For further study, I would recommend reading Michael Horton's book Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church, published by BakerBooks in 2008. To whet your appetite for a subject that is distressing yet vitally necessary, here is a preview of the book written on the dust jacket:
Invoking Martin Luther's treatise On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church, Michael Horton fears that the church in American has also been willingly taken captive. The captors are American culture and ideals: consumerism, pragmatism, self-sufficiency, individualism, positive thinking, personal prosperity, and nationalism. Though these are antithetical to the gospel, we have often made them part and parcel with it.
As you watch the Christless Christianity Conference video's, I encourage you to reflect on the state of your own local churches and how you fit into the body of Christ. Would love your comments and dialogue!Horton argues that while we haven't yet arrived at Christless Christianity, we are well on our way. Though we invoke the name of Christ, too often Christ and the Christ-centered gospel are pushed aside. The result is a message and a faith that are, in Horton's words, "trivial, sentimental, affirming, and irrelevant." This alternative "gospel" is a message of moralism, personal comfort, self-help, self-improvement, and individualistic religion. It trivializes God, making him a means to our selfish ends. Horton skillfully diagnoses the problem and points to the solution: a return to the unadulterated gospel of salvation. Here is a must-read for anyone concerned about the state and future of Christianity and the church in America.