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Finding flourishing in faith, life, and creativity

Light &

Is religion the culprit, or will it bring us back to life? My latest book, The Light is Winning, seeks to answer that question and more through personal narrative, public theology, and pop culture riffs.

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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.

Zach Hoag is a faithful guide to a place of healthy religion where the light is winning — and I hope many a wounded and disappointed soul will follow him there.
— Brian Zahnd, Author & Pastor

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.

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Zondervan Book Trailer


Some Praise

For The Light is Winning

“By all accounts Zach Hoag should be a “done” who has given up on the church and a hard-bitten cynic turning his back on Christianity. But he’s not. Surviving a childhood in an apocalyptic cult and the deep disappointment of a failed church as a young adult, Zach Hoag has pressed on to find a mature, authentic, and sustainable faith. Beyond doom and gloom eschatology and overwrought revivalism, there is a place of healthy religion where the light is winning. Zach Hoag is a faithful guide to this better place and I hope many a wounded and disappointed soul will follow him there.”

— Brian Zahnd, Lead Pastor of Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, Missouri and the author of several books, including Sinners in the Hands of a Loving GodWater To Wine, and A Farewell To Mars



“When I survey 21st century America, I fight to avoid depression and despair. But in such a moment, Zach Hoag has swept in with a prophetic message bursting with optimism. The darkness is real, he admits, but it is also receding. Hoag refocuses our collective gaze and argues convincingly that America is entering a time of ‘Great Revealing.’ So sit back and read slowly. The Light is Winning pulls back the cultural curtain to reveal, not a wizard, but a blinding light of hope.”

— Jonathan Merritt, contributing writer for The Atlantic and author of Learning to Speak God from Scratch



“So often authors write about their successes. What I love about Zach is he’s given us a rare and precious opportunity to witness his apparent defeat, allowing us to watch as he wrestles with his upbringing in an authoritarian cult and his subsequent journey through denominations and church planting. Zach uses his stories to invite us into some deeper truths about the Church today, offering hope during a tumultuous time in American Christianity. And maybe the best part of all of this? He draws inspiration from TV shows, like Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. When someone tells me we don’t want an undead zombie faith, I find myself nodding along.”

— Melanie Dale, author of It’s Not Fair and Women Are Scary



“I needed to read this book. As somebody who has long been disillusioned by religion and tempted to give up on the Church, The Light is Winning was a much-needed dose of hope for me. I found my own perspectives being challenged not only by Hoag’s thoughts and ideas about God and culture but also by his beautiful story and the cheerful and endearing way in which he tells it.”

— Matthew Paul Turner, Author of Churched and When God Made You



“Only Zach Hoag could bring out the hope in an apocalypse. Leading us towards the light of authentic religion at the end of the post-modern tunnel we call being ‘spiritual’, The Light is Winning is the kind of book that you will want to keep on your nightstand for months, maybe years. You will want to reach for it each and every time you begin to lose your way and your faith.”

— Jerusalem Jackson Greer, author of At Home in this Life and Beautiful Surprises



“Zach Hoag writes with a deep love for the church and a tender pastor’s heart. He has known loss and pain, but most importantly, he has turned to the light in the midst of darkness, and the hope he writes about is what we all desperately need today.”

— Ed Cyzewski, author of A Christian Survival Guide and Coffeehouse Theology