Michael Craven states the purpose of his book, Uncompromised Faith: Overcoming Our Culturalized Christianity (NavPress, 2009), in his introduction: “…indentifying and tearing down…deeply entrenched and rarely examined cultural barriers to both the acceptance of the gospel and the mission of the church in America.”
I agree with Craven’s assessment that the American church in general is on the losing side of influence in the context of the greater American culture. I liked the idea of examining various worldviews prominent in America today and dissecting how they work to prevent the Kingdom of Christ from spreading or deepening in our country.
Overall, Craven accomplishes these purposes. Uncompromised Faith is a helpful overview of key cultural and social forces that currently shape America. I recommend this book as an engaging primer on the topic.
A few things that would have made the book stronger:
- I wish he would have expanded the epilogue, “What Are We To Do?” to include more practical steps for growth and change.
- The research for the chapter on feminism is culled almost exclusively from a single source. I found Craven’s lack of breadth and depth of research on the topic led him—ironically—to conclusions that were shaped by secular feminism far more than by church history or biblical scholarship.
- Personally, I would have liked fewer exclamation points and a little less hyperbole.
Favorite quotes from Uncompromised Faith:
“In comparison with its past achievements, it is safe to say that evangelical Christianity today is in a pathetic state of decadence and decline in the West…we have traded in Milton’s Paradise Lost for Left Behind, the arias of Bach for contemporary Christian music, and Rembrandt for Thomas Kinkade…It is this substandard quality that necessitates the subcultural category now necessary to identify Christian art and literature as its own category.” (p. 21)
“[American Christians] tend to interpret Scripture and historical events through uniquely American eyes…What many pundits thought was the death of the church in the 1960s through the secularization of the West was really its relocation and rebirth into the rest of the world…Christians should enjoy a worldwide boom in the new century, but the vast majority of believers will be neither white nor European, nor Euro-American…Today, 70% of evangelical Christians live outside the West. These facts should challenge those who abandon their responsibilities to the culture on the assumption that the apparent decline of the Christian influence in America is attributable to prophetic fulfillment [of the ‘end times’].” (pp.37-38)
“The depth of modernity—with all of its attendant forces of time pressures, consumerism, careerism, family separation, technology dependence, and distractions—is so pervasive that it is scarcely distinguishable as a force often antithetical to Christianity. Our relationship to modernity is comparable to a fish that has no concept of being wet.” (p.54)
“When was the last time we responded to a call upon our hearts to do something that seemed irrational or was contrary to normalcy in obedience to God? Don’t we privately believe and ultimately live as if God no longer calls people to the same level of radical and often irrational obedience described in Hebrews 11? And therefore we no longer expect—or perhaps more accurately, no longer want—that kind of call, so we do not listen nor invite God to use us in so radical a way.” (pp.56-57)
Who wants to borrow it? 🙂
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”