I had not heard of Tim Bayly before, but judging from this book, I would like to meet him. He has a high view of the local church – as does God. And Bayly wants us all to be clear on that.
But he is afraid that many of us aren’t. People are not in love with the local church. He comes to this conclusion based on many years in pastoral office, and has us all in view in saying it: young pastors, older pastors, members of churches, and people who are not members of churches.
The book has three sections. First, the author examines what the church is, characterising baptism as the visible sign of entry into the church. Next there are four chapters detailing what the church does, based on the life of the Jerusalem church in Acts 2:42. The third section is entitled ‘Threats faced by the Church’. These are naiveté, hypocrisy, and ‘gathering goats’ – in other words, pandering to non-believers by providing them a diet of unchallenging sermons and unspiritual entertainment.
It is a good read. I agreed with most of it. Look elsewhere for an exhaustive review of every position on baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Bayly keeps his argument brief and punchy as he tries to catch the attention of half-hearted people and half-hearted pastors who refuse to see the priority the Lord sets upon his body, his bride.
And it was a timely read for this reviewer, as I sat locked down and locked out of some of the life of the local church. The message? Value the local church!