For a year or so, I had been wanting to read the trilogy by Dr. Gary Gilley called This Little Church. All three books address issues in the church today.
- This Little Church Went to Market – Is the Modern Church Reaching Out or Selling Out?
- This Little Church Had None
- This Little Church Stayed Home
So this winter I decided to download his Kindle version of This Little Church Went to Market and began reading. It impressed me so much and I knew I wanted to share some of his insights with you. Thus the idea of a book study was born.
Description of This Little Church Went To Market
There are forces that are changing the church. A. W. Tozer warned decades ago of a new wind blowing across the fields of the evangelical church, ‘If I see aright, the cross of popular evangelicalism is not the cross of the New Testament. It is, rather, a new bright ornament upon the bosom of a self-assured and carnal Christianity. The old cross slew men; the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it’.
Under pressure from secular philosophies and fads, many evangelical churches have subscribed to pragmatic rather than scriptural patterns for ministry. Marketing tactics, demographic analyses and entertainment-oriented worship have taken the new paradigm Church by storm. The result is a Christian community which is rapidly losing its focus and forfeiting its biblical mandate. This Little Church Went to Market is a call for the Church to return to its scriptural roots.
About the Author, Dr. Gary Gilley
Dr Gary E. Gilley has pastored at Southern View Chapel since 1975. Along with his preaching and teaching ministry, he is also the author and editor of the monthly contemporary theological issues publication Think on These Things. In addition to speaking at various conferences throughout the country and overseas, Dr Gilley serves on the respective advisory boards of the Illinois Bible Church Mission and the Brazil Gospel Fellowship Mission. He is a graduate of The Moody Bible Institute and Cambridge Graduate School, both in the U.S.
Dr. Gary E. Gilley has been pastoring at Southern View Chapel for more than 37 years. He is author of five books, and has also contributed to four other books, including Dispensationalism Tomorrow & Beyond, a Tribute to Charles Ryrie.
Pastor Gilley received his B. A. from Moody Bible Institute and his M.B.S and Th.D from Cambridge Graduate School. He is a frequent speaker at Bible conferences and writes the monthly study paper, Think on These Things and is the Book Review Editor for the Journal of Dispensational Theology. He is also a board member of Brazil Gospel Fellowship Mission, Personal Freedom Outreach and New Tribes Missions.
Pastor Gilley and his wife Marsha have two adult sons and five grandchildren.
Quotes from the introduction to This Little Church Went To Market
“Someone has said they have no fear the church will not succeed, but that it will succeed in those things that do not matter.”
“What happens when the church no longer knows the gospel, when it has co-mingled the gospel with pop-psychology to such an extent that the Apostle Paul would not even recognize it?”
“The most successful arm of the evangelical church in recent years, in terms of growth, money and prestige, has been the market-driven (seeker-sensitive, new-paradigm, user-friendly) church. Because of this success these churches are being mimicked all over the country, and indeed, the world. But is this church fully dressed? Is she outfitted in the biblically prescribed robes of evangelism, edification, worship and instruction? Or, is she wrapped in rags composed of empty human philosophy stitched together with bits and pieces of truth? If the latter is true, why have so few seemed to notice?”
(all emphasis added is mine)
Tim Challies Review
If you look on Amazon, you will see one of the most helpful reviews is by Tim Challies. I follow his blog and I think some of you do too, so his review is one I wanted to share.
Though I have never met him, Garry Gilley has had a signficant impact on my life. He was one of two people who was most influential in my decision to begin this web site and to review books. His many book reviews were very helpful to me and made me realize that if he could review books and post them on the web, I could too. I have long wanted to read his books and just recently was given a copy of This Little Church Went to Market.
This book is a damning indictment of the market-driven churches that are so popular today. Having extensively studied the issues Gilley writes about in this book, I am comfortable saying that this is the best introduction to “the church in the age of entertainment” that I have read. Gilley contends that the church has sold out to our culture so that the influences of the culture have become the influences in the church. The most significant forces pressing against the church are entertainment, market driven philosophies and psychology. These three are largely absent from the Bible, yet are startlingly prevalent in evangelical churches. The leaders and issues he concentrates on most are Rick Warren and his book The Purpose Driven Church, Bill Hybels and Lee Strobel.
Having discussed the forces that are impacting the church, the author spends several chapters examining how these forces have impacted evangelical churches. He quotes extensively throughout the book from other believers who have covered this topic such as John MacArthur, Os Guinness and Michael Horton as well as from unbelievers such as Neal Postman. Finally he concludes that churches built on seeker sensitive model will be built on the wrong foundation, will teach the wrong message, will focus on the wrong need and will misunderstand preaching and worship. In other words, these churches will bear little resemblance to a New Testament, Christian church.
Through this book Gilley manages to approach the topics in a rational manner and never comes across as being obnoxious or blinded to the heart of the issues. He truly does understand both the New Testament model and the new evangelical model and is able to adequately compare them. The back cover tells us that the book “is a call for the Church to return to its scriptural roots” and that is right on the mark. This book examines contemporay issues and calls the church to return to the source to discover what God would have us be. I highly recommend this one.
My goal is to take a chapter a week, write a synopsis of it with some direct quotes from the chapter, and invite discussion. If you would like to read this with us, you are welcome to purchase or download This Little Church Went to Market: The Church in the Age of Entertainment (affiliate link) at Amazon or on their website.
I will aim to have the first chapter read and written by next Thursday, so if you are reading with us, you might want to get the introduction and first chapter read by then!