Friday, June 14, 2013

Book Review: Creature of the Word

Creature of the Word. Matt Chandler, Eric Geiger, Josh Patterson. 2012. B&H. 256 pages.

In Matt Chandler's new book, he refers to the church as "the creature of the Word." The chapter titles include: "A People Formed," "The Creature Worships," "The Creature in Community," "The Creature Serves," "The Creature Multiplies," "Jesus-Centered Culture," "Preaching the Word," "Pulpit to Preschool (and Puberty Too)," "The Jesus-Centered Leader," "Jesus-Centered Flower Committee," "Jesus-Centered Contextualization," and "Jesus-Centered Ministry." The book is about Jesus, the gospel, the church, the role and mission of the church, the duties and privileges of pastors, etc. It talks a lot about being and belonging. Where does the church belong in society? in culture? in the world? What does a Jesus-centered church look like? How does the Jesus-centered church benefit the community?

While I think I enjoyed The Explicit Gospel a bit more, I would definitely recommend this one!

Favorite quotes:
Without a proper understanding of the gospel, people will miss the big biblical picture and all the joyful freedom that comes from living it. They will run from God in shame at their failures instead of running toward Him because of His mercy and grace. (7)
Truly, God's plan of redemption is about more than me and you and our neighbor down the street. It's about men and women from every tribe, tongue, and nation on earth becoming a part of His covenant community. (11)
The Church is not a human invention or institution; it was birthed from God's Word. God spoke and created the universe. God spoke to Abraham and created Israel; and in the same way, God created the Church through the proclaimed gospel of the revealed Word, Jesus Christ. (15)
Your approval before God is woven into the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, not what other men and women think about you. (28)
God has made provision for our sin in Christ. So when we struggle to believe and obey, we should run to Him, not from Him--the opposite of our pattern, in contradiction to our feelings? Why? Because He already knows! See the gospel just keeps changing everything. The cross should continually testify to us that God fully knew we would need to be justified. Therefore, unconfessed sin is actually the foolish decision to run away from our healing and growth rather than toward it. We hang on to things we believe will satisfy us, thinking we need those more than what God offers to provide. But how can we rejoice in and worship the majesty of a loving and forgiving God if in practice we don't believe He loves and forgives, if in practice we don't believe the gospel? How can our churches rejoice and worship corporately when our collective energy is expended carrying around the saddle of unconfessed sin and shame? When people walk in honesty about their fears, shortcomings, and needs--not in thoughtless disobedience but in grace-based freedom and forgiveness--they reveal a deep understanding of the gospel. To confess our sins to one another is to violently pursue our own joy and the glory of God...and to exponentially increase our rejoicing and worship, both individually and corporately. (31)
Easy to go there and feel so justified in bashing theology, but the reality is that everybody is a theologian; some of us have just unwittingly become heretics. Everybody has an idea about who God is and how He works. Some are just, well...they're wrong, that's all. (35)
Heaven is filled with a people satisfied in the very character of God, not just the benefits He gives. (40) 
Only the gospel can grip our hearts with this kind of ongoing, unending awe. Only the gospel can cause grateful praise to flow, and keep flowing, and never stop flowing from our lips. Therefore, your gatherings must be soaked in the gospel. (43)
As you consider selecting songs for your worship services, consider them in light of the truth of the gospel. Imagine the songs as teachers--because they are! If your people could understand your doctrine only through the music you sing, what would they know about God and His pursuit of us? If your people could understand your church's beliefs only through the music, what would they know? (43)
The gospel of Jesus Christ saves us, and the gospel of Jesus Christ sanctifies us. Grace ushers us into salvation, and grace sustains us through it. The gospel is for the world as well as for the Church. The gospel is always the point of application. (123)
The gospel assumes we are not perfect. In fact, it shouts from the rooftop that we are completely despicable apart from Christ. (133)
Children must be impressed with the awesomeness of Christ, with His nature and character. They must see in their leaders a sense of awe for the beauty and attractiveness of Christ. They must see what it means to treasure Christ more than anything else. (145)
The gospel is impressed on children by what they see in parents and leaders; thus, those who lovingly live a godly life in front of children are heroes. (145)
God doesn't call the qualified; He qualifies the called. (161)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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