Book Review: Church of Cowards (by Matt Walsh, 2020)
Matt Walsh is an outspoken defender of the Christian faith and traditional values. His 2020 book “Church of Cowards” looks at many of problems inside Western Christianity (using the word “Christian” in the very broadest way). His focus is especially on U.S. Christians, but the same criticism would apply to Europe and Canada (except they’re ahead of the U.S. in this decline). He contrasts the poor spiritual health of the church in these wealthy nations with the faith demonstrated by Christians who live in repressive cultures and countries (where Christians are persecuted and martyred).
I missed this book when it came out in 2020. Fortunately, I heard of it in 2022 and found it very worthwhile reading. If you care about the Christian church (or want to assess your own faith), I encourage you to read “Church of Cowards.”
Mr. Walsh looks at various aspects of the problem, providing good examples and citing relevant scripture. I think his analysis and conclusions are sound. Though a majority of Americans self-identify as “Christians,” a large and growing number of these don’t really understand the key elements of the faith, don’t read the Bible (and disagree with many things in it), and don’t attend church (or attend one that’s strayed far from the straight and narrow path). Such “Christians” are sometimes called “professing” Christians, to contrast them from those whose faith is real. Matt doesn’t point to one denomination and say “this one has it right,” but he describes several church-types and behaviors that have gone far down the wrong road.
Here’s an analogy for professing “Christians” (my analogy, not Matt’s): Fraternal organizations do a lot of good things and provide opportunities for like-minded people to enjoy each other’s company. But a guy who says “I’m an Elk” is not actually a 1,000 lb. herbivore with antlers, even though he is a card-carrying, dues-paid member of the group. Likewise, there are many nice people who call themselves “Christians,” but their lives don’t provide evidence to support that claim (viewed through the lens of the Bible).
The last book in the Bible (Revelation) devotes its first three chapters to describing seven church types. Almost all of these churches were off-track, worldly, apostate or lukewarm. Jesus tells them to get back on track or face His judgment. A couple churches received some commendations. The Western church described in “Church of Cowards” embodies so many of the failings of the churches described in Revelation 1-3.
“The events in Revelation may be closer than they seem in your mental mirror.” (I think I’m quoting myself there.) The remainder of Revelation describes how God will change the situation and deal with sin for eternity. He will use the crucible of the Tribulation to refine professing Christians and to attract other non-believers. This will be “God’s Final Call.” A great many of these people will see the light (and repent, becoming saints of the Tribulation), but most will be continue to reject Jesus Christ. Revelation 21:8 says (emphasis added), “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
The decline of the church in recent decades (described in Walsh’s book) and the simultaneous growth in violence, greed, narcissism, deceit, immorality and everything else evil are among the reasons that I think our world is at (or very near to) the tipping point. The point where the world will move from Revelation chapters 1-3 to chapters 4-22. The point where all genuine Christians and the Holy Spirit will be withdrawn from the Earth in the Rapture and the crucible of the Tribulation will follow.
I dramatize these Biblical end times prophecies in my own novels. The 2022 novel “Twilight of the Church Age” (currently available through Kindle Vella) depicts characters and events during the “Church Age” and ends with the Rapture. The 2021 novel “The Great New Deal” is its sequel. This novel is set during the post-Rapture period of Revelation chapters 4 and 5. In the period following these novels, Jesus unleashes the judgments of the Tribulation (starting in Revelation 6). My books are intended to entertain, educate and share the Good News of Jesus. Their relative timing is depicted by this chart.
“Church of Cowards” does a fine job of describing the current situation within Western “Christianity.” It’s a call to action for individuals and churches, to get right with God. I hope many will heed this call, but I fear it’s too late, the tipping point is too close and the crucible of Tribulation lies ahead. Which side will you choose in this great spiritual war?
Mark C. Tredecim
One thought on “Book Review: Church of Cowards (by Matt Walsh, 2020)”
Thank you for your review of Mr. Walsh’s book, and I look forward to reading it. I also look forward to reading more from you Mr. Tredecim. We are fortunate to live in our upside down world. The work of satan and God are very apparent today. Christians need to study, pray, and encourage others every day to wake-up and get serious.