Book Review: Fake Christianity

Fake Christianity by C.B. Matthews had one good thing going for it—the title. Immediately, it caught my eye. That was until I read this:

That is why, when I look at the American church today and the majority of people who call themselves Christians, I feel nauseated. It is sickening, the lies that are being followed and swallowed in the church today.” (location 188, Kindle version)

Rage describes the book’s mood from the first page. The book sounds angry and wounded. Even though I agree with the general idea that some churches tolerate, even condone sin, the book offended me. The writing is disorganized where he begins theologically and suddenly diverts to childhood. The use of cliches and words like “hot” when describing women (“It was to see if the booze was free-flowing and the girls were hot.”) sounded unprofessional. There are so many grammar errors it was distracting.

The book’s generalizations demonize all churches in America without being specific. It’s a commentary without proof. It’s a rant in seven very long chapters for a short book. Fake Christianity condemns in Chapter 7 preachers and teachers who try to be relevant, saying they, “couldn’t care less about what God wants them to talk about.” My first thought was, “How would the author know what God is telling them?” There are frequent dramas in the book, too. When I got to location 247-250 and read:

More people than I care to remember have gotten very mad when I’ve pointed out that God is not happy with sinners who are stuck in their sins and that He might actually be ready to punish or discipline them. One married couple took turns accosting me, and the wife kept asking me in an emotional, angry voice, “What about God’s love?…”…They proceeded to berate me for having the nerve to focus on anything but the positives with Christians, because that is what we need to hear more of these days.”

My first reaction was: What’s the other side of the story? So far the book fails to reflect any humility. There are other similar examples of the author getting into trouble and being confrontational. I noted with interest how his wife said in one scene that he wouldn’t have liked coming to a Bible Study because of what someone taught.

The writing comes off angry, confrontational, and hotheaded. The word you is used too much, and I felt at times a finger digging into my chest with a face in my face telling me all about my sins while the book ignored its own.

I am 52% done with this book and I have regretted turning the first page. The book needs several rounds with a critique group, some humility, and more teaching, less finger jabbing. People respond well to someone who encourages them to turn from sin and helps them out of their pit with truth mixed in love and prayer. A baseball bat pounding lecture is what they will get here.

I gave this book one star. It offended me with poor teaching methods that at 52% I couldn’t finish it. I skimmed to the end to see if the mood or teachings got better. The only redeeming story in the book is the author’s own testimony. There are some wisdom in the book, but you have to muck through the bad stuff to get to them.

I review for BookSneeze®

*review updated 1/13/2013

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12 thoughts on “Book Review: Fake Christianity

  1. Nikole,
    I just joined BookSneeze as a reader reviewer. I was contemplating reading this book to review, but thanks to your review and the ensuing discussion, have decided against it. Thank you.
    Kina

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  2. Having read your column and review, it appears that Mr. Matthews is correct, most who claim to be American Christian are not real Christians, but Christians in Name Only. For my reasoning, please see my column: http://inkandvoice.com/2012/05/americans-true-christians

    If one is to claim true Christianity, they should be celebrating all of the Jewish holidays, be Kosher, and follow all of the rules set forth in Leviticus 18-19. Most Jews do not follow these rules and fall into the same category.

    The religious rites of most Christians came down through Roman Emperor Constantine, who was anti-Semitic and persecuted Jews and other none Christians after he “saw” a cross in the clouds and won a battle.

    I am sorry you have selected not to finish Matthew’s book. Even when I an “sickened” by the content of a book I am reviewing or reading, I finish it and attempt at all costs to leave my religious and political views out of the commentary. Critical thinking is lost if you do not know the counter arguments.

    David

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    • Clarification of the last sentence in the second paragraph. It should read,

      “Most Jews and Christians do not follow these rules and, by virtue, cannot call themselves true Jews of Christians.

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    • Any other reader wouldn’t have finished it, nor am I required to or should have to since I am reviewing as both a reader and a writer. If I were reading this for pleasure, I would have put it down much earlier.

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    • I’m sorry David, but if your argument for who makes a true Christian and who doesn’t begins with what holidays and rites one observes, you really have no business posting on the subject at all. I’m all for calling out sin and walking in obedience. Part of being obedient to God’s word when ministering to others is to speak the truth in love, let our speech be “full of grace” and “seasoned with salt” and to consider others better than ourselves. Those of us who desire mercy must in turn be merciful, and that includes mercy in our opinions and attitudes towards those who “by their fruit” are not walking in accordance with God’s will. Jesus said in these last days people would become “lovers of themselves” and surround themselves with teachers who only speak what they want to hear. Our response should not be one of rage as Nikole pointed out, for our Father commanded us to leave room for His judgment, vengeance belongs to Him. In all that we do if it’s not done in love it’s not worth a heavenly cent. By all means if someone is called to blow the horn on fake Christianity let them blow it, but let them represent Christ well when they do it. And let them read Romans before they do it so they know where days of observance fall on the list of priorities in this faith walk.
      God bless you,
      Tanara

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      • “By all means if someone is called to blow the horn on fake Christianity let them blow it, but let them represent Christ well when they do it.” Very well worded here. People forget that the church is made up of imperfect, but forgiven people bought by the blood of Christ. The passover is a beautiful rite that actually foretells Christ. I went through one and was surprised at how I could see Christ in it.

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