Book Review - The Disappearance of God

The Disappearance of God

by R. Albert Mohler Jr.

A commentary on the influence of the postmodern culture on state of Christianity. The author takes a triage approach to the issues affecting today’s Christian church by prioritizing them into three levels of urgency. First level issues are those that threaten the fundamentals of Christian belief, such as the deity and resurrection of Jesus, justification by faith, sin, and the authority of the Bible. Second level issues are identified as being those on which Christians will disagree, but which don’t threaten the foundations of Christian belief. These issues divide protestant denominations, like infant baptism. Believers from different denominations can disagree sharply while still acknowledging that they are both Christian. Third level issues are doctrinal issues over which Christians even within the same church family can disagree without destroying their unity. An example of a third level issue might be the timing of the return of Christ. The Disappearance of God is devoted to presenting the author’s views on first level issues.

To say the author’s views are a bit conservative is like saying honey is a bit sweet. The book presents well-thought-out arguments about these first level issues, and readers who are fundamental in their beliefs will find themselves nodding in agreement. Mohler’s point throughout is that the postmodern culture has had a devastating influence on the Christian church, and as a result, the United States is now living in a post-Christian age. Included is a detailed (and extremely unflattering) look at the Emerging Church.

I have to say, this is not a book I would have picked up on my own. The writing style is analytical and academic to the point that I had to read some sentences three or four times in order to understand the point the author was making. I don’t use words like “hermeneutic” and “deconstructionism” in daily language. In fact, I’m completely in the camp of that great thinker, Winnie the Pooh, who said, “Long words bother me.” (I even have a tee shirt that says so.) So I probably wouldn’t have read past the Preface if I hadn’t received a copy as part of a blog tour and, therefore, felt a sense of commitment to persevere. But I liked the author’s triage approach, and after I dissected some of the sentences, I learned a few things. This book has been a great conversation starter, and I’ve had some very interesting conversations with friends and spiritual leaders over the topics presented. Not a bad thing, since I believe it’s important that each person has an obligation to think about, pray about, and articulate their own beliefs on issues that are foundational to our faith.