This book is what happens when a firestorm blogger, infamous for his piercing “Chestertonian” wit and prophetic cultural engagement, locks his polemical gaze like flint on an in-house spring cleaning project.
Doug is one of the few writers I know who can have me chuckling my way to edification, because he combines a full-bellied humor with blood-earnest pastoral wisdom and conviction.
The book reads a little more like a blog series than an academic treatise, so its weakness is its strength, depending on what you’re looking for. Wilson draws a kind of Venn diagram with one circle around “those evangelicals” and another around “the sacramentalists” and in a roundabout kind of way, urges us to join him in the intersection. The water is great!
He’s had a bit of fun already with his evangelicals (see his satirical novel, Evangellyfish for good times all around). This book goes after the errors on the Reformed/liturgical side of the camp. Doug’s primary plea in Against the Church is the absolutely essential need for personal regeneration, both as an experienced reality and as a real and meaningful doctrine in the church.
Doug rarely disappoints as a master craftsman of images and metaphors, and this book is at least worth the price to learn from a master “likener”. Even though as a Baptist I don’t agree with how Doug handles each interpretive decision, I found myself sharpened by his challenges. And I am again convinced of his deep commitment to “talk the way the Bible talks,” even when that makes him unpopular within his own circles.
I look forward to reading this book again soon.
My rating: 5/5