Review: The Christian Atheist

Former Christian Atheist Craig Groeschel knows his subject all too well. After over a decade of successful ministry, he had to make a painful self admission: although he believed in God, he was leading his church like God didn’t exist.

To Christians and non-Christians alike, to the churched and the unchurched, the journey leading up to Groeschel’s admission and the journey that follows—from his family and his upbringing to the lackluster and even diametrically opposed expressions of faith he encountered—will look and sound like the story of their own lives.

Now the founding and senior pastor of the multicampus, pace-setting LifeChurch.tv, Groeschel’s personal journey toward a more authentic God-honoring life is more relevant than ever.

Christians and Christian Atheists everywhere will be nodding their heads as they are challenged to take their own honest moment and ask the question: am I putting my whole faith in God but still living as if everything was up to me?

Have you ever read a book that makes you take a hard look at your life and how you’re living it?  Well, I hadn’t either, until I picked up this one.

Christian Atheist is a book written by pastor Craig Groeschel of LifeChurch.tv and through this book he explains the difference of how a Christian lives and how a Christian Atheist lives.  There is quite a difference there.  Unfortunately, a lot of the characteristics of a Christian Atheist were and are ones that can apply to me.  Some of them I have grown out of while others, well, I’m still working on (worrying and anxiety being the big ones).

So what is a Christian Atheist?  Well, Groeschel defines it simply as, “a person who believes in God, but lives as though He doesn’t exist.”

In other words, someone who tells people they’re a Christian, but lives like any other non-Christian in the world.

Yes, I stated above that I was and am guilty of a few of the characteristics of a Christian Atheist.  I worry too much, I’m not great at sharing my faith, and sometimes my actions don’t always reflect Jesus (usually when I’m hungry or pressed for time, but that’s no excuse).  There’s plenty more where those came from, as Groeschel covers in the book, and some of these I’ve gotten a lot better with, while others need more work.  This book made me really look at my life and every area I need to work on in my life to live a life that reflects Jesus, and I needed that.

While plenty of people want to say that Groeschel is being preachy and judgmental in the book, I beg to differ.  One, he is a pastor, so if it seems like he’s preaching… well, it is what he does for a living.  Two, he’s not judgmental at all in the book.  He’s not pointing fingers saying that you need to change this in your life; he’s saying that we Christians should be living more like we actually believe in God… and he included himself in everything.  He includes a lot of personal stories where he has had to work on, and still is working on, some of these areas where it seems like he’s not living like God really exists.

In the letter to the reader, before the book really begins, Groeschel even states that this book is not for anyone who isn’t really ready for it.

“This book is for anyone courageous enough to admit their hypocrisy.  I hope it pushes you, challenges you, and disturbs you.  And if you’re honest before God – as I am trying to be – perhaps together we can shed some of our hypocrisy and live a life that truly brings glory to Christ.” – the Christian Atheist, page 15.

That being said, I had actually read this book years ago when my old youth pastor recommended it in a Bible study.  But it had been a few years since I’ve read it, so I thought I’d give it a reread this year.  It took me a bit, but I got through it (I also might have skimmed more this time to read the chapters I felt I needed more than others).

Again, this book really makes the reader look at their life and where they need to work on living like they truly believe in God and living for Him.  Many of Groeschel’s personal stories are touching and leave tears of happiness for the work that God has done in his life and others’ that he has witnessed.

So if you think you can handle this book, I definitely recommend it for everyone!

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