This is the review of the book Total Church by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, that I read recently. I have read a previous book by Steve Timmis I wish Jesus Hadn't Said That, but I'm Really Glad He Did and was very impressed with what he had written so decided to give this one a go.
The slogan on the rear cover says a radical reshaping around gospel and community. How does your church shape up? The book in essence goes back to first principles to consider what a church is and how it related to the early Christians. It then offers an insight as to how this early church has been transformed into the church that we have today.
Sadly so often it is not good news, personal agendas, social climbing, and a desire to build ever bigger and bigger buildings, are the primary role of the church today. Or even worse putting all the time money and energy into keeping an historic monument going.
The book offers an alternative for the church. That it should be gospel centred, focusing on the good news of Jesus that is shown in new testament. Along with that the primary role of being mission based. The truth of the gospel needs to be proclaimed. Locking it away in an ancient monument is not going to do this.
Along side this the book suggests that as Christians we need to share our lives as a community of believers, and be welcoming to no believers.
Having defined these principles they are then applied to all areas that the church should be involved in; care, mission, church planting, evangelism, leadership and discipleship to name but a few.
In each case the resultant view is very challenging, often turning the existing ideas on end. But as it says in one of the chapters, why is the western church in decline for the last 50 years, where as else where in the world it is growing. Maybe it is because the western church has tried to mould itself to the current social trends rather that standing firm for the principles it believes in.
The writers are very passionate in their argument, and it is not just hypothetical book. They give real examples relating to the Crowded House Church which is all about being a Gospel community, a shared life, a network of relationships, and a community of people.
A passionate radical challenging thought provoking book. Highly recommended, though it should come with a health warning as once read you may feel like doing something.
This was book 9 week 7 fiction 8 (audio books 1) non fiction 1
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