Made in America by Michael Horton

Made in America: The Shaping of Modern American Evangelicalism

This book gives an overview of the beginning of America and the roots of modern day American evangelicalism. Our founding fathers were not necessarily Christian, rather some were deists. This country was not founded as a Christian nation. Trying to “bring America back to its roots” is not going to make it a Christian nation again; it never was one.

I find it sad that many American Christians think the future hope of this nation is in who we elect for President or for other political positions. Our hope needs to be in God not people. And God is neither Republican or Democrat. In fact, God is not American. Shocking thought, isn’t it?

This book highlights how American evangelicalism has fallen into the trap of the culture we live in, being susceptible to relativism and materialism just like the people around us. Part of this is a result of succumbing to consumerism and marketing the church rather than preaching the truth, “dumbing down” the gospel in the hopes of bringing more people to Christ. But if we’re not preaching the true gospel of Jesus, what really are we drawing people to? We have become self-focused and individualistic, wanting what’s best for me rather than proclaiming God’s honor and glory. Biblical illiteracy is rampant among American Christians. We have to get back to the truths of Scripture.

Some quotes from the book:
“Does Christianity work? That depends on what one conceives the problem to be. If our most immediate problem is a new car, the healing of a physical ailment, or ‘winning friends and influencing people,’ then Christianity will not be practical…I am not saying that our faith has nothing to say about these things. But when we use the Bible as an answer book for the questions it does not consider important, we not only miss out on God’s best answers; we end up despairing of the Bible’s usefulness altogether. In other words, we have to go to the Bible not only for answers, but for questions. We need to find out what the most important – indeed, the most practical – issues really are.”

“Jesus is not there to fill whatever is lacking in our self-esteem or our self-fulfillment. He is there to slay our self-confidence and to place our confidence in him alone (Jeremiah 17:5, 7; Philippians 3:3).”

“The Great Commission was a command to make disciples, not to establish franchises for consumers.”

“…what we get from Scripture is that there is a real sense in which the gospel is not supposed to sell! If we succeed in making the gospel appealing to sinners on the basis of satisfying their consumer appetites, we have not succeeded at all.”

“We must stop mimicking the world in its search for self-actualization, the inner self, and other forms of narcissism.”

“When we turn to the Bible, not to learn from it or to be challenged by it, but to be merely inspired, we become the very relativists we disdain. Every time someone says, ‘This is what this verse means to me,’ or ‘God told me…,’ or ‘I know this might not be what this verse is saying, but the application is edifying,’ relativism sets in.”

“When truth has been defined in such terms as, ‘The Lord spoke to my heart…,’ and ‘The Lord revealed to me…,’ the objective authority of Scripture loses its importance.”

“One reason the Bible fails to be clear and authoritative is that so many Christians do not have a grasp of it major themes. It’s a lack of knowledge, of teaching and expository preaching. Children can grow up in some evangelical churches and, with the exception of a few proof texts and ‘promises,’ be biblically and doctrinally illiterate.”

“Until we stop thinking of our faith in merely subjective, experiential terms, the Bible will be nothing more than a source of quotes for wall plaques and greeting cards.”

“Correct praise, or worship, is the goal of correct theology. Doctrine is never an end in itself, but a warden for our conscience, emotions, and will, guiding us in correctly worshiping God.”

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