THE CHURCH. WHY BOTHER?
Author JEFFREY D. JOHNSON
Publisher SOLID GROUND CHRISTIAN BOOKS
ISBN 978 1 59925 319 0
There is a subtitle to this book. ‘The Nature, Purpose and Functions of the Local Church.’ As with many books penned in the USA, indeed elsewhere, there are perfectly valid, helpful and edifying elements and yet the limitations of a denominational viewpoint is evident undergirding all that is written here. In this case it is the Baptist viewpoint that prevents the book being thoroughly helpful. Yes, the author does critique the present thrust of many of today’s ‘cutting edge churches,’ and does so from a God given perspective as revealed in the New Testament but then does not go far enough. The chapter headings help to highlight 21st century trends. “Wow, What Nice Facilities You Have,” “Culturally Acceptable, I Mean- Relevant”, and “Programs, Programs, Programs” are penetrating not to mention “Hey God, Look at Me Worship.” But is the main purpose of the church mission in the world? The book does not go far enough, that is the problem but, as far as it goes it will prompt serious discussion among those willing to question the current trends. There is an almost complete loss of a sense of identity in many churches and among their leaderships, many grope in sincerity to place God where He should be and plot a course avoiding the dubious direction many ‘ideas’ and techniques are taking us. Is critiquing enough? What about the Holy Spirit? He is hardly mentioned in these pages. What direction should we go? First to the Lord, to His Holy Spirit Who inspired the Holy Scriptures God has given us. What saith the Scripture in the power of that Holy Spirit? Reformation is required, indeed, it is vital, but the tendency to put in place another system, be it Baptist or house churches is ever present when the vital quickening of the Spirit is little seen. Much to applaud in these pages and yet we must go further into God, into His will for these days in particular, preparing ourselves for increasing opposition and even persecution. Holding to the Head as Paul instructs us, hearing from Him, ruthlessly stripping away the accretions that have been allowed to attach themselves to church culture and practices of today. This book is a help but not an answer.