Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World by Michael Horton.

Michael Horton says that despite the similarities in cover design, despite “radical” being in the subtitle, and despite numerous pops at “radical Christianity” in the book, “I’m not going after Radical.”

I don’t quite understand the defensiveness.

He also says that “Those who think I am going after the book admit that they haven’t read mine yet, but they suspect that Radical is the target. It’s not.”

Well, I’ve read the book, and if Radical is not at least a major part of the target, it’s the most accidental bullseye I’ve ever seen.

Again, not quite sure why that should be a worry, especially as at no point does Horton personalize the issues or take down people by name. It’s a careful, courteous, and humble book – Horton targets himself as well.

It does come across as a rather negative book overall, mainly because while there are so many areas to critique in “extraordinary” evangelicalism, there are really only a few “ordinary” alternatives which Horton keeps coming back to: preaching, prayer, sacraments, and the community of faith in the local church. 

There is much worthwhile fresh content in the book, but those familiar with Horton’s writing and broadcasting will recognize many of his favorite bogeymen: pietism, activism, revivalism, dramatic conversions, and so on.

This book needed to be written and no one better could have written it than modern evangelicalism’s “Jeremiah.” It serves as a helpful counter-balance to some of the “extraordinary” books and movements that have swept up many young Christians with unsustainable expectations, but who are now running out of steam. To them, this will be a breath of welcome and reinvigorating fresh air.

And for ordinary Christians who just regularly plod along to ordinary churches, to ordinary worship, to ordinary Christian friendships, to ordinary Christian service, and then out into our ordinary jobs, this book will greatly encourage you that it’s in these very ordinary settings that our extraordinary God does radical things.

Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World by Michael Horton.