2 out of 4 stars
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In Where to Now Saint Paul?: Why We’re Quitting Church, author Brad O’Donnell gives his perspective on a possible crisis in the Christian Church. O’Donnell discusses some of the reasons why many Christians, particularly of the baby boomer generation and younger, are no longer churchgoers even though they are still people of faith. To develop his arguments, the author describes Christian Spiritualists and explains how there is a difference between original Christianity (early Jewish Christianity) and the now prevalent Roman Christianity.
As he addresses a subject regarding crucial aspects of life for numerous people, O’Donnell writes with a conversational, accessible style. Now, there are a few moments when the author seems to assume that readers will know what he means without a prior word of explanation, such as the author’s first, informal reference to “boomers.” Yet, for the most part, the material in this book is straightforward. The author also includes some tips for what readers should do in light of this book’s information. However, it might have been more effective if the author’s tips had come at the conclusion of the work, leaving readers with a call to action rather than an argument.
Although this book can indeed be thought-provoking for a casual audience, it would likely be less helpful for readers looking for authoritative information on O’Donnell’s topic. Readers may have concerns about the credibility of some of the online sources the author cites, such as the forum Quora and also Wikipedia, an open content encyclopedia. This book has a moderate number of technical errors in grammar and punctuation, and sometimes the incorrect punctuation makes it unclear whether the author is quoting from a source or if he is speaking for himself. Conversely, there are times when the author presents critical statements as if they are definite facts without citing sources to support them.
Moreover, this book is severely redundant. Less than halfway through the reading, it becomes apparent that O’Donnell has relatively few new details to build upon his main idea. He offers many of the same historical and theological points and rehashes much of the same commentary time and time again. After the first chapter or two, readers may begin to skim through the book to see if the author will add anything fresh that he has not already said.
Overall, this book addresses a fundamental, relevant topic regarding Christians in a style that is easy to understand. However, the work suffers from technical errors, a great amount of redundancy, and the lack of specific sources to support some of the author’s critical claims. Therefore, I give Where to Now Saint Paul?: Why We’re Quitting Church a rating of 2 out of 4 stars. I’d recommend it to readers of nonfiction with an interest in Christianity and religion in general, but the readers should be aware that this work is more informal than authoritative.
Where To Now Saint Paul?
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