December 1, 2020

Reviewers Wanted

If you have read Michael Spencer’s Mere Churchianity: Finding Your Way Back to Jesus-Shaped Spirituality, would you consider writing a review for it on Amazon? The more reviews, the better. Of course we want you to be honest in your assessment of the book, and rank it as you see fit.

And if you haven’t read it yet, what are you waiting for?


  1. I haven’t found it in a store yet. There was supposedly a copy at the local Barnes and Noble, but it seems to have gone missing.

    • Saw it in one of the local Borders here in Indy today.

    • Isaac Rehberg (the poster formerly known as Obed) says

      I got mine at my local B&N. They only had two copies on the shelf and it was hard to find. It was on the “New in Paperback” table.

  2. Think it will be picked up by the major Christian bookstores down here in Oz?

    Id be interested in reading this –

  3. D. Philip Veitch says

    Too modern. Still in the ancients. Is he an improvement over them?

  4. That Other Jean says

    I am waiting for a copy from that selfsame to arrive in my mailbox. Should happen this week, or early next.

  5. Don’t have mine yet!

  6. They Guy from Knoxville says

    Still waiting on it to arrive in the mail – expecting it by the weekend or first of the week! Looking forward to it.

  7. I just got my copy in the mail today!!! I can’t wait to get started!

  8. ahumanoid says

    Got my copy today. Over half way through it. Will definitely review it on Amazon.

  9. My copy came six days early. I’m already about 90 pages in.

  10. I haven’t finished yet, but should by Friday. Absolutely plan to write a review on Amazon this weekend.

    The best way to build momentum for any book is word of mouth. Monk meant so much to so many of us, the very least we can do is help spread the word.

    This book needs to be read by as many as possible.

  11. I’m just waiting for it to hit my doorstep from Amazon. I’m even pausing my goal to read everything by Dostoyevsky in a year thing (mainly cuz I’m 6 months in and have only finished one novella and am still trudging through one of the larger novels and don’t see it happening) for this one. I’m gonna also do a more in depth review for my blog, if you wanna link to that when I get it up.

  12. Some other thoughts.

    If you write a review on your blog, leave a comment in the review section at and I will include an excerpt and a link to your blog.

    Update your facebook status to let others know that you are reading Mere Churchianity. Include a link to the amazon page.

  13. PLEASE someone else review the book! I don’t want mine to be the only one up there. I got the kindle version and read it the day it was released. Michael’s book, along with Len Sweet and Frank Viola’s Jesus Manifesto are a dangerous combination in all the right ways. (Frans wrote one of the press blurbs for Michael’s book.)

    Seriously, friends, it’s worth making the time to dig into and absorb this book. For those of us who wander in the post-evangelical wilderness, this book serves as a light pointing toward Christ.

  14. I just received my copy today..hiding on the front porch next to a flower pot. I will, of course, review the book once finished and I’m sure it will be a glowing review. Anyone notice the book was creeping steadily towards cracking the top 1000 list on Amazon? It would be wonderful to see a top 500 listing.


  15. only slightly off topic: has there been, or will there be, a review of Viola’s “From Eternity to Here” ?? Sounds like a very IMONK-ish type book. Thanks

    Greg R


      I’ve read it. It has some good parts, esp. if you’ve never heard these things before. However, if you’re familiar with the writings of DeVern Fromke and Gene Edwards (who apparently borrowed from Witness Lee – I’ve heard that Edwards’ 1969 UCLA message “God’s Eternal Purpose” is almost verbatim from two of Lee’s books – as well as from Watchman Nee and T. Austin-Sparks), much of it will sound familiar.

      • FYI – Gene Edwards and Frank Viola have a history together, which is why much of what you read from Viola echoes things Gene has said:

        • Interesting link, EricW….and yes, sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. I copied our and read (once) the address “How We Began” or was It “How We Got Here”… ?? Edwards made some very good points, but his reaction is very strong, and in my book way too overconfident about what is and is not a man made system. Worth thinking about, but he does come across as some of self appointed authority on all things eccleciastical. thanks for the links

          Greg R

    • Hi Greg, someone alerted me to your question. Michael was very gracious to write a review on my book FROM ETERNITY TO HERE when it came out last year:

      As for the influences behind the book, there are about 100 books in the bibliography that are given credit for shaping my thoughts and ideas, though there’s quite a bit in the book that focuses on the present day missional conversation.

      Concerning Eric’s comment, if I had to pick the main people who had a hand in influencing that work the most, they would be Stanley Grenz, Mary McDonough, T. Austin-Sparks, Stephen Kaung, and DeVern Fromke.

      As I said in my blog today, I regard Michael’s review of “From Eternity” as one of the greatest honors I’ve received.

      Right now, Michael’s book — which is excellent by the way — is just a hair above 1,000 on Amazon. I’ve encouraged those who read my blog to grab a copy today. Let’s keep a’watch on the numbers.

      I really miss our brother! He had a fantastic mind and heart, and a seminal mind.


  16. Read and reviewed!

    • Also reviewed on my blog. I’m afraid it’s a little more negative there, but I welcome civil pushback and discussion.

      • Otter, I read your review on your blog. I haven’t read the book yet, but are you saying that Michael is writing that he is against liturgical ways of worshiping God? If so, I am VERY surprised because Michael posted over and over about his increasing love of corporate, liturgical forms of worship.

        • No, not at all. I was referring to his use of the word “religion.”

