Christians are perhaps more influenced by the consumer driven mentality of the world around us than we are prepared to admit. There are an increasing number of professing Christians who do not see any need to commit themselves to a local church.
Combined with carelessness over the observance of the Lord’s Day, this can lead to such people choosing to do any number of other activities, rather than being found among the Lord’s people on the Lord’s Day. It is for such, as well as others questioning the value of church, that Josh Moody has written this little book.
In the course of answering ten questions about church, the author makes some telling points. For example, he says, ‘If you say you follow Jesus, but you are not a member of a local church that is biblically founded and gospel preaching, I have no reason to know for sure whether you actually are following Jesus’ (p.10).
He deals with a number of related issues, such as the nature of a true church, signs of a healthy church, the reasons for different kinds of churches, and the place of baptism and communion.
He makes helpful observations under each of these headings, although (perhaps because of the brevity of the chapters) some of his observations seem a little unconvincing. For example, he gives the impression that differences of conviction over secondary issues are simply a matter of ‘church tastes’ (p.25).
Having in an earlier chapter addressed the question of why there is so much politics in church life, his pastoral counsel to those who have been hurt by experiences in their church (chapter 8) is particularly apposite and helpful.
While recognising that there is sometimes a need to make a fresh start in a different church, Moody counsels, ‘If church is the local representation of the body of Christ, and if you are a member of Christ, you will be longing to be actually and practically reunited with that body of which you are truly and spiritually a part’ (p.58). He then gives practical advice on how, and with what attitude, we should go about this.
Overall, this is a useful book to give to any who have lost sight of the privilege of belonging to a gospel church, though it could be argued that its brevity is both its appeal and its weakness.