Exit Interviews: Revealing Stories of Why People Are Leaving the Church. William Hendricks. Grand Rapids: Moody Press, 1993. 305 pp. Cloth $17.99.
When I opened my mailbox and saw Exit Interviews, the subtitle gripped my imagination: “Revealing Stories Why People Are Leaving the Church.” This book did arouse my attention. So much is written on church growth, but little attention is given to the casualties.
Hendricks is trying to tell the story of the casualties through anecdotal evidence. He takes 25 real people, changes their names and church names, and clearly explains what happened. I found myself ready to give each person advice before hearing all that was said. Afterward, I wanted to give their former pastors advice.
Why should those who love Free Grace read this book? A couple of very good reasons emerge. One, there is a theology of backsliding to be learned in these pages. Person after person falls by the wayside, not over sin, but due to a more devastating reason-disillusionment. “I didn’t get what was promised,” is an often-heard cry. This is a faulty Evangel that promises what God does not deliver. Two, grace is the solution. Hendricks recognizes this: “Most churches preach grace and live works.” The author continues in another place with a probing question: “How long is [the church] going to coddle legalists in its ranks?”
The implications of the Free Grace position go far beyond the witnessing opportunity. It must be worked out in how we “do church.” Exit Interviews will help open the door to a better church of grace.
Brian R. Hardee
Independent Bible Church