From triple helix - Summer 2003 - Building the Body: Transforming Relationships in the Local Church (Book Review) [pp20-21]
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Do you want to grow as a Christian? Do you want to be a more effective witness? This book, written by an Honorary Lecturer in Epidemiology at the London Hospital, champions the biblical theme of building the body of Christ in the local church. It suggests that God-honouring relationships are an integral part of Gospel living that we have neglected to our detriment.
Paul's doctrinal teaching has been a tremendous resource for the church over the centuries but his teaching on relationships, which is also extensive, has been under-emphasised. This has resulted in an unbalanced and individualistic Christian experience that may make us frustrated with our failure to continue to grow and failure to witness effectively.
Despite years of belonging to church, we are likely to find that the biblical qualities of giving time, listening well, serving practically, offering encouragement, learning by apprenticeship and maintaining our walk with God by mutual accountability are not as evident in our fellowship as they might be. How refreshing it would be if we moved in such an environment!
This book points the way towards developing a Christian community that not only pays lip service to loving out brothers and sisters, but aims to live it out in the confidence of God's love and forgiveness for us all. Shared life actively strengthens sound doctrine but also provides a safe place to express doubt and admit struggle.
The eight chapters of this book may also be used for group studies, for which there are additional notes, and there is a helpful appendix on listening skills. By using many helpful and sometimes humorous stories and illustrations, the writer is not so much speaking out of success, but humbly sharing lessons learnt along the way. I found it often connected with my own experience of church and opened a way to make progress. It could do the same for you or your church.Reviewed by