Be sure to check out Zombie Church on Kregel’s website.
Zombie Church, at first glance seems to be nothing more than the same tired observations presented in a way that might appeal to those who enjoy horror (a bonus!) or an old complaint presented in a more socially relevant manner. To dismiss the book as only that is to do a great disservice to Tyler Edwards, but also, and most importantly to yourself. While it is true that he observes of the struggles the church currently faces, the true joy of the book is in the solutions he offers.
While reading the book you cannot help but be slowly convicted of many of the behaviors that are listed. This is incredibly useful as knowledge of said behaviors brings about the ability to change them. The admittance of the author of being guilty, in the past, of many of the behaviors is both refreshingly honest and encouraging as well. The problems are honestly and fairly pointed out, but the true joy of the book is in the solutions that are offered.
Many works have been published about the problems the church faces and the solutions that must be employed, but Zombie Church is the first that I have read that actually points out the only solution that can work. The problems of the church may be institutional, but the solutions are individual. Zombie Church gets to the root of the problem that it is not only action that matters, but the motivation of that action. It is not only faith that makes a church alive and vibrant, it is the love that accompanies it. As Tyler points out, “Without love, service means nothing. Without love, faith means nothing.” As the book points out well, if the church is a zombie, then the solution is that it’s people must experience resurrection.
Part of the enjoyment of reading Zombie Church is that it is full of good one-liners. In a sound bite culture, the truth is that we need these one-liners to stick with us and solidify the meaning of what we are reading. Observations like, “God’s call is not to enslave you with laws and regulations, but to send you out like an arsonist to a flammable world,” cannot help but stick in the back of your mind and constantly remind you of what the mission is. Observations like, “passion has been replaced with cowardice and reason,” cannot help but ring true and spur you forward toward a better future for the church. Truths like, “The darkness that we see is not an indication of the strength of our enemy; it is a result of our own inaction,” lovingly convict us not toward oppressing guilt, but to better action and behavior for the sake of the church that we love. Statements like, “The church is ever, only, always about Jesus,” challenge us to be the same. The church is not a decaying corpse, but she is sick with a disease. Zombie church reminds and encourages us that we, as individuals, can be the cure.