I broke my foot yesterday and will have plenty of time to make a dent in my reading list. No more excuses for me for six weeks.
While we were back in the states for a month I was able to walk through a few bookstores like a guy during the gold-rush days not wanting to miss something worth some digging effort. The Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love: Reintroducing the Doctrines of Church Membership and Discipline is one of the books that I brought back with us and will be working through for a few more weeks. After chapter One I felt exposed and hopeful. Exposed… because Jonathan Leeman breaks down some old and new thoughts on the church and how many of us define love from our point of view and not the bibles. Hopeful…because I want to know how to love God, believers and the whole world the best I can. This will require some rethinking on my part and a deeper grasp on why authority is not a bad thing but a love thing. Community may not be the direct cure for our individual self-centric all about me problems. Very interesting read. Can’t wait to see the whole picture.
Description from Crossway Books
When the world speaks of “love,” it often means unconditional acceptance. Many churches have adopted this mind-set in their practice of membership and discipline-if they have not done away with such structures entirely. “Yet God’s love and God’s gospel are different than what the world expects,” writes Jonathan Leeman. They’re centered in his character, which draws a clear boundary between what is holy and what is not. It’s this line that the local church should represent in its member practices, because the careful exercise of such authority “is God’s means for guarding the gospel, marking off a people, and thereby defining his love for the world.”
So how should churches receive and dismiss members? How should Christians view their submission to the church? Are there dangers in such submission? The Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love responds with biblical, theological, and practical guidance-from both corporate and individual perspectives. It’s a resource that will help pastors and their congregations upend worldly conceptions and recover a biblical understanding and practice of church authority.