paperback/ hardback U.S.
When God calls us out of our sin and to Himself through the Gospel, He adopts us into His family. That family is the Church. This is a book about what that family should be, what it should do, and why it matters.
When we look carefully at the big things of the Bible, it's important for us to examine both the Scriptures and the culture we live in today. We need to know what the Bible says. We also need to understand the ways we are getting things wrong, and the ways our cultural sins may be blinding us to what God is calling us to in Scripture.
In this book, Pastor Tim Bayly exposes lies the American evangelical church has believed and calls us to a simple, humble pattern of church that is clearly rooted in the Bible. It is a call to reform--a call to repent of the ways we have left God's design for the Church, and a call to embrace what we see modeled for us in the Bible and in those places in church history where our fathers in the faith have been careful to show us what the Bible teaches.
My thoughts (reviewed by Steve): "Somehow . . . the Church is no longer viewed as essential to Christian growth. Conferences are great. Facebook groups, music, podcasts, broadcast sermons, discipleship material, Christian books . . . these fruits of evangelical ministry have supplanted Christ's Bride, the church." (CHURCH REFORMED, p. 6)
This one quotation from the book under review sums up the critical situation the Church finds herself in today. While conversions to Christianity continue to occur, new believers are being deluged with so many alternatives to Christian growth outside the Church body, Church membership is declining, and Churches are closing their doors at a record pace.
Tim Bayly is writing on a level that is so far removed from the way church is being done today, that it's disturbing. Confusion, bewilderment and disorientation often manifest themselves through emotional release. For men, the most common response is anger, followed by irrational outbursts. I must confess that my inability to process what the author was communicating was leading me to debunk the entire book as denominational bias.
Then my computer froze up, and I took pen and paper in hand to write my review while my computer righted itself. And I realized that much of my reaction is probably due to embarrassment at failing to understand the principles being spelled out. Because I've never seen church done this way before. Putting up with people you don't like, simply because they are part of the church family? Closed communion? Church membership through baptism? The inherent authority of deacons and elders?
While there are still denominational differences which will never be reconciled, the time has come to admit that Tim Bayly is telling the 21st Century Church what it is supposed to be by showing us what God intended the church to look like.
5 stars for a thought - provoking treatise on God's Bride . . . His Church.
I received this book free of charge in exchange for my open and honest review.