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What makes a church a church? Is it "where two or three are gathered"? Is it worship and a sermon on Sunday? Does it require structure and leadership?
In The Character of the Church, pastor and author Joe Thorn dispels confusion by describing the five elements of a biblical church. Concise, accessible, and historically informed, it teaches God's design for church so you know what to look for in one—or even how to lead one.
Useful for training in membership classes, discipleship groups, elder boards, and even devotional reading, Thorn's The Character of the Church is at once theological, practical, and experiential. Readers will not simply be informed, but led to a deeper appreciation of the church of God and its essential marks—faithful preaching of God's word, rightly administered sacraments, biblically formed and functioning leadership, grace-filled discipline, and shared mission of the church.
About the Series
This three-book series is designed for diverse readership, avoiding theological jargon and using clear terms to keep readers tracking and engaged. Ideal for evangelism and discipleship, each book can be read within an hour and is organized simply for retention. Biblical, balanced, and historically informed, it is useful for Sunday school, one-to-one reading, ministry training, and personal study.
Number of Pages: 128
Vendor: Moody Publishers
Publication Date: 2017
|Dimensions: 8 X 5.25 X .31 (inches)|
The Heart of the Church: The Gospel's History, Message, and MeaningJoe ThornMoody Publishers / 2017 / Trade Paperback$7.79 Retail:4 Stars Out Of 5 1 Reviews
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The Life of the Church: The Table, Pulpit, and SquareJoe ThornMoody Publishers / 2017 / Trade Paperback$6.99 Retail:4 Stars Out Of 5 1 Reviews
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Experiencing the Trinity: The Grace of God for the People of GodJoe ThornCrossway / 2015 / Trade Paperback$8.49 Retail:
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Soulmates: Friendship, Fellowship, and the Making of Christian CommunityDavid HornHendrickson Publishers / 2017 / Trade Paperback$9.99 Retail:
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contemplativereflections4 Stars Out Of 5Book Review: The Character of the ChurchApril 27, 2017contemplativereflectionsQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0In "The Character of the Church," Joe Thorn outlines what are considered to be the distinctive marks of a church. Thorn focuses on the essential elements such as the preaching of the Word, participation in the ordinances of the Lord's Supper and baptism, faithful biblical leadership by elders and deacons, gracious yet firm church discipline, passionate evangelism, and effective discipleship. Although different denominations hold varying perspectives on how these marks are to be expressed, Thorn takes a balanced approach that incorporates the differing views while also voicing his own viewpoint on the issues. The part of the book that served as a timely reminder for me is the discussion on the mission of the church. Thorn points out that many churches today seem to gravitate towards being overly committed to social justice and community care instead of concentrating its resources on sharing the gospel. The author argues that churches should focus on spreading the gospel to the lost as its primary mission as this is the command that we are given by Jesus upon His ascension. This does not mean that the church should not care for the welfare of its neighbourhood but that our commitment to spreading the gospel should be of first importance.
I would recommend this book to all Christians as a proper understanding of the marks of a true church is particularly relevant for our times. Many Christians today subscribe to a low view of church that is not in line with what the Bible teaches. The material in this book is simple enough for non-believers and recent converts while also being helpful to Christians who may have developed a distorted understanding of the identity and purpose of the church. As followers of Jesus and members of God's family, we need to have a biblically informed theology of the church and this short book serves to be an excellent starting point in this endeavour.
In compliance with Federal Trade Commission guidelines, I received a review copy from Moody Press in exchange for a book review.