The Reformers viewed the gospel as not merely one thing among many in the life of a church but rather the means by which the church exists. When the gospel is rightly declared and applied to God’s people, the church becomes “a creature of the Word.” She understands, embraces, and lives out the reality of Christ’s birth, life, death, and resurrection in more than her doctrinal statement. The gospel impacts all the church is and does.
Creature of the Word lays out this concept in full, first examining the rich, scripture-based beauty of a Jesus-centered church, then clearly providing practical steps toward forming a Jesus-centered church. Authors Matt Chandler, Eric Geiger, and Josh Patterson write what will become a center- ing discussion piece for those whose goal is to be part of a church that has its theology, culture, and practice completely saturated in the gospel.
As a youth leader at my church I’m always interested about learning from those with more experience in the ministry. Matt Chandler has become a favorite of mine since The Explicit Gospel, so this was a good opportunity to read his thoughts, along the two others authors, about a Jesus-centered church.
For Chandler the gospel is about Jesus, with this concept in mind, all the sections of the book establish the way each part of the church is and must be influenced by the gospel.
The gospel centers us on Jesus’ person an work or it isn’t the gospel… and it isn’t where our first love should be. Ultimately, the gospel is not a nebulous or ethereal concept, but Jesus Himself. – Matt Chandler p.7
There are two main sections of this book, the first one is about the way the church functions as a body or as a building. It’s easy to follow the basic idea: A gospel saturated church and its implications versus the lack of the gospel in the church and its negative implications.
Worship gatherings are not always spectacular, but they are always supernatural. And if a church looks for or works for the spectacular, she may miss the supernatural. p.42
The other half of the book deals with the different ministries in the church and the dynamic between them. For this, Chandler believes the ministries of the Old Testament: Priest, Prophet and King are still present in the leadership of each church in different forms but still with the same essence.
Some leaders are primarily prophets, uniquely gifted to declare truth. Some leaders are primarily priests, uniquely gifted to shepherd people to wholeness and maturity. And some leaders are primarily kings, specifically gifted to provide clear direction. p.114
I really liked this part since it provides many principles that can be applied to any areas of the church, to its theology, philosophy and practices. There’s even a chapter called Jesus-Centered Flower Committee overstating the importance of the gospel in each and every corner of the church.
There are many good books about what a true, biblical church. But I found this book very easy to understand, you don’t have to be a leader in your church to find it useful for your life. But if you serve in your local church, Creature of the Word is a must.
I received this book for free from B & H Publishing Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.