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4.0 out of 5 stars Very, very good., 27 Aug 2013
This review is from: The Message of the Church (Bible Speaks Today) (The Bible Speaks Today) (Paperback)
Usually people's eyes flick to the end of a book review to see whether the reader liked it or not. I'm going to do it first. I thought this was a cracking book and really enjoyed reading it. It's not dull and it will cause you to think. If you are umming and awwing about whether to buy it, then buy it, it's worth it. Ok, on with the review.

Do we really need another book on the church? I mean really? Chris Green admits in his introduction that in the past 20 years we have had a massive downpour of books about the church. Where does this one fit in? Well, it's not a self help guide on how to build your church in 3 easy steps. What it is is a conservative, evangelical and biblical understanding of the church. I understand that is quite a niche and immediately that might put you off as dry and dusty, but I urge you to give it a try.

If you are wondering how the book is arranged, The Message of the Church is split into three neat chunks. Chunk 1 outlines what God's gathered people have looked like through biblical history. Chunk 2 defines what a church should be doing and finally, chunk 3 describes the characteristics that the bible calls churches to display. Having just written that I've managed to make it sound like a dull theological tome. It isn't.

While Chris Green has been teaching in a theological college for a number of years, he writes with a genuine pastor's warmth, using real life examples from his pastoral experience to show you exactly why you should care about this point or that. And those examples will make Christians think not only what goes on in their own backyard but what is happening in churches across the world.

Now let's get to one or two tricky bits. Chris is a member of one particular denomination and not one I am part of. As is often the way, I wondered how much I would disagree with him along the boundary edges. My answer is maybe here and there a bit but it is so thoroughly biblical I didn't mind too much. Perhaps when brighter minds than me get around to reviewing the book or perhaps people from different theological perspectives, they will perhaps want to push this a little further.

Chris also admits when he does get to certain current church hot potatoes - worship, governance, marriage, money, who churches should work with and so on - space does not permit him to explore every point on every position. At the very least he tells you where he stands on these things and why. This may lead some to conclude that he should have gone a bit further or driven home that point a bit more. What Chris does often offer is a further reading list for those who are keen to explore. One last side issue might be that because some of these hot potatoes are so current will the book be relevant in 30 years time? Probably.

I will take many things from this book, perhaps the one that stuck out the most for me at the moment though is that your local church is really, really, really important. If you want to find out more, go read the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on the church, 27 Dec 2013
By 
James Steer (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Message of the Church (Bible Speaks Today) (The Bible Speaks Today) (Paperback)
What is the church? What's it all about? Is it important? Today, there are many different voices saying many different things about the church.

In this book, Chris Green wants us to see what the Bible itself says about the church. To that end, each chapter carefully opens up a passage (or in a couple of cases a few passages) of Scripture.

The first four chapters give a Bible overview from the perspective of the church, covering eternity past to eternity future. The remaining eleven chapters each consider a particular aspect of church, for example the church's life (Acts 2), the church's meal (1 Cor 11), the church's servants (1 Tim 3, 5).

I really enjoyed reading the book (not a hard or dry read) and seeing more clearly the purpose of the church in God's plans and what the church should be like. Chris also has some particularly penetrating insights at various points in the book. For example, when thinking about the church's life in Acts 2, Chris considers what fellowship meant for the early church. He argues that it involves a serious commitment to one another, including a financial commitment - a strong challenge to many of our churches today.

Overall, a really helpful, clear and readable book on the church. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful, well balanced book to get us thinking about Church, 25 Dec 2013
This review is from: The Message of the Church (Bible Speaks Today) (The Bible Speaks Today) (Paperback)
There have been several books recently on the subject of the mission of the Church. This is one of the better ones. It is neither trying to grind an axe to say the Church must only prioritise X, and neither does it bend scriptures to explain that the church should really be taking on the issues of a, b, and c. Rather, the book let's the scriptures speak on the subject, providing a well rounded view of Church: a Godly congregation gathered under Christ's headship, governed by his Word. The church is of course to be gospel focused, loving, compassionate, externally focused and Chris Green expounds a richness from scripture, doing a great job of exploring the subject in what is an easily accessible book faithful to the best of BST standards.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book to make you love your local church, 26 Oct 2013
This review is from: The Message of the Church (Bible Speaks Today) (The Bible Speaks Today) (Paperback)
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.
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