"Dan Kimball's new book, They Like Jesus But Not the Church, should really be called
They Like (Another) Jesus But Not the Church, the Bible, Morality, or the Truth.... Kimball says these are
'exciting times' we live in "when Jesus is becoming more and more respected in our culture by non-churchgoing people'. He says we should
'be out listening to what non-Christians, especially those in their late teens to thirties, are saying and thinking about the church and Christianity.'...
"According to Kimball, it is vitally important that we as Christians be accepted by non-Christians and not thought of as abnormal or strange. But in order to do that, he says we must change the way we live and behave. He says things like Christian bumper stickers (p. 40) and Christian words like "fellowship," (p. 41) are "corny" and might offend a non-believer or seeker. Kimball insists (p. 19) that "those who are rejecting faith in Jesus" do so because of their views of Christians and the church. But he makes it clear throughout the book that these distorted views are not the fault of the unbeliever but are the fault of Christians, but not all Christians, just those fundamentalist ones who take the Bible literally, believe that homosexuality is a sin and think certain things are wrong and harmful to society ... and actually speak up about these things.
Josh McDowell tells readers "it would be foolish" to not carefully study Kimball's book. Gregory Koukl of Stand to Reason (an apologetics ministry) also endorses the book:
With insight, gentleness, and an unswerving commitment to the wisdom of the past, Dan Kimball shows us what we don't want to see but must see if we care about the Great Commission in the twenty-first century.
McDowell's and Koukl's endorsements are nestled between staunch emerging church/New Thought promoters:
Leonard Sweet, Tony Jones, Mark Oestreicher (Youth Specialties) and several others.
He makes it very clear that you cannot be a Christian who takes the Bible literally and also be a humble, loving thoughtful person. They are two different things, according to Kimball. There is no such thing as a loving, humble Christian who takes the Bible literally.
His book further alienates believers in a world that is already hostile to those who say Jesus is the only way to salvation, the Bible should be taken literally, homosexuality is a sin, and we are called out of this world to live righteously by the grace of God.
Some of Kimball's other black and white statements are: "The church is homophobic" versus "The church is a loving and welcoming community." (Kimball denounces those who take any kind of stand publicly against homosexuality.)
McDowell's and Koukl's endorsements are nestled between staunch emerging
church/New Thought promoters: Leonard Sweet, Tony Jones, Mark Oestreicher (Youth
Specialties) and several others.
One example of Kimball's poor biblical theology is in his chapter titled: "The
Church Arrogantly Claims All Other Religions are Wrong." Kimball refers to John
4 where Jesus talks to the Samaritan woman. Kimballs says: "He [Jesus] stopped
and asked questions of the Samaritan woman and didn't just jump in and say,
'Samaritans are all wrong.'" But that is exactly what Jesus did! ... Listen to
Jesus' words to the woman:
"Woman, believe me,
the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet
at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what:
we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the
hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship
the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such
to worship him." ...
Kimball says that "to
them [the unbelievers], Christianity isn't normal." (p. 29). But the
Bible is so clear that those who belong to the Lord Jesus are not
looked upon as normal by the world. In fact, Jesus tells us to
If the world hates
you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were
of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are
not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore
the world hates you." (John 15: 18,19).
Kimball says "Christians
are now the foreigners in a post-Christian culture, and we have got
to wake up to this reality if we haven't" (p. 30)... But Christians
have always been foreigners in the world, and they have suffered
terribly for it. ... Jesus said, "I am not of this world" (John
8:23) and also: "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36). ...
The glue that binds all this together is in Kimball's last chapter,
"A Great Hope for the Future." He starts the chapter off with a
quote by mystic Henri Nouwen. You see Kimball is a contemplative
proponent. He promotes the use of labyrinths and stations of the
Cross (meditative centers). He also encourages lectio divina and
recommends books by mantra meditation proponents like Gary Thomas,
Mike Yaconelli, John Michael Talbot, Brian McLaren and others....
Kimball gives no disclaimer for his recommendation of Nouwen who
"Today I personally
believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God's house,
all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know
about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every
person claim his or her own way to God." (Sabbatical Journey, p.
51, 1998 edition).
Who is this Jesus that
Kimball tells us these unbelievers 'like and respect'? Is it the
Jesus of the Bible, or is it a Jesus that the world has formulated
to fit into their mold? ...
Jesus Christ has paid the price with His blood so that anyone who
receives Him, by His grace and His mercy, can repent and be forgiven
of their sins and have eternal life.
heareth these sayings of mine [Jesus'] and doeth them, I will
liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock."