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Has American Christianity Failed?

by Bryan Wolfmueller

Item #: 124464 / 2016 / Paperback / 250 Pages


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American Christianity teaches the centrality of the individual—my will, my experiences, my decision, my heart, my work, and my dedication. Yet we couldn’t be more unaware that Christ and His saving and comforting work are being lost. Our minds and hearts are captivated in some way by those who often preach the Christian instead of Christ.

Wolfmueller sounds the alarm against the false teaching and dangerous practices of Christianity in America. He offers a beautiful alternative: the sweet savor of the Gospel, which brings us to the real comfort, joy, peace, freedom, and sure hope of Christ.

And it’s for you.


Free discussion questions when you order the book! A free downloadable PDF of study questions will be automatically added to your cart when you buy Has American Christianity Failed?

Praise for Has American Christianity Failed?
“In this sparkling handbook of Lutheran theology, the author draws on his own experience of popular American Christianity. Yet his focus is not on his own story but on the common impact of God’s Word as law and gospel on its hearers. Against the backdrop of its spiritually shallow and superficially Biblical claims, he portrays the full counsel of God evangelically and sacramentally, with wit and verve, clarity and depth, passion and imagination. And all that pastorally as comfort to people with a bad conscience! By the way that he teaches God’s Word, he arrests our attention, surprises us mentally with many new insights, energizes us spiritually, and gladdens our hearts. Its teaching drives away the cloying stench of decadent piety and replaces it with the joyful aroma of Christ and His fragrant, life-giving message.”
—Dr. John Kleinig

“Wolfmueller refuses to believe in the silent God of American spirituality and speaks the sweet savor of the Gospel at a time when we need it most. With a deft hand, he lances the boil of religious hypocrisy, but not without reason: the goal is not just to get the infection out, but to get the antidote in. Has American Christianity Failed? is an essential addition to the library of anyone wondering why American spirituality seems so broken and looking for God’s plan to fix it.”
—Jonathan Fisk, Creative Director and Pastor, Worldview Everlasting

“Bryan Wolfmueller has done us all a great favor. Whether you are a Lutheran casting an envious eye toward popular generic Christianity in America or whether you are a disappointed or disenfranchised American Christian wondering whether there’s a more substantial option, you will be enriched by this book. Bryan writes concisely, with clarity, humor, and precision. He writes candidly about his own personal journey through American pop Christianity toward Lutheranism, admitting he found the Lutheran Church sadly wanting at first. But like Martin Luther before him, Bryan has been persuaded by the clear teaching of Scripture. The result is a persuasive apologetic for the Lutheran confession of the Christ-centered biblical Gospel over against the me-centered gospel of American Christianity. Read it for yourself first, then pass it along to others looking for living water in the desert that American Christianity has become.”
—Dr. Harold L Senkbeil, Executive Director for Spiritual Care, DOXOLOGY: The Lutheran Center for Spiritual Care and Counsel

“Christianity in North America has largely been shaped by unbiblical assumptions about the power of human choice. In an engaging and conversational style, Wolfmueller draws on his own experiences as a college student moving from church to church and more recently as a Lutheran pastor to offer a Christ-centered critique. Wolfmueller does not offer programs or techniques for church revitalization but rather invites his readers to hear the Word of the cross and find their confidence in the sure and certain promises of Christ Jesus. This book will challenge, edify, and encourage faithful disciples of Jesus Christ in the context of our self-addicted and chaotic culture.”
—John T. Pless, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry and Missions, Concordia Theological Seminary

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Customer Reviews

Has American Christianity Failed?

by Bryan Wolfmueller

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My Wife and I Are Lutheran Because of this Book

After becoming thoroughly disgruntled and frustrated with the doctrinal errors and fad-chasing shallowness of evangelicalism, I began making inquiries about other more traditional denominations and a friend suggested that I read this book. Pastor Wolfmueller hit on all of the major problems I have experienced over the years and explained what was missing. He confirmed that what I was reading in my Bible really meant what I understood and believed it said, contrary to what I heard in so many evangelical churches. My wife also learned a lot from it and we sought out and found a good Confessional Lutheran church to join. Thank you, Pastor Wolfmueller. Lutheranism has built a stone fortress around my faith when I needed it most.

1 people found this comment helpful, 0 did not
Truth Gracefully Presented

This is a book that needed to be written. Pastor Wolfmueller describes major teachings which are rampant in American churches...teachings that do not fully comport with Scripture. American Christianity often does not start with a proper understanding of salvation and the full extent of man's fallen nature. It teaches salvation is by grace, but under closer inspection there is often a form of work's righteousness thrown in under the nice sounding veneer of "you must ask Jesus into your heart in order to 'activate' God's grace for you." Pastor Wolfmueller covers a number of topics very well. I have shared a few portions of this book with Evangelical friends and the responses have been positive. The Church(as well as nonbelievers) need the Law and Gospel. Pastor does not attack people, but he does expose bad/inadequate teachings and criticizes their errors/deficiencies in a readable and memorable fashion. Pastor Wolfmueller certainly acknowledges in a chapter the fruitful works of believers that flow out of a Christian's life and vocations. Thankfully, he clarifies how good works occur and rightly reminds us that we are never too old to need daily repentance and God's wonderful forgiveness for our ongoing sinfulness. Ultimately, the emphasis in this book is on the saving and amazing works of Jesus! Reading this book increased my understanding and appreciation for God's gracious act of reaching down to rescue me from my "death sleep." One of the most important books (outside the bible!) that I have ever read. I appreciate CPH publishing this book. Streams of mercy, floods of grace!

