This continuation of my book review has come about because, as I say on my front page, I write this stuff before my wife has a chance to edit them. And, as she has pointed out, I forgot to tell you what I thought of the book. It is kinda like I am standing at the car door and she walks by and and notices that my shoes are untied. "I think you have left some loose ends," she remarks.
So, in the spirit of charity, I will try to tie up my loose ends.
I feel that John Armstrong has made a good effort. It is written mainly for a general audience with some Biblical and religious background. He tries to come up with a definition of what is Church and what is a Christian that most would agree to. I doubt if any Emergent, Catholic, or Orthodox would agree with him. But, since he is writing out of his evangelical context to, it seems, those who are also evangelical, most of his readers would probably agree. I think the book would have been helped if he had this wider audience in mind. But then it may have become much more complicated, something I'm sure he wouldn't want to do.
Armstrong wrote that Brother Yun, a Chinese Christian, believed that "the solution to division lies in rediscovering our true home in the love of Jesus through his commission to disciple all nations". (pg.162) This is fulfilled through active love towards all, and especially toward the family of believers. I know that Armstrong is keen on having the body of Christ actually love. I am in total agreement. I find that the solution starts with the individual in the local church. This is where true love is to be seen. Armstrong mentions this, but I think could have emphasized this more.
Armstrong ends by saying that our unity is awaiting an outpouring of the Holy Spirit to be accomplished. I believe it will take that very thing for us to recognize the unity we already have in the Son by the Spirit. As Paul wrote the Corinthians that grouping ourselves in distinction from any others who also call on the name of the Lord in faith is carnal, of the flesh, after the way of the world. So what actually needs to happen is for the church to mature by walking in the Spirit and not in the flesh. This will take a church that actually believes Jesus and the Apostles He sent. Notice I didn't say believe in Jesus. The devils do that and tremble. The disunity of the church I believe has come about through the church's fleshly, sinful ways. Armstrong is right in saying that unity will come about when we, as Christians, die to ourselves. [Don't we wish that baptism actually did this?]
So I recommend this book to any and all who call on the name of Jesus. May its heart be your heart as you help to hasten the Lord's return by doing what He commanded.
The last of the loose ends. This book is copyright 2009.
your church is too small