Earlier this year I joined Twitter. I began to follow people like Entreating Favor, Michelle Lesley, and Do Not Be Surprised. They followed other people and so on and so forth, and it wasn’t long before I discovered No Compromise Radio. Once I got a new phone in late spring, I discovered podcasts, and that was all she wrote. I stopped listening to music and watching Netflix; I was hooked on Pirate Christian Radio, Entreating Favor, Wretched Radio, Peter Heck, and…Mike Abendroth.
When Pastor Mike announced his new book Evangelical White Lies had been released, I tweeted him and asked if he’d like a blogger to review it. Lo and behold, he said yes, sent me a copy last month, and here is my review.
I received this book for free from No Compromise Radio, in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own, including the ear-piercing squeal that echoed throughout our house when he returned my tweet!
Evangelical White Lies
It is not shock to anyone who has read this blog over the past few months that we have been struggling with a number of things in the evangelical church. The disconnect between what the Bible says and what is actually happening within the walls of evangelical churches in the midwest is…well, it’s staggering. I was intrigued by the things Pastor Abendroth said he was going to address in his book, and I am thrilled to report he pulls no theological punches in his handling of twelve major issues facing churches today.
The twelve lies covered in this book involve topics such as lifestyle evangelism, time management, tithing, missionaries, sacred vs. secular employment, physical health, environmentalism, God’s sovereignty, and whether or not the canon is closed (aka why “Jesus Calling” is a lie).
In his forward, “The Tuesday Guy” from NoCo Radio says this: “Loving God with all my being is hard. Following a checklist of rules I’ve either made up or learned from someone else? That is perfect! It’s also dangerously close to idolatry because now I’m deciding how God should be worshiped and what He demands. It may be well-intentioned, but it’s not much more biblically accurate than a Disney character listening to her heart” (page vii).
As Christians we tend to want either a lot of rules or no rules, so we either lean toward lots of rules (legalism) or no rules whatsoever (antinomianism). No matter which way you lean, this book will address the lies you tell yourself (or that your pastor is telling you) about the Bible and/or God and/or Christianity.
So…What Kind of Lies?
Pastor Abendroth starts the book with a bang, teaching that the Gospel is NOT being like Jesus, loving your neighbor, having your best life now, etc. The Gospel is that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures… (I Corinthians 15:3-4). How often do you share that fact with people? Or how often do you hear that preached at your church?
From there he moves into managing your time in a biblical God-honoring way (fascinating) and takes aim at the favored child of many mainstream churches: tithing. Evangelical White Lie #3 is “Christians Must Tithe.”
If you are in a church that preaches to you on a regular basis that Christians are required to start giving at 10% of their income, you need to get this book today. Now. Go order it. I’ll wait. The discussion on this lie covers the difference between Old and New Covenants, what God desires out of givers, and how Christians should give.
As a current stay-at-home mom, the chapter on work is incredibly encouraging. Realizing that your vocation is an act of worship (Jesus was a carpenter and never sinned at work – page 54) will revolutionize your attitude during the work day, if you allow it to sink in.
White Lie #9: God Fits in a Box is best summed up by this study question at the end of the chapter, on page 100: “Is Job’s God your God?”. Days I have been pondering the implications of that question. Days.
The chapter on God’s sovereignty centers on the fact that “God governs the sun, moon, rain, hail, snow, clouds, evaporation, wind, thunder, lightning, earthquakes, landslides, fire, ice, floods, and everything in between” (page 108). I found myself complaining about the heat and humidity just this past Sunday after church, but I caught myself, and I said instead, “But God is sovereign over even the weather, so I should not complain.”
However, my very favorite chapter is chapter eleven: White Lie #11: God Speaks Outside of His Revealed Word. This is the best sentence in the entire book:
“Like it or not, God is done speaking. Case closed. Canon closed” (page 116).
Can I get an amen? I “whoo-hoo”ed and cheered when I read that. This chapter is solid, biblical, and AMAZING in its explanation as to why the canon is closed and why God isn’t speaking to people anymore (yes, I’m speaking to you). The second best sentence is this: “When people are not satisfied with God’s Word (and by the way, there is a whole lot of Bible to study), nothing will satisfy them” (page 122). Amen.
Read This Book. Today.
Obviously I recommend this book. It is theologically deep but not theologically technical; you don’t need a seminary degree to understand a single thing Pastor Abendroth writes. Pray and keep your Bible handy, and I am confident anyone could read this book (even a younger believer – whichever way you want to interpret that).
However, you might end up questioning your pastor, your church, or things you have believed your entire life. I did, and I went to seminary.
That’s okay. There are people who can help you with that. Pastor Abendroth is one of them. But the Bible would probably be an even better place to start.
You can purchase Evangelical White Lies from Amazon in either paperback or Kindle version. (no affiliate links here – I blog for FUN!)
Abendroth, Mike. Evangelical White Lies. NoCo Media, LLC, 2016.