1 people found this comment helpful, 0 did not

Bryan Wolfmueller has written an honest look at the state of the church in America, and it is not pretty. This book is written in a very conversational tone, so it is easy to digest. If one reads this book and takes an honest look at what is available in Christian book stores and on Christian radio and television, it is easy to see the picture Rev. Wolfmueller paints. I highly recommend this book.

1 people found this comment helpful, 0 did not
Thank You.

So I read all the reviews before I started writing mine. To the two with less than favorable comments I would ask that you read those posted from readers that are not born and raised LCMS (and there are quite a few) and recognize the need for this book. I don't believe that Pastor Wolfmueller intended to belittle any specific church or branch of Christianity although he may call out some specific one to make a point throughout the book. I do believe he makes plain that the Bible is the Word of God (period), the disturbing trend to think otherwise and the disastrous results that can result from that thinking. I also thought like Matt while reading the book how can we witness this. I also would pray that this can be done. I am very grateful this book was written. It has given me answers to questions people ask me all the time and it has answered some that I didn't have an answer for. Most importantly Pastor Wolfmueller has backed up all the answers with God's Word. Buy the book and share it. I bought some for my Pastors, my children, my God Children, and friends in my Bible study.

2 people found this comment helpful, 0 did not
Recommended for Lutherans and non-Lutherans alike

I can’t think of anyone more qualified to write this book than Bryan Wolfmueller. After spending years in the mindset of American Christianity (which is a broad definition not aimed at any particular denomination), Wolfmueller eventually became a Lutheran pastor, so he knows very well the theology of both. He explains his experiences in American Christianity as follows: “There were times of great joy, but there were times of great sorrow, even despair. Altogether, it was a time of trouble and a teaching of burden. The teaching focused on my Christian life instead of on Christ, on my resolve instead of on God’s mercy, on my decision instead of on the death of Jesus” (p 8). In this book, he explores how revivalism, pietism, mysticism, and enthusiasm influence American Christianity, and quite possibly even your own thinking as well. He discusses the teachings of original sin, justification, good works, prayer, and even the end times. Through it all, he points always and only to Jesus as the center of our theology and worship.

2 people found this comment helpful, 0 did not
Wonderful Book

I feel this book was written so that we as lay people can easily understand what Pastor Wolfmueller is talking about. It is a Christ centered book, and is a great book to pass on to family and friends who may be confused or upset about what there current Church is teaching and preaching. Once again Pastor Wolfmueller has written a book that is easily understood. Again Pastor has shown us of the love of Christ for all people.

3 people found this comment helpful, 0 did not

This is an amazing book. Love it, and the truth it reveals. Need more of it. I have a read my copy several times now, and use it as a reference book. This book needs to be an audio book. I travel a lot, and having the wise sharing of the Word from Pastor Wolfmueller and other CPH authors would be great. Please CPH, why not?

3 people found this comment helpful, 0 did not
An important work for Pastors

As someone who grew up in Pentacostalism before landing in Lutheranism, I highly recommend this book for any Pastor or church worker who have people joining their congregations who are coming from evanglicalism. This book will be very helpful in understanding where they are coming from and some of the spiritual road blocks in their way.

3 people found this comment helpful, 0 did not
The Comfort of the Gospel to those Oppresed by the Law

Has American Christianity Failed? by Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller brings the comfort of the Gospel to the Law scorched wasteland of American Christianity. It brings the comfort of knowing that Christ’s salvific work on the Cross is for you. It removes the uncertainty of trying to find God’s will for your life through subjective introspection and in its stead gives you the comfort of God’s external Word which is clear, sufficient, and efficacious. It reveals how the Word became flesh and took our place on the Cross fulfilling the Law’s requirements; this Revelation means that we no longer have to wonder if we have done enough to merit salvation in this dark and evil age but rather that we can have confidence that Christ died for our Sin, making us heirs of Salvation, and has risen to usher in His eternal reign. I only wish that I had access to this book when I was coming out of American Christianity because it is exactly what I was looking for! I would highly recommend Has American Christianity Failed? to anyone weighed down by guilt and longing to be free.

3 people found this comment helpful, 0 did not
Best book I have read in a long time

As an LCMS Lutheran in America, this book serves as an incredibly valuable resource. There were many things that I didn't know about American Christianity and Lutheranism that the author does an outstanding job of teaching. I was surprised how much of American Christianity had infiltrated my thoughts and views and has creeped into the Lutheran church. Everyone should read this book. Don't hastate to buy it. It's well worth the $17 price tag. You will want to read it more than once.

3 people found this comment helpful, 0 did not
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