Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

Vince Antonucci: I became a Christian and all I got was this lousy t-shirt

After reading many favourable reviews of this book, I bought a copy and I really enjoyed reading it. Actually, with a title such as this, I was afraid that this would be another book written by someone who had been hurt by the church (there are many of those) and who then write a book in which they reflect their hurt and scepticism about the church (while we know that it was never God’s intention that the church should exist to cause hurt and pain.) But this book is something else. Antonucci’s love for the church is strong and what he is trying to say is that the church can and should be so much than what many are experiencing. We’ve all seen it: People who stumble through life, trying to exist in some way during the week, arriving at church on a Sunday morning, thankful that they can “recharge their batteries” only to fall back into a life of merely existing during the week. These are the people who made a commitment to the Lord at some stage in their lives but because their belief in Christ had not been properly internalised and become part of every aspect of their lives, they feel cheated – hence the title of the book.
Vince has a great sense of humour which I enjoyed, although there were times that it felt a bit forced. But he shares a lot of anecdotes from his personal life and his journey with God which really illustrates in a practical (and funny) way what it means to live as a Christian day by day. He also refers to a number of his friends who had discovered what it means to live in close harmony with God on a daily basis.
Obviously, with a book like this, there are many things which I do not quite agree with. The one thing which did bother me was one chapter in which he tries to define the “connection” between God and His children. For myself, I’m personally not really that interested to hear whether a person came to repentance and accepted Jesus Christ. That, in a certain sense, is the Christians’s birth story. I’m more interested to hear whether that person is living in a relationship with Christ at the moment. Antonucci says he’s not really interested in speaking about a relationship. He wants to know whether the person “abides” in Jesus. This is fair enough (although I think that these are two sides of the same coin), but for the rest of the book he still very often uses the word relationship as describing the “connection” which should exist between God and His children. So I just thought that the argument was really unnecessary.
Most of the reviews appearing on Amazon are very positive. A few are critical. As for myself, I really enjoyed the book and would really recommend it for people who may feel cheated that the church did not deliver as they expected or pastors who want their church members to experience more than merely to exist with the title: “Christian”.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008 - Posted by | Church, What I'm reading

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