This is a review of “Church Outside The Walls” by Raj Samuel. I received a free copy of this book as part of the Speakeasy review program. In exchange for the book I was asked to provide a review and here it is:
This is a short (117 pages) ebook about the nature of the church. The book can be summed up in one sentence: Every single institution is doing it wrong but me.
Really. He spends 100 pages talking about why every institution in existence is unbiblical and a waste of time. Then he recaps everything he said for four pages. And then, FINALLY, he offers some suggestions about what the church should look like for four pages.
It’s not even that I totally disagreed with what he said: I do think that Christianity has become too institutionalized, I think he brought up some really great thoughts about what we spend our money on (the institution) and what we should be spending money on (supporting people in need), but just the sheer length of the critique was a bit much. He also seems to think that the Holy Spirit (which, side note, he only uses male pronouns for) can’t move in institutions.
Look, I am no lover of institutions, but I think it’s pretty damn arrogant to say where the Holy Spirit can and can’t move. I think the Spirit can move anywhere she damn well pleases.
I agree that the church should be more about unity and being the body of Christ. I agree that we spend a lot of money on aging buildings and paying for professional clergy when we should be spending money on those who need it. I agree that the way we do church isn’t really working. But I don’t think this book is going to lead the way forward at all.