cover image The Second Coming of the Church

The Second Coming of the Church

George Barna, Author Thomas Nelson Publishers $18.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-8499-1490-4

Barna, the George Gallup of the Christian church, opens this book with a rather dire prediction: ""within the next few years America will experience one of two outcomes: either massive spiritual renewal or total moral anarchy."" Most Christian churches, he argues in the first part of the book, are operating on models of authority, leadership and congregational structure that are more than 30 years old and fail to meet the needs of a changing culture. In Part II, Barna pulls out his demographic toolkit of surveys, interviews and polls to measure how contemporary culture is becoming more pluralistic and syncretistic. Part III explores ""a biblical perspective on what God expects of His church,"" and Barna uses scripture to draw a portrait of the ""true church,"" one grounded in a worldview that reflects God's priorities and principles. Finally, in Part IV, Barna suggests three steps for renewing the church so that it might spearhead an American spiritual renewal: caring for existing members so that they ""grow strong enough to reach others""; training future professional and lay leaders; and preparing new models of ministry service. Barna's book is recommended for anyone interested in the relationship between church and culture. (April)