By systematically examining the New Testament's teaching on the existence, meaning and purpose of the church, providing responsible coverage of the traditional topics in ecclesiology, and carefully grounding ecclesiology in the person and work of Christ, Ferguson unveils a comprehensive model of the church that is both biblically centered and relevant to a world on the verge of the 21st century.
The Church of Christ develops the affirmation that Christ is not complete without his people. It grounds ecclesiology in Christology and soteriology. Beginning with the Old Testament basis of the New Testament teaching about the church, the book gives a consistent correlation of Christ with the church's nature, membership, assemblies, ministry, and life.
This is not a historical study but a doctrinal study. The aim is to present a biblical theology of the church. A doctrinal approach, however, does not mean a doctrinal scheme is imposed on the text; rather, the effort is to let the doctrinal teaching arise out of the text itself.
The systematic treatment of the topics traditionally covered in studies of the doctrine of the church are here brought together in relationship to Christ, who is seen as providing the nature of the church and of its membership and as providing not only the example for the church but also a living continuation of himself in its worship, polity, and ethics.
The "Today" in the subtitle does not imply a tailoring of biblical ecclesiology to the interests of the present, but is meant to emphasize that biblical ecclesiology is viable today; it is also an acknowledgment that the questions addressed are in part shaped by contemporary as well as historical issues in ecclesiology. In light of these considerations, Ferguson unveils a comprehensive model of the church that is both biblically centered and relevant to today's world.
Everett Ferguson is professor emeritus of Bible anddistinguished scholar-in-residence at Abilene ChristianUniversity, Abilene, Texas. Among his books areBackgrounds of Early Christianity, now in itsthird edition, and The Church of Christ: A BiblicalEcclesiology for Today (both Eerdmans).
"Pastors and Theologians who seek to ground their views of the church in biblical teaching will find help in Ferguson's thorough exposition. . . This study is commendable for many reasons, including its healthy balance between detail and generalization."