Fake Christianity, by C.B. Matthews
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/WestBow Press. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
From what the author describes in the introductory section to this book, the author felt compelled to write this book and did not wish to do so. Likewise, towards the end of the book he was glad to have finished the book, not particularly glad to have written it. In light of the serious moral demands the author places on the reader, and the searching criticism made of what passes for Christianity nowadays, one can easily see this book as a duty rather than something the author sought for himself, although it is fairly common for writers to claim as a divine charge what may in fact be self-appointments . Nevertheless, although the author claims no great joy in having written this book, it seems somewhat puzzling that a book in line with a great deal of classic and contemporary thought on holiness  would be self-published when there are many vastly inferior devotionals and other books being published nearly every day. At any rate, while the author may wonder who wants to read this book, this is a book that has a lot to say to many readers, particularly those who struggle with the lack of authenticity that sometimes pervades Christian thought and practice.
This book is of close to average length and has much of its material front-loaded into its first two chapters on lies that Christians have to combat concerning Christianity and the love of God for rebellious sinners as well as the faith that Christians need to have and its proper relationship with works. The author manages to write about a set of related matters, including the hostility within our corrupt contemporary society towards Christian doctrine and belief, the spiritual warfare of the believer, and the need for parents and grandparents to raise up children with a strong foundation of faith with a style that mixes generally sound biblical exegesis with deeply heartfelt and personal elements, making this book read more like a spiritual memoir in many places. There are a few endnotes at the end, but for the most part this book manages to focus on the content and it delivers a powerful message that will likely convict the reader of a great deal of falling short in our responsibilities as a Christian to live according to God’s ways. The author, though, manages to make this conviction less aggressive by being candid about his own shortcomings, including his attempts to lead a Christian discussion group on a college campus and his own illegitimate child. The author thus simultaneously posits the biblical need for holiness while also owning up to his own human frailty.
Early in the book, the author himself diffidently asks what the reader can get out of this book that he (or she) cannot get out of many other books that have been published that urge a life of holiness and practical godliness among those who profess Christianity in an age that is deeply uncongenial to our belief system and practices, and the answer is a straightforward one: what readers get out of this book is a sense of the author as a person. For the most part, the author is an appealing writer, in that he is honest about his struggles with despondency and gloom, and in his wrestling with his corrupt human nature. This book would have been intolerable coming from someone who presented himself as being largely without sin or trial or difficulty in life, but coming from someone who is open about his own wrestling and struggling with sin, the book comes as encouragement from a peer. In the world of Christian writing, such books are always to be appreciated, and it is to be hoped that many people are able to find the encouragement that this author wishes to give.
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