Thieves in the Temple
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What has become of the Christian Church? Once devoted to molding Americans into better people, in recent years the Christian Church has gotten a corporate makeover. In a desperate attempt to bolster membership rolls, ministers have begun to treat their churches more like companies, and their congregations more like customers.

As a minister in a small church, religion journalist Jeffrey MacDonald witnessed firsthand this lapse into consumerism. He realized that in an effort to cast a wide net for souls churches have sacrificed their authority to transform Americans' self-serving impulses for the better. In the headlong rush to operate more like businesses, churches are sacrificing their moral authority, perhaps permanently. The result is a crisis for the American conscience.

Based on boots on the ground reporting from America's churches, as well as the author's personal experience and Christian theology, Thieves in the Temple is an incisive critique of today's movement away from true religion, showing how desperately America needs a new religious reformation.

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Church groups have been gathering to discuss Thieves in the Temple, and now there's a new free resource for group leaders to help facilitate stimulating conversations. The new Thieves in the Temple study guide, downloadable here, equips group leaders to help participants hone in on the book's most important themes. Questions and summaries of key points are organized in the study guide to help churchgoers reflect on some of the market-driven trends they see unfolding in their own faith communities. Suggested action steps at the end of each chapter teach churchgoers to learn to use their clout as religious consumers to encourage churches to offer more than spiritualized entertainment and therapy.  The study guide will help Christians and churches reclaim their core missions at a time when America needs them to do exactly that.

Copyright © 2010 by Basic Books