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City on a Hill: Reclaiming the Biblical Pattern for the Church in the 21st Century Paperback – March 1, 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"When we look to the Bible we see God's plan for the church all times and in all places. So to understand how to live for Christ in the twenty-first century, we need to go back to the first century. This is not traditionalism; it is not irrelevance; it is not living in the past. It is timeless Christianity, which is founded on Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday and today and forever (Heb. 13:8)."

From the Back Cover

THE CHURCH TODAY STANDS AT A CROSSROADS.  HOW WILL WE FULFILL CHRIST’S CALLING TO BE A “CITY SET ON A HILL”?

Many sincere and dedicated Christians point to the path of relevance as a means for enjoying a post-Christian witness. They want to explore new ways of “doing church”— ways that focus on seekers’ needs, that appeal to today’s entertainment-saturated audiences, and don’t make church “too hard.”

Philip Ryken, however, sees danger ahead. Rather than confronting the relativistic and narcissistic mind-set of our world, this way may very well accommodate it.

In City on a Hill, Ryken asserts that the church needs to walk a different path... a biblical path that leads to exalting God and Him alone by:

·        Proclaiming the saving work of our crucified and risen Lord, Jesus Christ.

·        Focusing on our holy God in our personal and corporate worship.

·        Reaching our in Christ’s love to care for one another and share the Good News with the world.

When the church does what it was called to do, it will give the world what it needs most—the life-giving message that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord.

PHILIP GRAHAM RYKEN (M.Div., Westminster Theological Seminary; D.Phil., University of Oxford, England) is senior minister of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, where he has preached since 1995. His published works include The Heart of the Cross and The Doctrines of Grace (with James Montgomery Boice), Is Jesus the Only Way?, The Message of Salvation, and Jeremiah and Lamentations. Dr. Ryken lives with his wife, Lisa, and children, Joshua, Kirsten, Jack and Kathryn in Center City, Philadelphia.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Moody Publishers; New Edition edition (March 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802441998
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802441997
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,041,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tim Challies TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
I wonder if it has always been true that when people write about the church they write with sadness, lamenting what the church has become or is becoming. In our day we have the church growth advocates bemoaning the fact that not enough churches engage in full-scale marketing of their churches; we have the Emergent Church leaders lamenting the church's refusal to adapt to and engage with the changing culture; and we have conservatives calling us to return to the pillars of faith the church once held dear.

I, sometimes reluctantly, find myself predominantly in the third camp, though I sometimes also wonder if we really are doing so poorly. Philip Graham Ryken is also clearly in the third camp. He assumed the pastorate of Ten Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia after the death of James Boice with whom he co-authored the wonderful book The Doctrines of Grace. As if to prove his allegiance, he subtitled this book "Reclaiming the Biblical Pattern for the Church in the 21st Century." As with leaders of the other camps, Ryken examines the culture and seeks to find ways in which the church can fulfill it's God-given mandate to be a city on a hill.

This book began with a ministry retreat in early 1999 in which Ryken and the leadership of his church engaged in discussion about being a church that could successfully fulfill God's mandate in the post-Christian 21st century. When he succeeded Boice as pastor of Tenth, Ryken began his ministry by preaching a series of sermons on the seven committments of his church's mission statement. These messages form the basis for the book. Because of this they do read a little bit like sermons (which is not necessarily a bad thing).

City on a Hill begins with an introduction to postmodernism.
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Format: Paperback
Philip Graham Ryken is a worthy successor to his mentor James Boice, both as the pastor of Tenth Presbyterian, and as a voice calling out to the church in our day to turn back to her first love. In this great book, City on a Hill, Ryken sets out the Biblical priorities for a church. There are no earthshaking new ideas here, but timeless truths presented in new and fresh ways. Much of this book is based on messages given reaffirming Tenth Presbyterian's mission statement, but the focus given is applicable to any Bible-believing church. He calls the church to return to: expository preaching, corporate worship, fellowship, pastoral care, discipleship, missions and evangelism, mercy ministry and repentance and renewal. Each chapter covers one of these areas and is biblically supported and persuasively argued. The book also has an 'action guide' at the end for pastors and church leaders to evaluate how their own churches are doing, and it provides additional resources for further reading in the areas covered in this book. I highly recommend this book for anyone who cares about having a God-honoring, gospel-centered & driven church that can impact a community. May He use it for His glory!
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Format: Paperback
I found that Ryken's book was a very interesting evaluation of the local church and it's responsibilities. He pointed out that in many areas we have strayed far from the biblical model. What Abraham Lincoln once said still applies to today, "We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation. But we have forgotten God." (15)

Truly, the church of today is confronted with many unique challenges. The author points out the narcissistic attitude which prevails society today. "Whether they admit it or not, their minds reject absolute truth, and in their hearts they love themselves more than anyone else, especially God." (18) In order to reach the current generation she must confront these mindsets.

As Ryken described the church and God's plan for it, he laid down a list of essentials which every church must be participating in. At the top of the pile was a need for Scripture saturation. "The only church that will survive in post-Christian times is a church with a passion for God's Word." (25) This passion must not be in unique to the church when gathered, although the exposition of the Word is of utmost importance. The Scriptures must be a part of the church member's daily life. Without this essential diet, both corporate and personal, the church cannot and will not survive.

The pastor plays a unique role in this area. A duty given to him by the Lord Jesus Christ is to feed the flock, preach the Word, teach everyone. His job is not to speak his ideas, ideals, or intentions but God's Word. "A minister who sees himself as an expositor knows that he is not the master of the Word, but its servant." (49)

Another aspect highlighted in the book was the description and necessity of worship.
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I loved this book because it made me think more biblically about the functions of the local church. Dr. Ryken points us to the Bible alone as the standard for church and we need more of that in these post modern times.
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So real. Ryken openly and directly talks about the temporary image of the church and influences the pastor feel and get effected. A CALL TO REDEDICATION to the Lord and to the church he founded.
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