Author:  Larry Shallenberger
Title:  Divine Intention
Publisher:  Victor Books

It’s no secret we’re living in the greatest time of change the secular world and Christianity has ever seen.  Technology has rendered many things obsolete, cultural values are spilling over borders everywhere, mixing with thoughts, ideas, and perspectives previously thought incompatible, and the Church—the representative body of Christ—is likewise convulsing in the throes of growth and change.

On one side contemporary, cultural, perhaps even post-modern Christianity clamors to be heard over the din of programs, three-point sermons and legalism—calling for a more feeling, experiential, relevant and out-reach oriented Christian life—and on the other side stands the fundamental, orthodox vanguard of the “old school”, preaching loudly against heresy, liberalism, and weak Scriptural founding. What should the church be? Should it be for Christians only and the edification of the saints; should it be an instrument of evangelism, executing the Great Commission, or can it be both?

In the middle are people such as you and I; perhaps raised in quiet, happy, harmonious churches, now disillusioned with fallen pastors, rigid congregations, and the didactic struggle that tugs at all sides of the church.

Is it worth it? Is the church worth saving?

Larry Shallenberger’s Divine Intention takes aim at this particular quandary. Part fictional, part devotional, it looks at the state of the church today—where we are, and where we have to go from here. It examines the early Christian church of Acts, and holds it up as a mirror to contemporary churches. It studies the controversial figures of Paul and other apostles, and muses—are we as Christians and churches worthy of being compared to those early Christians, or have we strayed too far into structures and forms that are function oriented only, and not God-breathed and God-filled?

Perhaps the best strength of Divine Intention is its conversational nature, which touches on a true weakness in Christianity today—because we are so fragmented along denominational, ideological, and traditional lines, there is no thoughtful, intellectual, spiritual give and take conversation taking place among Christians. Divine Intention doesn’t pretend to have all the answers, but it’s not designed that way; it’s crafted as a mirror to expose what’s on the inside—denominational hang-ups, preferences, and presumptions all—and see how it matches up with those first people Christ commanded to “go forth”. It’s designed to start the conversation, as well as point in the direction of what such a “Godly” conversation should look like.

Divine Intention also has a lot to say about discovering God’s will in our lives, and how this too is a conversation: not a bullet-point list of “What God Wants On Your Itinerary this Year”. He directs us instead to conversing with God on an intimate, prayerful level, living a life of obedience as we should to discover what God’s will holds for us.

Larry Shallenberger doesn’t have all the answers, but he proposes the usefulness of thoughtful, spiritual, divine conversation. For this, seek out the Divine Intention today, and visit www.larryshallenberger.com.

 
© 2007 Infuze Magazine
.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.