Accepting Those Who Believe Differently
The Meaning of Life
By James Rutz (reviewed by Peter DeHaan)
In The Meaning of Life, author James Rutz takes a new look at some of the standard thinking about God. He examines anew God’s creation, corrects common misconceptions about what heaven and hell are really like, revisits history to address its central theme and approaching conclusion, addresses the problem of evil, and takes aim at clarifying some of the Bible’s perplexing passages. His purpose in doing so is to remove the intellectual stumbling blocks to faith. However, all this is merely a prelude to his main objective: offering “an enticing alternative to old-fashioned, Sunday morning Christianity.”
Although The Meaning of Life is a standalone book, Rutz does make multiple references to is prior work, Megashift, which was published the prior year. Both works take vastly different approaches and cover a different theme to arrive at the same place: house churches. Toward this end, Rutz first suggests that it is time to “reboot the church”; then he encourages readers to “make an end run around the church” by starting their own (their own church, that is, not their own religion).
Rutz proceeds to reel off a string a house church benefits where participants can experience “team life,” with “24/7 support”; “have mutual accountability”; “form deep, loving relationships”; “find solutions to many…deep seated problems”; realize “tremendous empowerment”; “gain a new authority”; discover freedom and a “greater identity as part of the royal priesthood”; and be offered “the ultimate challenge – daring high-stakes, history-changing adventure.” Plus, there will be the free worship of God, where his presence is clearly felt. “When the [church] meeting is open,” Rutz notes, “the Holy Spirit is allowed to direct things as he wants, His presence can be heart-stopping—like nothing you’ve ever experienced.”
Rutz then offers a dozen rules for those who desire more out of life. He concludes The Meaning of Life with five keys to help readers understand the problem passages found in the Bible.
[The Meaning of Life, by James Rutz. Published by Empowerment Press, 2006, ISDN: 9780966915846, 138 pages.]
Read more book reviews by Peter DeHaan.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.