        • Hi again. Otter. I hope you are OK with me discussing here what you wrote on your blog. If you prefer, if I have anything else to say, I can write it over there.

          I guess what made me ask my original question of you was this part of what you wrote on your blog (I put it all in one paragraph just so readers would not get confused as to where we leave off with your words and begin with mine. You write: “More troublingly, Spencer makes this weird declaration: ‘Religion is our negotiation with God to try to get his help in exchange for our good behavior.’ That’s not true, and I sometimes wonder as I read Mere Churchianity whether much of the book doesn’t come from a too-cursory reflection on what the human self is, and what religion is. What religion is, is the external structure and liturgy we impose upon our faith and our imagination. It’s the pattern of behavior derived from faith. And in rejecting it, Spencer casts adrift his vision of Jesus as a messiah of love. He can hold to it in the manner of a man who loves desperately a woman he hasn’t seen in thirty years.”

          So it was YOUR own use of the word “liturgy” in describing religion that I had noticed. You are describing religion as being a structure and liturgy. But, knowing that Michael liked liturgy, I am guessing that Michael’s definition of religion is different. So…is this just a matter of semantics?

          (I need to check the post office one more time before I head home, hoping the book is there now!)

          • I don’t think it’s just semantics.

            I think that love or faith [Greek pistis, which can also cover a range of meanings all the way out to “fidelity, faithfulness”) more or less naturally emerges in liturgical behavior. But I think that religion is nothing more or less than these habits that accrue around such faith and love for something or someone.

            Religion, in other words, cannot be contrasted with the condition of the heart: it reveals the condition of the heart.

            It cannot be contrasted with the search for God. It declares the shape of that search.

            It’s one thing to say that evangelical religion is shallow, but it’s quite another to denounce religion on that basis. You’re sensible to say BP is an oil company in deep ethical trouble, but it’s senseless (and meaningless) to say that you get your gas at Exxon, which is not an oil company.

            In other words, he’s confused not just about the word religion but about its function, and the two confusions are related.

            You can be post evangelical, but if you talk about “Jesus-shaped spirituality,” you’re as religious as an Orthodox bishop. Or an evangelical.

          • Otter is using the classical dictionary of religion – a structure based upon “the pattern of behavior that comes from faith.”

            Michael is using the term in its newer popular form – a series of rules and regulations that have replaced faith.

            Therein lies the disconnect.

            The basis of Otter’s argument is that you just can’t reject the structure called “religion”, because invariably you end up replacing one form of the structure with another form. Michael gets at this in his book when he discusses the various forms with which people have tried to replace the institutional church. I suspect that if Michael were here to sit down with Otter they would find that they really all that far apart in their thinking.

          • Here is a post by Michael Spencer that shows how his view of “Religion” is probably quite similar to Otter’s view.

            Recommendation and Review: The End of Religion by Bruxy Cavey

            Michael writes:

            The “End of Religion” bit is great, but it’s also a predictable shtick. If you are writing with “seekers” in mind, this is a decent entree’, but I have to wonder how many thoughtful people are actually going to ever see what Cavey is doing as not being religion. “It’s not religion, it’s relationship” continues to be frequent evangelical rhetoric, but I believe its sell date is well past. Let’s move on.

            That’s not to say that anything Cavey says about “religion” per se is wrong. It’s simply the case that the “religion” pinata has been beaten at several parties and I am doubtful that it’s a prelude we want to adopt uncritically or without reservation. Many of us see a more positive portrayal in the New Testament of what we may call religion than the slogan tends to portray. Cavey makes the distinction clear between the religion that needs to end and that which continues, but let’s keep it up.

    • Otter, I don’t find your review on Amazon. Did you delete it?

      • Er… no.

        I expect it was my attempt to do my review in nothing but Swedish obscenities that got it pulled.

        (I need to look into this…)

  17. ARGH – Package delivered from Amazon – Mere Churchianity is missing!

    I was so set to read it tonight. Now I have to try to get them to reship – I have never had Amazon screw up the order before

    • Wow – 10 minutes after I emailed them – this is the response


      I’m so sorry to hear the book you ordered wasn’t included in your shipment. This usually doesn’t happen.

      I’ve placed a new order for the missing item to be shipped to you at no charge.

      Have to like that service

  18. flatrocker says

    Picture in your mind the scene from Steve Martin’s movie “The Jerk” where the new phone books have just been delivered. Martin’s character begins to jump up and down in complete elation shouting “the new phone books are here, the new phone books are here!!”

    Well I just got my mail and came running up to the house shouting “the imonk’s book is here, the imonk’s book is here!”

    My wife thinks I’m a bit touched in the head.

  19. Got mine at the local Barnes and Noble this past Tuesday.

    I am going to review the book chapter-by-chapter on my blog and summarize a review after I have completed reading the book. Is there any plans to do a chapter-by-chapter discussion here at Internet Monk or on the Mere Churchianity website?

  20. Mine came this afternoon. Yay! I have a busy weekend, though, so I will have to squeeze reading it before bedtime.

  21. chiefbenda says

    I am in Argentina waiting on visitors from home to bring my copy on Sunday. Can’t wait!!!

  22. Just got my copy yesterday & couldn’t put it down! I did not realize how much I missed the Imonk’s writing! This book has made me feel like he’s reading my mind about the situation of today’s Church —–only he he has a clear & understandable way of expressing it. I hope his message will catch on.—-let us pray for more Micheal Spensers in the SBC & the evangelical world! Give up the God of our own making & follow Jesus!!! peace