THE WAY BACK by Phil Cooke and Jonathan Bock

THE WAY BACK: How Christians Blew Our Credibility and How We Get It Back
By Phil Cooke and Jonathan Bock
(Worthy Publishing)

There was a time when the Christian church had an impact on the world and culture. Even if the public didn’t agree with the Church’s teachings, they at least respected the leaders and the members of the Body of Christ.

That has now shifted to the point that the Christians are suspect. Their beliefs are questioned, ridiculed, or dismissed. Some question whether Christians are even competent to hold public office. If that isn’t bad enough, there is broad scale fighting within the Body, on topics ranging from doctrine, to politics, to culture.

“Out of the same mouth comes praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” James 3:10 (NIV)

What happened and what can be done?

Authors and media experts Phil Cooke and Jonathan Bock address these questions in their book, THE WAY BACK: How Christians Blew Our Credibility and How We Get It Back.

From the Back Cover:

Uncover the 2,000-year-old secret about how an inconsequential Jewish cult in a remote Roman province utterly transformed the world — and how Christians can do it again.
Two thousand years ago, in a back-water Roman province, a rag-tag group of powerless fishermen committed themselves to a movement they called The Way. Within decades, it became the globe’s central religion — the leading force in culture, politics, literature, science, philanthropy, and the arts. Against impossible odds, they astonished the world. Yet today—particularly in the media—Christians are dismissed as irrelevant. Authors Phil Cooke and Jonathan Bock discover seven unique traits of the members of the early Church that made such improbable and staggering growth possible. Based on these seven core beliefs, THE WAY BACK inspires and motivates modern believers to get their priorities together to once again become vessels God can use to do extraordinary things here on Earth.


Phil Cooke, co-author of THE WAY BACK

The authors discuss this topic from a unique position. Phil Cooke is a filmmaker, media consultant, and working Hollywood producer with a Ph.D. in Theology. He’s appeared on NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, CNN, Fox News, and his work has been profiled in The New York TimesThe Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In addition to writing his blog at philcooke.com, he also blogs for The Huffington Post, and has been a contributor to Fast Company, Forbes.com, Wired.com, and FoxNews.com. Phil has been a long-time member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Phil and his wife, Kathy, live in Los Angeles, California.

Jonathan Bock, co-author of THE WAY BACK

Jonathan Bock began his career in marketing at Warner Bros. He’s the founder of Grace Hill Media, which has marketed more than 400 major motion pictures and television projects to Christian audiences worldwide. He is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA) and an elder at Bel Air Presbyterian Church Los Angeles. Jonathan lives in Los Angeles, California.

Cooke and Bock do not come from a, “Listen to us; we are media experts,” stance. THE WAY BACK is loaded with references to Early Church elders and historians as well as respected Christian writers and leaders. They have complied this research into an insightful and easy-to-follow conversation.

Broken into four parts: “Where Did We Go Wrong,” “When the Dawn is Still Dark,” “The Purge,” and “The Makeover,” the authors begin by siting studies and statistics that indicate the Christian faith is collapsing in Western culture. They then make a startling comment: Jesus Christ didn’t seem concerned about influence and—in fact—went out of His way to avoid it. When He healed people, He warned them not to tell others what happened. He slipped away when people tried to make Him king.

The authors go back to the beginning and look at the people of the Early Church. Early Christians lived in a culture where slavery was accepted, killed people for sport, left unwanted newborn babies and sick people outside to die. In this culture, the Early Church astonished the Romans. “Without confrontation, protest, or debate, love did its work.” The members of the Early Church cared for the sick, even if it meant they would succumb to the illness. They snuck outside to rescue the unwanted babies, taking them into their own homes. They were willing to die in the arenas rather than give up their faith. These actions so softened the hearts of the Romans that they wanted to know more about the Christians and the God they represented.

This book is not merely a hopeless slam on the Body of Christ. Bock and Cooke point readers to the Seven Mysteries that the Early Church lived to regain credibility: Surrender, Scripture, Submission, Service, Sacrifice, Simplicity, and Suffering.

To mix metaphors, THE WAY BACK is a timely wake-up call to the Body of Christ. It is heavy with spiritual-calories—it takes time to digest what you read. It steps on readers’ toes, yet points to them to light at the end of the tunnel.