Stop Dating the Church is an outstanding, short little book on how believers in Christ ought to view the church. Josh Harris packs a lot of power into a few pages, and his efforts will challenge and encourage believers.
Harris has a very solid view of what the Bible has to say about the importance and purpose of the local church. If you need to better grasp what the church is for, this little book is an excellent place to begin to understand it.
Harris’ concept of dating the church is a very real problem in the Christian culture of today. In dating relationships, men and women often put up with one another so long as they feel that they are getting their needs met. At the point that they feel the relationship is difficult to maintain or that it is not giving them as much bang for their buck, they leave the relationship to seek a new one. This is harmful in the lives of individuals, and it is devastating when a person adopts this view of how to choose a local church.
Harris is also very practical. He offers lists of ways to choose a local church, to serve in that church, and even how to prepare for Sunday morning worship. His lists are generally quite helpful, and not the mere bullet points of an author who keeps making things up in order to make it look like he or she has something to say.
The biggest negative that I have relating to this book is that it does not cover enough. There is so much more to be said. But, this is not a fair criticism of Harris’ work, as he clearly set out to write a brief, accessible, and helpful introduction to this topic.
I highly recommend this work to all believers. Pastors will benefit from this work as they are reminded how much Christ loves his bride. Church members will benefit as they are challenged to do their part to make the church, as Spurgeon once said, “the dearest place on earth.” Church attendees who are not yet committed will benefit from this work as they are challenged to make an adult decision and commit to an imperfect yet growing local body of believers.
Joshua Harris, Stop Dating the Church!: Fall in Love with the Family of God. Sisters, OR: Nultnomah Publishers,2004. 144 pp. $10.39.