Ecclesiology

It often seems that the visible Church is doing its best to become the invisible Church. Historically, the terms visible and invisible were used to show that not all those who profess Christ in this life will prove to be part of His eternal Body in the next. Those distinctions have largely fallen out of use, along with the idea that the Church is to be a visibly distinct body from the world, using its city-on-a-hill status to guide unbelievers toward Christ.

Anymore, the biggest concern for too many local assemblies is how to look just like the world in order to get the world to come. We call it being "relevant" or "contextual," hoping perhaps that fancy terminology will somehow whitewash our misguided efforts. Since when did Christ tell us to be relevant to our culture? Instead, He calls us to speak universally relevant words of repentance, faith and salvation to a lost and dying world.

Trying to get the world into the church before they've accepted the truth of the Gospel is backward. The Church, rather, is meant to be a place where Christians are ministered to through the preaching of the Word and the sacraments, and from which we go out into the world to make disciples among every tribe and nation.

If the Church is going to regain this prioritization, she must learn to organize herself to accomplish the tasks at hand. Anarchy can never produce solidarity or purpose, and leadership is needed for any successful enterprise among humans. A church's government gives form to the assembly, and is the mediator of Christ's living authority to the group and to the individuals within it.

Christians since the time of Christ's earthly ministry have argued about the nature of legitimate Church government. The particular branch of theology concerned with the Church's function and form is ecclesiology, and many books have been written on the topic, many denominations formed based on divergent understandings of it, and many schisms established in its name.

At Exodus Books, we support a more traditional Reformed ecclesiology. John Calvin was very clear on the distinction between the visible and invisible Church, but he was also adamant that there was only one true Church, that there could only be one Body of Christ to which every elect man, woman and child belongs.

We affirm Calvin's view, and our prayer is that the Church visible would turn from contemporary concerns of relativism and contextualization, toward a biblically-rooted view aiming to make the visible face more consistent with the invisible substance of Christ's Body. The books we offer reflect this passion, and we uge both laypeople and pastors to read them prayerfully, not to be swayed by mere human opinions, but to see the Church as Christ sees her, and as He has determined to make her.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

 

