September 03, 2010
by Pastor Chuck Swindoll
Recently, Chuck sat down and discussed the importance of his new book, The Church Awakening: An Urgent Call for Renewal.
Why did you write The Church Awakening?
It’s a book I’ve wanted to write for more than 10 years. We find ourselves in a world that is less friendly to the church and more than ever disconnected from the Bible. Our culture has changed its way of thinking from that which is based on objective instruction from the truth of Holy Scripture to subjective, secular thinking based squarely on humanistic perception, where self is always most important.
This erosion has adversely affected the church and its relationship to God’s Word. When the Bible loses its central place in the church’s worship—even if good things replace it—the fallout is tragic. Over time, a congregation that is distant from the Word of God will seek more entertainment and less biblical truth. As a result, the church becomes weaker and less important in the eyes of the world.
Let me add, however, I did not write this book just to point out all that’s wrong with the church. That isn’t my intention. My writing has always had an emphasis on grace, which is God’s emphasis in the Bible. I intend each chapter to address solutions, not just expose problems—to point to the hope that God offers in His Word.
What audience did you have in mind when you wrote The Church Awakening?
I had two groups in mind. First, to serious-thinking churchgoers who know there’s a better way. In the Bible, 1 Chronicles 12:32 speaks of a group of clear-thinking, tough-minded men called the “sons of Issachar.” They “understood the times and knew what Israel should do” [NIV]. We need that same clear-headed discernment and courage today in the church. My aim is to ignite that passion within those who are willing to think seriously. Second, I was writing to pastors, especially to those who are “on the fence”—who need a voice of “permission” to buck the tide and to put the preaching of Scripture back in its central place of the church’s worship.
What is the central message of The Church Awakening?
I could sum up the book through the subtitle: An Urgent Call for Renewal. In my almost 50 years in ministry, I’ve never been more passionate or hopeful for the church to awaken, to see how far it has drifted, to begin walking with God again, and to engage the culture for Jesus Christ.
It’s my hope that God will use The Church Awakening in a powerful way to renew our passion for what Jesus is building. He was the One who promised in Matthew 16:18: “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”