The Suicide of American Christianity - Michael D. LeMay book coverAn introduction to a litany of scourges on the church militant and a way to connect those dots.

The Suicide of American Christianity: Drinking the "Cool Aid" of Secular Humanism
Michael D. LeMay
West Bow Press

Context is roughly half the point of interest for Michael LeMay's The Suicide of American Christianity. The book derives from a place one might not expect its subject matter to flourish.

LeMay manages a Christian pop FM station in Northeastern Wisconsin, a station that  had regularly sponsored a nearby Christian music festival. A couple years ago disruption in that sponsorship occurred when that fest's organizers invited Jim Wallis, founder of theologically and politically liberal Sojourners magazine and "evangelical" adviser to President Obama, to be one of that year's seminar speakers. LeMay's decision to decline his station's sponsorship of the festival with one of the nation's formost "red letter Christians" on its schedule made national headlines that even such a politically conservative celebrity commentator as Glenn Beck made mention of it on his media platforms.

It didn't take long for LeMay to discover that Wallis is only one of the threats to the perseverance of U.S. Christendom. That discovery led to the birth of Stand Up For Tbe Truth. It's a radio show unique not only in the array of issues related to biblical discernment and apologetics LeMay and co-host Amy Spreeman address, but in its venue as well. Whereas what few other shows tackling the faults in quasi-scriptural social justice, the emergent church, seeker sensitivity/purpose drivenness, environmentalism, contemplative spirituality, the Christian and Islamic hodgepodge of Chrislam, the new apostolic reformation, universalism, word-faith apostasy, the normalization of evolution and homosexuality and other trends seeping into the Church mostly run on outlets where "conservative" (i.e., as far from the influence of rock, much less popular music from any time predating, say, 1953) is the norm, LeMay's station's playlist runs in the thick of cCm, some artists of which likely have ties to various among the matters of concern he and Spreeman address.

That probable-and for the station's format-probably inescapable-discrepancy would be one ripe for its own treatment. LeMay doesn't touch upon that in Suicide, but its overview of many of the infections weakening Ameircan Christanity's fundamental roots still makes for a worthwhile text revealing one man's plunge into watchman ministry (per Ezekiel 3:17 and 33:7) and the sickly diagnosis he gives to the body of Christ he cares for.

As he and Spreeman point out regularly on their program, neither is a biblical scholar; but both are, as is the case with most of their listeners, students of the Word, and they apply their study to the issues they confront. In my frequent listening to Stand Up, I've heard hem interview at least a couple of guests they might have later thought better of giving the international exposure that the show has gathered. But LeMay's and Spreeman's balance of humility, indignation, humor and love for their kin in Christ make for an engrossing weekdaily hour of radio.

Most every subject LeMay broaches in Suicide has been written about in books dedicated to them and long blog posts by other authors. With that in mind, this likely serves best as an introduction to a litany of scourges on the church militant and as a way to connect those dots. It's especially effective when draws parallels between the state of the church and his own life, such as his mother's slow, suicidal succumbing to alcoholism and his offer of accountability to a married male friend whose marriage was threatened by his proclivity to patronize striptease joints.

Another merit of LeMay's writing is his passion. His written word closely approximates his sometimes folksy on-air palaver, and it's pretty absorbing, even if it sometimes lacks punctuational accuracy. He appears to have counted the cost of being a thorn in the side of a church world ever more accommodating to and acquiescent of the world at large and believes in his calling to help those with ears to hear tell truth from seemingly exponentially increasing error.

LeMay's not as severe in his calling out of some figures as I or others might be. He rightly deems emergent bigwig Brian McLaren, who once declared that Jesus' crucifixion "false advertising for God," a heretic, but he's more reticent to lay that title on many others whose ecumenism, syncretism and false teaching put them willfully at odds with biblical orthodoxy. And though most of Suicide's 15 chapters are rife with scriptural references and factual references, the majority of those chapters could have benefited from more extensive endnotes for the reader who wants to traverse the rabbit trails where LeMay's research leads.

The above are mostly minor quibbles for an important work. If learning more about the topics covered here isn't incentive enough to buy Suicide, charity may be. LeMay is donating all of his royalties to the up keep of the radio station where he works.

-Jamie Lee Rake

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