02/10/2013 by Chris Green
You can now order ‘The Message of the Church‘ at 20% discount from IVP-US (the British IVP edition has reached #1 BestSeller on Amazon.co.uk). Just click on the link here. You can order the UK edition from IVP here at a 28% discount. And it becomes even cheaper if you buy several copies to read in your small group or leadership team.
The most recent review of the book says this:
Writing from experience gained both in the classroom and at the coalface, Chris Green’s long-awaited entry in the Bible Speaks Today series on the Church oozes with insight and fresh thinking. With a breadth and depth that is at times breath-taking, the book first surveys the story of the Church through the lens of the story of the Bible, moves to describing what the Church ought to be doing, before concluding with what the Church ought to be like as it does these things.
Along the way, Green covers traditional ground but often from unexpected angles. His approach sits comfortably at the centre of classical evangelicalism with little that is denominationally distinctive or theologically controversial. On the sacraments (a term he avoids), he commends simplicity of practice against any over-developed theological or historical position. His material on spiritual gifts includes a useful discussion of issues around cessationism and prophecy. He holds a traditional position on the role of men and women but openly acknowledges a lack of space to explore or defend this in any depth. Church planting is given special attention.
I particularly appreciated how almost every aspect of the life of the Church receives scrutiny at some point, even if only in passing . There are comments on the normative and regulative principles, paedocommunion, Sabbatarianism, the question of tithes for Christians, the use of the word “priest”, the Homogeneous Unit Principle, denominations, bishops and even the counter-signing of cheques. Some of these comments are not as developed as they could be in a longer work; occasionally I still wondered what he really thinks.
There is impressive interaction with secondary literature from Calvin to Rick Warren, with plenty of leads to follow up on specific issues where appropriate. In a book that addresses the subject of the Church from the point of view of biblical theology I was surprised, however, that there was no mention at all of the work of either N.T. Wright or Oliver O’Donovan, even in a footnote. Serious interaction with these authors would be beyond the scope of the series, but mention of their work seems a notable omission in a book that in other ways is remarkably thorough.
I particularly recommend this book as a rich resource for teaching about the Church in a sermon series or other setting. It suffers from a lack of Scripture and subject indices; were it to be republished with these, I think I would buy another copy.
TOM WATTS St Mary’s, Chesham
(in Churchman, Autumn 2014 pp274-275)
“I read this book over my summer holiday and it was a blessing. Chris Green has read widely and thought carefully about his subject and it comes across on every page. He loves the Lord of the Church and he loves the Scriptures and these combine to form a feast for anyone who wants to think biblically about the “whys” and “hows” and” whos” of the church. He is thorough but interesting; he interacts with a range of scholarship without being overly academic. As I flick through my copy I see underlines and margin marks on nearly every page.
Quibble: – I fond myself sometimes thinking “Tell me what you really think!” I imagine space didn’t allow.
One of the BST series carries an endorsement comment from someone that “there is gold on every page” this book stands in that tradition.” (Amazon ✰✰✰✰✰)
Amazon status #1 best selling BST.