A call for a revival of committed Christianity that draws upon the book of Revelation.
According to debut author Perkins, we’re living in dangerous times, and more than ever, people need the strength and guidance of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, he says, today’s churches are spiritually hobbled and unequal to the exigent task before them. The author mines the second and third chapters of the book of Revelation to interpret Jesus’ vision of what a successful church should be like. Jesus addressed seven different churches in Asia Minor, Perkins notes, providing an appraisal of each one’s virtues and vices; for example, the church at Thyatira was a “compromising” one that too easily accommodated “outside influences” and succumbed to temptations. In one of the author’s most telling examples, the church of Sardis is proclaimed by Jesus to be “dead”—emptied of spiritual energy, due to inert self-satisfaction. The author takes readers on a tour of all seven of Jesus’ letters and ultimately concludes that the real problem lies not with a church’s bureaucratic structure but with its members. Each Christian should strive to be a healthy church unto himself, he writes, and a beacon of hope to others in imitation of Christ. This is a brief study of fewer than 100 pages, but Perkins writes with clarity and informal verve throughout. That said, the topical references seem a bit dated at times; at one point, for example, he complains about the “debt-ceiling fiasco during the Obama administration.” Also, the analogies that he draws between the book of Revelation and modern times are overly broad—why, precisely, are today’s churches so vulnerable to spiritual corruption, according to Perkins, while New Orleans churches of the 1970s and ’80s were not? Finally, the author never establishes why the world is in a greater crisis now than it was during, say, World War II. The premise of the book is astute—that if one wants to build a healthy Christian church, one should consult the counsel of Christ himself—but its execution could have been more searching and rigorous.
A provocative, if brief, account of Jesus’ thoughts on a spiritually sound church.