I read this book a few years ago and have been struck by how well its thesis has held up since the book was written in 1991. In fact it might have been ahead of its time.
The book deals with Hindu’s in India who become Christians but go on practicing Hinduism in regards to houses of worship, fellowship, and cultural framework. These Hindu’s made a public profession of Jesus but did not join a local church. Many missionaries have thought this was the elixir to solve doing missions work in places hostile to the Gospel.
No need for people to put themselves in jeopardy by stepping away from their previous faith community and facing suffering, rather than can just be secret believers.
My point being here is that when Christianity becomes churchless it is able to avoid the mockery, persecution, and suffering that comes along with following Jesus.
Church free Christianity has becoming more prevalent not just in far off places but right here in America.
In India the church is seen as needless, but here in America the church is seen as irrelevant. People operate under the assumption they can be true followers of Jesus and have little to no involvement with the local church. The Church and we as a body has seemed to have failed in conveying to people the deep transforming truths of Christianity that create and demand a new and deeper life.
The reasons for this are endless but a few are that we have turned church into entertainment. Churches have striven for marketing first often at the expense of faithfulness, and doctrinal truths have been replaced in favor of subjective journeys and experiences.
All of these shifts implicitly exhalt the individual over the body. Which makes church less and less central and more optional, even for the Christian.