5 Stars Out Of 5
April 12, 2016
If I could rate this book higher than 5 stars I would. This book, along with a few of Dallas Willard's books, have been of huge importance for me as a growing and maturing Christian in this mass confusion of denominations in our current age.
The author, Robert J Banks, has studied Paul's letters against the backdrop of the time period and then frames Paul's ideas and instructions to the early Christian communities. It blew my mind, put simply. I have read Paul's letters numerous times, but often not quite understanding Paul's meaning and his big idea on the communities he founded. What I enjoyed about Banks' book, was that he provided every Scripture verse he implies, so I would often look up the verse in my Bible to delve deeper.
Paul wanted Christ to lead, not any one person. All Christians are given gifts which we are meant to use to build up each other in our Christian communities. But not one person is "better" or more important than the other. There is no coercion or firm rules, but bold statements of sticking to the Gospel and Christ's teachings. Authority exercised through the service of others, not in domination. Living by the Spirit is upmost importance.
Ahh, if in our present Christian communities we could follow Paul's led in how to follow Christ and how to practice our faith within our communities, I think more people would be Christian and those believers would be more passionate and led wholeheartedly by the Spirit, not led by our man-made ideas. I know there are many church communities that do practice this way, the issue for people is trying to find them. I highly recommend this book!