The Light Is Winning: Why Religion Just Might Bring Us Back to Life

The Light Is Winning: Why Religion Just Might Bring Us Back to Life

by Zach Hoag


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If anyone had good reason to join the league of the “Nones,” the “Dones,” and the deconstructionists, it would be Zach Hoag. After growing up and out of the compound walls of a Texas cult, and becoming a failed church planter in one of the most post-Christian cities in America, Zach was faced with both a crisis and a choice. He loved Jesus, yet questioned: If the church is such a broken system, is it really worth belonging to anymore?

The viral upswing of the “spiritual but not religious” trend has cast religion as going rapidly out of style. Yet even in his own desert of deconstruction, Zach couldn’t shake his desire for a spiritual home. His search ultimately led him to look behind the statistics, where Zach found an astonishing undercurrent subversively at work.

The truth, as Zach discovered, is that we are in a cultural moment of apocalypse. Not an end-of-the-world apocalypse, but in the very literal sense of the word which translates simply, “a revealing.” Perhaps the downtrend of Christian faith in America is just the kind of Great Revealing we need to show us who we really are as American Christians, who Jesus really is in our midst, and how we can step into the flourishing faith he has always intended for us.

For anyone who is anxious about the future of the church and their place in it, The Light Is Winning rallies to an unexpected, unshakeable hope: Could it be that we’ve made religion out to be the culprit when in fact, religion is just what we need to revive us? Could it be that our struggle for relevance must come to a necessary end, so that we can get to the real? After all, isn’t this the essence of the story of God: death paves the way for a resurrected, deeply rooted, flourishing faith. Such faith can be yours. The Light Is Winning will show you how.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310347866
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 06/06/2017
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Zach Hoag is an author, preacher, and creator from New England. Planting a church in one of the least churched cities in the U.S. (Burlington, Vermont), and pursuing ministry beyond that in a variety of spaces, Zach has learned a few things about the power of a deeply rooted life in Christ. Zach has found belonging in Westford, Vermont where he lives with his wife, Kalen, and their three girls. Find him writing at and follow him on Twitter @zhoag.

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The Light Is Winning: Why Religion Just Might Bring Us Back to Life 1.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
CisnerosCafe More than 1 year ago
Imagine a world where religion can wage light instead of war. Does that place exist or is it solely a place we hold in our hearts? I don’t know. I came to Hoag’s book with these questions in mind. I read the book twice hoping I didn’t miss something the first time I read it. Hoag comes from a Texas cult and as he grows older, he understands this is not how Jesus intended us to live. He draws from this place as he takes us through his failed attempts at church planting and his passion for God. He discusses the “nones,” the “dones,” and the reasons more and more people are leaving the church and moreover, leaving Christianity altogether. I’m in agreement with his idea of institutionalism. “Maybe a better way to saying it is that though the dones leave the church for a number of important reasons, perhaps all of them can be boiled down to institutionalism” (Hoag, 43). My favorite chapter was on American empire and how we’ve confiscated church to make it fit this conglomerate expression of being a lukewarm or cold Christian. I grew up in this kind of household and this way of thinking. I see it still expressed all around me when we talk about either being all for Jesus or not for Jesus at all. It leaves no room for the grace of the Most High. I couldn’t dig too deeply into Hoag’s message. I was really drawn by him being in a cult as a kid. I’m from Texas. These cults are not unheard of (it’s a shame), but I felt the book had three different stories going on: growing up in a cult, church planting, and American empire. I believe what he says to be true about wanting to belong. Perhaps, the book could have circled around this but that was left to loose interpretation. I agree when he says we need to wipe ourselves of the empire mentality. I can go 100% with that idea. I liked a lot of the ideas he’s working with but I couldn’t keep a straight thought while reading this book. I appreciate what Hoag is doing and hope to read more of his work in the future. I recommend this book if you like to deconstruct your ideas of religion and spirituality.
Kozlof More than 1 year ago
Zach Hoag brings his readers an offering with the idea that religion may just bring us (specifically his US readers) back to life. The final paragraph on the back cover surmises his approach for the book: For anyone who is anxious about the future of the church and their place in it, The Light is Winning illuminates a bright path to a faith filled future where you can not only flourish but find a true home. When I ordered this book I was excited to see the content. Unfortunately what I found within the pages of this book were not modelled by its title or the words of praise with in. Hoag spends approximately 3/4 of the book sharing the horrible nature of the church at large and the negative view the world has of it. It would seem this portion is also used as his unofficial biography as we discover much of his past and present life within the pages. The final 1/4 of the book finally develops an idea of the light being victorious, though there is much negativity within this range as well. I also found it confusing on the many occasions where Hoag linked Christianity to popular culture references (mainly television shows) which contain a plethora of violent, crude, pornographic and often anti church content. It would appear his lean is more to the ‘relevant movement’ than the more conservative theological foundation he speaks of (Calvinist and Wesleyan churches) agreeing with. Finally I was also concerned with the way he lumped entire portions of the charismatic movement with each other. Yes some are on the ‘name it and claim it’ portion of this movement, but not all. I feel he should have taken time to allow for this differentiation. Overall the book felt choppy and self-serving, just wanting to prove a point against his parents and the cult he belonged to early in life. I struggled through it and cannot recommend it for various reasons. **I received this book free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. These are my personal thoughts.**