This little church had none
Gary E. Gilley with Jay Wegter
EP Books; 236 pages; £9.33; ISBN: 978-085234-708-9
In this, the third in his series of ‘This little church…’ books, Gary Gilley considers ‘a church in search of truth’. He does so in the context of the swirling cross-currents of belief and practice that have left many Christians (as well as Christian ministers) struggling not to be swept away by it all.
The author highlights the urgency of the present situation by pointing to the confusion that has engulfed many ‘evangelical’ churches, now no longer sure what they actually believe and how they are meant to function as the people of God.
The book divides into three parts. The first addresses obstacles to truth that have come to the fore over the past three decades (though the author rightly points out that many of these challenges appeared in some shape or form at earlier stages in church history).
He covers issues that have created confusion within the church, such as the ‘seeker sensitive’ approach to ‘doing church’ and the far-reaching impact of the emergent church movement. He also surveys issues shaping church from without, through paganism, pragmatism, and the newly emboldened atheism.
In part two Dr Gilley argues that the road to recovery for churches serious about getting back to their biblical roots is through a restored confidence in the Word of God, as well as by means of a pastoral care that is fully engaged with the issues Christians are facing today.
Then, in the book’s final part his co-author, Jay Wegter, sets out an approach to evangelism that is prepared to engage with these challenges in the context of a secular world.
This is not merely a well-researched and informative book (which it is), but a timely encouragement to Christians and churches concerned to be faithful to God and his Word. On this side of Christ’s return, the church will always face challenges from within and without. At the same time her calling is not merely to be defensive.
She is to go with the gospel into the world to challenge its thinking and proclaim Christ as its only real hope of salvation. This volume will serve well to stir hearts to be true to that double calling.
Mark G. Johnston