and in concept of church leadership.

  2. A. Amos Love permalink

    anafalz

    Thanks for the response.

    You write…
    “While your quotes are correct, they would seem to be in contradiction with some of Paul’s teachings on Elders and Deacons.”

    1 – Was Wondering…
    Could you name some of these contradictions?

    2 – And – What is “a solid teaching” and “the third option” you mention?
    “3. There is a solid teaching which will reconcile these issues. I happen to see the third option.”

    You also write…
    “But pastors are not the only ones who should be disciple makers.”
    But, I can NOT seem to find one of His Disciples, calling another Disciple – pastor/shepherd.

    3 – Was Wondering… From the Bible…
    Can you name any of His Disciples who had the “Title” pastor/shepherd?
    Can you name any of His Disciples who called themselves pastor/shepherd?
    Can you name any of His Disciples who were, Hired or Fired, as a pastor/shepherd?

    If, in the Bible, NOT one of His Disciples called another Disciple – pastor/shepherd?
    Why do WE, His Sheep, His Ekklesia, His Church, His Servants, His Disciples…
    Call another Sheep of Jesus, Servant of Jesus, Disciple of Jesus, pastor/shepherd?

    4 – And – I’m in agreement with you when you write…
    “I think we may disagree on some of the issues raised in the book and in concept of church leadership.”

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    If not now? – When?

    One Voice – One Fold – One Shepherd – One Leader

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

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