• M Taylor posted an update 4 months, 3 weeks ago

    “Centered-Set Church” by Mark Baker is an excellent read on one of the problems facing today’s church:

    – Bounded Churches – drawing such rigid boundaries that allow no flexibility on varying viewpoints on minor issues (i..e. – mowing a yard or doing yardwork on Sundays after church) that border on legalism.

    – Fuzzy Churches – Having no boundaries whatsoever on essential issues (i.e. – Jesus is God in the flesh, salvation is by grace and not of works, Jesus died on the cross for our sins and was raised from the tomb, etc.) for fear of offending people.

    Quite frankly, I’ve been a member of some churches that practiced one or both of the above and left me wanting.

    The author instead offers a third solution – a church being centered on Jesus Christ (Centered Churches), avoids legalism, stands firm on essential issues, and is grace-filled towards others without compromising convictions.

    After describing the three kinds of churches, the book then goes into detail on how the “centered church” can address issues in church life: discipleship, intervention, community involvement, growing deeper in your walk with Jesus Christ.

    After reading the book, here’s my comments:

    – Good description and analysis of the characteristics and practices of the three types of churches.

    – Good mixture of the author’s experiences as a missionary and experiences of other people.

    – Liked how the author describes how the three types of churches would deal with issues in the Bible: purity, love, discipleship, etc.

    – Like the description of character qualities a centered church would display towards others.

    – Good inclusion of how centered churches would have high expectations of church membership, expectations of church leadership, practicing evangelism, etc.

    The book is relevant in today’s world, easy to read and understand, insightful, and a good balance of practical and spiritual insights. Good reference for anyone wanting the church to be centered on Jesus Christ while standing firm on essential issues and practicing grace towards others. Recommended.

    I was given a review copy by IVP Academic in exchange for a fair review and appreciate the opportunity.