Book Review : When Bad Christians Happen to Good People

People can be hurtful. Christians included. Unfortunately, that hurts is sometimes intentional. Fortunately, it is not always intentional. It is sad to say that this hurt , at times, comes from those who should certainly know better and who have been given the strength and spirit to refrain from such practice. Dave Burchett, author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People; Where We Have Failed Each Other and How to Reverse the Damage, has written a smart, honest, and insightful book that pulls no punches when calling out the bad behavior that Christians display today. Burchett offers no excuses. Instead he offers a fresh perspective on the fragile relationship between those he considers his target audience; those who have “been hurt by a judgmental person or church” and the “Christians who inflict the wounds”.

Burchett has smartly divided his book into three common sense sections: The Indefensible Things We Do to One Another (evaluation), Thoughts on How We Lost Our Audience (diagnosis), and Being Real in an Artificial World (prescription). Burchett does a great job in his evaluation of Christian conduct today. He writes that Christians are at times hypocritical, prone to fuss and fight, guilty of further harming the already wounded, and successful at majoring in the minor things. Chapter three (Would Jesus Spend His Time on This?) is the most powerful in this first section. It shows how easily distracted Christians are today from what should be their true focus in life. The author’s diagnosis, or the reasons Christians are losing their audience, is shamefully accurate. Issues such as an inconsistent witness, church language, and the contrasting portraits of love and forgiveness are given as reasons for the push-back. Chapter nine (Jesus Wept… And He Still Does) is especially powerful. In the third and final section, Burchett offers a prescription for Christians to become more genuine before a watching world. Stressed are embracing the hard-teachings of Christ as being vital to growth and witness, a return to biblical literacy, and the exercising of grace when dealing with those in whom we disagree. Chapter thirteen (All God’s Children Got Souls, Even the Annoying Ones) is truly convicting. His call to “hate the message and love the messenger” is spot on.

A book such as this one needed to be written. What I really like about this book is that the author’s views and critiques do not come from a sterile laboratory, nor is it simply an academic exercise. Instead, by his own admission, he has been hurt by Christians and as Christian has hurt others. His style of writing, containing humor, scripture, and real-life stories, is engaging and insightful. A great work on a serious subject. I highly recommend.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

One thought on “Book Review : When Bad Christians Happen to Good People

  1. Good review! Think I have to go through it again and take notes or at least write up a list of reminders. It won’t be a perfect attempt, though that isn’t an excuse for not trying!

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