Christians are tired of being the laughingstock of late-night television; they are also angered by the poor results the church is seeing as it seeks to be a transformative presence in society, according to Neil Cole in his book One Thing: A Revolution to Change the World with Love. This book aims to offer  an alternative that is biblical, effective, subversive, and loving, all at the same time, to Christians who are tired of being characterized by the world as angry people known only for what they are against.

The author compares the Corinthian church, which was infected by immorality, divisions and class distinctions, with the Galatian church, which was well-behaved but a little too legalistic, and argues that Paul was much more strident in condemning the sin of the Galatians than the many sins of the Corinthians. The greater sin is in fact that of attempting to fulfil God’s promise with our own ingenuity and effort, or what the author calls “do-it-yourself spirituality”, something that plagues the church today.

The second half of the book discusses what Jesus said and did about wealth, welfare, women in crisis and worship:

  • Being less that generous is irresponsible and lacks faith.
  • Jesus did not help people who deserved it; instead he gave grace – unmerited favour – to those who did not deserve it.
  • Jesus brought lasting change to the way women were perceived in society.
  • Jesus struck hard at the religion of his day without pause or respect, trampling on their practices and denouncing their leaders.

This is an original and thought-provoking book, which highlights a number of sins and dysfunctions of modern churches and Christianity as it is currently practised. There are enough revolutionary ideas to make any reader uncomfortable.

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