Subscribe now

Gospel Church Government

By John Owen
February 2013 | Review by Peter Culver
  • Publisher: Grace Publications Trust
  • ISBN: 978-0-94646-285-8
  • Pages: 112
  • Price: 4.99
Buy this book »

This book is a little gem and will be particularly helpful to pastors, elders and church leaders. In ten clear chapters, with great biblical insight, it deals with so many key questions regarding the nature of a real church.
    The chapter headings include: ‘Who belongs to the church?’, ‘How is a church formed?’, ‘The officers of the church’, ‘Church discipline’ and ‘Fellowship among churches’.
    The book is Reformed in its emphasis. Owen makes it clear that ‘the central message of this book is that church membership should be biblical’ and states ‘Christ exercises authority in the church by his Word and his Spirit.’
    There is helpful teaching on calling a pastor. Under the heading of ‘The duty of preaching’, we have these telling comments: ‘A man that refuses to eat the food he has prepared for others will scarcely make it appear appetising to them’; ‘some men show that they are not called to preach as much by their preaching as by their failure to preach’ and ‘all churches need to consider the weight and burden on their pastors and teachers as they discharge their office’.
    The book makes a clear distinction between ruling elders and pastors and recognises the need in most situations for a plurality of elders. These are not merely ‘yes’ men to the pastor, but help play a vital role in leading the church. The book also helpfully deals with the office of deacon.
    Perhaps the most helpful part is that which deals with the thorny issue of church discipline; there are some most helpful and useful comments here. You may not agree with all his conclusions, but there is so much in this book that is tellingly helpful.
Peter Culver
Bath

Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Dying Well: Dying Faithfully
John Wyatt

Referring to ‘dying’ in the title of a book is perhaps off-putting to many readers. With a title such as Dying Well, you’re also not quite sure what aspects of death the book will address. However, it’s soon apparent that…

See all book reviews
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
In the Footsteps of King David: Revelations from an Ancient Biblical City
Yosef Garfinkel

Until the publication of In the footsteps of King David, the prevailing approach to biblical archaeology has often been denial of the factuality of biblical texts. From 2007 to 2013, a team of archaeologists (led by the authors of this…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
What is Man?
Edgar Andrews

In this book, Professor Andrews (see article on page 3 of this ET issue) distils a lifetime of meditation on the titular question into 14 rich and readable chapters. He unpacks the issues behind what scholars have called ‘hard problems’…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
The Gospel-Shaped Life
Ian Hamilton

Some readers may be familiar with Ian Hamilton’s earlier work, The Faith-Shaped Life — a series of 43 short pieces examining dimensions of our faith as believers in Jesus. The Gospel-Shaped Life follows the same pattern. It aims ‘to explore…