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"Atheism" of the Early Church
by Rousas John Rushdoony
from Chalcedon / Ross House Books
for Adult
in Christianity and the State (Location: XWV-STA)
$12.00
Against Christianity
by Peter Leithart
from Canon Press
in Ecclesiology (Location: XTH-ECC)
$15.00
Against the Church
by Doug Wilson
1st edition from Canon Press
for Adult
in Ecclesiology (Location: XTH-ECC)
$15.00
Ashamed of the Gospel
by John F. MacArthur jr.
First Printing, Underlining from Crossway Books
for 10th-Adult
in Ecclesiology (Location: XTH-ECC)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
Being the Body
by Charles Colson, Ellen Santilli Vaughn
First Edition from Word Publishing
for Adult
in Ecclesiology (Location: XTH-ECC)
$6.00 (2 in stock)
Biblical Eldership
by Alexander Strauch
Rev Exp from Lewis and Roth Publishers
Historical Non-Fiction for Adult
in Church Government (Location: XWO-GOV)
$18.50 $8.00 (4 in stock)
Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church
by Michael Lawrence
from Crossway Books
for 10th-Adult
in Biblical Theology (Location: XTH-BIB)
$8.50 (1 in stock)
Body of Divinity
by Thomas Watson
from Banner of Truth Trust
Theology for 9th-12th grade
in Puritan Writings (Location: XCH-PUR)
$16.00
Church Membership
9marks: Buliding Healthy Churches
by Jonathan Leeman
1st edition from Crossway Books
for Adult
in Ecclesiology (Location: XTH-ECC)
$14.99
Church: The Gospel Made Visible
by Mark E. Dever
for Adult
in Ecclesiology (Location: XTH-ECC)
$7.00 (1 in stock)
Crisis, Opportunity, and the Christian Future
by James Jordan
1st edition from Athanasius Press
in Ecclesiology (Location: XTH-ECC)
$6.00
Elder and His Work
by David Dickson
from P&R Publishing
for Adult
in Church Government (Location: XWO-GOV)
$8.50
Elders of the Church
by Lawrence R. Eyres
from P&R Publishing
for 10th-Adult
in Clearance: Christian Books (Location: XCLE)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Family-Integrated Church
by J. Mark Fox
from Xulon Press
for Adult
in Family Worship (Location: BIB-FAWO)
$14.99
Gashmu Saith It
from Canon Press
for Adult
in Ecclesiology (Location: XTH-ECC)
$16.95
Glorious Church
by Robert Andrews
from Sentinel Press
in Ecclesiology (Location: XTH-ECC)
$12.50
Hipster Christianity
by Brett McCracken
from Baker Books
for 9th-Adult
in Ecclesiology (Location: XTH-ECC)
$15.99 $6.00 (1 in stock)
I Suffer Not a Woman
by Catherine Clark Kroeger, Richard Clark Kroeger
from Baker Books
for Adult
in Clearance: Christian Books (Location: XCLE)
$6.00 (1 in stock)
Knots Untied
by J. C. Ryle
from Banner of Truth Trust
in Ecclesiology (Location: XTH-ECC)
$29.00
Loveliest Place
by Dustin Benge
from Crossway Books
in Ecclesiology (Location: XTH-ECC)
Mother Kirk
by Doug Wilson
from Canon Press
in Ecclesiology (Location: XTH-ECC)
$21.00
Nine Marks of a Healthy Church
by Mark Dever
3rd edition from Crossway Books
for Adult
in Ecclesiology (Location: XTH-ECC)
$17.99
On Church Leadership
by Mark Driscoll
1st edition from Crossway Books
for Adult
in Clearance: Christian Books (Location: XCLE)
$7.50 $3.00 (1 in stock)
One Lord, One Faith
by Rex A. Koivisto
from Wipf and Stock Publishers
for Adult
in Ecclesiology (Location: XTH-ECC)
$10.00 (1 in stock)
Preaching with Purpose
by Jay E. Adams
from Zondervan
for Adult
in Preaching the Word (Location: XWO-PRE)
$5.50 (1 in stock)
Prodigal Church
by Jared Wilson
from Crossway Books
for Adult
in Ecclesiology (Location: XTH-ECC)
$15.99
Schilder's Struggle for the Unity of the Church
by Rudolf van Reest
from Inheritance Publications
for Adult
in Ecclesiology (Location: XTH-ECC)
$13.00
Sociology of the Church
by James Jordan
from Wipf and Stock Publishers
for Adult
in Ecclesiology (Location: XTH-ECC)
$34.00 $20.00 (1 in stock)
Surprised by Hope
by N. T. Wright
from HarperOne
for 9th-Adult
in Eschatology & Prophecy (Location: XTH-ESCH)
$24.99
The Church
by Edmund P. Clowney
from InterVarsity Press
for Adult
in Ecclesiology (Location: XTH-ECC)
$18.00 (1 in stock)
True Companion
by Nancy Wilson
from Canon Press
for Adult
in Church Ministry & Service (Location: XWO-MIN)
Unconditional Surrender
by Gary North
4th edition from Dominion Press
for Adult
in Ecclesiology (Location: XTH-ECC)
$25.00
Unconditional Surrender: God's Program for Victory
by Gary North
2nd edition from Geneva Divinity School Press
for Adult
in Ecclesiology (Location: XTH-ECC)
$10.00 (1 in stock)
Why Should We Love the Local Church?
by Dustin Benge
from Crossway Books
for Adult
in Ecclesiology (Location: XTH-ECC)
Women in Ministry
by Robert & Bonnidell Clouse, editors
from InterVarsity Press
for Adult
in Clearance: Christian Books (Location: XCLE)
$14.00
Women's Ministry in the Local Church
by J. Ligon Duncan, Susan Hunt
from Crossway Books
for Adult
in Clearance: Christian Books (Location: XCLE)
$11.00