Feb. 8, 2010 review in Publishers Weekly:
"A journalist and United Church of Christ ordained minister, MacDonald, an occasional PW contributor, bemoans the rise of “America’s religious marketplace,” taking church leaders to task for caving in to pressure to provide inoffensive, low-threshold environments that keep members comfortable. Critically examining contemporary efforts such as small group ministries, which he considers insular, and short-term missions, which he regards as misguided efforts to satisfy participants’ demands, MacDonald rebukes both fast-growing megachurches and mainline Protestants for not holding members to high Christian standards. He suggests that spiritual disciplines such as fasting and honoring Lent as a “structured time for introspection” are tools available to address such prevalent social problems as debt, obesity, and divorce. Compellingly arguing against measuring success by attendance or pledge revenue, MacDonald provides examples of communities engaging a “new ethic of asceticism.” The author’s extrapolations from his four-year pastorate of a 40-member congregation occasionally ring bitter, and Christians of good faith may disagree with stances such as “fencing” the communion table—the practice of setting criteria for who can receive communion. Overall, however, MacDonald’s journalistic prowess makes this book a thought-provoking challenge to today’s church."
"G. Jeffrey MacDonald writes with a journalist’s eye and a preacher’s heart. The crisis he identifies in this provocative and timely book has serious implications not only for America’s religious life but also for our broader culture and politics."
- Dan Rather, Global Correspondent and Managing Editor of HDNet's Dan Rather Reports
“With deft analysis and uncommon wisdom, Jeffrey MacDonald has produced a devastating critique of the cult of consumerism and easy affirmation that has corrupted American Protestantism in recent years. Protestants, the author argues in this compelling, prophetic, and ultimately hopeful book, have defaulted on their historic and culturally crucial task of moral formation. Thieves in the Temple is the finest, most perceptive book on Protestant life in America in a very long time.”
- Randall Balmer, Episcopal priest, Professor of American Religious History at Barnard College, Columbia University, and author ofThy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America
“Parts of the American church are beginning to resemble a modern Ship of Fools, and Jeffrey MacDonald has fired a timely shot across its bows. A penetrating and wide-ranging analysis of consumer religion, written with sorrow rather than anger, Thieves in the Temple is good reading for any interested observers but essential for pastors and lay people concerned for the integrity of the Christian faith in the modern world.”
- Os Guinness, author of The Last Christian on Earth
“Jeffrey MacDonald's Thieves in the Temple is written with clarity and verve. He argues passionately that the wholesale embrace of a consumerist driven model of culture threatens ‘the very soul’ of the Christian churches, and he does so in a manner free from the spite and resentment that too often accompany such critiques. Thieves in the Temple deserves a wide readership.”
- Jean Bethke Elshtain, Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago and author of Sovereignty: God, State, and Self
“No one seriously concerned about the future of the churches can afford to miss MacDonald’s critique and vision.”
- Rev. Dr. Roy J. Enquist, chaplain of Washington National Cathedral and emeritus professor of theology at Gettysburg Seminary.