the weblog of Alan Knox

Your Church Is Too Small

Posted by on Feb 22, 2010 in books, community, unity | 6 comments

I just received another book in the mail: Your Church Is Too Small: Why Unity in Christ’s Mission is Vital to the Future of the Church by John H. Armstrong. Here is the blurb from the back cover:

In Your Church Is Too Small, John Armstrong shows that Jesus’ vision of Christian unity is for all of God’s people across social, cultural, racial, and denominational lines.

Too often, these words of Jesus from John 17:20-21 seem like an unreachable ideal:

“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.”

But Your Church Is Too Small encourages Christians to rely on God – Father, Son, and Spirit – as they unite in mission and demonstrate his character to a watching world. Such reliance entails both a deeper experience in the triune life of God and a connection to the church’s past.

This challenging narrative is a call to leave behind placing limits on Christ’s church – with small, fractured sectarian views – and embrace the motivating vision of a church that is unified and rooted in core orthodoxy.

I’m planning on taking part in the Your Church is Too Small blog tour, so I guess I should read this book before the one that I received over the weekend.


6 Comments

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  1. 2-22-2010

    Hey Alan,

    I’m on that tour with you. I recieved my copy toda. Look forward to hearing your insights.

    Phillip

  2. 2-22-2010

    Phillip,

    Awesome! I look forward to reading your views as well.

    -Alan

  3. 2-23-2010

    I think the point made (in Introducing the Missional Church) about us losing the understanding that we are called to be a “contrast society” might play a role in our horrific divisions. Here is a paragraph from p.103:

    “Being a contrast society has not been a common expectation of churches in the west. Because we have assumed the wider culture is primarily Christian, the church’s influence has been relegated to that of the private, internal life of the individual. We have lost the call to a salvation that not only saves us from sin but saves us for life the way God meant us to live in the first place. As a result, we don’t usually conceive of salvation as being a process of becoming God’s people who practice the way of life that He intended in the midst of the mess of the world. Since the church’s influence has been relegated to private matters of the individual’s soul for so long, we have no voice to speak of a way of life that is practical and embodied in the everyday. In too many cases, talk about God, the church, and salvation has to do with issues that are lifted out of life. If missional is a call to be part of a contrast society, what will that look like?”

    Might not one way this plays out look like brothers and sisters everywhere who acknowledge one another and focus on working together as family for this great cause of being the living proof to the world (Jn 17:21)?

  4. 2-23-2010

    NEED to get this book!

  5. 2-23-2010

    Art,

    You asked, “Might not one way this plays out look like brothers and sisters everywhere who acknowledge one another and focus on working together as family for this great cause of being the living proof to the world?” Yeah, that’s exactly what Jesus said. I’m learning that Christians are not generally willing to accept one another as brothers and sisters (and treat one another as brothers and sisters) only on the fact that God has accepted us in Christ. (Romans 15:7) We require agreement on certain ways of understanding God as well. I believe this is the foundation of much of our divisions. And, I believe these divisions dishonor God and place unnecessary stumbling blocks before people.

    Steve,

    If you get the book, I hope you write about it. Why not take part in the “blog tour”?

    -Alan

  6. 2-24-2010

    Alan,

    I plan to do some kind of review of the book.